The Death Track Dolls 83 vs. The Chicks Ahoy! 119
The Chicks Ahoy! are playing for The Boot. After missing out on a chance to play for the ToRD championship last year, a focused and determined Chicks team squared off against the Death Track Dolls in front of an appreciative crowd. It was a disciplined, unified effort from the 2008 champs against a less experienced, but no less hungry crew of Dolls. While it wasn’t quite the classic that some had expected, no one left The Hangar disappointed as the Dolls pushed back right through to the end, refusing to concede to the team that has become their biggest rivals. You get the sense that the final chapter on this rivalry has yet to be written, but for now the Chicks have bragging rights after a 36 point victory in ToRD’s second semi-final bout.
THE FIRST HALF
The tension was high in the Hangar as the teams’ two top jammers, Land Shark and Mach Wheels, lined up for the first jam. Despite nailing down lead jammer status, Mach Wheels couldn’t shake the Shark and they split the opening jam 5-3. This opening would tell the tale of much of the first half: back and forth shifts in control with neither team able to fully take the momentum. Both teams play a similar style of derby, and played it well last night, whether it was strong back walls from the excellent Chicks’ pack or great goating by the Dolls’ blockers, both teams looked in fine late-season form. A big Monichrome whip for Demolition Dawn had the Dolls inch ahead 14-11 five minutes in, only to see Dyna Hurtcha respond while Hoff and Nasher held back Betty Bomber and the Chicks pulled ahead 15-14 at the midway point of the first half.
One noticeable difference in this one was the comparable lack of penalties. Both teams have been plagued by undisciplined play in the past, and while neither team seemed capable of taking control early on, it was a well executed Chicks’ power jam that blew the bout open. Already a grand slam and a lap ahead of SlamWow, Candy Crossbones went on a power jam and pulled off another big jam, putting 20 points on the board and blowing open what had been a tight bout. A well-timed timeout and a reeling in of the undisciplined play allowed the Dolls a pushback at the end of the first half. With strong defense from Panty Hoser, Land Shark led the attack, looking relaxed and confident in what was one of her strongest bouts of the season. A few key lead jams and one timely grand slam had the Dolls within reach 54-31 at the half, that lone power jam by Candy Crossbones being the only difference.
THE SECOND HALF
The one thing that separates these team is an intangible: experience. The Chicks’ core has been together for upwards of four years now; they’ve won championships together, lost championships; they’ve got that big-game experience. That edge in experience may have been the difference on a night when both teams left everything on the track. After being dominated in the final jams of the first half, the Chicks responded to start the second. Focused and unbothered by the late-half offensive output by the Dolls, the Chicks looked one step ahead of the Dolls at times early in the second period, holding a strong front wall and dictating the pace of the packs. They played a deliberate, and chippy game, keeping packs tight and taking small, reliable points gains, almost forcing a defensive posture out of their opponents. Once again the Chicks held their composure and the frustrated Dolls too often let go of brief grasps of momentum with undisciplined play giving up too many pack advantages and an eventual power jam. Triple threat Mach Wheels, who is capable of single-handedly taking over a game, was defended as well as possible by the Dolls on this evening, which allowed traditional jamming power Candy Crossbones to step up, and she did once again in the second, taking advantage of another power jam to put up 14 points (she had 52 on the night) and give the Chicks a commanding 81-34 lead ten minutes in.
Briefly deflated, the bout seemed to be quickly slipping away from the Dolls. Poorly timed hits and some ill-advised jammer defense had the younger Dolls squad looking briefly overhwhelmed. With Dyna Hurtcha fighting through blocks and looking better with each jam since her return after missing half the season, Rebel Rock-It pivoting confidently, Mega Bouche laying some patented hits and Tara Part continuing to look strong at the front of the pack, the Chicks seemed ready to run away with it. Over twenty minutes in to the second half, the Dolls had managed only 7 points in the period and were well back, 118-38. But if there’s one thing that fans of ToRD have learned over the past two meetings with these two teams, it is that no lead is safe, and the Dolls were not going to go down without a fight. With such a big lead it wouldn’t be surprising if the Chicks began to look beyond the bout, perhaps to thoughts of the championship, and that brief lapse in focus led to a slip in their disciplined play. The pushback was led by captain Betty Bomber who picked up 15 on a well executed power jam; then, in a bizarre twist caused by a slew of quick majors and accumulated minors, there was actually a bit of a traffic jam at the box that resulted in the Dolls having the track to themselves for a brief moment. Despite a quick recovery from the Chicks’ blockers, Land Shark took full advantage of the opportunity and became the third ToRD player of the season to put up 25 points in a single jam. Within two jams, the Dolls had pulled within 40 points and put 5 more on the board in the last to make the final score 119-83 and give the crowd an extraordinary ending to what had already been an entertaining bout.
Despite ending the season on a losing note, the Dolls are a confident bunch moving forward. For the first time in two years they have a solid lineup of 15 or 16 skaters that will stay together to form the core of the this team, and it’s a solid core with a great mix of veterans, rookies and second year players. Strategic, position-based picks at the draft could provide essential pieces for this team. The Chicks Ahoy! are back where they want to be: competing for The Boot against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls. This will be a rematch of the first two ToRD championships; titles that were split by the two teams. The Chicks seem to be coming together at the right time and are primed for a battle.
|Chicks Ahoy!||Death Track Dolls|
|Margin of Victory/Loss: +36
Lead %: 60%
Major Penalties (Minor): 51 (18)
Jammer Hits: 29
| Margin of Victory/Loss: -36
Lead %: 40%
Major Penalties (Minor) 44 (14)
Jammer Hits: 10
|Player (minimum 7 jams)|
|Points: Candy Crossbones 52
Lead%: Mach Wheels 70%
Plus/Minus: Tara Part +58
Jammer Plus/Minus: Candy Crossbones +30
Major Penalties (Minor): Mega Bouche 5 (Tara Part 8 )
Hits: Mega Bouche 13
Jammer Hits: Mega Bouche 6
JQ: Candy Crossbones 47
Mach Wheels 42
Dyna Hurtcha 36
Kari Mia-Beere 25
|Points: Land Shark 48
Lead%: Land Shark 44%
Plus/Minus: Downright Dirty Dawson +13
Jammer Plus/Minus: Land Shark +2
Major Penalties (Minor): Seka Destroy 4 (Jubilee 8 )
Hits: Jubilee 13
Jammer Hits: Downright Dirty Dawson 3
JQ: Land Shark 42
Betty Bomber 34
Demolition Dawn 16