Rose City Rollers defended the Hydra trophy on their home turf of Portland, Ore. in a nail-biting battle for first place against five-time Women’s Flat Track Derby Association Champions Gotham Girls Roller Derby of New York City, N.Y. It is Rose City’s second consecutive championship title.
The eight teams that outskated all others to make it to Day 3 of the 2016 International WFTDA Championships spanned coasts and continents. The top four Division 1 teams are veterans of this level of play, having played Sunday of Championships last year and maintaining their position by winning their respective playoff tournaments. Experience played into each team’s hand: Victoria has played in Championships since 2014; London since 2013; Rose City since 2011; and Gotham since 2006.
Both teams suffered narrow losses on Saturday during semifinal play – London lost by a slim 26 points to Gotham Girls Roller Derby and Victoria lost to Rose City Rollers by an even leaner margin — only three points.
The rematch for third was lopsided in Victoria’s favor. While London managed to mount some strong play — especially from 2014 Championship MVP and Blocker Die Die and Jammer Rogue Runner who picked up 39 points throughout the game — it wasn’t enough to stop the hard-hitting, well-calculated defense of Victoria.
By halftime, Victoria had doubled London’s score. This was made possible by the stout play of Blocker Lorrae Evans, a skater who deftly transitioned from offense to defense, making it possible for Jammer Christy Demons to score a game-high 89 points.
Recognizing Victoria’s nearly infallible defense, London transitioned to an offense-centered strategy in attempt to spring their Jammers from the pack. In the end, however, it was too little and certainly too late for London, relegating them to fourth for the third year in a row. Victoria rolled away with a commanding lead, 198-108, and took Third Place in the tournament.
In the second deja vu match of the day, 2015 Champions Rose City skated to defend the Hydra trophy against Gotham on their home turf in Portland, Ore. at Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum.
In 2015, Gotham built the point spread of the championship game as wide as 40 points but then saw the lead slip from their grasp in the final minutes of play. Such was the case in this year’s match as well.
A skater known for clean play, Gotham’s Jammer ShortStop went to the Penalty Box back-to-back in the waning minutes of the first period, allowing Portland Jammer Scald Eagle to score 20 and bring the halftime score to 97-81. Of note, the score at halftime in 2015 was 114-81 in favor of Gotham, a score only 17 points different from 2015.
During the second period of play, Rose City slowed Gotham’s scoring, allowing only 69 points to Portland’s 105. The home crowd roared as it became clear their team would hold on to win.
Portland managed to blank Gotham three jams in a row while Rose City’s jammers racked up 21 points. They followed up with an 18-point jam, securing Rose City’s retention of the Hydra trophy and entering another chapter of WFTDA history.
In the Division 2 bracket, the Blue Ridge Rollergirls claimed their first Division 2 championship title. The gold medal game was a re-match of the D2 Playoffs in Wichita earlier this year. Brandywine Roller Derby from Downingtown, PA, USA took that game coming from behind in the second half, 146-123 against the Blue Ridge Rollergirls of Asheville, NC, USA. They were not able to do so this time around, with the higher ranked Blue Ridge Rollergirls building enough of a cushion that any second half momentum swings couldn’t change the outcome.
The battle for third place was also a rematch from the D2 Playoffs in Lansing but in this case the outcome remained the same. Calgary Roller Derby Association of Calgary, Alberta, Canada (D2 Lansing #1, WFTDA #48) faced off against Charlottesville Derby Dames of Charlottesville, Va., USA (D2 Lansing #2, WFTDA #52) in a rematch of the D2 Lansing Playoff game in August. The first game of Day 3 at the 2016 International WFTDA Championships ended with Calgary triumphant over Charlottesville, 252–197.