On Saturday night Canberra Roller Derby League (CRDL) presented their second annual ‘Carnival of Carnage’ to showcase the League’s freshly bout-ready crop of new skaters.
In homage to last year’s inaugural event, team names for this right-of-passage bout remained the same, with the Candy Caners captained by the feisty and ferocious King Cam (and bench managed by CRDL crowd darling Bambi von Smasher), with the Hot Jammer Donuts under the stewardship of the lithe but lethal Shortstop, with fabulously dressed Belle E. Up’s watchful eye managing their bench.
The opening jam saw Candy Caner Beck Wise pitted against Shortstop at the jam line. Wise ploughed through the pack earning lead jammer status and called the jam off after a quick three points.
After this conservative beginning the first half saw lots of spills and thrills. While the pack was messy at times, King Cam, Beck Wise and Pink Mist for the Caners and Aunty Aggro and Madamn Pain of the Donuts stood out as strong blockers, with shoulder blocks and positional blocking tactics clear favourites for both teams.
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Early on it became clear that Cassatrophic for the Caners and Shortstop for the Donuts were THE jammers to watch, and jams where these two lined up together resulted in some of the most exciting face-offs of the night.
Two massive point scoring back-to-back jams by Cassatrophic (14 points) and Pink Mist (15 points) cemented the Caners lead in the first half. More strongly defensive jams and three Time Outs followed as the Donuts worked to reduce the gap, and with Shortstop and Bullseye Betty able to stretch their legs while Caners sat in the penalty box, a total of 17 jams played saw the score at half time Candy Caners 67 to 57 Hot Jammer Donuts.
During half time the Donuts set their minds to win, and Shortstop shot off the jammer line to secure 15 points in the first jam back. The Caners reciprocated in the very next jam with Wise grabbing another 12 points for their tally. The gauntlet had been thrown down, and the challenge swiftly accepted. It was game on.
Cassatrophic hit the track for back to back jams, and 20 minutes out from full time the scores were 91 apiece. The crowd got loud as the duelling teams stayed neck and neck, with awesome point scoring games by Cassatrophic, Beck Wise, Shortstop, and Bullseye Betty.
Both teams worked hard for every point. The Candy Caners saw the trouble Shortstop could cause and targeted her with the best multi-player blocking of the night. Cassatrophic flew around the track so low and fast that, on several occasions, she ran straight into the back of well placed Donut blockers and was sent to the bin for back blocking. Living up to the event’s name, there was lots of carnage in the pack, including a crowd pleasing leap frog type stack between Aunty Aggro and Madamn Pain and some unsuspecting Caners, and plenty of time in the penalty box for both teams.
Eight minutes out from full time Shortstop stole lead jammer from Cassatrophic with the help of a teammate’s whip and the crowd erupted, leaving the scores too close to call. Both teams needed something big to secure the lead, and it was the aptly named King Cam who pulled out all the stops producing a massive 17 point jam, which saw the score board reading 143 – 123 in favour of the Candy Caners with four and a half minutes left on the clock.
The rivalry between Cassatrophic and Shortstop continued throughout the edge-of-your-seat final jams. With four minutes to go, Shortstop was sent to the bin amid the shocked boos of the crowd, and Cassatrophic looked at ease as she grabbed another 15 points thanks to her super efficient, low stride.
With points scored by FaunaCat, Beck Wise, Bullseye Betty and King Cam, and a strategic Time Out called with only five seconds left on the clock, the scene was set for one final massive fight to the end between star jammers Cassatrophic and Shortstop.
On the jammer whistle, both shot off the line like bats out of hell, tussling on their way to smash through the pack. The pack was dense, and both jammers equally placed as they clawed their way through, hungry for lead jammer, but it was Shortstop who broke through first and assumed control of the jam. Shooting around the track, Shortstop called off the contest as soon as she’d scored her points… but rules state that when starting a jam with less than two minutes on the clock that jam must go for a full two minutes. And so the Head Ref decreed that the last jam was to be played again…
This time out both jammers tumbled at the back of the pack, but Shortstop was fastest through. On her second lap through the pack, Caners trapped her, and Shortstop took several knocks. Thanks to Donut blocking, Cassatrophic too had a big stack on the outside track third corner. In an impressive display of endurance, Cassatrophic had brought in 12 points, and Shortstop an amazing 17 points, by the time the final whistle blew.
Full time scores were Candy Caners 170 to Hot Jammer Donuts 151. Smiles and congratulations abounded during victory laps; showing healthy competition on the track doesn’t outweigh CRDL’s strong league spirit off the track.
This bout revealed some stand out up and coming players. The speed and lateral movement of Cassatrophic, Shortstop and several others was impressive, and rivals the skills of CRDL jammer favourites including Bambi von Smasher, Sue R Rat, Dr Hell and Shaggle Frock. Many players displayed strong blocking, following in the footsteps of Ova Bearing, Belle E. Up and the DutchAss, and would be valuable additions to the Surly Griffins or Black ’n’ Blue Belles – not to mention the CRDL away team. Here’s hoping these players are soon drafted so we can see more of them on the track!