With serious playoff implications on the line, thanks to the Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD) league announcing prior to the 2011 season that the last place team in the regular season would miss the playoffs, the Death Track Dolls took on the Smoke City Betties last Saturday at The Hangar at Downsview Park.
Both teams lost their opening bouts of the season to the Gore Gore Rollergirls and Chicks Ahoy! respectively, so the importance of earning a win was as big as it could have been for either squad. The winner of the bout would cement themselves as a playoff team, while the loser would miss the playoffs; no matter how well their final bout of the season went.
No one could predict how the bout would turn out. The talented Dolls were over-matched on opening day by the defending champion Gore Gore Rollergirls, while the new-look Betties were worn down by the strategical play of Chicks Ahoy! in March.
On paper this match-up looked to be a close one, with the Dolls favoured thanks to the amount of time their players have skated with one another. However, the Betties were not to be discounted, as the overall talent the team possesses should never be overlooked.
As the doors to the event opened fans draped in red and white or black and blue in support of their favourite teams filled The Hangar in anticipation of an exciting bout and once again ToRD delivered. After the Canadian national anthem was wonderfully sung by Lulu Cthulhu, a member of the Gore Gore Rollergirls, the bout was set to take place.
From the opening whistle to the final jam this bout was a barn burner. In the opening half the two teams swapped the lead back and forth, with the Betties storming out of the gates on the back of jammers Memphis Kitty and the debuting Rug Burn. The Betties bench, which featured new additions in the form of out of commission skater Wolverina and former Betties favourite Slaughter Lauder, looked loose and comfortable with the attitude carrying over to the track.
The Dolls looked like their typical bundle of energy under managers The Big Chees and Sonic Doom in pre-game warm-up, but did not really seem to kick it into gear until the Betties had shocked them with a few big jams. Once the Dolls shook off their rink rust the bout really turned into a solid contest.
One of ToRD’s most popular jammers Land Shark and debuting rookie Santilly in Yo Face took on the majority of jamming early for the Dolls, but that strategy did not last, as Betty Bomber moved into a three jammer rotation to combat the Betties Memphis Kitty, Rug Burn and titmouse.
In the pack the two teams were aggressive in trying to open up holes while landing huge hits on one another. Mia Culprit, Pretty Peeved and Hot Roller played a tremendous amount of minutes for the Betties while the Dolls used their depth of Monichrome, Jubilee, SlamWow, Sue Saint Marie, Demolition Dawn, Panty Hoser and more to stay fresh on the track.
As the game went on and the adrenaline continued to pump through the skaters bodies you could sense, as a fan in the audience, that something interesting was about to happen and that it could possibly have something to do with Land Shark or Mia Culprit. Who would have thought that it would involve both players? Culprit was a thorn in Sharkey’s side all night, laying bone-crunching hits on her opposition. Sharkey seemed to be frustrated as time went on and it certainly showed on the track. On more then one occasion Sharkey lost her cool and it looked like Culprit had gotten into her head. At one point in the bout after a questionable out of bounds block, Culprit was caught off guard as she argued with the referee by a huge hit from Sharkey. The hit looked like the type that would get the Dolls jammer ejected, but she was sent to the penalty box where the two players continued their battle; this time of the verbal nature. The Dolls called a quick time-out to calm things down and this was just what the doctor ordered for the Dolls star jammer. She collected herself and had what could be her best half of the entire season as she racked up a ton of points, while the Dolls pulled away from the Betties for the victory 115-62.
It was not just the effort of Land Shark that won the Dolls this bout. Betty Bomber brought that third threat from the jammer line that the team needed and a number of players stood out in the pack for the blood-thirsty Dolls. Speedin Hawking was all over the track laying hits on the Betties, while Sinead O’Clobber looked comfortable leading her team with the pivot stripe.
For the Betties you can always expect a brutal hitting game from Bruiseberry Pie and Saturday was no different. Sin D Drop Her continued an impressive season in the pack, making herself a player to watch as a candidate for the Most Improved Player award and Misery Mae has been playing her way into more minutes for the Betties, which is only a good thing for the team as they continue in their team rebuilding process.
All in all the bout was another exciting ToRD event as the competition for the 2011 championship Boot becomes more fierce as the season rolls on.
All four of ToRD’s home teams will now move onto the 2011 Beast of the East tournament in Montreal beginning Saturday April 30th 2011. The tournament showcases the best roller derby home teams on the east coast of Canada. For more information about the Beast of the East you can visit the event’s home page.
As for roller derby action in Toronto the next scheduled event will take place Saturday May 14th with the Gore Gore Rollergirls taking on the Smoke City Betties at The Hangar. The doors to the event open at 6:30pm EST with the bout beginning at 7:30pm EST. Tickets can be purchased at the ToRD website.
Published by Gear Up for Sports
Published article link: http://5×5.gearupforsports.com/blog/2011/04/dolls-defeat-betties-in-hard-fought-battle/