Kingston’s Skateful Dead (hometeam) and The Disloyalists (travel team) skated into Durham Region last night for a double header showdown with teams representing both ends of the DRRD spectrum. With a roster sprinkled with members of the second KDG hometeam, the Rogue Warriors, it took a while for the Skateful Dead to come together, but when they did, they were able to handle the less experienced Durham farm team, the DRRD’Y Farmers. In the marquee matchup of the evening, a shorthanded Disloyalists marched onto the visitor’s bench and dominated the second half of their bout with the Derby Devils to distance themselves from their rivals and complete the double-header sweep.
The Disloyalists (KDG) 193 vs. Durham Derby Devils (DRRD) 86
Two teams to keep an eye on in the competitive derby scene in Ontario are the Derby Devils and the Disloyalists, but on Saturday it was the KDG skaters who stole the spotlight and turned some heads. When these two teams met in August of last year in Kingston, it was a defensive stalemate with the host team just able to eke out a 73-71 victory. It was a much more fast-paced and high-scoring bout this time around. In the early going it seemed like it was going to be another tight one. Durham jumped out to an early lead, only to have Kingston come back and snap it back, a trend for the first half of the period. Kingston’s Little Orphan-Maker Annie immediately made her presence known on the track, with an astute eye for the little things in the tight, fast moving packs, while on the Durham side Sensei Slam continued her comeback from a long injury layoff with a strong bout pivoting and blocking for the Devils. Karma Screwya and Amefyst are also emerging as smart, capable on-track leaders in Durham, anchoring a pack full of potential that includes Mozilla and Hitz Miller among others. The only difference in the early going was penalties that kept Durham shorthanded for much of the half (and the game) and allowed the Disloyalists to take control. A late first-half pushback from the hosts kept them in it, but they were down 21, 60-39 at the half.
The Disloyalists put this one away early in the second half, holding the Durham Derby Devils to just two points during the opening third of the half while their pack—in particular on power jams—took over, dictating the conditions of the game (IE: pace and formation of the packs). The Devils maintained a tight jammer rotation of Cutsie Bootsie, Darth Kater, Legzy Maegzy and 12 Gage, all of whom had various moments of success and struggle throughout the bout, but they all kept fighting despite whatever challenges faced them (12 Gage had a particularly trying jam late in the second half that didn’t seem to sap one ounce of her spirit and she was right back up and ready for her next spot in the rotation). With only 11 skaters (down to 10 after a first half injury to Sassberry Tart), the Disloyalists were a little more liberal with their jammer rotation, but the core of the rotation was Lavallee of the Dolls, Luci Fleur, Juke of Hazards and Magpie, skaters who also spent considerable amount of time in the pack as well.
By the end of the bout, it seemed as though the Disloyalists’ Manic Breeze had taken over this game. A talented, intelligent triple threat, Manic did a little bit of everything in this one and did it all well, showing a knowledge and awareness of that game that permeates this Kingston roster. And it was that track awareness that proved to be the difference, as Kingston took advantage of every minor mistake that Durham made. In particular, they took advantage of some loose pack destruction calls to cripple Durham on power jams and even drew them into chasing the passive outside-line they’d formed, allowing them to actually pull the pack backwards on occasion. In the end, the Disloyalists (who have a busy schedule coming up including a May 12th showdown in Toronto with the D-VAS) were able to make quite a statement with the 107 point victory.
Skateful Dead (KDG) 115 vs. DRRD’Y FARMERS (DRRD) 67
In the opening bout of the double header, the crowd was treated to a showdown between the future stars of these two fast-growing leagues. Once again it was close in the early going, with both teams running into considerable penalty troubles that would not relent throughout. Durham stuck with a tight jammer rotation of Darmean, Young Blood, Motorbreath and Tatinator (who seemed to get stronger as the bout wore on and picked up a ton of track time in the second half), while Kingston mixed things up a bit (particularly as their lead increased in the second half) but anchored their offense around Zesty Enterprise, the excellent Skate at Home Mom, and the scrappy Smackinnon. But this Skateful Dead team is paced by a triple threat as well, as Yo! Shanity Slam (despite early penalty trouble) left her mark on this game at every position. Again though, the game was certainly in reach at half, with Kingston up 62-35 as the skaters headed to the dressing room.
Fatigue seemed to be a factor in the second half as both offenses slowed down, but it allowed particular skaters to shine. Durham’s Jilly Do Not recovered from a first half that saw her travel to the box four times, to keep her head in the game in the second half and provide some forceful pack work. Rina Green also got into the game in the second half, and the scrappy blocker punished her Kingston counterparts with some big hits and timely waterfalling. But Kingston showed that they had a deep bench and got strong performances from all over their lineup. Polly Slamory can be an intimidating factor on the track, while Cat O’Clism and Booty on Duty delivered some timely hits, and late in the game Flaming Hips scored some big jammer take outs to discourage any sort of late Farmers come back. In the end both teams won by gaining valuable track time, undeniably important for the least experienced skaters of these two up and coming leagues.
***Both leagues are in action next weekend, with both of Durham’s hometeams heading to Guelph for a showdown with Royal City, while Kingston’s home opener goes next weekend with a house league showdown and the Disloyalists hosting South Simcoe.
***A big thanks to Durham Region Roller Derby for inviting me to join Ross Aussage as guest announcer and for being such excellent and gracious hosts!