March 22, 2015

Richter City vs Dunedin Derby

The opening match of the Wellington 2015 roller derby season took place on Saturday night. Our visitors from the far south were the Dunedin Derby A team, the Gallow Lasses. The two leagues are rarely up against each other, and this is the first time Wellington has played host. After several internationally led training sessions and boot camps throughout the country since the end of last season, we were expecting a strong game from both teams. We were not disappointed!

The Richter City All Stars line up was full of familiar names though a notable player missing on skates was Jem Molition (one of Richter’s representatives on Team NZ 2014), who put in an appearance as bench manager while appearing to nurse an injury. Several names on the Gallow Lasses list were recognisable from tournaments in previous years, but there were also some names we expected to appear that didn’t - whether due to being unable to commit to the travel or otherwise, we remain unsure. Gladly missed from the atmosphere at Kilbirnie Rec Centre was the regular MCs and overloud music, instead replaced by Lolo Morales and Danger Spouse exchanging at times witty banter and actually turning down the music when they had important things to say.

After a Top Gun themed skate out from Dunedin complete with aviators and pornstaches, and a lackluster one from Richter (thanks to a brief sound system malfunction), we were straight into the first jam with the latest ruleset nixing the public gear check. For the first nearly dozen jams, Dunedin rotated between two jammers, Diva DemolisHER (team captain and non-travelling alternate for Team NZ 2014) and VenoMISS Vixen, while Richter pulled from a jammer team of five. Diva showed us why she was very nearly chosen to go to Texas last year, that woman can sure skate, and fast! The winning of lead jammer was nearly even in the early throes of the first half, but soon the home team showed their strength in that aspect, while the Gallow Lasses fought back by increasing their jammer rotation to include another three skaters. It appeared very much to be a jammer’s half - all about who got off the line and through the small holes between blockers quicker, which of course Richter’s Invisigirl excelled at! Half time ended with Richter City 166 to Dunedin’s 60, just after a rather nasty looking limb to face injury incurred by Skandal Lass rendering her out for the rest of the bout.

Impromptu half time entertainment was provided by crowd favourite referee (though not on the crew this bout) Danger Danger dancing the hokey pokey on skates and generally teasing the young fans in the suicide seats.

The second half brought out a reinvigorated Dunedin team. While Richter maintained their dominance in gaining lead jammer, the Dunedin blockers didn’t let them through quite so easily. It appeared to be a clean game compared to some seen last year, with only one foul out, J’Knee Dodgem. However, another two occured including one in the final jam. It was good to hear the crowd around us cheering for Dunedin in the final moments - urging the tartaned jammer to “break a hundred” while Richter jammer Princess Slayer was in the penalty box. The game ended with Dunedin breaking that hundred, scoring 101 to Richter’s 335.

Following from the greatly fought bout, Sunday afternoon brought the announcement of the home season teams, Brutal Pageant, Smash Malice and Comic Slams. A brief look at the lists shows a healthy influx of Fresh Meat (recently graduated skaters), spread evenly throughout a bevy of seasoned regulars. Here’s hoping some of those freshies make appearances in our future reviews! First home season matchup will be Comic Slams against Smash Malice on 18th April.

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