While still a fairly new sport in Australia, women's flat track roller derby has grown fast over the last couple of years, with new leagues having formed on the North Coast between Tweed Valley and Coffs Harbour. Now, these daring derby sportswomen are competing with each other for North Coast supremacy in the first ever North Coast Derby Coalition Round Robin.
Last Saturday, May 26, Yamba Sports Centre hosted round two of the competition where four local teams braved the slippery floors to bring some fast paced derby action to the hungry crowd. In this double-header event, Northern Rivers Roller Derby (NRRD) and Clarence Valley Roller Derby League (CVRDL) again emerged as bout winners and are now sitting high up on the derby coalition leader board.
The CVRDL took out Coffs Coast Derby Dolls (CCDD) in the first bout, winning with 209 to 177 points. The first half of the game saw Clarence Valley bring out some interesting blocking strategies with their four blockers forming a stationary line on the outside of the track, effectively holding back the whole pack and keeping Coffs Harbour's blockers from racing ahead to tackle CVRDL's jammer. This strategy also allowed CVRDL's blockers a chance throw CCDD's blockers off balance with some booty blocks, leaving a clear line for their jammer to dart through and keep scoring points. The second half of the bout saw CCDD fight back with a vengence until with only three minutes to go, there was only one point difference between the teams.
In the second bout of the night, Tweed Valley Rollers (TVR) showed marked improvement since their game in round one of the competition, but were no match for Northern Rivers Roller Derby (NNRD) who won 216 to 124 points.
There are not many sports where you spend a year in training before you actually get to play a game, but roller derby is one of them. After training hard for months, NRRD's Dreaded Cat popped her bout cherry in her first inter-league game, and showed some spectacular footwork as she raced around the derby track, dreadlocks flying in the breeze.
Each roller derby bout is made up of two minute jams, and a lot of points can be scored by a jammer in this time, especially when the opposition's jammer is sitting in the penalty box. (This is called a 'power jam'.) With two power jams under their belt by jam 10, NRRD were leading the way in the point score, thanks to the daring speed of jammer, Nora the Explorer.
NRRD's Battered Sav, while small in stature, showed the excited crowd that as a jammer, not only was she a fast, but she was a human cannonball who threw herself at the backs of the opposing teams' blockers and punched her way through to keep scoring points and knew when to call off the jam early, effectively stopping the opposing team's jammer from scoring points.