March 27, 2013

Richter City vs Pirate City: a historical match

I don’t think anything will equal the first match I witnessed between Pirate City and Richter City. Of particular memory was Pirate City’s entrance to I’m on a Boat forming a boat as they skated. I also recall Skate the Muss and Fai Fasi Oe? shining in that particular match. That was the first interleague bout in New Zealand, Saturday’s match was another history maker.

As a ‘nod to the athleticism’ of the game one local player skated under her own name and you will note the marked difference in uniform of both teams from that of early years. This highlights the changing face of roller derby in New Zealand. The game was the first to be played here under the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association) rules. I also noticed a greater emphasis on timekeeping; the clock showed times for timeouts, jams and jam setups (only 30 seconds).

Pirate City managed to keep a steady lead on Richter City throughout the first half despite winning lead jammer only one third of the time. The home team would narrow the gap each time they had a power jam – the biggest such jam in the first half was 24 points scored by Skanda Lass bringing in a lead. She paid for her winning steak with a sprained ankle later in the game which necessitated a trip to hospital.

I don’t know if it was a reflection of the new rules or Pirate City’s way of playing but they often had a slim team on track while they frequented the penalty box. It does say a lot about their skill that they were able to keep up such a good despite lacking in players. Matters got worse in the second half when three of their players were ejected from the game for reaching the maximum number of penalties, including the team captain Terror Santana. With their jammers often in the box Meat Train was able to score the highest jam of the game – 30 points for Richter City.

The final time out of the game was called with only 42 seconds left on the clock. Richter City were at a 5 point lead and the penalty box was well occupied. It was a fight through the last two jams. The final score was 194/192 to Richter City, the first time that Pirate City has been beaten by a New Zealand team.

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