Season Five, Bout Two:
Delta Delta Di freeze out Femmes in final two minutes, 87-61; Kilmore Girls outlast Banger Sisters 71-57
The weather outside was frightful, but the bout was so delightful. Neither half a foot of fresh snow nor falling temps could keep fans away from the North Star Roller Girls' second 2010-11 home bout at the Minneapolis Convention Center on December 4.
All winter-weather misery was forgotten – if temporarily – under the bout's “July in Christmas” theme. While waiting for the bout to start (with a slight delay to let fans find parking and navigate the slippery sidewalks), derby lovers had the chance to have their photo taken with Santa and Uncle Sam under a palm tree, or pull for their team in a tug-of-war contest. There was a parade around the track at halftime, with each team throwing out goodies to the crowd and pulling their very own floats. And one to add to the “complete randomness you might come to expect at derby bouts” file: two Wookiees showed up during the second half of the Kilmore Girls – Banger Sisters bout, much to the approval of the crowd. Maybe they were there to cheer on Wookie Puss? Whatever the reason, they were a hit.
Delta Delta Di vs. Violent Femmes
The bout got underway with the highly anticipated match-up between the Violent Femmes and Delta Delta Di. Both teams won their last bouts by very wide margins, and many an NSRG fan was anxious to see how the reinvented Deltas tangled with the veteran-heavy Femmes.
Story of the bout, short 'n' sweet: In the first half, the Deltas were the lead jammer seven times to the Femmes' eight, and yet they were up by 13 at halftime. A couple of things may have contributed to this: one, they scored on six of their seven lead jams; two, they had two very large scoring runs by Crust Almighty (11 points) and Jawbreaker (eight points). Crust and Jawbreaker also each scored when they were jamming but not lead. The Femmes added points to the board four times when they weren't lead (Ida Kildher three times , and Obscene Sheen once), but scored on the lead jam only three times out of eight, and never more than four points at a time. Why? Fast Delta jammers and strong Delta defense that prompted Femmes jammers to call the jam off to prevent their pink opponents from scoring, primarily. While the Violent Femmes' speed game allowed their jammers to get through easily on several occasions, the Delta Delta Di jammers were able to find their way through the pack and back around to score (or force a jam call-off) with equal ease.
The Femmes started the second half looking ready to close the gap, and scored on all but one of their lead jams. The Deltas, however, did just the same (not counting the brief last jam which Meagan U Bleed called immediately in order to end the bout). It's fairly safe to say that this could have been either team's bout up until the penultimate jam where we got to witness modern flat-track derby wisdom in action: Jawbreaker jamming unopposed – especially with teammates skillfully controlling the speed of the pack – is a potentially very dangerous situation for any opponent, whether it be a home team or anyone else.
Blow by blow, jam for jam:
First Half: The bout started fairly routinely, with Roller Vixen and Ida Kildher scoring points for the Femmes and Jawbreaker putting the Deltas on the board. Ida had an opportunity to jam unopposed with Crust Almighty in the penalty box on the following jam, but was soon headed for the sin bin herself after cutting the track. Crusty took advantage of the solo jam and a spread-out pack to score 11 points before the jam ran out; Ida also racked up four of her own after getting sprung from the box to bring the score to DDD 19 – VF 11.
VF rookie Obscene Sheen made her jamming debut next, stepping first to the line against Jawbreaker and again immediately against Rhea Lentless. The Delts gained the lead jammer advantage on both jams, but their scoring was held in check by Sheen's fast skating and the Femmes' pack defense. Rhea took a hard hit from Ida Kildher and landed squarely on her tailbone, but shook it off and was back on the jammer line five minutes later (although she told me that had it not been for her rear and hip pads, she would not have gotten up so easily... the spot that wasn't padded was still tender a week later).
Play continued to be solid with pack speed and no-pack calls having a major influence on lead jammer status and point scoring. Jammers from both teams repeatedly had to be let through unopposed because the pack was so spread out. For example, with Delta Rhea Lentless starting in the box and Roller Vixen on the line for the Violent Femmes with 4:40 left to play, the Femmes left the line setting a quick pace for the pack, only to slow down suddenly. Before the Deltas noticed, the pack was so spread out that “no pack” was declared, and Vixen had to be let through the pack with no opposition by the pink blockers. She went on to score four points before calling off that jam.
With 2:17 left to play in the half, Violent Femme Obscene Sheen and Delta Jawbreaker stepped to the jammer line again. Jawbreaker set out to slow Sheen down from the start with some jammer on jammer blocking, but Sheen picked her way through the slightly weakened pink defense (due to Crust Almighty in the penalty box) to become lead jammer. Her teammates in red slowed the pack way down and she called the jam off after one scoring pass that netted her four points. The following jam was the last of the half and Rhea Lentless's three additional points for Delta Delta Di brought the score to DDD 37 – 24 VF.
Second half: The Femmes seemed to have regrouped for the second half, with Roller Vixen and Ida Kildher adding four points in the first two jams to none from either Jawbreaker or Rhea Lentless. The Deltas' Crust Almighty quickly undid the Femmes' work on the next jam, though, scoring four with opponent Obscene Sheen adding one point of her own on a very fast-paced jam. With 14:36 left to play in the bout, Meagan U Bleed was sent to the penalty box and Ida Kildher racked up 15 points on the unopposed jam, thanks to a pink “goat” held in the back of the pack by Ida's teammates, and a lot of Deltas in the box. Ida's triple grand slam put the Femmes in the lead 44-41.
The Femmes and Deltas traded the lead for a few jams, with Delta Delta Di's Tara Bichapart scoring four on the next jam while the DDD blockers held back opponent Obscene Sheen. Roller Vixen answered that with a four-point jam of her own, bringing the Femmes back into the lead. The double grand slam by Crust Almighty that followed, however, put the Deltas back in front. While Ida battled defensive hits from Jawbreaker, and Meagan U Bleed, Crusty ran around the outside of the pack twice for ten, which gave the Deltas a 55-48 lead and just a bit more breathing room on the scoreboard.
Tara Bichapart and Rhea Lentless did their parts to keep the Deltas' lead alive in the next few jams (Tara with four and Rhea with three before heading to the penalty box for cutting the track), but the Femmes' Ida Kildher worked her way past the Delta jammers for four, and her teammate Roller Vixen took advantage of a solo jam and more smart defensive speed work by her teammates RAGE-edy Ann, Camel Toni and Jowanna BEAT Down to skate unopposed through a no-pack situation. In less than one minute Vixen racked up five points and had narrowed the Deltas' lead to one small point.
A brief, very defensive jam between Rhea Lentless (sprung from the box shortly after the jam started) and Ida Kildher yielded no points, and Jawbreaker and Obscene Sheen faced off as jammers once again. While Sheen and her team were certainly hoping to recreate her prior jam against Jawbreaker which would have left them in the lead going into what would probably be the last jam, Jawbreaker's jammer-on-jammer defense knocked Sheen off-balance long enough for Jawbreaker to take off and assert herself as lead jammer. Sheen then headed off to the box on a major forearm penalty, and Jawbreaker lapped the pack five times while her fellow Deltas took charge of the speed game – the pack stood still and even went backwards at times. Several Violent Femmes were in the penalty box for this jam and blocking by Femmes Camel Toni, Jowanna BEAT Down and Roller Vixen only seemed to pose a threat to JB's scoring run on the last lap. Jawbreaker's 25-point jam sealed the match for the Deltas. The final jam between Meagan U Bleed and Roller Vixen started with 16 seconds on the clock, and a smiling Meagan called the jam shortly after being called lead jammer. While it had been anyone's match just three minutes before, the bout ended with Delta Delta Di winning handily over the Violent Femmes, 87 – 61.
Bout by the numbers:
At ten: DDD 24 – 13 VF
At the half: DDD 37 – 24 VF
At 30: DDD 45 – 48 VF
Final: DDD 87 – 61 VF
Top scoring Delta Delta Di: Jawbreaker (43 points), Crust Almighty (25), Tara Bichapart (12)
Top scoring Violent Femmes: Ida Kildher (34), Roller Vixen (20), Obscene Sheen (7)
Kilmore Girls vs Banger Sisters
At the October bout, a new and rookie-heavy Banger Sisters lost by a 101-point margin to Delta Delta Di, and a Kilmore Girls roster weakened by injuries and other absences suffered a 62-point loss to the Violent Femmes. While the Banger line-up looked familiar, the Kilmores returned to the track with two more eligible skaters (gargamella and Wanda Gogh?), but also announced the retirements of Freddy Kruelgirl, Cannibella Lestrange and Ginger McInjure just prior to the beginning of the bout.
The Kilmore Girls' jamming rotation was much like the previous bout with the addition of gargamella and Kat Skratch Eva, who both appeared on the jammer line twice, and Tessa Rack, who wore the star in the final jam of the bout. Seven different Banger Sisters jammed with the notable exception of F. Bang, who jammed regularly in the October bout but was nursing a case of bursitis in her knee this time around.
Story of the bout, short 'n' sweet: The Kilmore Girls started this bout looking very strong; in the first half they put up 55 points, scored on all lead jams but one (plus two points by Scarlet Raven when she wasn't lead jammer), and had three big(ger) jams by Raven, RazorCake and gargamella. Their second half looked positively lackluster in comparison – sixteen points total despite being lead jammers 60% of the time. The Banger Sisters' jamming was consistent – 25 points the first half, 32 the second. 23 of those 32 points were scored by Katarina Hit, who jammed on eight of the 15 second-half jams and scored on all but one. One wonders what the outcome might have been if she had jammed more than four times in the first half.
One thing is undeniable: something clearly shifted after halftime. Given that the Kilmores jammed all the same skaters, we must assume that the Bangers adjusted their defensive strategy, although they continued to consistently play the front line in the pack in the second half, just as they did in the first.
The blocking see-sawed throughout the bout. Many times the blockers on both teams did outstanding jobs retaining the opposing jammer, often holding the jammer until their teammate could complete a scoring run and call off the jam. On the other end of the spectrum, no-pack calls (pack too spread out) made it very easy for jammers at the front of the pack to get through. More often than not, it was the Banger Sisters and their blue wall at the front who had to let the jammer through unopposed, meaning that the Kilmore Girls frequently benefited from the no-pack call. It will be very interesting to see if the Bangers tweak the front-of-the-pack blocking strategy for the January 15th bout against the Violent Femmes, who have exceptional skills at the speed game and would work that no-pack call for all it's worth.
Blow by blow, jam for jam:
First Half: Kilmore Girl Scarlet Raven and Banger Sister Katarina Hit met on the jammer line to start the bout. While Raven slipped up the middle to become lead jammer, Katarina got hung up behind Kilmore blockers Stalker Channing and Mama Crash. Raven scored a quick four and called off the jam, but not before Katarina scored three of her own. RazorCake put up a fast four points for the girls in green on the next jam before blue jammer Pippi van Whalen was able to get out of the pack. Stalker Channing had a big chance to jam unopposed when Banger jammer Misa Ornery was sent to the penalty box, but Katarina Hit made herself nearly impossible to get by. Stalker finally made it through thanks to a no-pack call just in time for Misa to get out of the box; Stalker called off the jam. Scarlet Raven's next jam against Banger shE. coli was nearly identical to her last jam: quick slip through the pack to become lead jammer, fast loop of the track, four points, call it off. Misa Ornery earned the Banger Sisters' first lead jammer call of the night on the following jam, scoring four while RazorCake fought her way through the pack after taking a hard hit shortly after the whistle.
After a quick ten for Scarlet Raven on the next jam followed up by a very speedy four for the Bangers via a stealthy Katarina Hit, RazorCake put up 15 points, waltzing through a very spread-out pack with the help of no-pack calls despite effective blocking work by the Bangers. The Kilmore Girls also showed off their blocking skills on the jam, with Banger jammer Misa Ornery managing to make it through the pack with only two seconds left in the jam.
After Scarlet Raven and shE. coli added three and five points, respectively, gargamella made her season five jamming debut for the Kilmore Girls, going up against Dixie Normiss, an NSRG rookie and first-time jammer as well. gargamella lapped the pack twice to score nine points while Dixie tried in vain to find a way past rookie Kilmore blocker Rosalind Shanklin. Stalker Channing called the next jam off quickly with Katarina Hit jamming for blue and hot on Stalker's heels; Katarina stayed on the jammer line versus Scarlet Raven and slid very easily through the pack. Speeding back around to the pack with points on her mind, Kilmores Granny Panties and Wanda Gogh? could do nothing to hold Katarina, who added five before calling the jam. Misa Ornery and RazorCake lined up for the final jam of the half with four seconds on the regulation clock. Misa took a whip off of fellow Banger SAWSQUASH right into lead jammer land while a slowed-down pack held RazorCake back. RazorCake made it through the pack right before Misa finished her scoring run and called it off, adding four points for the Bangers to bring the score to Kilmore Girls 55 – 25 Banger Sisters at the half.
Second Half: Banger Sister Smooth Criminal and Violent-Femme-turned-Kilmore-Girl Kat Skratch Eva started the second half, both fresh on the jammer line. Kat made it through the pack and managed to be declared lead jammer, but then got sucked back into the pack while Smooth broke free. Unable to get back out of the pack, Kat called the jam. Both RazorCake and Katarina Hit scored on the next jam, a fast four for RazorCake and five for Katarina, followed by Stalker Channing jamming against Misa Ornery. A familiar scenario played out yet again: Stalker came up against a wall of Banger blue in the front, the pack got spread out beyond 20 feet and the blockers were forced to let Stalker through unopposed. Stalker worked the jammer-on-jammer blocking once they both cleared the pack, handing the blocking reins over to Rosalind Shanklin once they came back around the track. The Banger defense skillfully played the speed game on the next jam, allowing Katarina Hit through while holding Scarlet Raven back and keeping the pack slow to make the scoring run fast and easy for Katarina.
RazorCake was out of the pack first on the next jam with a push from Stalker, but she could not be called lead jammer because she had a minor track-cutting penalty under her belt. Smooth Criminal made it through a moment later and called off the jam immediately after being declared lead jammer. Scarlet Raven and Katarina Hit lined up to jam, and there we were once again: trying to work through a wall of blue, Scarlet had to be allowed to pass the Banger blockers unopposed because the pack got too spread out, creating the evening's omnipresent no-pack situation. Scarlet racked up four to Katarina's three before Scarlet called off the jam, bringing the score to KG 67 – 37 BS. Pippi van Whalen emerged as lead jammer in the next jam and put up five points, despite getting knocked off-balance by Stalker Channing and executing a beautiful slide right in front of her bench. A tired-looking Stalker was caught in a slow pack for the full two minutes.
The Kilmore Girls began a five-jam, nearly-six-minute jamming streak on the next jam, with KG jammers Scarlet Raven, RazorCake, gargamella and Stalker Channing securing lead jammer status on every jam (all against Katarina Hit and Misa Ornery). The Kilmore Girls were able to grab lead jammer two of the five jams due to there being no defined pack, but they had a hard time capitalizing on points because the Banger jammers kept right on the heels of the Kilmore jammers, leading to the Kilmores calling the jam to prevent the Bangers from scoring. Despite the Kilmores having the lead each jam, RazorCake put up the only points for the Kilmore Girls – indeed, she was the only green skater who scored any points at all from seven minutes into the half until the end of the bout. The Banger Sisters chipped away at the Kilmore lead, adding 20 points to their score over the course of the second half.
Pippi van Whalen finally was able to break the Kilmore hold on lead jammer, with the Banger front line holding Stalker Channing back to let Pippi add four points to the scoreboard. Katarina Hit closed it out with two lead jams and seven points for the Bangers to none from Kat Skratch Eva and Tessa Rack, bringing the bout to an end with a final score of KG 71 – 57 BS.
Bout by the numbers:
At ten: KG 26 – 7 BS
At the half: KG 55 – 25 BS
At 30: KG 67 – 42 BS
Final: KG 71 – 57 BS
Top scoring Kilmore Girls: RazorCake and Scarlet Raven (27 points each), gargamella (9)
Top scoring Banger Sisters: Katarina Hit (35 points), Pippi van Whalen (9), Misa Ornery (8)