Chicks Ahoy! 31 vs. Gore-Gore Rollergirls 107
It was not the bout that anyone expected. With a combined total of 1224 points in 8 games this ToRD season—which included 200 point victories over the Betties—and some of the biggest hitters in the league, the hard hitting, high scoring bout that many came to see never materialized. Instead the sold-out Hangar bore witness to a highly strategic, low-scoring, positional battle that highlighted some of the great strategic advances of the sport over the past year. While the Gore-Gore Rollergirls’ third championship in four years probably doesn’t come as too much of a shock to many, the manner in which they accomplished the feat could not have been expected.
THE FIRST HALF
Undefeated in ToRD action since a 2008 finals loss to this same Chicks Ahoy! team, the Gore-Gore Rollergirls were denied their chance at revenge last season when the Chicks failed to qualify for the final. Things got off to a chippy start with Chicks’ pivot Tara Part throwing a few heavy shoulders into Gores’ pivot Brim Stone (who pivoted a remarkable 62% of her team’s jams) on the first pass. A slow, scrappy pack and a 2-0 Gores’ start was a fitting preview for what was to come. Both teams’ strengths were on display early: the Gores’ quickness and improved pack play; the Chicks’ toughness and ability to create and hold strong front walls. But it was Dust Bunny’s zigzagging through the pack and Bambi and Lunchbox’s ability to accelerate along the outside that got the Gores off to a hard fought 15-1 lead ten minutes in. Bambi, who lead the early charge would go on to put up a game high 45 points. The rest of the first half became somewhat of a strategic masterpiece with neither team capable of taking momentum from the other.
Impenetrable back walls and fast front ones told the story. Every attempt by one team to take control was capably countered by the other. Dyna Hurtcha would fight her way through the pack to gain lead jammer for the Chicks only to see Bambi break through and reel her in; the Gores would take lead only to have Chicks’ front walls take over the pace of the pack and not allow a scoring pass. Eventually, Mach Wheels fought for the lead through a physical pack that saw Lunchbox rattled with a few hits including a big one form Mega Bouche. Absorbing a hit from Junkie Jenny, Mach pulled through to score an important four points and bring the Chicks closer, 21-7, with about ten minutes left. The bout quickly evolved into an intricate battle for control of the pack after that, alternating between super fast and grindingly slow. The Gores missed an opportunity to cash in on a power jam when Dust Bunny prematurely called the jam just as she noticed the penalty. When the opportunity did arise, a brilliantly defended kill led by Rebel Rock-It contained the damage. The score at the half, 32-10, represented one of the lowest scoring halves in league history.
THE SECOND HALF
The second half began much the same; both packs, led by their pivots, struggled to give their jammers as much help as they could. Nasher the Smasher, who has had a resurgent 2010, was just one of the pivots who had excellent games. Rebel Rock-It showed a great instinct and game awareness for the Chicks as well, while Molly Boom had a busy night backing up Brim Stone with the stripe along with taking jams in the pack. The Chicks came out strong, attempting an early-half push back but were unable to take advantage of early jammer leads. The Gores jammer trio, who are used to dominating the lead-jammer battles, found themselves being matched by the quartet of Kari Mia Beere (33% lead percentage), Mach Wheels (40%), Candy Crossbones (33%) and Dyna Hurtcha (71%) whose collective 45% lead percentage was the highest any team has managed against the Gores all season. Dolly Destructo filled in as a fifth jammer and had her most effective bout of the year, both jamming and in the pack. With the score 39-16 five minutes in, the 23 point difference meant that the championship was, at this point, still anyone’s game.
Both teams played an extremely disciplined first half with very few penalty minutes served by either team. As much as the game was about control, discipline was clearly going to be a factor as well. Traditionally, the Chicks have had some discipline problems, an issue that they’d been working to clean up all season. Given the close nature of this one, it was of course a penalty—to the usually squeaky clean Mach Wheels at that—that may have been turning point. Dust Bunny made up for her early call in the first half by putting up 14 points on a power jam (she would score 42 in the bout), finally grabbing momentum for her team and changing the course of the game. Penalties would wreak havoc on the careful play that the Chicks had been maintaining, and during a penalty-filled streak of seven jams three quarters of the way through the half, the Gores outscored the Chicks 42-4, essentially putting an end to the any hopes of a Chicks’ comeback. The penalties would prove to be the story of the second half. With the Chicks visibly rattled about their trips to the box, they ended up collecting twice as many minors as the Gores and four times as many majors. The Gores were too prepared and too fit to not to take advantage of all that space on the track. Despite some excellent play by the Chicks’ pivots who lessened the blow on a lot of the pack disadvantages and power jams with some heads-up defense, the Gores were relentless in the end, confident and collected on their way to the 76 point victory and their third ToRD Championship.
It was a fitting close to an outstanding season for ToRD; a bout that was a fantastic platform to showcase the best talent in the league. It also capped another extraordinary season for the Gores who have taken part in all four ToRD championships. With five rookies on the roster and two more in the wings as alternates, the potential for a continued dynasty looks likely. Luckily, with the new start date for the season not too far around the corner, we won’t have to wait too long to find out.
| Margin of Victory/Loss: +76
Lead %: 57%
Major Penalties (Minor): 5 (20)
| Margin of Victory/Loss: -76 Lead %: 45%
Major Penalties (Minor) 22 (47)
|Player Stats (minimum 7 jams)|
|Points: Bambi 45
Lead%: Dust Bunny 64%
Plus/Minus: Lady Gagya +68
Jammer Plus/Minus: Bambi +38
Blocks: Hurlin Wall 15
Assists: Santa Muerte 5
Major Penalties (Minor): Brim Stone 3(3 tied at 3)
JQ: Bambi 46
Dust Bunny 45
|Points: Mach Wheels 13
Lead%: Dyna Hurtcha 71%
Plus/Minus: Dolly Destructo -1
Jammer Plus/Minus: Dyna Hurtcha +3
Blocks: Marmighty 13
Assists: Nasher the Smasher, Dolly Destructo 9
Major Penalties (Minor): 4 tied at 3 (Mega Bouche 9)
JQ: Dyna Hurtcha 33
Mach Wheels 30
Candy Crossbones 29
Kari Mia Beere 24
Couldn’t get tickets and want to see what all the fuss was about? Just want to relive the spectacle? Tune into Rogers TV on Saturday, December 4th at 8:00pm for the bout in its entirety. Stay tuned to ToRD.TV for layer9‘s coverage of the bout as well as player interviews.