Sweet victory for Sockit Wenches over their Portland foe

by Jim Almy

Photo by John Stamets.
Photo by John Stamets.

Victory is sweet and the honey taste of this one will stay with the Sockit Wenches a few savory days, if not longer.

They treated Portland Oregon’s Rose City Rollers, Guns ‘N’ Rollers, to an hour of crisp blocking, aggressive jamming, too much speed and too much power for a 205 – 137 win on Saturday, March 28, at their home track, The Rat’s Nest.

It was the Wenches’ first win of the season and, coming against a strong team like GNR, validated what Sockit Wenches Coaches X-Khan and Sami Automatic have been saying since January, that their team was improving with each bout, fixing mistakes, coming together.

Facing a team that laid a sound beating on them last December; enduring three straight loses with this year’s Rat City Rollergirls home team season; and struggling with injuries, they managed to put the coming together part on convincing display against Guns ‘N’ Rollers.

Photo by John Stamets

Convincing because the Portland based Rose City Rollers League features a tough bunch of skaters. Their all-star team is rated fourth in the world. A couple weeks back one of Guns ‘N’ Rollers sister teams, the Wheels of Justice, ran a clinic on an LA Derby Dolls team, the LA Ri-ettes, sending them home feeling the sting of a 349-40 loss.

Nobody would have been blamed if they came to this bout hoping their locals would just put in a good showing.

They did.

It began in the third jam when Sockit Wenches blocker Moe YaDown (#14) hip-checked Guns ‘N’ Rollers jammer Keto Kabaam! (#828) soundly out of bounds. Returning to the track Kabaam was again escorted rudely out of bounds by YaDown, leading to the illegal use of elbows, forearms and hands by the frustrated jammer. Off to the penalty box for a good part of jams three and four. Meanwhile Rawkhell SqWelch (#761) fluidly moved through the GNR defense five times, adding 25 points to the Wenches total and ending the jam with her team taking the lead, 34-14.

Photo by John Stamets.

For the next nine jams Sockit Wenches blockers held the visitors to a total of five points. Mad ScrapHer (#5150), Sher Nobyl (#5) and Raspberry Slam (#1337) plugged every opening that Guns ‘N’ Rollers jammers aimed for. Sun Shiner (#36), Sister Slaughter (#480) and Devilynne Syde (#666) made the inside and outside passing lanes forbidden territory for all the GNR jammers. Points kept being added by the Sockit Wenches, who were ahead by 89-19 after 11 jams.

Penalties were all that Guns ‘N’ Rollers could accumulate. In one early jam Sockit Wenches jammer Izzie Does It (#3) hit the GNR line so fast that it just blew up, putting her in the lead before the first turn at the start of the jam. Opposing jammer Untamed Shrew (#21) used a tactic that GNR resorted to too often during the bout, elbowing Izzie Does It out of bounds as she approached to make her first scoring pass. Shrew went to the penalty box, Izzie collected 12 points. By the end of the half Guns ‘N’ Rollers had 29 penalties called against them, the Sockit Wenches, 10.

The new Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rules were in force for this bout. Most of those new rules — better definitions of out-of-bounds status, illegal blocking, cutting the track — haven’t affected how skaters play their game. The change in penalty time from one minute to 30 seconds was noticeable. Players returned to the bout more quickly. There were fewer power jams and more of the bout was skated with full teams on both sides. Guns ‘N’ Rollers Coach Bexter Morgan said that the new rules affect everyone the same and that all are just “working out the kinks.”

Photo by John Stamets
Photo by John Stamets

Though team play was what lead to the Sockit Wenches dominating GNR for the bout, individuals stood out in both halves. At one point Rawkhell SqWelch, skating as a blocker (as a jammer she had 50 points in the match) put herself in front of GNR jammer Ivana Thrasher (#522) for a lap and a half. The message that “you’re not going to pass me” was loudly delivered. Near the end of the half Raspberry Slam had to relay the same information to GNR jammer Juvie Hall (#419) for a couple laps and, sure enough, that jammer wasn’t passing Slam either.

The second half began with Guns ‘N’ Rollers adding 18 points to their column in the first five jams while holding the Sockit Wenches to two, 121-81. In jam five Captain Penny Racer (#2) picked up eighteen points, demonstrating that the locals were not giving up any lead and the visitor’s points were going to come hard and dear. It took them 13 more jams to finally reach 100. During those same 13 jams Sockit Wenches added 55 points, leading with less than a quarter of the bout remaining by 176-100.

“We’ve had a lot to fix and work on this season,” said Coach X-Khan, clearly happy with the results of her team’s efforts. “We asked Izzie (Izzie Does It), who had been a blocker, to jam this year and things are clicking for her” (Izzie had 38 points for her jamming efforts).

Coach X-Khan also said that she thought Moe YaDown and Raspberry Slam had good games.

“It was an exciting game,” said Guns ‘N’ Rollers Coach Bexter Morgan. “Both teams played hard. It was good to see the Sockit Wenches come together.”

The home team used nine jammers. In addition to Izzie’s 38 points, Rawkhell SqWelch had 50, Penny Racer had 52, Belle Tolls (#4) had 22, Short Fuse (#11), 5, Mad ScrapHer,16, Sister Slaughter, 8, Devilynne Syde, 5 and Sun Shiner, 10. If you ever want to make it clear to an opposing team that their time is over, just put Sister Slaughter in as a jammer. As the full house of fans could see, she’s an unstoppable force who combines agility and strength to make an eight-wheeled scoring machine you just don’t want to see coming up behind you.

Rawkhell SqWelch was voted Most Valuable Player from the opposition by Guns ‘N’ Rollers. Untamed Shrew, who led all scorers for the night with 63 points, was given the same honor by the Sockit Wenches.

For tickets to the next bout, which is the Season 10 Home Team Championship bout on 4/12 at KeyArena, go to  Ticketmaster.com