CRG Sweeps Home Opener

This year’s opening weekend for the Cincinnati Rollergirls was an incredibly successful one for the organization as a whole with wins for the Black Sheep and Violent Lambs over NEO Roller Derby on March 23 and the Cincinnati Junior Rollergirls over NEO Jr. the following morning.

There were many questions going into this game, as the queens of the Queen City were coming off a disappointing 2012 campaign that saw them finish 9th in the North Central region and currently ranked at 38th in the world, just two spots away from dropping from Division 1 down to Division 2 under the new WFTDA ranking system. Would they continue their downward spiral or rebound to their former glory? Plus, there was the added pressure of playing against in state rival NEO Roller Derby, who have been together since 2007 and are starting to make serious strides forward as a competitive team, picking up roller skating guru Rich Ratcliff as a coach and a bevy of former Burning River Rollergirls including Ivanna Destroya and past BRRG blocker of the year, Finnish-HER.
The night kicked off with the Violent Lambs locking horns (hypothetically) with the NEO Audio Assault. One of CRG’s biggest problems in the past for both the Lambs and Sheep have been including slow starts that allow opposing teams to jump out ahead and force CRG to 1) play catch up and 2) playhe other team’s game. I am happy to report that did not happen on Saturday night. The Lambs apparently have a Delorean with a working Flux Capacitor or a phone booth piloted by George Carlin as they looked like a CRG team circa 2009. From the first whistle the Lambs played a game that was filled with speed, big hits and “killing spirits.” For 60 minutes, CRG’s jammers flew through packs with minimal opposition while Audio Assault’s jammers were constantly walled in and beat up, time and time again which led to the 423-71 final score.
The combination of fresh blood and seasoned veterans is a dynamic one for this team. The younger skaters are playing incredibly aggressively, while the more experienced veterans players are helping to direct traffic and playing the game on a more cerebral level. Ruthless Chris blew my mind on Saturday night. She was an unstoppable force of nature, ripping through packs like Kobayashi through a platter of hot dogs. If she keeps this level of play up constantly she has a shot of making a Sheep roster.
Big Ugly had her name called numerous times on Saturday by the announcers as she was generally the first skater the opposing team’s jammer would encounter at the back of the pack. If she can learn to widen her stance, with her long legs she could take up half the track and be a one-woman wall, freeing up one of her teammates to help clear additional lanes for CRG’s jammers. The hype that La Bruja has generated is well deserved. Ladies and gentlemen, I have been involved with this sport since 2005 and have announced games involving the top roller derby players in the world, so trust me when I say this; this girl is going to be something special.

Cincinnati Violent Lambs vs. NEO Audio Assault Stats

Violent Lambs
Ruthless Chris – 107 (17.83 points per jam)
Sista Shovechild – 86 (17.2 points per jam)
Bombtrack – 64 (9.14 points per jam)
Audio Assault
Lita Rabbit – 19 (2.71 points per jam)
Masher Chief – 16 (3.20 points per jam)
Amber Zerker – 13 (1.86 points per jam)
TOP BLOCKERS (based on combined offensive/defensive actions)
Violent Lambs
Mirderher – 26
Big Ugly – 19
Railroad – 19
Audio Assault
Rosa Mariposa – 26
Jackie Torments – 19
Vera Vicious – 11
Violent Lambs – 24
Audio Assault – 13
If I were lazy, I would just copy and paste what I said about the Lambs here for the Sheep, as the second game of the night had more then a passing resemblance to the first (but a less lopsided final score of 249-151). The Sheep have ditched the slow wall game that has come into fashion in the WFTDA in the past few years and have returned to their own special brand of speed and violence that I am dubbing “Mad Max” derby. Cincinnati’s packs focused a lot on the “hammer and nail” technique were one skater will slow down the opposing jammer by blocking them in and then having another CRG player come in and blast her with a huge shot. This style of derby wears out jammers both mentally and physically as they are constantly getting pelted with heavy hits, having to expend energy by picking themselves off the ground, and the self doubt that comes with not be able to obtain lead jammer or score points.
This night belonged to Sadistic Sadie on a number of levels. This was her first game back in the historic Cincinnati Gardens in more than two years, and she set the tone for the Sheep the minute she exploded out of the curtain, didn’t shake hands with NEO, and opted instead to stare the entire team down as she cruised by. When I was a young boy, I watched an NFL Films documentary on the greatest defenses of all time, in which they interviewed defensive tackle Steve McMichael about the 85 Bears and he said something along the lines of “if you got a pack of dogs and one dog is wild they are all going to be wild”. This is the attitude, the aggression and the swagger, of “us against the world” that the Cincinnati Rollergirls are now feeding on.

Cincinnati Black Sheep vs. NEO Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls Stats

Black Sheep
Wheezy – 99 (8.25 points per jam)
K. Lethal – 74 (5.69 points per jam)
Sadistic Sadie – 64 (12.8 points per jam)
Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls
Holley Car Brader – 68 (5.23 points per jam)
Hummuscide – 39 (3.9 points per jam)
Twin Pistol – 32 (3.56 points per jam)
TOP BLOCKERS (based on combined offensive/defensive actions)
Black Sheep
Buckhead Betty – 19
Nuk’em – 18
Ruff’n the Passer – 18
Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls
Finnish-HER – 29
Ivanna Destroy, Sicilian Slicer and Taking Names – 18 each
Black Sheep – 35
Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls – 13
After dispatching NEO’s A team, the Black Sheep sit at a 1-1 (WFTDA sanctioned) record on the scene. On April 6, they will get an extremely fast chance to avenge that loss when they take on Bleeding Heartland. The last time they met was on the road and the Sheep lost by 3 points; this time they will clash in the historic Cincinnati Gardens in what is sure to be a barn burner. Get your tickets now, because this is one you can’t miss.