On Saturday, April 27, the 38th-ranked Cincinnati Rollergirls Black Sheep will battle an untested opponent: The 52nd-ranked Killamazoo Derby Darlins of Kalamazoo, MI. Tank has a preview.
Life is good right now. WFTDA’s 38th ranked Black Sheep recently went to Florida and brought back two important wins. (It is also rumored that one of the Sheep brought home a new tattoo that said “SPRING BREAK FOREVER” on her ankle. OK, I made that part up but one of them should have.) Florida has become a hotbed for roller derby in the past five years; you can’t swing an illegally-released-in-the-Everglades-python without hitting a league. Two of the best from the Sunshine State are Tallahassee and Jacksonville, both of whom looked to be tough tests for this Cincinnati squad that is finding its ability to win again.
The Sheep opened the weekend against the No. 47 team in the WFTDA rankings, Tallahassee. In the first half, it was a tight game that saw the Sheep losing jammers to the box. Tallahassee and their large, physical jammers took advantage of this as much as they could, scoring points and keeping the game tight. But that advantage disappeared as Cincinnati’s swarming defense began to wear down the opposing team. Once the second half started Cincy put their foot on the gas pedal and never looked back, which led to a huge 334-150 victory.
Sunday was a much different game. No. 40 Jacksonville punched Cincinnati in the face in the beginning of the first half and was up by nearly 90 points. For most teams this would have been an insurmountable gap to overcome, but not for the 2013 Black Sheep. Cincinnati called a time out and completely shifted their strategy to play a super slow, tight pack, stall block game. It worked, and the slow packs allowed the two-headed (and 4 legged) jammer machine known as Wheezy and K. Lethal to take over. They feasted on these slow packs like great white sharks on a heard of seals, ripping through and leaving nothing but a trail of destruction in their wake. Once the dust settled, the Sheep had won, 225-214.
Readers, this team is special. This team is on the same page and they are hungry. For the first time since 2010, the Black Sheep are riding a four-game winning streak. And what excites me even more is that unlike the 2009 and 2010 CRG squads that were one game away from playing in the WFTDA Championships, this team can play multiple derby strategies. In the past CRG would play a fast game and milked power jams for everything they are worth and if that didn’t work, they would try to counter what the other team was doing with limited success. By being able to successfully play multiple forms of derby and having the team function as a true team, working together for a common goal, this squad has more potential then any Cincinnati team that I have ever seen.
Saturday night, CRG returns to the friendly confines of the historic Cincinnati Gardens to take on the 52nd-ranked Killamazoo Derby Darlins of Kalamazoo, Michigan. It has been a few years since I have seen Killamazoo in action, but I do recognize a few of their players, namely Javelin and Terrorhawk, both of which are game tested veterans. The Darlins come into this game with a 4-2 record with notable wins over Bleeding Heartland and Fort Wayne on the road. They also barely lost to Brewcity by 20 points. The Darlins could be a challenge for Cincinnati, especially with how tough KDD has been on the road this year.
I will be interested to see how Killamazoo stacks up to Cincinnati’s fast and furious pack play this year. So far at home this season, the Sheep have attacked and essentially beat opposing jammers into submission. Unless KDD has some durable jammers that can eat a hit and keep moving forward, I predict it’s going to be a long night for them. I am also excited to see both Kitten Kicker and Jungle Lacy get some more playing time as they were both instrumental in helping CRG to beat Jacksonville. Also I look for Karma Krash to play an inspired game as she counts down to her final game in the Gardens next month. It should be a good game, but my money is on the Black Sheep.
Heroes vs. Villains Preview
Hometown Heroes night is also going to see some throwback Cincinnati Rollergirls action as for the first time in recent memory we are going to see CRG vs. CRG. Killamazoo is only bringing in their A team, so for one night only the Lambs and the Flock Ewes (C team) will be evenly split up into two teams, Heroes (wearing white) vs. Villains (wearing black), in keeping with Saturday’s Hometown Heroes Night theme.
There are going to be some killer jammer match ups in this bout as we will get to see Bombtrack, I, Caramba! and Sista Shovechild (Heroes) square off against Ruthless Chris, Hot Slice and presumably a rotating third jammer for the Villains. I am also interested in seeing pack match ups between Railroad and La Bruja and Pistol Whippin’ Wendy vs. Cherry Choke, which promises to be more Irish on Irish violence then last call on St. Patrick’s Day. And several skaters will be making their Gardens debuts. This game is going to be a lot of fun and there are rumors of side bets being placed between the two teams, so they are definitely playing for something beyond just pride.
For ticket information for Hometown Heroes Night, click here.
Cincinnati vs. Killamazoo Rosters
Cincinnati Black Sheep: Buckhead Betty 33 // CandyKICKass 32 // Hannah Barbaric 85 // Jungle Lacy 83 // Mirderher // K. Lethal 18 // Karma Krash 3 // Kitten Kicker 30 // Nuk’em 86 // Penn Tupanga 77 // Ruff’n the Passer 29 // Sadistic Sadie 76 // Sailor Scary 92 // Wheezy 43
Killamazoo: Alykate Contusions 1148 // Neva 1150 // Bicked Witch 12 // Lily St Smear 13 // Doobie Trap 1313 // Rosie Furocious 1986 // Madditude Adjustment 23 // Heckler 314 // Javelin 33 // Miss B. Haven 365 // Killamity Cate 45 // Terrorhawk 56 // Ramona D Flowers 7 // Jessie Girl 89 // Alternates: Stinker Belle 28 // Rockickass 53
CRG Heroes vs. CRG Villains Rosters
Heroes (white jerseys): Big Ugly 72 (Captain) // Bombtrack 12 // Cincy Psych-O 99 // I, Caramba! 23 // Iona Pare 8 // Jocelyn Bones 24 // Pistol Whippin’ Wendy 38 // Railroad 6 // Roxx Solid 74 // Sista Shovechild 2 // Tru D. Vicious 19
Villains (black jerseys): Annie Tomical // Cherry Choke // Garden of Beatin’ 16 // Hot Slice 71 // Juwana Hurt 4 // La Bruja 66 // Lotus BrewsHer 80 // Obie Haive 31 // Poppy Chulo 27 (Captain) // Ruthless Chris 5 // Susie Shinsplintski 52 // Truxtal 10