After six seasons, the Death Track Dolls are finally going to Battle for the Boot.
In a record-setting night, the Dolls entered their highly anticipated matchup against the Smoke City Betties with an opportunity to claim top spot in Toronto Roller Derby’s regular season and earn the all-important bye directly to the 2013 ToRD championships, and they did so in emphatic fashion, crushing the Betties 265-63 with what would turn out to be the second highest point total in league history; second to only the monstrous total the Gore-Gore Rollergirls were able to put up in their 323-75 victory over the Chicks Ahoy! in the regular season closer at the Bunker
Gore-Gore Rollergirls 323 vs. Chicks Ahoy! 75
Both teams entered their final games of the season missing key players, but as they have done for the past two seasons, the Gores defied the adversity they faced and simply overwhelmed the Chicks with stifling pack work and superior jamming. Both teams entered this season with significantly reworked rosters, but while the Gores maintained a broad core of veterans to build around (led by Santa Muerte, Chronic, Kandy Barr, Foxy Sinatra, Junkie Jenny), the Chicks were stripped down even barer than that, sporting ten new skaters on their roster. Add to that the early season losses of Roadside BombShel and Marmighty, and the focus of the season had to shift to building for the future.
The Gores took control early and never relented, and aside from a few moments late in the first half, were in complete control throughout. The turning point actually came early on. The opening jams were tight and fast with the Gores creeping out to a 3-0 lead, but then a 32 point jam (later corrected to 30) by Taranosaurus Rex (all on natural grand slams) made it 35-0 and essentially put the game out of reach.
Riding a steady stream of rookie jammers led by Kingston transfer BLackeyE, GTA transfer Rosemary’s Rabies (who had her strongest game for the Chicks and scored 24 out of 59 points in the first half), and rookies Heavy Knitter and Mean Streak, the Chicks ran into penalty troubles early and could never seem to get out of the cycle. The Gores, without Foxy Sinatra and Santa Muerta, looked to the remaining veterans for leadership and found it in spades. Riding a deep bench that included skaters Emma Dilemma and Gamma Rei, and supported by strong rookies Purple Pain and Full Deck, the Gores controlled the pack and on the strength of some phenomenal jamming (led at half by T-Rex’s 76 points), were in clear control at the break 174-59.
The second half started much the same as the first ended: strong play from the Gores paced by an excellent jammer rotation that is led by JQ leading Lexi Con, T-Rex and third-year skater R.I. Pink. The Gores held the Chicks to only 10 points over the opening ten minutes of the half and their relentless pack work kept the Chicks heading to the penalty box.
Missing key skaters Dyna Hurtcha, Kookie Doe and Biggley Smallz, the defending champs rode veterans Robber Blind, Furious Georgia, Doris Doomsday and Tess D’Urb Evil, but the Chicks just did not have the depth of experience to compete. With so much track time and responsibility it wasn’t surprising that the vets eventually ended up in penalty trouble (Robber Blind fouled out late) which allowed the Chicks to give a ton of important track time to emerging rookies like R2-Smack-U, Joss Wheelin and Emraged who all seem to be thriving under the pressure.
The Gores needed some help from the Betties (that they didn’t get) to be able to compete for top spot in the league, but they certainly did their part and more in the victory (which set a record for highest point total in a game—it was the first time a ToRD house league team eclipsed the 300 point barrier), and will have to settle for second spot in the league and a berth in the ToRD semifinals. For the Chicks, an all-important rebuilding year comes to a close, and while it was a challenge for the three-time champs, with a base of emerging stars, the future looks bright.
Smoke City Betties 63 vs. Death Track Dolls 265
The Dolls and Betties entered this showdown with a lot on the line: the Betties were looking to spoil the Dolls’ close-to-perfect season and throw the standings into turmoil, while the Dolls were looking to wrap up top spot. The tension was palpable at the start, and while neither team seemed hesitant after the opening whistle, neither team was able to shake the other over the opening twenty minutes of the half.
With jammer Bellefast out for the game, the Dolls slipped Rainbow Fight into the rotation with the league’s leading scorer Santilly In Yo’ Face and Getcha Kicks, and the trio dominated early. The Dolls kicked things off with seven-straight lead jams (and nine out of the first ten) but they couldn’t use the dominance in that stat category to pull ahead. It was the Betties who actually took an early lead on the strength of a 20-point power jam and held it until the seventh jam of the game when the Dolls crept ahead. The packs were even in the early going with the likes of Misery Mae, Tushy Galore, Tomy Knockers and Tropic Thunder able to match the Dolls deep bench (led by Scarcasm, Speedin Hawking, Ames to Kills and Audrey Hellborn—who had an incredible game in the pack, consistently devastating the Betties’ jammers) and the lead flipped two more times in the opening twenty minutes of the half.
But then, the Dolls took over. A 20 point power jam returned the lead to the Dolls and then the pack stepped up with stifling defense. The Betties simply didn’t have the depth of experience to compete against the depth of the Dolls who were able to track experienced line after experienced line and even held the Betties scorless on a power jam that extended over two jams. Led by 68 points from Rainbow Fight, the Dolls led 121-41 at the half.
The Dolls dominance continued to kick off the second half when they picked up five of the six lead jammers to start things off (and twelve of the first fifteen) and continued to hold the Betties scoreless over the opening ten minutes of the half (outscoring them 41-0) to truly put the game away. While the Betties relied on veteran leader Hailey Copter with the star, they used a broad rotation of SewWhat?, Udre, Wolverina (adding Laya Beaton and rookie Kil’Her at Large late), but none could find any sort of consistency against the Dolls’ pack work. The Betties managed only 22 points in the second half, while the Dolls pushed the pace and skated away with the surprising and impressive 202 point victory.
The Dolls get a month off leading up to ToRD’s June 15th championship. The Betties, who were preseason favourites to make their first appearance in the Battle for the Boot since 2009, will have a few weeks to reflect and build off of the loss before they have to face off against the Gore-Gore Rollergirls in the semifinal on May 25th. It will be the second consecutive season that these two teams square off in the semifinal.
** The bouts were broadcast by Rogers TV. Tune in next Saturday (May 18th) for a rebroadcast of the games.