After the quiet of Independence Day weekend, things are back into full swing this weekend as teams across WFTDA start their playoff preparations in earnest–and, perversely, play the first bouts that count towards 2015 playoff qualification.
Gotham in the UK
A couple of hundred miles north of London on Saturday, Gotham Girls (#1 in WFTDA and FTS 1) will play London Rollergirls (who we’re pretty sure are #3 in WFTDA even though the current rankings are still secret and FTS 3). Flat Track Stats reckons that London has a 20% chance of winning–the highest chance they’ve given any team Gotham has faced since the WFTDA championship bout in 2011.
Now that belies the fact that Gotham’s games against both Bay Area and Texas at Champs last year ended up closer than this one is predicted to–but it gives important context to the game, at least.
London’s 205-132 win over Rocky Mountain does not compare favourably with Gotham’s 246-64 rout of them in Denver–though Rocky did have a penalty nightmare that weekend and saw two players ejected from that game after having a 17-jammer penalty game against Windy City the day before, so it might not be the best predictor given how (relatively) clean their seemingly under-strength line-up was at Anarchy in the UK.
London make one change from their line-up at Champs last year–Juke Boxx, late of MNRG, comes in while Grievous Bodily Charm, who has removed herself from contention temporarily, misses out. Gotham have two changes from their line-up in the final; Puss ‘N Glutes and Roxy Dallas come in for Claire D. Way and Hela Skelter.
Juke Boxx showed at Anarchy she’s already integrating well into the London machine and making it look all the better. This isn’t just because of her individual skill on the track, but also due to the balance she brings to the team by acting as a counterweight to existing powerhouse Stefanie Mainey. This correction balances up London’s packs and consequently seems to have taken the pressure off, and further looks to have allowed some of their more destructive players to play with a little more licence and freedom.
It seems unlikely that will be enough for the Londoners to get even as close to Gotham as FTS predicts given the scale of GGRD’s wins this year … but we shall have to wait and see.
All the tickets for the bout sold out in 7 minutes despite it being cross-scheduled with another big UK derby event and the third place game at the FIFA World Cup, but thanks to a successful crowdfunding drive, it’s going to be streamed online–and you can watch it right here on DNN. Gotham vs London is on at 7pm BST (11am PDT, 2pm EDT, 8pm CEST), preceded by the undercard bout of Leeds Roller Dolls vs Brawl Saints at 5pm BST (9am PDT, Noon EDT, 6pm CEST).
00 Ana Bollocks // 10 Flowers // 1853 Vicious Van Gogo // 2 Donna Matrix // 241 Fisti Cuffs // 340 Bonnie Thunders // 4 Violet Knockout // 404 Hyper Lynx // 41 Roxy Dallas // 4500 Bonita Apple Bomb // 503 Mick Swagger // 55 Suzy Hotrod // 68C Sexy Slaydie // 999 Puss ‘N Glutes
111 Lady Gogo // 13 Stefanie Mainey // 179 jensykes // 22 Rogue Runner // 33 Frightning Bolt // 357 Raw Heidi // 44 Ylva Arnberg // 51 Olivia Coupe // 55 Lexi Lightspeed // 7 Kristen Lee // 888 Shaolynn Scarlett // 9 Kamikaze Kitten // A18 Juke Boxx // KT0 Hellvetica Black
London v Gotham isn’t the only D1 game happening this weekend, though.
Houston, fresh from qualifying for playoffs at the last possible second down in New Orleans, are heading up to the opposite corner of the country as they kick off their playoff preparations in Vancouver against Terminal City on Friday night before heading to Seattle to play Rat (on Saturday) and Jet City (on Sunday).
We aren’t expecting Houston to win either of these games–but we have seen very little of them this year and both of these opponents should prove to be a useful yardstick to see if they can improve on their sixth-place playoff finish from 2013 in 2014.
Speaking of teams we haven’t seen much of this year, Wasatch see some sanctioned action this weekend too. Sin City are paying a visit to Utah and if Wasatch want to show any signs of improving on last year’s seventh place finish in Fort Wayne, they’re going to need to put up a bigger win here than many expect them to.
Elsewhere, Toronto head to Baltimore to play Charm City. Charm have been having a good run in 2014 after a disappointing end to 2013 and would be expected to emerge victorious here even if IM Pain hasn’t recovered from her knock at Franky Panky–especially with the sheer number of walking wounded in the Toronto line-up.
Finally in D1 action, Naptown head down to the ATL for a match-up with the Atlanta’s Dirty South. Unlike 2013 where Naptown had a very quiet first half, 2014 has seen them in plenty of action as they look to rebuild. Both teams have suffered this year following personnel changes–but it’s impossible to see past a home win for this one, even in Atlanta’s first game without Alassin Sane.
There’s also some D2 action to round up from last weekend and this coming weekend–for that, go check out The B Roll, where Deadwards has you covered.
She also kicks off our playoff coverage by introducing you to 2014 playoff debutantes the St Chux Derby Chix as we start to look at the teams who will be making their playoff debuts in the coming weeks.