Crosstown Knockdown Recap

The Cincinnati Rollergirls won the third annual Crosstown Knockdown vs. the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls on Saturday, June 7 in a thrilling come-from-behind victory. Tank has a recap and a look at what’s ahead for the team in the travel season.

The season finale of Game of Thrones is this Sunday night, and as usual I am filled with mixed emotions going into it. On one hand, I am excited to see what happens to my favorite characters, what loose ends will be tied up and what will be built to lead us into next season. On the other hand, I know this means I am nine to 10 months away from seeing Tyrion, Arya, and the rest of the Westeros crew, and that really bums me out. I had the same emotions on Saturday night while I was announcing the Crosstown Knockdown, knowing that it was the last game of the season at home and possibly forever at the historic Cincinnati Gardens. Unlike my favorite drama in a medieval fantasy realm, though, the 2014 Cincinnati Rollergirls continues to move on next weekend as they travel to Michigan to tangle with the Killamazoo Derby Darlins.
The final home game of the 2014 season featured two terrific, competitive roller derby games. The first bout was the East Side vs. West Side, which featured a mix of CRG’s Black Sheep (A team) and the Cincinnati Battering Rams (men’s team). The rosters were very evenly matched which led to a tight game that saw multiple lead changes. I was very impressed by the Sheep players in this game and how their blocking is evolving. One of the things that really stood out to me was a jam where Wheezy was able to stop an opposing jammer one on one while candyKICKass was a few feet ahead of her, ready to jump in if needed.
Mirderher continues to excel this season and is in the best shape I have ever seen her. Her skate skills have greatly increased as well, which has given her better lateral movement both in and out of the pack. She is definitely one to watch when it comes time to cast votes for most improved player later this year. Nuk’em was also fun to watch in this game as she proved again to be a tough matchup for any opposing jammer. Her backward skating abilities have made her even more dangerous this year, which is like mounting machetes on the back of a crocodile.
The Rams are quickly becoming a team to watch in the MRDA, and this game really shined a bright spotlight on many of their players. Creeper, Chris Smith, Tink and Quad Almighty are all excellent jammers that bring something different to the table. Creeper’s impressive speed and ability accelerating out of tight spots, Smith’s incredible agility, Tink’s spin moves snapping ankles like an AND1 mixtape and Quad’s grit make this team a hard one to contain.
Tink and Smith are also devastating in the pack thanks to their skate skills, which allow them to nullify the best opposing jammers while drawing the attention of the opposing team, freeing up their teammates to create walls or help their own jammer. Speaking of most improved, Giggles looked absolutely terrific in this game. He was always where he needed to be and was constantly making key stops and blocks. Keep an eye on these guys, Cincinnati, because the Rams are headed in one direction, up. In the end the East Side took the W, 192-188.

The second bout of the evening was the third annual Crosstown Knockdown, which pitted the Violent Lambs (B team) against the Black-n-Bluegrass Rollergirls (A team). CRG was 2-0 going into this contest, but it was definitely not a given that they would win. I was very impressed by Black-n-Bluegrass because they were constantly forcing the Lambs to play their game, which consists of big, slow walls and nimble, lighting fast jammers. Hot T Molly, Shaneeda Spankin and Heavy Chevy were all key players in the pack. I was also very impressed by Petal to the Metal’s jamming ability in this game, as she would regularly obtain lead jammer status and produced multiple double-digit jams.
The Lambs, on the other hand, had some ups and downs in this game, but in the end pulled through in the end to secure a 197-177 win. The Lambs’ strategy throughout the year had been wall, wall, and when things weren’t working, just keep forming walls. I was glad to see the team evolving past that in this game because if they had stuck with that strategy, they wouldn’t have won against a BBRG team that was better at executing that strategy. Instead, the Lambs used a lot of heavy hitting and speed to create one on one-match ups, which benefitted the Lambs’ jammers. They also did a good job of knocking the Blackouts’ jammers out of bounds and then dropping back.
Annie Tomical and Chainsaw were both standouts in this game. Chainsaw set the tone early in this one with a number of violent collisions, and Annie was a one-woman wall at the end of this game. Go back and watch this bout on YouTube. In the last 10 minutes, Annie is seemingly everywhere at once. Kudos to Quad Almighty and Bombtrack’s bench coaching in this game as well as the 1-2 punch of Imma Tattooher and Tru D. Vicious wasn’t proving to be as successful as it had been in other games this season. Instead of sticking with the game plan, they improvised and brought ¡I, Caramba! and Big Ugly into the rotation.
Caramba is one of the most underutilized players in the league, and I hope she gets more playing time for the Sheep and/or Lambs as the season goes on. She is an intelligent, versatile player who has solid track instincts, does what is asked of her and skates a clean game. Ugly was a standout among standouts in this game. She was incredibly aggressive in the pack and would not be denied anytime she was handed the jammer star. She battled four-on-one walls, skated on one foot around opposing pack players, and jumped through small openings without any fear or hesitation.

Although the home season has come to an end, the Cincinnati Rollergirls still have a few games on their schedule this year as they hit the road. The first stop takes them to Killamazoo, who beat the Sheep in May by 91 points (239-148). Killamazoo’s B team, the Killa Krew, also beat the Lambs by a slimmer margin in May, 234-204. There are a number of players who are out for this game due to personal conflicts, so many players will be pulling double duty on the Lambs and Sheep that night, including Big Ugly, ¡I, Caramba!, Imma Tattooher, Mirderher, Ruthless Chris, Tru D. Vicious and possibly Poppy Chulo, who is listed as an alternate.
The gamble of jamming everyone at the beginning of the season is starting to pay off, as almost everyone on the Sheep has real game experience wearing the star. Also I am interested to see what strategies the team employs in this one as CRG continues to try and find its first WFTDA-sanctioned win this season. I won’t be able to make this one live, nor are the Derby Darlins streaming this one online, so I am going to have to practice my warging like Bran Stark, and hopefully there is a Killamazoo fan I can use as my own personal Hodor for it. Hodor.

Cincinnati Violent Lambs vs. Killamazoo Killa Krew

Violent Lambs: Big Ugly #72 // Cherry Choke #0 // ¡I, Caramba! #23 // Imma Tattooher #81 // Jennocide #14 // Jillian Dollaz #34 // Mama Crass #26 // Mirderher #44 // Obie Haive #31 // Poppy Chulo #27 / Ruthless Chris #5 // Sista Shovechild #2 // Tru D. Vicious #19
Killa Krew: Not yet available

Cincinnati Black Sheep vs. Killamazoo Derby Darlins

Black Sheep: Big Ugly #72 // candyKICKass #32 // Hannah Barbaric #85 // ¡I, Caramba! #23 // Imma Tattooher #81 // Jungle Lacy #83 // Kitten Kicker #30 // La Bruja #66 // Mirderher #44 // Nuk’em #86 // Ruthless Chris #5 // Sailor Scary #92 // Tru D. Vicious #19 // Wheezy #43 // Alternate: Poppy Chulo #27
Derby Darlins: Not yet available