Victorian Roller Derby (#1) vs Texas Rollergirls (#2)
Both teams in the final game of 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Dallas were at 2-0 prior to this first place matchup. The Victorian Roller Derby League of Melbourne, Australia (Seed #1, WFTDA #1) summarily dominated Philly Roller Derby and the Minnesota Rollergirls while the Texas Rollergirls of Austin, Texas U.S. (Seed #2, WFTDA #6) faced tournament hosts, the Dallas Derby Devils, on Friday and took the win before coming out ahead in a hard-hitting game against Arch Rival Roller Derby Saturday night. Victoria proved they deserved their top seed and ranking with a solid 193-50 win over Texas that earned them gold medals in the tournament and a bye for the first round at 2017 International WFTDA Championships in Philadelphia.
These two teams had met four times prior to tonight and the Australians have taken the win each time, most recently in May of this year, 187-77. Despite this history, the game started off as a neck-and-neck low-scoring grind with punishing hits from both teams delivered on wily jammers.
Victoria took the first three jams 10-0 before Texas managed to put 10 points of their own on the board when VRDL’s IvyKnivey was sent to the penalty box on a back block. Then, with seven minutes gone, Texas received further opportunity to pull ahead on another powerjam when Hauss The Boss earned lead and five points following a forearm penalty picked up by Lady Trample. Victoria’s Christy Demons, IvyKnivey, and Sarah Chambers responded by locking down lead jammer status and edging VRDL’s advantage to 32-18 with 15 minutes gone.
Victoria maintained that momentum as a successful jammer review saw Lady Trample jamming unopposed on a power start while Texas pivot-turned-jammer Stone Her sat in the penalty box with an embellishment penalty. Trample scored nine points before calling the jam, keeping Texas scoreless.
The next jam saw Texas finally see success without the aid of a powerjam. Freight Train, Texas’ high-scoring jammer in the game with a total of 15 points, earned lead as tenacious blocking from Polly Gone and Smarty Pants trapped IvyKnivey in the pack. But that would prove to be the last major success for Texas in the first half. Although they generally kept the Australians to single scoring passes, the defensive blocking of Dani Darko, Bicepsual, and Screw Barrymore stymied the Texecutioners’ attempt to generate momentum and at the halftime, the score was 90-32 in favor of Victoria.
The second half started similar to the first with Freight Train being a bright spot for Texas. When she didn’t get lead, she would bolt out of the pack right on the heels of the VRDL jammers, who would respond by immediately calling off the jam to control the clock. But an injury sustained by Hauss the Boss, who had shown some success against the VRDL defense, meant that Texas put Gravy, Baby! more heavily in their jammer rotation, although she struggled against tournament MVP, Bicepsual’s one-on-one blocking in the first half. Victoria was able to maintain control of the game as Texas jammers struggled to get out on their scoring passes, and the score continued to increase in their favor.
After rocketing their lead to 168-41 with massive scoring jams — including a 20-0 jam for Sarah Chambers — with fifteen minutes left in the game, the pace settled down again. Blockers for both teams began to show signs of fatigue, which allowed jammers to have greater success getting out of the pack.
The remainder of the game showed some of the single-scoring-pass jams demonstrated early on in the game, and while the majority of them were in favor of Victoria, Texas did pull off a 2-0 one by Gravy, Baby! and a 4-4 jam by Olivia Shootin’ John. Texas fans were enthusiastic over this strong finish, but it wasn’t enough to close the major point differential already carved out by Victoria. In the end, Texas showed a determined effort but was outmatched by Victoria’s disciplined defense combined with their explosive jamming style, which dominated throughout the tournament and earned them a 193-50 victory along with a first place medal. Texas finishes the tournament in second, and will go continue on with VRDL to the 2017 WFTDA Championships in Philly Nov. 3-5.
Victorian Roller Derby League (Seed #1, WFTDA #1) 193
Texas Rollergirls (Seed #2, WFTDA #6) 50