By Jim Almy
It says March 15 on the schedule, but the four roller derby teams taking the track this Saturday at KeyArena for the Rat City Rollergirls will mostly be looking forward to April 12, the championship event.
One team is in the prize ring for sure, one is not and the two others will bring to mind an old Bob Dylan album, Blood on the Tracks. In this case it’s ‘track’, singular, but when Grave Danger and Throttle Rockets open the night’s action skating for a spot in next month’s championship bout the rest of the title will be accurate.
Derby Liberation Front (DLF) will take their undefeated record and guaranteed championship appearance into the second bout of the night against a rebuilding Sockit Wenches team that has yet to score a win. It will be 2-0 against 0-2.
But don’t let their records fool you. DLF has won two very tight bouts. The Sockit Wenches have been in both their matches well into the second half. “We’re not taking the Sockit Wenches lightly at all,” said DLF Coach Ho Chi Danh. “They’ve shown a lot of intensity and we’re aware that they will be coming out swinging.” He added that his team’s strategy will be to work on what they’ve been working on the entire season which includes penalty reduction and concentration on their defensive packs.
Grave Danger, last year’s champions and holders of that trophy for the past three years, and the Throttle Rockets have both lost to DLF. Danger lost by 33 points in an opening night bout that saw changes in the lead switch back and forth and stay within a few points as the match neared its end. Penalties caught up with Grave Danger and DLF pulled away as the final seconds ticked off.
An even closer bout followed in February between DLF and the Throttle Rockets. The two teams were tied at 173 going into the final jam when DLF jammer Muscle Sprouts added ten points while her opposite, Rockets jammer Luna Negra, sat in the penalty box, for DLF’s second victory of the season.
This Saturday has all the elements of another dramatic and exciting two hours of action. The Sockit Wenches improved significantly from bout one to bout two. Both Grave Danger and the Throttle Rockets view their losses against DLF as turning on one or two small points, a penalty here, a missed block there, that could have resulted in a win for either. Both are resolved that those imperfections won’t occur when they meet DLF again.
But first, of course, there is the business at hand, earning a win when they play each other this Saturday to get into that championship game.
Doors: 4:30, Opening Ceremonies 5:30
For tickets to Saturday’s click HERE