Chicks Ahoy! 80 (1-1 -32) vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 124 (2-0 +234)
In a highly anticipated matchup at the Hangar on Saturday night, the defending champion Gore-Gore Rollergirls took on their long-time rivals Chicks Ahoy! in a bout between ToRD’s two remaining undefeated teams. It was a hard-hitting, scrappy affair in the packed and sweaty Hangar, a bout that the Gores took control of early and aside from a few strong pushbacks, maintained control of throughout, pulling into top spot in the standings with the 124-80 victory.
Both teams seemed hesitant at first, with neither capable of taking a clear advantage. Jammers took leads only to be reeled in before completing a scoring pass, or got caught up in back walls before being forced to call. The Gores’ Bambi finally broke the deadlock, recovering from a thundering jammer take out by Nasher the Smasher to pick up 7 points and open up a 10-0 lead five minutes in. It would be short lived though as the Chicks tight pack work was quickly rewarded with a power jam. Rebel Rock-It pivoted a strong, slow pack, while Mach Wheels danced her way to 15 points and a brief 15-11 lead. In an exciting turn of events, the Gores were immediately given a power jam as well and Lunchbox took back the lead with a triple grand slam of her own.
There were some interesting positional matchups in the early going. The Gores, who have been mixing things up this season, continued to do so early on. The hard-hitting Foxy Sinatra was pivoting, allowing Brim Stone to play as blocker a little more (although she was pivoting a surprisingly good pack of rookies as well). But it was at the jammer position where the Gores would once again shine. Although sticking with their big three, the matchups were not working in their favour early on. The Rev took note and a few adjustments later and the jammers were rolling. With all three picking up considerable points late in the half to ensure that the Gores would maintain their lead, which was 74-37 at the half.
Traditionally, the Chicks have been known as a hard hitting, defensive team, but they showed great preparation for this bout and a willingness to adjust to their opponents. Taking a much more strategic approach (pace control, isolation and trapping with the packs) to complement the big hits and jammer take outs by the likes of Fubar, Nasher and Dolly Destructo the Chicks may have put together their most consistent and unified bout of the season. Fireweed’s scrappiness straight from the whistle and Marmighty’s tenacity in the pack though, reminded the Gores that this isn’t always a fun team to play against.
The second half kicked off with a bit of a pushback from the Chicks’ jammers, but while Candy and Mach were consistently getting leads, they weren’t able to shake the Gores’ jammers and make clean scoring passes. But persistence pays off, and it was the more strategic Chicks packs which were finally able to wrestle control away from the Gores . Over a series of jams (including another well-executed power jam—Rebel Rock-It and Nasher were leading traps effectively all night) the Chicks were able to reel off 23 unanswered points to pull within 19 (91-72) more than halfway through the period. Not to be outdone, the Gores adjusted to their opponents as well, stepping the physical play up, and seeming to want to engage in pack break ups and hit-for-hit blocker battles. Power blocker Foxy Sinatra led the Gores attack back, and was complemented by a group of talented rookies and the veteran presence of pivots Brim Stone and Junkie Jenny. Hurlin Wall built on her excellent rookie season and continues to develop into a wall of a positional blocker. Santa Muerte made her ToRD regular season debut as well and wreaked havoc on the Chicks’ pack. With the Gores retaking control of the pack, the Chicks took some untimely penalties. Bambi was able to pick up another 15 points with Mach Wheels in the box to restore the Gores’ cushion. A few more untimely penalties that lead to Gore pack advantages allowed that Gores to defend their lead and play out their eventual 44 point victory.
Mach Wheels and Bambi (this season’s two JQ leaders) engaged in epic jammer battles all night, evading blocks and trading leads, and the strategies being employed (on the track and on the benches) speaks volumes to the fast evolution of the sport. But what was most impressive (as it has been for much of the season), is the quality of this year’s rookies class. From Marmighty, the lone Chicks rookie, to the coterie of impressive rookies on the Gores, the future looks bright for ToRD.
Check out layer9’s full bout plus interviews and more at ToRD.TV.
NICKEL CITY’S EXHIBITION IS A KNOCKOUT
In a wise developmental move, Sudbury’s Nickel City rollergirls hosted an exhibition bout featuring two veteran teams from the south to learn the ins and outs of hosting a bout, but also to introduce the city to the sport. The Thames and Debs seemed to play a much more defensive game in their second meeting of the year, but the outcome remained the same, another big victory for the Thames (who seem to be collecting big victories this season).