South Town Smack Down – 25 February 2012

Once again: a marvelous night for Dunedin roller derby: more fans, more experience and a great night.  Dunedin’s Gallow Lasses second bout, this time with Dead End Derby from Christchurch, was a real step up: although it a close loss (185 to 200)  the change up for the Gallow Lasses from last year’s inaugural match was palpable.

Dunedin was missing one of its best jammers, Little Yellow Jacket, to injury (I think she was ones that appeared in a wheel chair at the start of the bout).  Ork-Kazz-mic, Sister Strychnine, and others made up for the loss admirably, especially Diva Demolish-Her, who was a joy to watch.  However Dead End Derby’s jammers and defense outclassed the Dunedinites.  Particularly, the sheer athleticism of Evil Knee-vil (sp) was a wonder.  Juking, with a great sense of where she was on the track, as well as tactical smarts meant when she was in a jam, she pretty much ran it.  Not to say the Dunedin defense was poor: Anne Thrax had no compuntion in getting physical, marking some opposition players with obvious glee.

Penalties took their toll – some jams starting with only 2 blockers for each team, a significant number with only one jammer present for the majority of the jam, and at one point, no jammers at all!  This, along with an absence of poodling to soak up those 4th minors made the major tactical difference from last year, that I could see.

The derby then, was an excellent night out and no-one would be ashamed of their performances.

Typical Derby Supporters: not what you'd expect.

The only detractors from the evening were the appalling MCs: Honeypot and Furious.  They entirely misread the crowd, who seem to be a relatively intelligent, and, well, mixed bunch.  Last year in my ignorance I missed a lot of what was going on: now, with the help of youtube and the web I’m a little better schooled.  The MCs, however, were not.  They were loud, their PA trebly and irritating, and the content as vacuous as commercial radio announcers.  Furious tried to throw bits of paper (vouchers for the Baa Bar) into the crowd, rather pathetically with no forethought of how they would manage it.  Rather than leading the crowd, they followed it.  Points of play – like a ref’s gathering to determine a rule clarification – were missed for exhortations for people to bring them drinks from the corporate boxes.  No research, no preperation,  and generally the weakest part of the night.  The music was pretty lame (and not nearly loud enough) as well, but I’ll put that down to taste.

I’m looking forward to seeing a bout for the fresh meat graduates in a few months, to see who the up and coming stars are for Dunedin and Invercargill – with another team in the South, it can only mean more bouts, and the increasing popularity of Derby.

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