Game 1: #1 Auld Reekie Rollergirls vs #16 Dublin Roller Derby
The Division 2 brackets for WFTDA Playoffs this season come off a bit overwhelming with two tracks of eight teams playing out over two days before the winning teams advance to Championships on Sunday. There’s a lot to look at, and with six teams participating for the first time, there will likely be many busted brackets as the weekend goes on in Pittsburgh.
Even just looking at the first game, it’s hard to tell how things will play out. At 10am on track one, the #1 seed Auld Reekie Roller Girls face off against the #16 seed Dublin Roller Derby. On paper, it would seem the WFTDA ranked #41 Auld Reekie team should be able to handle #58 ranked Dublin easily, but digging a littler deeper there seems to be interesting results on both sides.
As far as similarities, both these teams were the first member league for their respective country, both are attending WFTDA tournaments for the first time, and both will be traveling several miles across the Atlantic to be play this weekend. The two teams also played all of their games this season within Europe, and while they each attended EuroClash, they did not taken each other on this season. They did meet in April of 2016 where Auld Reekie won 238-105.
As far as league history, Auld Reekie got the jump on derby by starting up in 2008 when just three years later they became the 2nd non-North American team to join WFTDA as a member league. They played at Roll Britannia, the first European tournament, as well as ECDX (2013) and the Big O (2014 & 2016), with many European events in between. This gives them a richer history of tournament experiences and moments to learn from over the years.
Dublin was founded just a year later in 2009 but didn’t join WFTDA until 2014. Their first major event was 2015: A Skate Odyssey followed by Beach Brawl in 2016 which was their major rankings turning point. While a team currently on the rise may have more momentum going into their first postseason tournament, a team who has been around awhile likely benefits from more knowledge and time to grow. However, we can all understand the harsh realities of this sport that force teams through turnover or shrinking resources. Auld Reekie felt a bit of that last year when they had to choose between declining a tournament invite or flying back to the States with a diminished roster and exhausted league. Rather than make a hasty first appearance, Auld Reekie made the hard decision to opt out and instead return this season stronger and with even more motivation to perform well.
Dublin was gifted with the opportunity to participate this season since teams above them weren’t able to go or declined, allowing DRD to get in despite being six spots past the rankings cut off for Division 2. Whether they’re an underdog ready to pounce on this experience, or a fresh face about about to get a reality check is yet to be seen.
Looking at Flat Track Stats’ assessment of the match up, they actually have Dublin as the winner of this game with a 64% probability. Although, that result comes from looking at the teams within the system of WFTDA ranked leagues. If you click on the Europe tab to the left, expectations flip and FTS has Auld Reekie as the predicted winner. Comparing their past games against similar opponents, it shows very close results but ARRG with a slight edge in a couple situations.
Auld Reekie went 2-2 in sanctioned games this season (4-4 overall) with a win over Leeds 301-93 and a loss to Paris 193-140. Dublin also played those two teams and took Leeds by ten more points, but lost to Paris by 107 points, giving them a 4-1 record (4-3 overall.) Both played unsanctioned games against Rainy City with ARRG losing by 248 points in March and Dublin taking a 259-point loss just a month prior. While Auld Reekie gave up slightly more points, they were able to score more, taking a greater percentage of game points than Dublin did in their game against a currently ranked #17 Rainy City. Auld Reekie has lost to two teams this season to teams that are ranked below them though; their loss to #3 seed Paris and also a one-point loss to #14 seed Bear City.
WFTDA tournaments are a different environment to play games in since winning becomes the sole motivator and not just a point spread. There’s also the added factor of teams traveling great distances and whether or not they can bring their usual roster of skaters. In the history of Division 2 brackets, only twice has the #1 seed made it out of the weekend in first place out of eight tournaments, showing how unpredictable games can be in this Division.
Be sure to get your WFTDA.tv pass and tune in for this first game to see whether the Irish or the Scottish will prevail.
Get all your 2017 International WFTDA D2 Playoffs and Championships information at Tournament Central.