Rain of Terror wins close match against the youthful Antagonistby Jim Almy
Roller derby bouts last 60 minutes, a factor that assured the Rat City Rollergirls “B” all-star team, the Rain of Terror (ROT) would leave the track as winners last Saturday in their opening match against the Antagonist in KeyArena. Final score, 171-152.
A couple more jams and it could just as easily been a win for the Antagonist, a team formed in Seattle last spring when the USA Roller Sports (USARS) announced that they would lower their age to 14 for adult competition. The Antagonist brought a team with seven players between the ages of 14 and 17 to the track. Played as a non-sanctioned bout the Womens Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) rule that all players must be 18 or older was waived.
Youth brings a certain kind of energy. After three jams the Antagonist had made their statement, they were not going to be intimidated by ROT, an all-star team recognized as on a par with many of the WFTDA top 40 teams worldwide. The bout was close throughout. There were lead changes; flashes of scoring; runs of zero jams; collisions that rattled the front rows of spectators; and a heart warming show of sportsmanship at the bout’s end.
Megan Havok (#357) collected 26 points in the second jam, many of them while passing through lanes opened by Wreck N Shrew (#24). Antagonist jammer Taylor Williams (#12) couldn’t find a way to score, ROT blocker Rattleskate (#16) making it particularly hard for the young jammer to get out of the pack. Two jams, 26-0.
Not intimidated, the Antagonist put a line on the track for jam three that played textbook defense and ROT jammer Shock Therapy (#123) didn’t get out of the pack until only eight seconds remained in the jam. Meanwhile that same Antagonist line of Grainne Hunter (#35), Erin Hulderson (#45), Misty Greer (#20) and Laura Madson (#36) helped jammer Alyssa Pray (#91) pick up 23 points.
After three jams it was ROT ahead by three, 26-23. No one was going to run away with this bout.
Later in the first half ROT went through a run of five jams without scoring, allowing the Antagonist to add 33 points and go ahead, 67-43. A big part of that run was the 20 points Laura Madson collected in a power jam with as many as three ROT players sitting in the penalty box. There was no let up in this battle. Near the end of the half Wreck N Shrew blasted Antagonist blocker Khanisha Rodney (#99), arms and legs flailing as she bounced out of bounds, opening a passing lane for ROT jammer Megan Havok. Rodney got back on the track just as Havok was approaching for her second scoring pass and quickly returned the favor, planting Havok on the surface where she called off the jam. It was ROT trailing at the half, 68-87.
Rattleskate scored 13 in the second jam of the second half. A couple jams later Wreck N Shrew added seven and ROT took a brief lead, 91-89. The Antagonist chipped back, re-took the lead and held it through jam 14. Then Wreck N Shrew took advantage of a five-three power jam to show what muscle and speed, properly applied, can do. She powered her way to 37 points and a 143-126 lead with 10:25 remaining in the half, a lead that ROT would not give up. Wreck N Shrew’s final five points came, fittingly enough, after another encounter with Antagonist blocker Khanisha Rodney, whom Wreck N Shrew bounced to clear her own way for her last pass.
“We took a look at the stats at halftime,” said ROT Coach Inspector Parts. “We saw that our strongest jammers were being more successful against their lines (Megan Havok had 45 of her 57 points in the first half. Wreck N Shrew, who didn’t make any jamming starts in the first half, had all of her 50 points after the break) and we knew that that was important because they had a lot of strength. They were skilled skaters who presented challenges to our scorers.”
Antagonist began a come back. Leading scorer Alyssa Pray — she had 59 points for the night to lead all scorers — added four and was headed for another pass when she bounced off ROT blocker Belle Tolls (#4), staggered backwards a few feet, wobbled on her skates and called the jam off. Misty Greer tallied another seven points but counted herself lucky that she was behind and not between them when K. Beezy (#187) and S. Botts (#524) closed in front of her like over-powered sliding doors.
There is a level of sportsmanship in every team and every player in roller derby. It was on full display in the final jam when Antagonist jammer Kate Mossman (#52) went to the penalty box for cutting the track. ROT jammer Wreck N Shrew stopped on the track. The pack halted and everyone waited for the 30 second penalty to expire and for Kate Mossman to return, the jam and the bout ending with all ten players on the track.
To see Rain of Terror take on the Silicon Valley Roller Derby go HERE