Last Saturday, Toronto Roller Derby (ToRD) returned to The Bunker in Downsview Park to host Bout Blanche, their last event of 2011 before preparations for the Blood and Thunder World Cup begin to take place.
Bout Blanche took place prior to Toronto’s annual art-themed Nuit Blanche event, where locals wander the streets late at night to view various exhibits displayed in different areas of the city.
ToRD made this special event a double header with one of their home teams, the Smoke City Betties, taking on Hamilton’s Harlots in the opener, while CN Power challenged the Hammer City Eh! Team.
While the bout between the Betties and Harlots was merely an exhibition with bragging rights going to the winner, the bout between CN Power and the Eh! Team originally was scheduled as a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) sanctioned bout. With both teams now a full member of WFTDA the bout would count towards their officially governed records and overall ranking. It would be the first sanctioned bout for CN Power, as they look to make their way up the rankings of the North Central division.
As you step foot into ToRD’s new home at The Bunker, many of the technical difficulties that the league experienced in their inaugural bout in the building were gone. The sound flowing through the building was clear, the track where the skaters played was improved and the dust in the air was gone. With the improvement of the facility the bout already felt like it was going to be a better overall experience for fans. Add the cross province rivalry between Toronto and Hamilton, which is also existent in the derby world, into the equation and the building was a ball of energy ready to burst and cheer for their teams.
After the customary singing of the national anthem by Gore-Gore Rollergirl Lulu Cthulhu, the Betties were set to take on the Harlots.
Hamilton was noticeably short on players with only nine skaters on the bench and it was later confirmed that the league was saving some of the Harlots to play in the bout against CN Power. This was a major factor in the bout as the Harlots looked exhausted against their counterparts in the Betties.
The Betties used their roster advantage and experience to jump out to an impressive 60-0 lead early, with impressive jamming from titmouse, Rug Burn and the returning Sail-Her Poon. The lead was a surprise to some fans, but clearly the Betties have worked hard this off-season preparing to give the other home teams in ToRD a run for the Boot in 2012.
Despite a substantial early lead and short roster, the Harlots never gave in to the Betties. Mean Little Mama laid out a number of the Betties’ skaters while Abba-StabYa and Naughty Bee fought for points with the jammer star for Hammer City. An abundance of Betties’ penalties helped a resurgent Harlots team claw into the lead, but the Betties managed to stave off their white and gold competitors with excellent three walls and blocker recycling to keep the points gained to a minimum.
Misery Mae, Lady Scorcher (who would also play in the second bout for CN Power), Mia Culprit and Bruiseberry Pie, all key members of the Betties from 2011, showed they were in good form on the track and the Betties continued to use their deep jammer rotation, which also included Tropic Thunder and Platinum Bomb, to eventually run away with this game, earning a 164-75 victory.
As the Betties skated their victory lap, Bruiseberry Pie met with me for a post bout interview where she joyfully gave praise to her team-mates for the win. How did she feel after the win? “It was pretty good. I’m still high on adrenaline, but happy, very, very happy. It was fantastic. I think it was really great for the team morale, especially before the start of the next (ToRD) season. It’s going to be great. It’s nice to get a win under our belts and now we’re looking to move upwards and onwards from here.”
What did she think of her performance in the bout? “It was okay. I have some areas I need to improve on and I know what those are so that’s always good. Otherwise, it was pretty good. There were some pretty satisfying moments.”
Some of those satisfying moments came while Bruisey played all three positions on the track. What were her thoughts about being a triple threat for the Betties? “I love it! That’s what I want to be able to do. I want to be able to do everything…and not get penalties, laughed the enthusiastic skater. “Yeah, it’s fun. I like being in the pack again. I had been jamming a lot recently, but I really enjoy being able to play them all.”
Bruiseberry Pie, like a few of her Betties’ team-mates also plays for CN Power, but she had the night off to rest up for future bouts. How did she think CN Power would play against the Eh! Team in the second bout of the evening? “I think its going to be fun. I think CN Power is going to smoke ‘em, but they have to do it while practicing the little nuances they’ve been working on and annihilate them, while making no mistakes. No sloppiness.”
Prior to the beginning of the CN Power bout it was announced that the bout would no longer be sanctioned by the WFTDA thanks to some roster difficulty with the Hamilton team. The news was certainly disappointing for CN Power and its fans, but that did not affect their play on the track.
CN Power dominated Hammer City from start to finish. The squad used experience and their talented depth of players to run large amounts of points on the board early. Candy Crossbones and Dust Bunny jammed a ton, while Brim Stone and Tropic Thunder (who was pulling double duty similar to Lady Scorcher) also played the position. Nasher the Smasher, in one of the highlights of the bout, jammed on one occasion and used a power jam to score 20 points for CN Power, an exciting jam that really got the crowd on their feet.
Rebel Rock-it and Tara Part worked impressively in the pack and Lady Gag-Ya and Panty Hoser were on their games. CN Power controlled the game despite hard-hitting efforts from Oh! Henry and Sofanda Beatin (who plays for Tri-City, but was a fill-in for Hamilton) and worked some new strategies in an impressive 277-22 win.
After two wins over the #19 ranked Killamazoo Derby Darlins and this win over the #24 ranked Hammer City, CN Power is off to an excellent start as a WFTDA member. These wins did not count towards their WFTDA ranking and record, but they were huge for the team as they prepare for their next bout against the Grand Raggidy All-Stars (ranked #11 in the North Central) in Grand Rapids, MI on October 22nd.
Grand Raggidy will be one of CN Power’s toughest tests to date and the bout should be a fantastic one. For information on the bout and how to purchase tickets please visit Grand Raggidy Roller Girls
Published by: Gear Up for Sports