by Mark Sprain
The whole script of the bout that took place last Saturday, April 11, at the Rat’s Nest between undefeated Derby Liberation Front and their closest competitor, Grave Danger, was written in jam three when Danger blocker StunHer (#316) crashed DLF jammer Thumper Skull (#83) with a full on chest block, sending her sprawling on the track. Just for a second StunHer stood over the fallen jammer, her hands on her hips, her message delivered.
Grave Danger went on to deliver their brand of punishment for the rest of the bout, putting clamps on the usually high scoring DLF jammer squad, squeezing points against the big, agile and generally solid blockers DLF trots out in interchangeably equal lines.
Grave Danger skaters Tempura Tantrum and Muffstache reflect each
other’s intensity early in their bout against Derby Liberation Front.
Photo by Bob Ayers.
At the half they led 81-57. With four minutes remaining in the bout they still had command, 153-137. But, just when it looked like the team that tells you to “Smash the State and Learn to Skate” was heading for their first loss of the season, they suddenly weren’t.
A couple of power jams in their favor, some strategic time outs called by Coach Ho Chi Danh, and the efforts of a freight train called Chocolate Coma/CC (#90) were enough to give DLF the points they most needed at the time most needed, the end of the bout.
CC scored five. The last jam ended with the unblemished record of DLF still intact at 6-0 and Grave Danger on the wrong side of a 156-153 score.
“I asked my team to be aggressive tonight, aggressive but intense,” said Danger Coach Vito Ramon after the bout. “Not get a lot of penalties. Just skate our game, not give in to their offense, let them know they were in for a game.”
Grave Danger never gave up. The 8-5 lead they took in jam three, the one where StunHer threw down the challenge, continued to grow in their favor until the final twelve seconds of the bout. But DLF had won five in a row. They didn’t panic. And they didn’t go away.
In jam nine Danger jammer J Killa (#425) somehow scored five points despite spending most of the two minutes in Danger’s wash and recycle setting. Kamikaze Kim (#00), took her out early, escorting her half a track back before she could re-enter. Then Raven Evergore (#49) pounded the jammer out and recycled her before Wreck N Shrew (#24) completed the cycle by bouncing J Killa one more time before sending her to recycling.
DLF jammer Cynthia Bartok (#39) would find a crease between Danger blockers Cat-a-ma-ram (#10) and Trouble Dutch (#2468) for four points. But StunHer, wearing the star, would take a lane opened by team mate Tempura Tantrum (#99) on her way to scoring eight. Points increased on both sides, but generally more for Grave Danger. DLF would struggle for three while Danger jammer Nehi Nightmare (#48) took advantage of her speed, size and agility to twice slip magically by Chocolate Coma on her way to nine in the same jam. Every score came hard. Over the final six jams of the first half DLF totaled 18 points, Danger managed 23.
Nehi Nightmare scored 55 points as Grave Danger nearly pulled out
the win over Derby Liberation Front. Quick inside moves like this
against Dirty South added to her total. Photo by Bob Ayers.
The 24 point half time lead Grave Danger held (81-57) quickly went to 36 early in the final thirty minutes, helped by a 14 point StunHer jam. Daisy Duke’m (#909) started the jam with the star for Grave
Danger but a bruising shoulder from DLF blocker Wicked Slam (#94) put her off course and back in the thick of the pack. She passed the star to StunHer who, with 48 seconds left in the jam, made a five point pass, then twisted inside Chocolate Coma for four and blew around Wicked Slam for five more. It was Nehi Nightmare in the next stanza, pirouetting between Wreck N Shrew and Raven Evergore and putting her team ahead 107-65.
That’s when a power jam and a freight train made the crowd aware that things weren’t over yet. Grave Danger quickly found themselves on the short side of a 5-2 player disadvantage and on the wrong side of an accelerating Chocolate Coma who, when she came around the final turn in full throttle, made viewers fear for the two Danger blockers in front of her. Coma picked up that spare and a couple more as she scored 19, cutting the margin nearly in half.
StunHer picked up ten. CC followed a path-clearing block by Wreck N Shrew on her way to 14. Coach Danh called a time out for DLF, now only behind by 11 at 132-121. Nehi Nightmare, who skated the entire bout with a bad back suffered earlier in the week at a practice, out-skated Jill Nye the Science Guy (#655) 21-9 a couple jams later as Danger entered the final four minutes of the bout ahead 153-137.
Coach Danh called another time out. Jammer StunHer skated the next jam mostly on defense, working to keep DLF jammer Chocolate Coma behind the line, then skating as a pivot while continuing to stuff the DLF attack. CC passed the star to Wicked Slam, who put up five points. Now the margin was back to 11, Danger ahead 153-142.
Another, and final, time out called by the DLF coach. The second critical power jam followed with Danger jammer J Killa called for cutting. Only down 5-4, and with Tempura Tantrum and Ponyo Knees
(#81) blocking frantically, DLF jammer Cynthia Bartok still managed nine points. The jam ended with twelve seconds left in the bout and Grave Danger still ahead, 153-151.
Out of time outs Coach Danh called for an official review, thus giving his team a brief respite and giving him a chance to discuss strategy for the final jam of the night. The strategy turned out to be fairly easy and probably not what DLF was planning. Danger jammer Nehi Nightmare, in one of those calls you hate to see at the end of a close contest, was whistled early for a forearm violation and sent to the penalty box. Not having to worry about keeping the opposing jammer from scoring DLF blockers concentrated all their effort on springing their scorer. Chocolate Coma speedily scored five, giving DLF the win.
The two teams will skate against each other in the Championship round at KeyArena Saturday, April 25, when the home portion of the Rat City Rollergirls’ season reaches its finale.
DLF gave the honor of Most Valuable Opponent to StunHer. Grave Danger selected Raven Evergore for the same accolades.
Not surprisingly Chocolate Coma led all scorers in the bout with 57. Cynthia Bartok had 38, Jill Nye, 25, Jammible Corpse, 18, Raven Evergore, 9, Wicked Slam, 5, and Thumper Skull, 4.
Nehi Nightmare scored 55 points for Grave Danger. She was followed by StunHer, 39, J Killa, 28, Daisy Duke’m, 20, Dee Cap Attack (#-1), 9, and Cat-a-ma-ram, 2.