It was a beautiful Friday evening to kick off Pride weekend, and with the early evening sun streaming through the packed Hangar’s massive windows, Toronto’s second annual all-queer roller derby got under way to a raucous cheer from the appreciative audience. With members of ToRD split between the two squads this year, no team had the clear backing of the crowd. Which was fitting in a way, because this bout was more than just another derby bout: It was a celebration of a sport and a community and the importance each is for the other. Despite the quality and the competitive nature of the athletes involved, this celebratory sentiment pervaded the bout and transcended the outcome, a victory by the Vagine Regime over the Clam Diggers.
There was a classic matchup at the jam line to kick things off: Former Death Track Dolls teammates Land Shark and Sista Fista (now of Victoria) squared off against each other in the opening jam. From that very opening jam, the Regime’s physical advantage was evident as Mirambo landed a huge jammer take out on Sista to set the tone. The Vagine Regime’s early physical dominance, and some strong jamming led by the Land Shark, saw the team fly out to a 17-0 lead. Not to be intimidated, the Diggers battled back. Despite being outsized by a considerable margin, San Fransisco’s feisty Mexican Jumping Mean showed no fear in engaging Montreal’s Nameless Whorror in the pack. Lady Cuntessa (Victoria) and Perky Set (Hammer City) proved that the Diggers would be willing to match the Regime hit-for hit as they each pounded Lock N Roll on what had to have been one long jam for the former ToRD player. Cuntessa was a huge physical presence all night for the Diggers, and was doing triple duty by the end of it.
Having chipped away at the lead, the Diggers found themselves with a power jam and a great opportunity to narrow the 24-9 disadvantage. But fantastic pack defense by a trio of ToRD blockers (Brim Stone, Bionichrome and Nasher the Smasher) held Perky Set to only two points and preserved the double-digit lead. Each time the Diggers seemed to make up some ground, the Regime would respond. And despite the fight shown by the girls in red (Bareleigh Legal was matching the Regime’s physicality all half), the physical dominance of players like Bruise Berry Pie and Nameless Whorror proved to be the difference as the Diggers found themselves down 54-22 at the half.
Mexican Jumping Mean continued to play well above her weight in the second half, and produced some great pivot battles with Forest City’s Mirambo, with both skaters scoring early jammer take outs. Having begun to pull away, the Regime took the opportunity to play some unorthodox jammers. All pivots with their hometeams, Rebel Rock-It, Nasher the Smasher and Bionichrome all saw time at the jam line and did well. Despite playing behind the whole the bout, the Diggers refused to concede defeat and deep into the second produced what might have been the jam of the bout. With the Regime jammer in the box, Tri-City’s Anita Martini pivoted a brilliant power jam allowing Getcha Kicks to produce her most effective jam of the night, a double grand slam (and then some) to give the Diggers some late hope. But the Regime would not give up the advantage that easily.
With the Diggers constantly fighting to narrow the gap, Windy City’s fantastic triple-threat, Jackie Daniels, seemed to take over the bout at various stages of the second half. Whether pivoting, jamming or mixing it up in the pack, she was all over the track and was a key component of the victory. It was her extraordinary 13 point jam (pivoted wonderfully by Bruise Berry Pie who was a menace to her Derby Debutantes’ teammate Getcha Kicks on the play) that blew the bout wide open (91-50) and essentially sealed the deal for the Regime. Rebel Rock-It closed out the bout by taking yet another lead jam, but it was Nasher and Nameless’ physical dominance (and one last jammer take out on Memphis Kitty) in that final jam which truly told the tale of this 108-65 Vagine Regime victory.
In what is shaping up to be the greatest regular season in Montreal’s history, 2008 MTLRD champions La Racaille denied this year’s breakout team, Les Contrabanditas, a second consecutive victory as the girls in green held on for a 106-104 victory. MTLRD was turned on its head with the Ditas upset 104-103 win over defending champs FDR a few weeks back, and it looks as though nothing has been settled yet. Displaying unprecedented league parity, this season will undoubtedly go down to the wire. Come August, and the Montreal championship, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will be playing in the bout.