DALLAS, TX — A long anticipated bout finally came to fruition last Saturday when the Dallas Derby Devils took on Assassination City, the first time the cross-town rivals had met in a regular WFTDA sanctioned bout. More to the point, this was the first time fans of both leagues were able to fill up a building and cheer, cheer, cheer. If that weren’t enough to draw a crowd, local men’s team Dallas Deception hosted the Tucson Dry Heat Militia in their debut bout, a 40 minute affair. Let no one say they don’t appreciate derby in Dallas.
The final outcome of the 60 minute women’s bout might have been easy to predict – when we last saw these teams they were taking turns against Atlanta, with DDD winning and AC losing – and indeed the Devils came out on top again, 228-60. But how did it all happen, and what can AC take with them into the future?
Women’s Bout: Dallas 228, Assassination City 60
The opening jam pitted Roxie La Roo of DDD against Olive Illegal of AC, two jammers that would see a lot of action the entire night. Roxie would win the opener, 9-1, scoring a grandslam before Olive could break the pack and then completing another pass before calling off the jam.
The second jam would typify the efforts of both teams. While Dallas would win the jam 4-1, (Hot 4 Teacher over Brandi Danger), credit has to be given to Assassination City for getting their jammers out of the pack quick enough to convince Dallas to call of the jam after only one scoring pass. What the final score doesn’t tell you is that AC pushed hard enough to avoid what could have been many extremely lopsided jams, instead forcing the issue with Dallas. Very few jams went the full two minutes and most of them weren’t much longer than one.
The third and fifth jams saw AC jammers Vanna Rockin and Brandi Danger go to the penalty box. Dallas took advantage of these penalties by calling off the jam and starting fresh jams with uncontested jammers. This put them in firm control of four consecutive jams and Keltic Kamikaze, Roxie La Roo, Hot 4 Teacher and Ingersoll Rand would rack the score up to 43-2, putting Dallas in irrevocable command of the bout.
Olive Illegal would then go toe-to-toe with Roxie La Roo, keeping the eighth jam tied at 4-4, but the ninth jam would see Dallas demonstrate their superior athleticism in the bout’s first two-minute jam. With Keltic Kamikaze and Brandi Danger both ineligible for lead jammer it became a pure race, one that Keltic would win 14-3.
It was not until jam 10 that AC would earn its first lead jammer. Olive Illegal took control quickly against Hot 4 Teacher, but both skaters started their first scoring pass at about the same time. Olive accepted the risks of not calling off the jam and both jammers would go on to attempt two scoring passes, with Olive coming out on top 7-6. An improvement for AC, but the Dallas lead was not going to be surmounted one point at a time. The score was 67-16.
Dallas responded by shutting out AC for the next five jams. When the dry spell was broken AC was able to get lead jammer three times in a row, (credit to Herassizz Mine, Illegally Blonde and Olive Illegal), but had to settle for being matched nearly point for point by the Dallas jammers. The first half came to close soon after with Dallas up 121-28.
The second half would see a bit more violence. In the second jam Dallas jammer Hot 4 Teacher would go down and play would be stopped. Clearly in pain, Hot 4 would eventually pick herself up and return to jamming about 15 minutes later. Not one jam after her return would Assassination City’s Herassizz Mine go down similarly but not be so lucky, suffering a game-ending knee injury.
In this half it would only take four jams before AC would step up and claim lead jammer, with Herassizz Mine grabbing a clean 5-0 off Roxie La Roo. No small feat.
Ten minutes into the half Assassination City put forth their best effort of the night, holding Dallas scoreless over three jams and allowing only two points in the next, making it a 13-2 run to bring us into the final quarter of the game at a score of 155-46. A wide margin, certainly, but worth noting that for 15 minutes the score only favored Dallas by a margin of 34-18. Again, give AC credit for never giving up and for playing as hard as they could the entire game.
The rest of the half, however, would go Dallas’ way as they outscored AC 73-14 and brought us to the final score of 228-60.
Men’s Bout: Dallas Deception 178, Tucson Dry Heat Militia 19
The core of Tucson’s team has been together for a mere 7 months and while they have some true competitive talent in Pitchit and Johnny Smokescreen, the team had yet to experience roller derby on a highly competitive level. The Dry Heat was bolstered by Harm City skaters Justice Feelgood Marshall, Sin Diesel, and Gearhead in the interest of healthy competition, but it would prove much too little in the face of Dallas’ hefty experience. The question, ultimately, wasn’t who would win, but rather what these teams would look like. With public exhibitions of men’s derby so rare, fans were excited to see anything.
And Dallas didn’t merely have experience on their side, but youth and athleticism to boot. With nary a skater over 25 and with Matomic and Johnny Pocket Rocket already proven to be two of the best skaters in the country, Dallas is well positioned to become the best men’s team out there.
In the first half, Tuscon pulled out all the stops it could, leaning heavily on a jammer rotation of Pitchit, Smoke and Justice. The first jam saw Matomic go up against Johnny Smokescreen, winning 8-5. To judge by a margin of three points, one might have guessed the Dry Heat would be putting pressure on the Deception to perform, but no, it would not be until the tenth jam that Tucson would score again.
Dallas’ eight-jam shut-out would be highlighted in the fifth jam when Matomic would pass his star to Johnny Pocket Rocket while executing a twirling double-reverse whip. Showboating? Yes. Awesome? Of course. Crowd pleasing? Absolutely. Again, let no one say they don’t appreciate derby in Dallas and under no circumstance shall it be permitted to say that the Dallas Deception can’t work a crowd.
The sixth jam looked to be an opportunity for the Militia to get some points, as they started with Justice Feelgood Marshall alone on the line (with Pocket Rocket in the box due to having successfully called the jam after the star pass) — but the chance was lost as Justice took a major track cut on his opening pass. That resulted in a jammerless jam that pitted a depleted Johhny Smokescreen against Short Bus. Short Bus would take it 6-0. Looking to relieve the primary jammer rotation, Julius Plaesar was put on the line for Tucson, setting up Pocket Rocket for the most lopsided jam of the bout, 20-0 and launching the score up to 72-5.
Pitchit would earn Tucson its first lead jammer against Rhino, taking the jam cleanly, 5-0, giving Tucson its last points of the period. At half the score would be 81-10 in favor of Dallas.
Victory clearly out of its grasp, the Dry Heat Militia went with a deeper jammer rotation in an effort to share the wealth of experience. The Deception would graciously follow suit, but not until the fifth jam. This would see Dallas open the period with a 60-4 explosion over a mere four jams, rocketing the score to 141-14, the bright spot for Tucson being that Mr. Awesome was able to grab 4 points in his debut jam.
In fifth jam things would calm down, with Dallas’ Dewey Decimator skating to a 0-0 tie against Tucson’s tiny but indestructible Handinout Justice.
The sixth jam would find the Dry Heat jammer Julius Plaesar called out for tripping, which would have been unremarkable if not for his egregious misuse of his own girth on his way to the penalty box, bumping the table that held his team’s water cooler and sending 20+ gallons of water and ice exploding across the floor and onto the track in what must have been a vicious attempt to ruin the skates and spines of the host Deception.
It should be said that the Dallas Derby Devils staff was able to clean up the enormous mess in an impressively short time. Meanwhile, Matomic and Pocket Rocket entertained the crowd with their equally impressive jam-skating skills. Again, it shall not be permitted to question the Deception’s ability to play a crowd.
The final score would be 178-19. Tucson’s minimalist approach to scoring would be rounded out by Space Case (4 points), and Handinout Justice, (1 point). Dallas’s 178 points would be led by Johnny Pocket Rocket’s 48 points over 5 jams followed by Matomic and Texas Scold ‘Em with 29 points each over 3 jams. Most impressive for Dallas was their ability to succeed with any jammer and not rely too heavily on the enormous talents of Matomic and Pocket Rocket.