London Rollergirls (#3) vs. Crime City Rollers (#4)
Two European teams having played each other twice before; that was the story for third place during Game 15 at the 2017 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Malmö. London Rollergirls of London, England (#3, WFTDA #7) came out victorious in the two previous games against Crime City Rollers of Malmö, Sweden (#4, WFTDA #12), and the same held true in the battle for seeding at the 2017 International WFTDA Championships Philadelphia. Despite the home crowd advantage and forceful defensive showing, Crime City fell short and took fourth with a score of 181–138.
London Brawling took the first stab at the scoreboard, as veteran jammer Rogue Runner put five points on the board, followed by Delta Strike’s nine points – with a powerful assist from blocker Gaz. In the first three jams, London took lead jammer and a quick lead 16–0. Crime City’s blocker Juicy Butther made AnDracula’s efforts to get lead jammer troublesome, fighting AnDracula singularly at the front of the pack; AnDracula struggled to win lead jammer and went on to put two hard-fought points on the scoreboard. It wasn’t until the fourth jam that Crime City put up any points, much to the crowd’s delight; cheers filled the auditorium as Hanna P skated away with lead. She put up five unanswered points.
For the first 15 minutes of play, London dominated. Then Crime City jammer Ragna ‘PonyCat’ Rockette took lead for the second time and blockers SPINOSAURUS, Dykestalker, Juicy Butther, and Below Me held Rogue Runner for the entirety of a jam; she never made it through, and PonyCat picked up five points after battling London blockers Onyeka Igwe and Arocha. The following jam marked a true turning point for the Crime City Rollers; they started the jam with a 2–4 pack advantage, allowing Prince Sofia to grab lead jammer. She picked up 14 points – the first double-digit grab of the game. Prince Sofia’s points put the game at a one-point differential; London with 25, Crime City with 24. Rattled, London took a timeout with 15:46 left in the first period.
Following the timeout, Hanna P donned the star for Crime City, while AnDracula lined up for London. AnDracula went to the penalty box for a back block, and Hanna P picked up a no pass, no penalty. The jam ran for a full two minutes, and Hanna P committed a track cut penalty. After the jam clock expired, Crime City took its first lead, 37–29. Crime City continued their lead for the next five jams, but London kept the volley of points close by using star passes to pivots Kid Block and Arocha. With 3:40 left in the first period, London took a one-point lead, which they quickly lost in the following jam when Curly Håår picked up six points to Rogue Runner’s two points. London called an official review with 2:21 left in the period, requesting a cut call on Curly Håår. The official review was not allowed, and it was immediately followed by an official review by Crime City. The hometown favorites requested a low block call on a London blocker; it too was denied, and both teams forfeit their reviews.
The back-to-back official reviews took more than eight minutes to complete, and that time took a toll on the skaters after such a fast paced first half. The momentum shifted decidedly in London’s favor as Rogue Runner picked up 23 points in the following jam, as Crime City Hanna P went to the penalty box for a cut track. That penalty was followed by Prince Sofia being awarded lead jammer and then picking up a track cut in the final jam of the period. Going into halftime there was a marginal gap on the scoreboard, 72–52 in favor of London.
The second period started with Prince Sofia sitting in the box and Rogue Runner unopposed at the jammer line. Prince Sofia came out of the box and got lead jammer, however, Rogue eventually completed a star pass to London pivot Kid Block, who skated against Prince Sofia for nearly two minutes. London came out on top of the exchange, 13–11, bringing the score to 85–63 after the first jam of the second period. The second jam was another win for London, as Jack Attack picked up 15 points, including two quick passes on the outside of the track, nearly untouched. Crime City jammer PonyCat got lead, but she also was sent to the box for a back block; she managed to pick up seven points during the full two-minute jam. Like in the previous period, both teams called an official review with 27:42 on the game clock: Crime City requested a high block on a London blocker, and it was granted; then, London requested a low block on Crime City jammer PonyCat, and it was also granted.
London widened the gap, putting 28 points on the scoreboard to Crime City’s five points during the next few jams; it looked as though the pendulum of momentum was swinging firmly in London’s favor. Crime City called a timeout with 17:37 left in game play to reset; the pause, however, did not go in their favor, as Prince Sofia passed the star to pivot Dykestalker in the following jam, and Dykestalker was sent to the box for a high block. The jams that followed found Crime City jammers going to the box four times, giving London a chance to stretch their lead. With nearly 10:00 left on the clock, London were up 149–78; they’d effectively doubled up on their European opponents.
Another pivotal jam for Crime City pitted London jammer Jack Attack against Prince Sofia. Crime City took Prince Sofia’s lead jammer status and locked down their defense on Jack Attack. Prince Sofia managed four scoring passes and 20 points, bringing the point spread to a mere 51: London at 149 points and Crime City at 98. London promptly called a timeout. The final five jams of the period were a back-and-forth of points for the teams, but London managed to keep a solid lead – stretching it back to 70 points. Two penalties by jammer Delta Strike gave Crime City Captain Curly Håår a chance to score 20 points, and the point spread shrank again to 45 points. That spread lasted until the end of the game, and London took third place over hometown hosts Crime City.
London Rollergirls (Seed #3, WFTDA #7) 181
Crime City Rollers (Seed #4, WFTDA #12) 138