by Jim Almy
Maybe teams about to skate against Derby Liberation Front should start lobbying to end those bouts at the half.
It would change things dramatically for the steamroller that DLF is putting on the track this season. Undefeated at 4-0, DLF found itself trailing by ten (99-89) at the half of their opening night bout Jan. 11 against the Throttle Rockets and again on Feb. 21 when Grave Danger ended the first thirty minutes ahead of DLF by 28 (103-75).
There was no lead at the half for the Throttle Rockets last Saturday, March 7, in their opening bout at the Rats Nest against DLF. But the Rockets had something nearly as positive, a low-scoring, 64-all tie and a roaring crowd of supporters sensing the Rockets were about to put the first blemish on DLF’s record.
Not to be.
In the two previous bouts mentioned above DLF came back to outscore their opponents 121-60 and 90-56 in the second thirty minutes. Against the Throttle Rockets in their second meeting of the year last Saturday DLF put up 153 points in the second half, the Rockets managed 50 for a final score in favor of undefeated DLF, 217-114.
“The team is feeling really confident right now,” said DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh after the bout. Come-backs like the ones DLF is collecting will add to that perspective.
The Rockets took a lead early, added to it steadily. Jammer Rattleskate, (#16), back on the Rockets roster after missing a few bouts, got out front quickly in jam 3, raced around DLF blockers CC (#90) and Wicked Slam (#94), and scored twelve points, moving the margin to five, 17-12. Lane closing blocks and harassing one-on-one defense against DLF jammers by Khaos Theory (#13), Missile America (#321), Slutnik (#3279) and Rattleskate (#16) held the DLF offense to 2 points over the next five jams. Rockets jammers Shock Therapy (#1400v) and Ethel Vermin (#77) collected points for their team, building the lead to 35-14.
Taking advantage of a 5-3 power jam in jam nine Jill Nye the Science Guy (#655) added thirteen to the fourteen points DLF had managed to gain through the first eight jams. A couple minutes later jammer Cynthia Bartok exploded through Rockets defenders for 18 more, putting DLF on top, 45-40.
Rockets blocker Parker Eye Out and pivot Liberty spent much of the bout denying DLF jammer Jill Nye the Science Guy scoring lanes. Nye still collected 68 points. Photo by Jenny Evans.
Near the end of the half a combination of timely blocks, spread lines and the calculated pivot play of Raven Evergore (#49), directing Wicked Slam and Wreck N Shrew (#24), took most of the electricity out of Rockets jammer Shock Therapy. The 4 points she scored to tie the bout at 60-60 were hard earned.
Missile America started the second half by shedding Wicked Slam like an old overcoat, juking Thumper Skull (#83) and making a complete pass for five points to break the 64-64 tie and put the Rockets back in the lead, 69-64.
Then the scoring ran out for the Throttle Rockets.
DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh said that his blockers played as a unit. This unit of Dirty South, Wicked Slam, Kamikaze Kim and Raven Evergore are putting the stop to Throttle Rockets jammer Ethel Vermin. Photo by Jenny Evans.
Over the next eleven jams they managed 7 points. During that same run DLF scorers collected 91.
Jill Nye followed some lane clearing by Wicked Slam, Raven Evergore and Thumper Skull for 14 points. Team mate Cynthia Bartok used the escort service provided by Kamikaze Kim (#00) and WeeWah Smiles (#56) as she passed for some of the 19 she totaled in jam six. Others of those points were collected as Bartok just shouldered herself through fatigued Rockets defenders. Then Nye added 15 more, followed by 14 from Bartok, 9 from CC and 9 more by Bartok. With 14 or so minutes remaining in the bout DLF was comfortably ahead, 155-76.
DLF played the long game for the rest of the bout, spreading out their lines, extending blocking challenges and generally working the clock to their advantage. Bartok had another 27 points in the next to last jam, though she may not have skated against the stiffest resistance. Dirty South (#87) closed out the scoring for DLF with a 5-spot in her only jam of the night.
Penalties were not a major factor in the bout. At the half DLF had 13, the Rockets, 12. The count at bouts end was DLF 27, Rockets 31.
Coach Danh gave credit to the refs, saying, “They let us – both teams – play a high intensity game.”
He was full of praise for his blockers also. “They set up well and played very together. It was always a solid unit of four, not four individuals.”
Rattleskate was voted Most Valuable Opponent by DLF. The Rockets gave that honor to Chocolate Coma (CC).
Derby Liberation Front jammer Cynthia Bartok had 92 points against the Throttle Rockets. Photo by Jenny Evans.
Cynthia Bartok led all scorers for the bout with 92 points. DLF team mate Jill Nye the Science Guy had 68. Other points were added by CC with 40, Thumper Skull, 10, Dirty South, 5, and Erma Gerd, 2. Rattleskate put up 34 for the Throttle Rockets. Missile America had 29, Ethel Vermin, 28, Shock Therapy, 18, and Liberty Bell Ringer, 5.