Rug Burn

2012 Team Preview: Smoke City Betties

2012 Smoke City Betties

  Wins Losses +/- Notes
2011 Regular Season 0 3 – 170 Fourth Place for second straight year.
2011 Playoffs Did not qualify for playoffs.

2011

When a team goes 0-3 on the season (throw in a two-and-done at the Beast of the East on top of that) and doesn’t manage to score more than 63 points in a bout, it’s hard to say that team had a successful year. Yet that is exactly what could be said about the Smoke City Betties.

The Betties ended 2011 on a high note with an exhibition win over the Hamilton Harlots. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

It’s been a tumultuous few season for the Betties since an appearance in Battle for the Boot 3 in 2009. After that great early ToRD team burst apart, twelve rookies stepped onto the track for the team in 2010. The results were what one would expect. That year the Betties had an average margin of loss of a staggering 191 points. Within one season (only two more rookies were added for 2011) the team managed to orchestrate a nearly complete turnaround, more than halving that average to 77 points. On top of that, they found success outside of ToRD, pulling off a nail biter in Ottawa over the Riot Squad and closing out 2012 with a confidence-boosting win over the Hamilton Harlots 164-75 in October. Despite the last place finish for the second consecutive season, these Betties have a lot to look forward to.

Five-year skater Pretty Peeved called it a career in 2011. (Photo by Joe Mac)

LOSSES AND GAINS

The Betties are truly nearing the end of the team’s rebuild with Memphis Kitty and Hot Roller the only remaining skaters on the roster from that great 2009 team, and this off season saw the retirement of two more vets along with the stepping aside of two sophomore skaters. Five-year vet Pretty Peeved, who began her career as a Bruiser, emerged as a post-2009 leader on the track and was a key pivot for the Betties during the last two seasons. The Betties also lost Lacy Brawler from the pack; the skater who was one of the leaders of the team in track time in 2010 saw that number dip in 2011. P. Doddy and Diva Zapata, two of the twelve 2010 rookies also hung up their skates in the off season, leaving four spaces open on the roster.

Rookie Renny Rumble (#1205) has the potential to contribute right away. (Photo by Kevin Konnyu)

2012’s draft was easily the deepest yet, and the Betties filled out their roster nicely. Two of the more experienced draftees, Laya Beaton and Renny Rumble, seem to be the most track-ready perhaps of the whole draft. Renny was a dominant skater for the D-VAS in 2011, proving to be a triple threat, excelling at all positions. Laya Beaton was a force on the track who had exhibited some penalty problems early in the year but seemed to clean up as the season went on. Slaptrick Swayze and General Patten are less experienced, but also show a ton of potential. Swayze is a calm, collected presence and positionally focused, key on the track for a team still finding itself, while Patten is a life-long skater who is certainly someone to watch for as her track-sense and knowledge of the game increases.

Both BruiseBerry Pie (left) and Tropic Thunder will be key multi-position players this season. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

BY POSITION

The Betties also picked up a new bench manager this season, plucking former D-VAS Raunchy Hextall (whose injury problems led to her retirement from competition) to run the bench, hopefully filling a hole that has been a constant gap for the team. Misery Mae and titmouse are co-captains for the 2012 Smoke City Betties, and will bring a fresh perspective to the team leadership role.

Pivot:  Pretty Peeved led the way with the stripe in 2011, sharing duties especially with Hot Roller and BruiseBerry Pie. Lady Scorcher and Mia Culprit also pivoted in 2011 and with their experience will undoubtedly be called upon to make up the gap this season. Misery Mae, who had a standout rookie year in 2011 has also shown a confidence to lead the packs and could be a key component of the team in 2012 and moving forward.

Second-year skater Rug Burn will be a key part of a deep jammer rotation. (Photo by Neil Gunner)

Blocker: The Betties have slowly developed a very balanced pack. Led by the versatile Mia Culprit, the Betties can hit hard with the likes of Sin D Drop-Her and Laya Beaton, but also have positionally sound blockers in Tropic Thunder and Mouth of the South. Grim Avenger, who slipped into a bit of sophomore slump last season, seems on the cusp of becoming a core component of the pack, while for Geniune Risk, another third-year skater, this third year could be the year she steps up as well. But with a year of D-VAS experience under their belts, don’t count out Swazye and Renny Rumble as key contributors this season as well.

Jammer: With primary pack skaters like BruiseBerry Pie and Tropic Thunder able to jam when needed, the Betties have slowly developed a deep rotation of jammers. Led by Memphis Kitty and titmouse, who were the busiest jammers in 2011, rookie Rug Burn was a standout first-year skater last year and Platinum Bomb is growing into the role, while Sail Her Poon (who is a potential triple threat) and Wolverina (who is making her much anticipated return to the track in 2012) fill out the growing stable of jammers. On top of that, rookie General Patten looks like a key candidate to join this deepening rotation.

Along with the Dolls vs. Betties showdown, CN Power will also be hosting Roc City in a WFTDA bout.

EXPECTATIONS

Expectations for the Betties grow each year and in 2012 they have reached a new height. In many ways, on the track this team resembles the Smoke City Betties of 2008: a team loaded with talent that seems on the verge of bringing it all together but may not quite be there yet. That 2008 team would lose in the semi-finals to the Gore-Gore Rollergirls, but would appear in the championship game just one-year later. While it may be a bit much to think this team capable of challenging for the Boot this year, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise if this year’s team competes with the Death Track Dolls for that final playoff spot, a battle that will begin at the season opener for the two teams.

2011 STATS HIGHLIGHTS

  • BruiseBerry Pie was a triple threat in 2011, appearing in 60% of her team’s jams spread out over the three positions. At 49% and 48% respectively, Lady Scorcher and Pretty Peeved  were also hovering around that 50% mark. Memphis Kitty was the busiest jammer (33% with the star) with titmouse right behind her (28%).
  • BruiseBerry Pie led most blocking categories for the team including blocks (with Mia Culprit and Pretty Peeved just behind her), knockdowns (Mia again in second) and assists.
  • Memphis Kitty led the team in scoring with 68 points (1.66 points per jam).
  • BruiseBerry Pie also racked up the most penalty minutes (but with 8 for 75 jams, it was not as bad a percentage as it seems). Lady Scorcher had a remarkably clean year, sitting only one minute in the box despite being on the track for 61 jams over three games.

**The Betties kick off 2012 with a showdown against the Dolls at the Bunker in Downsview Park. CN Power will be hosting Roc City (Rochester, NY) in a WFTDA sanctioned bout to kick off the double header. Doors open a 5:00PM. Tickets available online and at select locations.

Dolls pull into 3rd place with win over Betties

Both the Dolls and the Betties were looking for their first win of the season. (Photography by Sean Murphy)

Death Track Dolls 115 vs. Smoke City Betties 62

Two teams desperate for a win and looking to get their seasons back on track clashed at the Hangar on Saturday night; and with nothing left to lose and everything to gain, both teams left it all on the track. Key players on both sides stepped up, and supporting players emerged as potential leaders, and after a hard fought back and forth that for the second week in a row had the crowd appreciatively in it for the long haul, the Death Track Dolls prevailed for their first win of the season, leaving a bruised but not battered Smoke City Betties—confidence restored—left to build off of what was perhaps the team’s best bout in two years.

There were a lot of stories to follow in this one; from the official return of retired player Slaughter Lauder to the Betties (this time running the bench with rookie Wolverina) to a couple players making impressive bouting debuts (Rug Burn for the Betties, Santilly In Yo’ Face for the Dolls, both graduates of the D-VAS program); aside from the action off the track, there was a lot to think about on it as well. The Betties got off to a dream start in this one, tight back walls from Betties’ vets Pretty Peeved and Mia Culprit combined with precision jammer take outs by BruiseBerry Pie

Rug Burn was just one of the rookies who had an impressive debut in the bout.

and slick jamming from Memphis Kitty saw the Betties fly out of the gates and take a 6-0 lead. But the Dolls didn’t panic and a Land Shark 4-and-done a few jams later gave the Dolls their first lead of the bout. But the Betties were unfazed. Inspiring her teammates, the impressive rookie Rug Burn picked up lead jammer on the first jam of her career. The first half of the period was a scrappy back-and-forth affair, but some early penalty troubles for Bruise and some solid jamming from the Dolls’ all-star duo of Sharky and Betty Bomber, had the Dolls up 6 thirteen minutes in.

Not to be outdone by her rookie counterpart, it didn’t take Dolls’ rookie Santilly In Yo’ Face long to assert her presence in the discussion of rookie of the year as well. Aided by some great one-on-one work from Lucid Lou on Bettie’s jammer titmouse, it was a huge 15 point jam for the fearless rookie that finally blew this bout wide open, giving the Dolls the biggest lead of the half, 35-14, and leading off a series of jams where the Dolls would threaten to pull away. But the Betties, showing a calmness on the bench and a resolve on the track that had not been seen in the opener, would not be pushed around and some great power-kill defence and timely jamming of their own (concluding with a Memphis Kitty power jam) had them clearly back into it, down 48-27 at the half.

Rookie Santilly In Yo Face had a key 15 point jam for the Dolls in the first half.

The veteran presence of the Dolls pivots (including Sinead O’Clobber, who had a breakout bout) allowed the Dolls to remain calm and weather the pushback. While the Betties never seemed out of it by any means, they just couldn’t wrestle away the momentum from the Dolls and build any sort of sustained comeback. But they were still frustrating their opposition. BruiseBerry continues her vicious assault on ToRD since transferring to the league in the off season, and after just a so-so return, the rust has fully fallen off of Mia Culprit and she had a scrappy and altogether effective bout, getting under the skin of her opponents and providing some solid blocking. One such contentious jam actually left Dolls’ key jammer Land Shark fuming on the bench, which allowed Santilly more track time to hone her skills. Her and Rug Burn’s impressive debuts tonight along with Chicks’ rookie jammer Kookie Doe, represent the most impressive rookie-jammer-class possibly since the first season of ToRD(when the likes of Dust Bunny, Candy Crossbones and retired Bettie Jewel Kicker distanced themselves from the pack). Despite the increasingly deep Betties’ jammer lineup (a formidable foursome now with Kitty, Burn and titmouse joined by Tropic Thunder), the Dolls outpaced them in this one, just managing to pull away at the very end for an important 53 point victory.

Mia Culprit was back to her old self: sold blocking and getting under the skin of her opponents.

While both teams looked far better than their season debuts there is still some work to be done. All of ToRD’s hometeams seem to be developing, strategically, into CN Power modelled teams, which is a good thing for the league, as the teams are constantly testing strategies off of each other. While power kill defences were mostly excellent from both sides, power jams were not fully taken advantage of. As parity comes slowly to ToRD, and there is less and less left separating the teams, the play of special teams is going to become essential: and while the Dolls especially were adept at setting traps, they had trouble holding them (not to take anything away from players like Sin D Drop Her of the Betties and Doll Jubilee who seemed especially competent at fighting their ways out of traps). For the Betties, the key will be to continue to build on the solid foundation that finally seems to have settled in. In terms of individual talent, there is very little (if anything) separating the Dolls and the Betties, teamwork, buying into systems and honing strategies is the only difference.

Next up for all of the ToRD hometeams is Montreal’s fourth annual Beast of the East, featuring the top sixteen eastern Canadian hometeams in a two-day, twenty-eight-bout tournament. All should be in mid-season form, and therefore, are expecting to do well. Keep an eye out for upcoming features tied into BOE 2011 including an updated eastern Canadian power rankings, a comprehensive look at the history of the Beast, and, of course, a preview for the 2011 event.