On July, 19th, 2009, the Smoke City Betties grinded out a 68-61 victory over the defending champion Chicks Ahoy! in one of the great defensive battles waged in ToRD’s history. At that time they were two teams heading in different directions: the Betties were on their way to their only appearance in the Battle for the Boot, while the Chicks, champs in 2008, were on their way to their worst showing in the three-year history of the league.
Fast forward a few years, and there are certainly some similarities: the Chicks are defending champions once again and the Betties, as they were in 2009, are a team on the rise. Over the past two years this team has come a long way. In 2010 they lost to the Death Track Dolls 213-53, last year they inched closer, losing only 115-62, and finally, in this year’s season opener the Dolls actually had to come back from a half-time deficit to win 115-100, add to that the Betties return to the Beast of the East quarterfinals, and it’s already been a successful year for the team. However, unlike the Chicks of ’09 who were declining, this green machine looks poised and focused on defending its championship as seen by their impressive season opening victory against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, and their third place finish at the Beast of the East.
Chicks’ Jammer Rotation: It’s that time in the season when the bumps and bruises of months of practices and games are beginning to take their toll. It’s a certainty that Dyna Hurtcha will be out of the game, and with another veteran (and one of the league’s top jammers) Candy Crossbones potentially sidelined as well, this game could be a test of the team’s depth. Undoubtedly last year’s rookie of the year Kookie Doe and one of this year’s breakout players Bala Reina will lead the charge, but it remains to be seen who will fill out the roles if needed. One possibility could be rookie Roadside BombShel, who had a strong opening game in the pack, but spent a lot of time with the star during her year with the D-VAS. Rebel Rock-It has also been jamming with CN Power, but is such a key pivot for the Chicks that they may be wary of taking her out of the pack.
Betties’ Jammer Rotation: Does it have the depth to compete? Titmouse had a monster opening game against the Dolls posting a 58% lead percentage and scoring 47 points. She will need to replicate that effort here. Rug Burn burned lots of track time as well, while triple-threat BruiseBerry Pie and the quickly improving Platinum Bomb filled out the rotation. That foursome is a solid mix of experienced skaters (and we haven’t even seen vet Memphis Kitty yet this season) and if they can have a strong game and take advantage of this rare short-handed Chicks’ rotation, there could be some surprises.
Chicks’ Pack: The Chicks have extraordinary pack players led by two of ToRD’s top blockers in Tara Part and Nasher the Smasher. But with the likes of Rebel Rock-It, Mega Bouche, Marmighty and Robber Blind as first-level support, there is a ton of depth in the pack. With a potentially shortened jammer rotation, it will be key for the Chicks’ packs to dictate the conditions of the game. Something that they are more than capable of doing.
Betties’ Rookies: It has taken a while for this roster to settle, but since it has, players like Mia Culprit, Lady Scorhcer, and BruiseBerry Pie have emerged as on-track leaders. But with a few years of futility meaning a plethora of high draft picks, since 2010, this has always been a team that has showcased its newest skaters; this season has been no different. Renny Rumble has burst out of the gates in her rookie year and actually had the third most track-time on the team in the last game, providing remarkably consistent blocking and will be a factor in this one. A newer revelation is Slaptrick Swayze who, due to a shorthanded bench, was forced into taking on a big workload at the recent Beast of the East. She jammed without fear and with a lot of success and was a huge contributing factor to the Betties’ success in Montreal.
The Smoke City Betties and the Chicks Ahoy! will square off in the second game of a doubleheader (game time approximately 8:00 PM).
D-VAS vs. Disloyalists
The double header will kick off with a showdown featuring ToRD’s farm team, the D-VAS, taking on the rising Disloyalists from Kingston. So far in 2012, the D-VAS only action was a split-squad showdown at the season opener. A thrilling, tight matchup, the game showcased a depth of talent in almost all positions. With a jammer rotation potentially built around Lexi Con, Babushkill Mean Streak, Viktory Lapp and Wackedher (which provides a ton of options), the key in this one could be in the pack. Armageddon Rose had an excellent first game for the D-VAS, and Joss Wheelin, LowBlowPalooza, and Mazel Tough are just a few of the skaters who could make a difference in the pack (they will need solid pack leadership as well in the absence of captains Purple Pain and Margaret Smackwood). Windy City transfer Tomy Knockers will be making her D-VAS debut on Saturday.
The D-VAS will need that depth as well as they will face off against a team that has been growing in leaps and bounds. Kingston Derby Girls’ A-team, the Disloyalists, has been dominant so far in 2012, distancing itself from a lot of the other newer leagues in Ontario very quickly. Led by the smart and talented Little Orphan-Maker Annie and Manic Breeze in the pack (Breeze is also a formidable jammer), the team hammered Durham Derby Devils in Durham 193-86 to kick off the season and followed that up last weekend with another dominant victory at home, this time a stunning 203-40 victory over the South Simcoe Rebel Rollers. This Kingston team has a lot of depth in the pack (Yo! Shanity Slam, Mr. Kristi) and at jammer (LaVallee of the Dolls, Luci Fleur), and will be a huge challenge for the less experienced D-VAS.
***Doors at the Bunker open at 5:00 PM with the first game getting under way at 6:00 PM. Tickets are available online or at a number of vendors in Toronto.