04 December 2011

World Cup Elimination Bouts Recap Part 1

When last we spoke of our intrepid roller derby heroines, they had just finished the seed rounds, and everyone was taking a break so the math geeks could have their way with the numbers. Well, the numbers came out like this:

Seed 1: USASeed 8: Germany
Seed 2: CanadaSeed 9: New Zealand
Seed 3: EnglandSeed 10: Finland
Seed 4: AustraliaSeed 11: Brazil
Seed 5: SwedenSeed 12: Argentina
Seed 6: FranceSeed 13: Scotland
Seed 7: Ireland

With the seeds set, the elimination round began with two bouts on each track Friday night.

First, we saw Sweden take on Argentina, which wasn't an especially close bout, but it had some drama in the second half. Sweden attempted a star pass but failed on a technicality (the jammer has to put the helmet cover on the pivot, not just hand it to her), and then one of Argentina's jammers was ejected for excessive penalties mid-jam. The Swedes had started the bout by grabbing four points and turning that into 24 in short order, and they kept on racking up points throughout the game, finishing off with a 191-65 win over Argentina.

Unfortunately, that was the only bout we saw Friday night due to exhaustion and health issues, but we got some rest and came back bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Saturday morning, ready for more action. We met up with members of our home team, the Green Mountain Derby Dames (hi, ladies!), and staked out the best seats for seeing both tracks at once. Everybody got their brackets caught up, and we settled in for the bouts.

Germany took on New Zealand first thing that morning, and it was one heck of a bout. There were lead changes, a couple of tied-score jams, and an interesting coach-jammer communication technique displayed by the Germans: a red or green flag depending on whether the coach wants the jammer to keep skating or call the jam. Considering how many jammers miss their entire freakin' bench giving the "call the jam" signal, it seems like the simplicity of the color method has merit. It wasn't enough to help Germany make up a last-minute point deficit, though, so New Zealand took the win 143-127.

Meanwhile, on track 2, Scotland (who lost the night before to Australia) kept a moderate but stable lead over Argentina throughout their consolation bout, and came out with a 114-91 win, leaving Argentina ranked 13th overall.

We watched Australia trounce Sweden in the first half of their elimination bout, and cheered as Sweden reduced Australia's 75-point lead to a mere 48 points by the end of the bout. It was still a pretty solid loss at 126-78, but the Swedes were smiling and singing at the end, and, as we've mentioned, that's one of our favorite things about roller derby -- the score doesn't alter the skaters' enjoyment of the game or the friendships they make with their opponents.

Over on track 2, Ireland put Brazil into the 12th spot overall by pulling off a 213-57 win with ease. Flocci was a little distracted by one of Ireland's skaters who was wearing frilly gold skins ("they're so shiny!"), but she did manage to glance at the scoreboard long enough to notice that both teams almost doubled their scores in the second half, which turned Ireland's lead from commanding to unbreakable.

Aaaaand writer's block has just hit. More in the morning after sleep and before packing our bags and freshly-purchased merch into the car for the eight-hour drive home.