2017 D2 Playoffs Game 2:
Middlesbrough vs. Columbia

Middlesbrough Roller Derby (#6) vs. Columbia QuadSquad (#11)

The Columbia QuadSquad Rollergirls of Columbia, South Carolina, U.S. (#11) continued the pattern of upsets at the 2017 International WFTDA Division 2 Playoffs Pittsburgh, toppling Middlesbrough Roller Derby of Middlesbrough, U.K. (#6) in a nail-biting last jam. The game appeared to be dominated by fast, low-scoring jams from both teams early on, keeping the game tight, but key power jams and a carefully managed final jam wedged the game open wide enough for Columbia to claim the win, despite the game’s many lead changes.

Middlesbrough managed the first points on the board from Middlesbrough high-scorer Ella Storey after both jammers spent nearly a full minute in the pack trying to break through in the first jam, but Columbia QuadSquad’s Poison Violet eliminated the advantage with a four-point jam of her own right afterwards. The teams traded low-scoring jams for the first ten minutes of the game, seeing three lead changes but no more than four points scored in any single jam as both teams tested blocking formations and opportunities for offense. The game’s first big scoring run came in a chaotic two-minute jam that saw Columbia jammer Must Dash sent to the box twice, allowing Middlesbrough’s The Little Grr-Maid to play offense for Lexi Palmer (despite Rox Ann Stones’ impressive momentum-stealing blocking) for the game’s first big point run, putting the lead back in Middlesbrough’s favor, 25–19. Three fast jams saw just one point total as jammers tailed each other through packs, but a power jam for Poison Violet put the lead back in Columbia’s hands halfway through the first period as she fended off devastating blows from Middlesbrough pivot Terri Sudron, 26–29 Columbia.

That lead didn’t last long, as Middlesbrough snatched it right back with a power jam for Ella Storey, who evaded Chuck-Town Bruiser’s hard knock to the outside to land on her toe stops and sprint up for lead — but her blockers were so caught up in holding back Columbia’s pivot that jammer Must Dash snuck back in from the box untouched on her initial pass, forcing the call at a 45–29 score for Middlesbrough. The points were flowing but the game remained tight in the next jams as each team put up two-pass jams, but a 12-point power jam for Poison Violet was enough to bring the score back within single digits, and a five-point power jam for Agent Cherry Maim’her put the lead back in Columbia’s hands, 53–56. Columbia got four more points on the board in the next jam, but remained scoreless for the rest of the half as Middlesbrough blockers Lolly and Public Emily shut down the packs. Middlesbrough squeaked out enough points at the end to regain the lead going into the half, 63–60, but it was far from secure.

2017 D2 Playoffs Game 2: Middlesbrough vs. Columbia
Steve Jurkovic

In a jam that would set the tone for the rest of the half, Ella Storey evaded a sweeping hit from Columbia’s Nutmeg for lead and snagged three points, but Columbia jammer Gilly the Kid sped under the radar to grab a point of her own. Middlesbrough kept Columbia on lockdown for the next few jams, relying on shutdown defense with quick pops of offense to get their jammers through to widen the score to 85–61. A 10-point jam for Poison Violet as Middlesborough jammer Gemma Peregrine was trapped by Columbia’s blockers gave Columbia some much-needed momentum, and Must Dash managed to outscore Middlesbrough’s Lexi Palmer despite going to the box in the next jam, keeping Middlesbrough in a tight but definite lead, 95–83.

Although both teams were eking points out of almost every jam, Middlesbrough maintained control of the board and the game’s energy through the halfway mark of the period, holding their ground despite losing stalwart blocker Terri Sudron after fouling out. A big power jam for Middlesbrough’s Lexi Palmer looked to be the opening the team needed to slam the door in Columbia’s face, bringing the gap to a game-high 26 points, 128–102. A massive power jam for Gilly the Kid with consistent offense from Chuck-Town Bruiser nearly closed the gap soon after — despite Middlesbrough jammer Gemma Peregrine’s hard-won 10 points, Gilly’s 28 brought the point gap back within a manageable handful, 138–130.

Middlesbrough smartly started burning time off the clock, allowing its solid defense to speak for itself as its jammers grabbed low-scoring but clock-burning passes, holding onto the lead 152–150 with less than a minute left on the clock. Despite Middlesbrough’s impressive defense and gravity-defying jammer tactics, Columbia’s Playoff experience shined in the final jam, as Poison Violet blasted off the jammer line for an immediate lead and grabbed the points she needed, trading points on subsequent jams but riding the jam out until the period clock expired, confident she had the points in hand despite Ella Storey managing to grab a few points for Middlesbrough. The final score was 156–163 in Columbia’s favor.

Columbia will play the winner of the Bear City Roller Derby (#14) vs. Paris Rollergirls (#3) game tonight at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Middlesbrough will play the losing team of the Tucson Roller Derby (#2) vs. E-Ville Roller Derby (#15) game tonight at 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time.


Columbia QuadSquad Rollergirls (Seed #11, WFTDA #52) 163
Middlesbrough Roller Derby (Seed #6, WFTDA #46) 156