In their first game on Friday, the Mercs and Hooligans were involved in an almost-altercation that resulted in two player ejections. After a rough day Saturday, the Hooligans came into their Sunday semi-final rematch with a depleted roster, only healthy enough to bring eight players to the bench.
Both of these factors may have been reasons for the very conservative start to play. The Mercs and Hooligans seemed to be feeling each other (and the referees) out on how proceedings would go, with scoreless jams, a couple of 2-2 ties, and alternating single pass wins making up a relatively slow opening. The Mercs did have a couple of small jam wins along the way, giving them a 12-8 lead with 7 minutes left before the half.
In the next jam, Yosemite Slam took a hard hit and landed awkwardly into the rail; instead of breaking it as he did on Friday, this time it held firm, tweaking his lower back. Slam eventually got up under his own power, even taking a (cautious) bow to the applause of the crowd. But his injury put him out of the game, dropping the Hooligans manpower to seven players.
A couple of jams later, General Tso Fine and the Hooligans grabbed a 3-2 jam after penalties on both sides depleted the pack. Once the box cleared, the Derby Mercs turned on the jets: Magnum P.I.M.P. bookended a 15-0 monster jam from B.Stang with 8 points of his own, and after finishing the half with a 14-4 spread over the last 5 jams, the Mercs hit the halftime break up 46-15.
Early in the second half, the result started becoming clear as the Hooliganâ€™s empty bench was beginning to take its toll. B.Stang continued to pour on the points, picking up a 19-2 jam win in a tiring Hooligans pack. Though the Hooligans were getting lead calls and picking up points, late call-offs by Sik Boy allowed the Mercs to sneak in from behind and steal small jam wins on more than a few occasions.
The pace of play slowed due to some very tired roller derby players, but the physicality didnâ€™t. Halfway through the second half, B.Stang took a monster check into the turn 4 railing; had he been a foot further inside the track, he would have gone under the rail and landed in the third row. The Mercs returned the favor with 3 minutes left, sending General Tso Fine flipping over the rail in the same spot.
But with the Hooligans out of gas, and the Mercs looking to save some for the final, everyone kept it within reason as the minutes ticked down. Quadzilla capped off the victory with a 15-point jam, sending the Derby Mercs to the big money final by way of a 145-22 score.