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!

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