The “Battle for the Bay” brought together not only the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins taking on the Deadly Rival Roller Girls, but it also heralded in Tampa’s first men’s roller derby bout. With the newly founded Tampa Bay Men’s Roller Derby facing off against the (presumably) more established Carolina Wrecking Balls. “Presumably,” because even though Tampa took the win home, their’s was anything but a sure victory. With Tampa taking a substantial pounding until the second half, where they managed to turn it around: 185-140.
Carolina came out with their guns blazing: strong walls up front, with jammers cutting a quick line through the inside. Flash Gord’em setting them up (0-6), and a huge Draggin Ball G power jam, courtesy of Tampa Bay’s Dragon Azz, knocking Tampa down (0-20).
Upon Tampa’s Dragon Azz’s return to the track, Tampa showed this would not be a route. Dragon racing back-to-back jams; both putting Tampa on the board and taking a nice chunk out of Carolina’s lead (12-20). Dragon’s success owing much to Tampa’s Marco the Beast (Tampa Bay’s hardest working ref here taking a skater turn) and Chuck Taylor figuring out how to stop Carolina’s Blue Brawls.
Thus setting the example on how the first half would play out. Carolina’s defense, buoyed by Draggin Ball G, Mist Her, and Blue Brawl holding their team afloat through constant beat downs, allowing jammers, such as Flash Gord’em, to easily score (12-36). Tampa mitigating the damage with an occasional successful jam. Marco da Beast outracing Carolina’s Sweet Meat (16-42), soon followed by a big Arbitrator jam which brought in Tampa Men’s Roller Derby’s first grand slam (26-50).
Inspired, Tampa started gelling as a team. When Dragon Azz cut, Bounty Hunter, Arbitrator, and Marco took turns holding Carolina’s Ice Cole in check; effectively killing the penalty (41-78). Unfortunately, these fouls, and others like them, would keep hindering Tampa; allowing Carolina too many power jam opportunities (43-91).
A problem that Tampa’s coaches would resolve quickly over the half-time break, as the second half opened with Carolina now in the ref’s sights.
The first leg of Tampa’s rally occurring after Sweet Meat cut; leaving Dragon Azz with a power jam. Marco and Arbitrator doing their best to “goat” Sick My Duck, but the rest of the team wasn’t up on it (65-98). A inconvenience that was quickly righted, as Tampa would succeed in goating Blue Brawls a few jams later; for a damaging Silent Knight power jam (81-107).
Penalties would continue hurting Carolina, as Marco was the next to jam solo. Unfortunately for Tampa, L8R SK8R and Bam Helsing made sure Marco felt every point he scored (81-112).
One major hiccup in Tampa’s drive was actually occurring concurrently with Marco’s jam, as Tampa Captain Huge Hefner was caught dealing out some way out of bounds blocks. Causing things to get heated, on and off the track, as Hefner’s behavior wouldn’t be penalized until after the jam ended; with an added dig of Carolina’s jammer also being penalized (89-112).
A demoralizing setback that caused an angry Carolina to become angrier, and thus making more (sloppy) fouls. A vicious cycle culminating in yet another Dragon Azz power jam; this time with only a couple Carolina blockers left on the track. Officially making it a seven-point bout (109-116).
It was these (endless) power jams and Tampa’s newfound ability to play as a team (such as Tampa’s blockers now goating the Carolinians) that turned the bout around. Silent Knight taking revenge on all his first half beat downs by bringing Tampa into the lead (122-116).
This volatile mix of questionable calls and lead loss made for one of the most confusing finales in recent memory. One where major penalties were being loosely traded back-and-forth. One where Arbitrator swapping time in the penalty box with Sweet N Low was no big deal (138-126). Nether would Ice Cole, surviving a Huge Hefner pounding, and taking a power jam, only to have it reversed, be surprising anymore. Amidst the chaos, Tampa would take the win: 138-127.
Top blocking honors going to Bounty Hunter (Tampa) and Bam Helsing (Carolina), with the top jammer honors being awarded to Dragon Azz (Tampa) and Flash Gord’em (Carolina).