September 27, 2016

RCRD: Double Header Home Season Final with visitors Whenua Fatales

Saturday 24th September saw the last home team 2016 bout for Richter City Roller Derby, and they presented it as part of yet another double-header.  The curtain raiser before the final featuring Comic Slams vs Smash Malice saw "turd place"  Brutal Pageant face up against Whenua Fatales from Levin.

Starting as they meant to go on, Pageant put 14 points on the board in the first jam courtesy of Vicious Vegie, who along with Gael Force featured heavily as jammers for this bout, occasionally supplemented by almost every other skater on the short schedule (9 skaters). Two recent transfers to Richter featured in Brutal Pageant's line up - Nixtreme from Santiago Derby Rollers (Chile), and Nerd'iator who most recently skated for Terminal City (Vancouver, Canada). Both brought some strong defense work to the pack and look to become valuable new versatile assets for Richter City. On the other hand, the Fatales brought with them a couple of skaters in need of their cherries popped. Alongside long time Levin skaters Crazy Crab, Battle Panda and the returning from injury Sticky Knickers, were newbies Soul Stealer and Gina-Mite, both of whom took a shot with the star on, with Soul Stealer managing to score against the ladies in pink. Ship Stirrer and Sare-rated Edge also had some notable jams as jammer and blocker respectively.

Despite giving it their all, smiling the long while and being cheered very loudly by the Pageant bench (especially when wining lead jammer status), Whenua Fatales couldn't match Brutal Pageant's force and vigour, with the resulting score being 471 to 52.

The headline of the evening, the final between Smash Malice and Comic Slams was underway after a quick break barely just long enough for the refs and officials to grab some feed, and the Pageant skaters getting dressed and rushed off to relieve the Malice and Slams skaters manning the bar, barbeque, fresh meat table etc.  After a zero all first jam, the leopard print wearing ladies soon asserted dominance as it seemed the Slams jammers were landing penalties left right and centre - primary jammers J'Knee Dodgem and Princess Slayer did end up fouling out later in the game. Moose Hoof and Gnome Diggity did their best to close score gaps with some impressive point scoring jams, but Tu High and Volcanic Ash has some impressing to do themselves. Blocker Bailey's Comet was on form as usual, with Melpractice continuing to grow in her blocking skills.  I did not at all envy the Smash Malice jammer who had to battle to get through an impressively tough three wall put up by Margaret Snatcher, Tuff Bikkies and Gnome Diggity.

The half time score of 119 to 76, Smash Malice ahead, was a foreshadowing of the final score.  There was confusion in the last few seconds of the bout where Slams (and the MCs!) were trying to call a 'one more jam' time out, without realising they had no time outs remaining, so the final whistle blew while Malice were already celebrating their 234 to 140 win.

While this is the end of the home team season, keep an eye out on the Richter City Facebook page for more derby action before the end of the year. National Top 10 finals are coming, and I heard so is another Fresh Meat graduation bout!

September 20, 2016

Hutt Valley Vanguard vs Otautahi Roller Derby

Saturday saw the first ever home bout for Hutt Valley Vanguard, a full contact co-ed derby league based in Lower Hutt, hosted at the still relatively new Walter Nash Stadium in Taita. Joining them on the track was a coed team hailing from Christchurch league Otautahi Roller Derby League.

A predominantly derby playing crowd was present in the stands, there were a handful of locals who'd popped in to see what it was all about, but I can't help thinking a bit more advertising in the complex itself in the lead up to the bout might have increased the amount of new faces in the crowd. I realise HVV is still a fairly new league and the budget is likely not there for much print advertising, but I'm hopeful next time the venue staff are at least aware there's derby on, as when I rang with an enquiry last week I was distinctly told there was "not much on that day".
In addition to the derby players in the crowd there were plenty of familiar faces on and around the track, from Skanda Lass and Tino Turnher on the mic, Richter City aligned refs and officials being, well, refs and officials, to Bubs and Trubs as bench managers for Vanguard , and Zam and Jet guiding the visiting skaters as their benchies (with some interesting things being yelled at times!). Among those skating on the home team were ex RCRD ref and frequent bench manager, Professor Scrape, long time crowd favourite, Meat Train, complete with her signature tights in her first time back on track after a hiatus, along with a few lesser known skater who've popped up at RCRD once or twice. I was excitedly anticipating seeing a number of ORDL skaters again I had seen earlier this year and they didn't disappoint, chiefly Amygeddon and Bionic Ninja. It was also great to see ORDL skating in the North Island after many years without a visit and hope to see them back up again next year.
Side by side with those who've been skating for years were a few skaters from both teams popping their bouting cherries, notably Willie B Hardigan from ORDL who showed enough skill to make me forget he was on his first public outing. Many fantastic hits and walls made against some strong speedy jammers, and the couple of near misses with the stadium wall made the crowd simultaneously cheer and gasp.
Vanguard showed early on they weren't going to make it easy for the visitors, but despite that Otautahi put in all the effort with smiles on their faces and very nearly no signs of slowing down.  They fought to the end, with an impressive final jam from Show Pony bringing their score to 85 against HVV's 270.

Hopefully this is the first of many more derby events at Walter Nash over the coming years.  Until then, don't forget, double header at Kilbirne Rec this Saturday!

September 6, 2016

Richter City 2016: Home Season #3 and NZ Top 10 vs Auckland

The Third and final of the Richter City intraleague pool play occurred this weekend just passed, Comic Slams vs Smash Malice. Though before it got to that, we saw the All Stars take on The Bolts, the A team from Auckland Roller Derby League (ARDL, or Arnold as Zam proudly announced she called them) as part of the pool play for the NZ Top 10 tournament.

Having not seen ARDL for a while, there were some new names to get to know, along with those recognised from previously, such as Arsenall, Baker, Mackenzie and the very well known Terror Satana. RCRD All Stars put forward a team of well recognised ol' faithfuls, with the delightful addition of Margaret Snatcher, giving a strong all around performance and looking like they've been an All Star for years.

The neck and neck and see-sawing lead changes of the first half saw some graceful and on point (and often backwards) jamming from J'Knee Dodgem, and multiple demonstrations on how ARDL jammer Mackenzie earned their slippery fish nickname. At one point it was a struggle of who to be more impressed with, the combined blocking power of Flirty Harry, Resident Evil and Terror Satana, or the Richter jammer up against them. Half time score was 108 to 85, in favour of RCRD. The second half brought more of the same impressive work with at least one foul out for each team, and an interesting display of no advantage no penalty, when Vicious Vegie made a false start but yielded, yet once allowed to skate again, still managed to get through the pack first. Unfortunately for ARDL, the score gap continued to grow, but that did not wipe the smiles off their faces, not even when the final whistle went to a score of 157 ARDL, 238 Richter City. This bout can be seen on Youtube.

After a relatively short break, seven of the All Stars took to the track yet again with their other team mates in Comic Slams and Smash Malice. For the most part, these seven didn't look like they'd just skated a fairly intense bout, and even when Volcanic Ash visited the Wellington Free Ambulance officers, she was still back for more after her mandatory stand-down, her earlier 30 point jam wasn't enough it seemed! A close half time score of 79 to 62 in the favour of Comic Slams. Relative new comers Frankenslide and Sweet Mama Mia continue to show improvement in jamming and blocking respectively - will be looking out for them both next year.

In another few weeks we get another double header, third place in pool play Brutal Pageant take on Whenua Fatales as a curtain raiser for the race for number one Wellington intraleague team for 2016, another Comic Slams vs Smash Malice on September 24th. Details on the Facebook event page.

If you can't wait that long, on Saturday 17th September, head out to Taita (it's not that scary, really!) to the Walter Nash Stadium to watch Hutt Valley Vanguard take on Otautahi Roller Derby League from Christchurch, a match up this reviewer is keen to see as Otautahi has held a special place in their derby heart for many years. Doors open 5pm, follow the Facebook event page here.

If you can't wait even that long, zip down to Christchurch to see Richter All Stars take on the other league from the Garden City, Dead End Derby, in both their final Top 10 pool play bout. That's this coming weekend (10th September), so if you can't make it, keep an eye on the respective Facebook pages for updates on the night. Convicts are also visiting Dunedin Derby that night also for their final Top 10 pool play appearance. After all this, October and the finals aren't too far away, so derby isn't near done for the season yet!