In the final game of the 2016 International WFTDA Division 1 Playoffs Montréal, the London Rollergirls (#1 seed) from London, United Kingdom, clung to a small but hard-fought lead to take the win over the Texas Rollergirls (#2) from Austin, Texas. Both teams have guaranteed spots at the 2016 International WFTDA Championships in Portland, Oregon, but a first-round bye – and bragging rights – were on the line in the final game of the Montréal tournament, with London coming out on top.
Both teams had decisive wins in their games on Friday and Saturday, but the first-place game looked like a completely different game from the very first whistle. London put the first points on the board, but Texas immediately responded in the next jam to nearly triple London’s score, 11-4. After a messy fifth jam that saw both teams’ jammers spend time in the penalty box, London started to build a slight point cushion, but Texas came back with a power start in the sixth jam to turn the tide as Hauss the Boss put up five points.
Texas held London scoreless for three jams while Fifi Nomenon and Freight Train put up double-digit jams to give Texas a 43-19 lead – but it was by no means a comfortable lead, with London nipping at their heels. Although Texas earned lead in nearly three-quarters first half’s jams, by the end of the period, London’s defense had come together to hold Texas’ jammers at bay while eking out a few points of their own, entering halftime down just one point, 71-70.
London burst into the second half ready for business, retaking the lead on a 10-0 jam from Lexi Lightspeed, who seemed to find her footing after a difficult first half. London maintained its lead despite two penalties to Rogue Runner in the second jam of the half, in which Texas narrowed the gap to two points but couldn’t close it. A quick two-point hit-and-quit jam for London’s AnDracula gave London a tiny edge, but a 5-0 jam from Hauss the Boss was enough for Texas to overtake London in the next jam. An even 4-4 battle between Lexi Lightspeed and Fifi Nomenon kept the point gap stable, but London blasted a gap in the point differential in the next jam with a massive 33-7 jam from Rogue Runner. London gambled and won on the long-running jam as Stefanie Mainey, Kid Block, Onyeka Igwe and Katie “Hellvetica” Black put on a clinic in lateral blocking to contain Texas jammer Hauss the Boss, retaking the lead.
Although London had the lead, the game was far from determined. Stellar blocking from held Texas’ jammers and recycled them in an endless waterfall of hits, holding Texas to just two points in nearly ten minutes, but London’s scoring also slowed after Rogue Runner’s seven-pass jam, bringing the score to 134-105 with just minutes left on the game clock. Texas narrowed its jammer rotation to just Fifi Nomenon and Freight Train, the team’s highest point-scorers for the game, which paid off as Texas won lead jam in five of the last six jams in the game and held London scoreless for four, closing the game to just eight points with nearly two minutes to go.
A 12-point jam for Master Blaster bought London a little space, but double penalties in the penultimate jam gave Texas a power start with just enough time for one more jam. Freight Train busted through for a quick lead, but lost lead after committing a back block penalty to ensure the jam would run a full two minutes, using up the whole clock. Master Blaster emerged from the box hoping to put up points for London, but a back block penalty kept her off the track. As the jam clock ticked down, Freight Train’s 12 points before serving her penalty wouldn’t be enough to overtake London’s lead, closing the game 146-135.
London Rollergirls (#1) 146 1st Place
Texas Rollergirls (#2) 135 2nd Place