The Adelaide Roller Derby (ADRD) skated into a new venue, a fancy venue, on Saturday night for the bi-annual doubleheader (quarter-finals?) of season 2019. Jubilee Pavilion at the Adelaide Showgrounds played host to two exceptional bouts of roller derby, a market village, a bar, a children’s skating area and two, yes two food trucks.
With a near sold out crowd at the helm, local band Saint Jacques was so captivating with their lush indie-folk tunes that they successfully had everyone sitting down, shutting up and appreciating their remarkable talent. With special guest, Naomi Keyte by their side Saint Jacques was a truly delightful addition to the event.
With the traditional skate outs and the slow-motion demonstration jam completed the Mile Die Club came head to head with Wild Hearses… and both immediately fell straight down on the concrete. Jubilee Pavilion’s track proved challenging to manoeuvre in the first instance as it was quite slippery and fast compared with the well worn Wayville Pavilion track. But it wasn’t long before both teams had points on the board with Nikola Daniel (44) for the Hearses and Girl Rex Door (27) for the Dies each scoring 8 points.
The evenly paced scoring continued well into the first half somewhat surprisingly given the Hearses history of low point scoring this season. While Hearses Carmela Carnage (1080) was sin-binned twice for interfering with Bobby Dazzler (55) Evil Stig (05) took the opportunity for a 16 point jam for the Dies. Not to be outdone, the Hearses scored 8 points of their own. Could the Hearses luck be changing? Sadly, no.
Try as they might, the Hearses were unable to capitalise on the Dies rare weak spots. When Blade (112) flattened Mad Squeelz Milz (43) in an attempt to score the jam was called off before any points made the board. Hearse blockers Frill Seeker (32), Blade (112) and MagiCass (234) were in superb form keeping Dies co-captain Lunicorn (71) to only 2 points at one stage and Feisty Feline (72) to 4 points during a power jam when Eze-Kill (2517) was in the box. Yellin Rage’s (022) attempts to explode through the pack were all but annihilated by QT (314) allowing her a meagre, but essential, 3 points with less than 5 minutes on the clock. In a shock move, the Dies ahead 107/ 35 threw in veteran and co-captain Angle Grinder (91) as jammer. The move paid off as they ended up extending their lead into half time 117/36.
The second half commenced with Team Zebra getting in on the action. Almost Latte, donned in a full zebra bodysuit with a face mask in addition to the standard ref uniform, had stripped off the face mask and shirt while Harm Solo was wiped out by Bobby Dazzler (55) in the name of the game.
Nikola Daniel (44) and Bionic Mahem (420) threw themselves into the bout scoring 4 and 12 points respectively early on and the latter an elbow from team-mate Blade (112) which had the crowd ooohing in disbelief and sympathetic angst. But the Dies didn’t take this burst of energy lying down. Their blockers were in top form as was Girl Rex Door (27) who despite being sin-binned 3 times in a row still managed to score 10 points. With everyone getting noticeably tired as the bout continued Mad Squeelz Milz (43) used it to her advantage scoring 20 points for the Dies.
While the Hearses were eventually able to crack the triple-figure mark, much to the delight of the audience who gave them the mightiest of cheers, the Dies cracked the double century and buckled up for another grand final berth taking it home 230/ 110.
The boys from Sk8 Therapy, Adelaide’s original skateboarder owned and operated skateboard school, treated everyone to a demonstration of their skateboarding prowess as the Road Train Rollers prepared to battle the nautical but nice Salty Dolls in the second bout of the night. Traditionally these teams have always had close bouts, would this one be the same?
After the skate outs, including Team Zebra’s second for the night and Harm Solo’s 100th overall for the ADRD, the whistle blew. Trinket (119), who looked ready to enter the battle of Bannockburn (google it) in her tartan skirt, took the Dolls to an early 15 point lead. The Roadies equalised and surpassed this almost immediately with a series of successful jams including 4 points from Killa Kaze (11) and 13 points from Invader Scrim (447) who pirouetted stunningly passed the pack.
Salty Dolls cover girl Gnome Chompsky (8) meant business when she tore off her white skirt before jamming her way to 1 solitary point. With the Dolls falling behind in the points, Trinket (119) took over as jammer and came up against Invader Scrim (447) in the battle of who will become lead jammer. A noticeably frustrated Trinket hip and shouldered Scrim right out of the rink winning that battle as no penalty was called.
The first half of the bout was a good clean race for points with no skater sin-binned some may say surprisingly given IV’s (04) penchant for smashing people down. But she could be forgiven for her dedication as the Dolls further slipped away from the Roadies to be down 71/ 38 at one stage. Some quick points from the Dolls Blue Wrenegade (2880), Victoria Bitter (31) and Pinch Assault (52) bridged that gap to 89/ 67 at the half time whistle.
The sin bin ban was immediately nixed with Roadies Honey Homicide (124) sat in there for something naughty she did in the first half when the second half commenced. The next few minutes saw the Dolls nickel and dime, according to Little Commie B@stards Finger Prince, and hit and quit, according to Gilly The Eagle, to bridge the gap to 3 points. But the Roadies blockers in their various incarnations, Fortis O-pal (468), Lady Vengeance (13), Silence of the Slambs (319) and Letta Loose (76), certainly made it difficult for the Dolls to get much further into the bout. Crush’er Ramone (533) should have been called Crush’er Gnome after she literally smashed Gnome Chompsky (8) to the concrete, but it was Roadies all-rounder Babe N Pow (3) who ended up in the sin bin a short time later.
Trinket (119), who was in epic form for the Dolls, continued to push it to bring the Dolls up to triple digits while Strawberry Smashmouth (811) tried and failed to do anything after copping an elbow to the chest. Instead, she whipped the jammer star panty off her helmet and passed it to Blue Wrenegade (2880) to continue the point score.
The last fifteen minutes of the bout was a testament to both teams’ defensive lines. Rolling Tones (82), Elle Catraz (46) and Letta Loose (76) for the Roadies and Pinch Assault (52), IV (04) and Victoria Bitter (31) for the Dolls gave it their all to keep the score down to 141/ 115 with one jam left. Could the Salty Dolls execute a 27 point jam to win it? Yes. Did they? Sadly, not. With a last-ditch attempt in an edge of your seat circumstance Trinket (119) skated an 11 point jam bringing the final score to 141/ 126 as the Roadies told the Dolls to get trucked.
The next event on the ADRD calendar, the finale for season 2019, is the epic grand final doubleheader on Saturday 3 August 2019 at the Adelaide Showgrounds. Doors open at 4pm. Be sure to arrive early to secure a decent position because this one is sure to sell out.
Live Review By Anita Kertes