by Jim Almy
Thirty five of the 135 points the Sockit Wenches scored last Saturday night in their opening bout against the Throttle Rockets at the Rat City Rollergirls Rat’s Nest came in the second jam.
Seven grand slams. Seven full passes by Wenches jammer Winter Scoming (#1221).
Most of the fans in the sold out venue were hardly settled into their seats before the Wenches ran their scoring machine through all five gears, leaving a surprised group of Rockets blockers — well, — surprised.
Those were the blockers who, in the first jam, anchored by Liberty Bell Ringer (#76) and the enforcer, Missile America (#321) had shut out jammer Sun Shiner (#36), keeping her in the pack for the entire jam and taking a quick 19-0 lead. Winter Scoming had other ideas for jam two, using Khaos Theory (#13) as a welcoming mat for her first pass, taking aim at Xena (#5), the last blocker between her and five more points on the second pass, then weaving easily through a disorganized group of Rockets blockers five more times.
It was 35-19 after two jams. The Wenches, 0-2 in derby play going in to this game, held their lead through the next six jams but could only score five points over that run, fell behind, and eventually lost to the 1-1 Throttle Rockets 188-135.
Whatever scoring magic the Wenches boasted at the beginning of the bout just never came back. They were shut out in ten of the first half jams and thirteen in the final 30 minutes.
Before the bout, Rockets Coach Lexi Luthor said that she felt really good about how her team was coming together for the season, adding that the jamming crew was particularly deadly.
Deadly as an incoming tide. First it just splashes around your toes. Then it’s up to your knees, your waist, your neck and, gulp, you’re twenty points behind. The scoring comes mostly in single digits but it’s steady, relentless, unstoppable.
It wasn’t as if the Wenches went away. They just couldn’t score enough in their flashy jams to overtake the unforgiving grind of the Throttle Rockets.
Trailing by 20, 78-58, as the first half neared the end Winter Scoming and Sister Slaughter (#480) ran off two jams of nine points each, closing the gap by half time to 88-80.
Things halted for a while in jam twelve when Wenches blocker Oh So Final (#26) fell awkwardly after a bump by Shock Therapy (#1400v). Something didn’t look right about the position of her right ankle. When the paramedics quickly arrived the Emergency Medical Team of volunteers that is on hand for every Rat City bout had already stabilized Final. She was taken to the hospital with a broken right fibula and dislocated ankle. She was in surgery Monday afternoon.
There is no mercy rule in roller derby so while the Wenches went through the first eight jams of the second half, only scoring six points in one of them, the Throttle Rockets continued their dogged attack. Sister Slaughter, Winter Scoming and Sun Shiner couldn’t find an opening in the lines Slutnik (#3279), Buster Up (#85), Deva (#509) and Ella Whirled (#47) cemented in front of them. It was 151-86 after eight jams. Sher Nobyl (#5) exploded for 20 points in jam ten, aided by some great offensive line control from blockers Clobberin’ Mame (#440) and Kendle Bjelland (#808) but, at that point, the Wenches 30 points in ten jams were doubled by the Rockets, who had piled up 63. Ethel Vermin (#77) had 15 of those in one jam and Xena added 14 in another, but most of the Rockets points came in that unforgiving, grinding attack that puts up a few points in almost every jam.
Penalties hurt both teams equally. The Women’s Flat Track Derby Association has tightened its interpretation of the forearm rule. Skaters are still getting used to it. The announcers pointed out that, as the first half neared its close, each team had 16 penalties called against it, ten of those being forearm violations. At the end of the bout the Wenches had 49 penalties, losing Moe YaDown (#14) and Kendle Bjelland when they notched their seventh foul and had to leave the track. Four other skaters had five, one sat at six. The Rockets saw Parker EyeOut (#070) foul out, had two other skaters at six and one at five. A longer bout would have seen both teams losing many players to the whistle.
Wenches Coach LeBrawn Maimes said that her team is still working to overcome inexperience. “We know how to do it,” she said. “We just have to concentrate more and carry through.”
Winter Scoming led all scorers in the bout, her 35 point second jam almost half of the 71 total points she tallied. Other Wenches scoring came from Sister Slaughter, 23, Sher Nobyl, 24, Sun Shiner, 11 and Vishus Trollop (#106), 6. The Rockets attack was spread evenly through four jammers. Ethel Vermin had 58, Shock Therapy and Xena each added 48, Liberty Bell Ringer, 30, and Deva, 4. Shock was picked by the Wenches as their Most Valuable Opponent. The Rockets chose Sher Nobyl for that honor.
Did the Throttle Rockets make a statement last Saturday night? Are they ready to put the first defeat on the defending champion Derby Liberation Front when both teams meet in two weeks on Saturday, March 7, at the Rat’s Nest? Those teams opened the season against each other, a January bout in which the Rockets got off to an early and large lead, then were overwhelmed by DLF in the second half, losing 210-159.
Coach Luthor said that her team, “…has a great dynamic. Our new skaters and fitting in well and Rattleskate just returned to the team! We are looking good and feeling strong. DLF is doing awesome this year though and have a lot of veterans on their team, so it will be a battle for sure. We are really looking forward to a great bout.”