A Summer of Derby

It has been the busiest off-season yet for the QCRG teams. Everyone, it seems, has been burning up the highway showing QCRG style everywhere they go.

The Queens Court and the Knockouts started out the road trips on June 30th. The Knockouts went west to Youngstown, Ohio to participate in the Ruckus in the Rust Belt Tournament. Most of the games played in the tournament were WFTDA sanctioned games, but the Knockouts played Burning River’s B team, the Hazmat Crew. The game was a tough one for the team, who had gathered some road Knockouts to round out their roster including Furie/Saucy B’kini Whacks and Furie newcomer LiBRAWLian. The final score was in Burning River’s favor: 248-94.

A bit closer to home, the Queen’s Court players traveled to Jamestown to take on the Babes of Wrath in their first official, public bout. It was a learning experience and the Babes won handily 215-56.

A week later, the Lake Effect Furies B Squad played the Tri-City Venus Fly Tramps in a closed bout at home. Bouts like this are learning opportunities and the Furies used it as such; to try different players, to work on new strategies and to give newer players some time to get their feet wet. Tri-City took home the win, but the Furies took home some valuable lessons.

Photo by Jon McCann
Next up was a weekend jammed with QCRG action. The Icies went to Hamilton. The Knockouts went to Jersey Shore and the Furies went to Rochester for a triple-header.

The Icies played Toronto Junior Roller Derby again in a full bout with full on hitting for the first time. Toronto skated away with the win, but the Icies managed to close the gap compared to the last time they played Toronto. Final score was: 179-147.

The Queen’s Court team, the Rockin’ Royals, went north to Toronto to play in the annual 2Fresh 2Furious tournament. In their first game they played last year’s winner, the Gold Miner’s Daughters, and despite the exciting 23 point come back with 7 minutes left in the 20 minute bout, they lost 36-33. Their next game was against the host team, the Derby Debutantes, and was a tough match. Final score was in the Debutantes’ favor: 85-17.

The Knockouts traveled to New Jersey to show the Jersey Shore B team, JSRG Beat Down, exactly why they are the Queen City Cup Champions. The Knockouts won 228-82 in an intense game where the Beat Down never gave up. But the Knockouts maintained ultimate control and left victorious.

There was a slightly different story to the Lake Effect Furies games. They drove a bit east on the Thruway to Rochester to play in a closed triple-header against the Roc City All Stars and the newly WFTDA-minted Riddeau Valley Vixens. Roc and Riddeau played first with Roc pulling out the win. Final score was 186-141. It was obvious right from the start that Riddeau was no fledgling team. The Furies and Riddeau played next. Riddeau took command of the track and kept it throughout the game. Final score was 277-188 in Riddeau’s favor. But the Furies didn’t let it overwhelm them. With a few tweaks on the bench, a couple of skater swaps, and the game against Roc City was much closer throughout. The Furies squeaked out the win with the final score 170-168.

Rankings are both fluid and static depending on what source you use to determine them. Flat Track Stats ranks teams after each game they played as well as rating each team’s chances of winning. For example, after the Riddeau and Roc City games, the Furies dropped in rankings accordingly. So by the next week, when they went to play the two Virginia teams, the Furies were super-underdogs. Which made the outcome that much sweeter.

WFTDA rankings are published quarterly. Their rankings are what determine the playoff participants.

On July 21 the Furies played the Dominion Derby Girl All Stars in Virginia Beach. The first half was a bit of a struggle for the Furies. Jammer Addy Rawl went to the box in the first jam and other than a 20 point power jam later in the period, the Furies were only able to chip away at the score. At the half Dominion was in the lead 81-51. But the Furies didn’t give up and played each jam with the intent to win the game. Halfway through the second period the Furies tied the game and the score see-sawed for a few jams. Going into the final jam the Furies were down by 8 points. Addy Rawl went to the jammer line and CU~T, Tuesday Hula, Vajenna Warrior and Lipservice went out as blockers. Fairly quickly the Dominion jammer was sent to the box for her fourth minor penalty. Addy patiently wove her way through the pack until the Furies had the lead and then hung back until the time ran out giving the Furies the win 156-153. To say it was a nail-biter is an understatement.

The next day’s game, traditionally referred to as a “hangover game” was in Richmond, Virginia, about an hour and a half from the beach, against River City’s Poe’s Punishers. Mid-day on a steamy Sunday, the Furies arrived still buzzing from their win the night before. If they were hung over, it was only on the giddiness from the win and a hearty Waffle House breakfast.

The Furies took command of this game in the first jam. But a little more than halfway through the first period the Punishers pulled out 21 point, 18 point and 10 point power jams bringing the score to 111-92 still in the Furies favor – but much too close. The second half was a completely different story. The Punishers got into serious penalty trouble and the Furies capitalized on it. The Furies’ blockers found their rhythm and consistently corralled the Punishers while Furies jammer LiBRAWLian had three stunning power jams racking up 28, 33 and 35 points. Addy Rawl had three power jams of her own gathering 22, 28 and 22 points. B’kini Whacks, grabbed her own power jam towards the end of the game and collected 23 points. By the time the final whistle blew the Furies had won decisively: 329-176.

The weather might be turning cooler, the cicadas getting louder, but the summer of derby is far from over. There is the month of August to finish up (the Furies play on the 25th and the Knockouts play on the 25th) and then we head into September. The Court will play on the 2nd and, of course, the WFTDA North Central Region Playoffs will be held in Niagara Falls on September 14-16.