This weekend was the first of serious division one action of 2014, and we got a number of shock results from it. Before you read on, though, do check out our new WFTDA league table–it shows off the latest rankings and all the teams’ movements since the last ranking period from top to bottom to give you instant context on every result and every team’s momentum in the season so far.
Charm @ Steel
The numbers suggested Steel City should canter past a declining Charm City–the Baltimore team was given a 10% win chance by Flat Track Stats, and found themselves 12 places under Pittsburgh’s Steel Hurtin’ in WFTDA’s rankings. However, Charm lead rail-to-rail and ended up with a crushing 274-104 win in the wake of massive jammer penalty problems from Steel City.
The bout was played under the 2013 WFTDA ruleset (with 60s penalties, etc), and saw Charm City in one fell swoop erase all the FTS declines they saw since their trip to Rat City and thereafter in 2013, restoring themselves to the rating they had after their two ECDX losses. The bout was Steel City’s biggest FTS ratings drop in history, and Charm’s biggest-ever single bout rise. It puts Steel City at their lowest rating since May 2010. The result is, as you’d expect, going to boost Charm’s WFTDA rating for the next release as it is significantly above their current average, while it’ll hurt Steel; in isolation, this game rating would put Steel in between Long Island and Carolina in 79th place.
Both teams featured some new faces for 2014–with Charm featuring more new talent than Steel. Neither team has had any huge retirements to deal with in the off season, but is certainly an indication that Charm City has almost certainly taken the blow of a horrific performance at playoffs in Salem in the right way and are rebuilding, especially with IM Pain back in the team and apparently firing on all cylinders again. A run of bouts against lower-ranked opposition should provide an exceptionally useful base for a serious run up the rankings if they perform to expectation between now and the playoff cut-off date in June.
Brandywine & Nashville @ Cincinnati
Another team who turned heads this weekend was Cincinnati. After their 256-66 loss to Demolition earlier in the season, eyes were on the Black Sheep to see how they would react, and provide a little more data to put that Demolition game in context. However, that bout triggered some massive upheaval in Cinci.
Following that bout, five of the most recognisable skaters on the Black Sheep left: June with a Cleaver, K. Lethal, Karma Krash, Ruff’n the Passer and Sadistic Sadie all decided to move on from Cinci “due to philosophical differences of opinions about the direction of the team.” We haven’t heard much about where those Cinci stars may resurface, if anywhere, except for K. Lethal–she’s headed to Tampa, and is in the process of transferring to the team formerly known as the Derby Darlins.
These personnel losses followed the earlier departures of Sk8 Crime (to Ohio) and Penn Tupanga (to Naptown) and left the Black Sheep in need of serious rebuilding with no time in which to do it. That certainly puts this weekend’s losses of 291-124 to Nashville and 217-104 to Brandywine, into some much-needed context, and makes inferences about those teams’ relatively performances hard to gauge. Cinci were clinging on to the bottom of Division 1 as it was; with these three results adding to a poor playoff performance (from a WFTDA rating point of view, thanks to both Rose and Denver) the Black Sheep are going to face a very, very tough fight to qualify for top level tournament play in 2014.
The results are still great from a rankings point of view for both Brandywine and Nashville, though; they will both climb off the back of soundly beating a side that is almost totally different to the one that earned their current rating and will see a boost to their own playoff seedings because of it.
Nashville @ Ohio
Nashville outperformed expectation against another rebuilding team the day before their game against the Black Sheep too, with a creditable 194-128 loss to Ohio. That result only tells half the story, though. The bout–played under the 2014 WFTDA ruleset–saw Nashville race into an 82-65 half-time lead against an Ohio team playing their first sanctioned game since the retirements of stalwarts Phoenix Bunz and Pippi RipYourStockings, before Ohio doubled down on both defence and offence in the second period. The result ended up being very close to both team’s current WFTDA rating averages; both teams essentially performed to expectation overall.
In D2 action, Tucson’s 226-95 sanctioned win over Duke will boost their playoff hopes; in fact, their rating for that game lines up with current averages for the bottom of the top 20.
In MRDA action Uinta Madness squeaked out a home win over Boise, 189-187, despite the Idaho team being ranked 9 places above them in the 2013 year-end MRDA rankings–so watch out for the Salt Lake City team looking to build on that and perhaps try and make a move on the MRDA top 20 later in the year.
In the UK, Oldham’s Rainy City Rollergirls jumped one spot in the UKRDA rankings to claim the number three spot and become the top-rated English team in the UK rankings with a comfortable 269-145 win over Windsor. Those rankings don’t currently include Windsor’s similar loss to the current four-ranked Middlesbrough from the prior weekend, however, so Rainy’s hold on the spot is tenuous at best.