Chicks Ahoy! 266 (2-1) vs. Smoke City Betties 42 (0-3)
The Chicks Ahoy! may be peaking at just the right time. Looking to secure the second spot in ToRD’s regular season standing, the Chicks skated into the Hanger for their bout against the Smoke City Betties on Saturday night looking relaxed and focused. Despite a re-jigged lineup and a few absent players (including Mach Wheels who is in the midst of an excellent season), the Chicks looked cohesive and supportive in the pack. Rallying around the returning veteran Tara Part, they never looked out of control in what would turn out to be their most dominant performance of the year and maybe in their team’s history.
The difference in experience between the two teams was evident from virtually the first whistle. Led by explosive jamming from Candy Crossbones (who finished with a plus/minus of +71) and Dyna Hurtcha, (who led all scorers with 80), the Chicks were up 44 points before the Betties seemed comfortable in the game. Not that they weren’t asserting their physical dominance early on either, as a thunderous jammer take out by Marmighty on Pretty Peeved set the tone. Despite missing a full season due to a devastating injury, Tara Part did not look out of place and was quickly sharing the early pivot load with Rebel Rock It. Rebel played a strong bout once again whether killing power jams from the back of the pack or putting up 23 points in a single jam as jammer (a feat she would better by 2 points in the second half).
But as has happened all year, the Smoke City Betties just wouldn’t concede defeat and kept fighting against the odds. Lady Scorcher put in a solid all-around effort—seeming to be making up for the absent Memphis Kitty—and put in what was one of a series of gutsy performances for the Betties, which ranged from veterans (Hot Roller and Pretty Peeved) to rookies (Tropic Thunder and Platinum Bomb). The fans in The Hangar certainly appreciated the Betties tenacity and were clearly behind them to pull off the upset. But they never could seem to rattle the Chicks in the first half. With six minutes remaining the Chicks pulled ahead by 100. By the end of the period, they’d increased their lead to 130-14.
Chicks Ahoy! continued to rotate the lineup liberally in the second half, spreading out the workload almost equally among the bench. As a result, any number of players was a viable candidate for triple threat: Robber Blind played a strong bout at all positions and Mega Bouche also was her usual self on the track: delivering big hits and pulling off physical jams. Even Nasher the Smasher took a few turns at the jam line. But for the most part, the Chicks’ traditional jammers lead the way. Candy Crossbones added her name to the record books with a 25 point jam (joining Rebel at the top of the heap), and Kari Mia Beere had a bounce-back performance, looking scrappy and focused on the track.
It’s certainly not all bad news for the Betties. While last year’s success must seem like a distant memory, and the present might seem a little grim, the future is looking brighter all the time. The continued rise of a few key players bodes well for the days ahead. The steady emergence of Tropic Thunder as a dependable jammer continued in this bout, and both titmouse (as jammer) and Grim Avenger (as pivot) looked very comfortable on the track. Young captain Sail Her Poon took on a different role in this bout, bringing her steadying presence to the pack and looked solid against her much bigger foes. With Sin D Drop Her and P Doddy taking on a good positional roles, and Mouth of the South always looking to help her jammer, they round out a core of rookies that has all the potential to do some damage in 2011 and beyond.
Despite the uneven score line, the Betties actually played their strongest bout of the season: the Chicks Ahoy! were just that good on this night. Despite still running into some penalty trouble (far too many power jams were given up, particularly in the first half), they defended them beautifully. With Rebel Rock-It controlling pace like a drill sergeant, the Chicks pack work has come a long way. In a season that got off to an uneven start, the experienced Chicks’ squad has rounded into a fine late-season form. Their dominant performance should be taken as a message: this team is ready for the playoffs.
* Keep up to date on standings and statistics here.
* The playoffs run through October with the defending champion and top ranked Gore-Gore Rollergirls taking on the fourth place Smoke City Betties (October 2) and the second place Chicks Ahoy! playing the third ranked Death Track Dolls (October 23). Tickets for the first bout are available now. Previews coming soon*