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Gotham repeats – earning their second consecutive WFTDA Championship, and third Championship overall

posted by Zeeev, a Women Talk Sports blogger
Monday, November 5, 2012 at 6:00pm EST

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Gotham repeats – earning their second consecutive WFTDA Championship, and third Championship overall

By Ziv Kruger, reporting from Atlanta, GA

In a battle of giants, Gotham proved legitimacy and continued to dominate the WFTDA, while Denver returned to third overall.

Sunday’s bout between the Texas Rollergirls and the Denver Roller Dolls was a derby fan’s dream.  Both teams displayed incredible poise and talent in clutch situations, and to employ a cliché, the outcome might have been different had a few more minutes been played.  Much to Texas’ disappointment, the bout was limited to the standard sixty minutes, and in spite of leading early, and for most of the bout, Texas was unable to contain the pesky skaters from the Mile High Club.  To consolidate their victory over the Godmothers of flat track Roller Derby, the fans voted Denver skaters for best jammer and best blocker of the tournament. 

The breakdown went something like this:  After roughly ten minutes of skating, Texas was behind 18 to Denver’s 19, but less than three minutes later, Texas went up 53-22 and forced Denver to spend their first time-out of the bout.  With just over 13 minutes in the first period, Denver pulled to 52 to Texas’ 60, and appeared to have settled down.  Texas would have none of it though, and with just over 10.5 minutes remaining in the period, they increased their lead to 79 over Denver’s 52.  Denver managed to up their point production to 72 with two minutes left on the clock, but Texas was sitting comfortably at 106, and in apparent control.  At the half, Texas increased their lead again, and went to the locker room with a 126-72 lead.

I don’t recall a huge momentum shift in the first half of period two, but with 14 minutes remaining in the bout, Denver had erased more than 50% of Texas’ halftime lead, and the score was 137 Denver to 157 Texas.  40 seconds later, Texas called their second time out as Denver closed to within 17 making the score Denver 140 to Texas’ 157.  Whatever was discussed in the Texas huddle seemed to produce the desired result, and with just under 6 minutes on the bout clock, Texas was still ahead, 190 to Denver’s 162.  And then Jam 19 of Period 2 happened.  Taking advantage of a power play, Denver pulled ahead for the first time in the bout to 206 against Texas’ 190, all the while leaving just over three minutes on the bout clock, and Texas with only one time-out remaining.  Texas used that time-out to stop the clock with 7 seconds remaining, and a very real chance at finishing third overall, behind by only 11 at 199 to Denver’s 210.  When it mattered most, Denver put their captain on the jammer line, and she did the only thing she had to do – earn lead jammer status, wait for seven seconds to tick of the bout clock, and call off the final jam of the bout with her team ranked third in the nation, while Texas dropped to fourth overall – an incredibly respectable showing when you take into the account the odds against them coming in.  Yes, Denver earned third, but Texas once again proved that it can skate with the best in the nation, and that you should NEVER count them out when trophies are on the line.

The Championship bout between Gotham and Oly had an ominous start.  Oly’s jammer was repeatedly sent to the penalty box while Gotham racked up the points and a commanding first period lead which peaked at Gotham 51 to Oly 0.  Most teams other than Naptown would crumble at this point, but one jam later, Oly was right back in the mix scoring 29 unanswered points making the score 29 Oly to Gotham’s 51.  About ten minutes later, Oly climbed to 51, while holding Gotham to 59, and the bout was on.  With 10.5 minutes on the first period bout clock, Oly pulled ahead for the first time, 70 to Gotham’s 67, and then the fireworks really started.  Like two heavyweight boxers trading punches, Gotham pulled ahead again 80-77 and closed out the first period with a 104 to 81 lead.  Both teams held on to their three time-outs, and in rare fashion, the referees did not call any official time-outs in period one.

After ten minutes of focused play in period 2, Gotham increased its lead to 136 to Oly’s 96, and 19.5 minutes remaining on the bout clock.  I recall saying to the gentleman sitting next to me that the next power jam could determine the next WFTDA champion.  And then it happened, and Gotham pulled even further away to 185 to Oly’s 126 with just over 8 minutes left to play.  In Roller Derby time, that’s more than doable, but it requires domination by the team from behind, and it’s easier said than done, especially against the “been-there-done-that” Gotham skaters.  Gotham increased their lead in subsequent jams to 205, then 213, and when the final whistles of the tournament blew, the WFTDA had its first repeat Champions with the score of Gotham 233 to Oly 130.  See you at the 2013 bouts!  ZK

The 2012 WFTDA top three finishers

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