Hotrod Two Times

Hotrod Honeys repeat their title run in TXRG championship

Sunday's Texas Rollergirls championship ended the way most fans expected: With the Hotrod Honeys taking the title for the second year in a row. But more fittingly, it ended the only way it really could, with Barbarella of the Hustlers and Honeys captain Cat Tastrophe shoulder to shoulder on the jam line for the last time ever.

The Hotrod Honeys make the repeat and take the 2009 TXRG championship (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

They are amongst the last of the 2003 veterans of the league, and every time they sparred against each other, it was always great Roller Derby. This was no exception. Whether it was just the intensity of the title situation, or that so many players were in their final league bout, but this was TXRG skating at another level.

The curtain-twitcher was the nail-chewing third-place play-off. The Hell Marys hadn't won all season. The Honky Tonk Heartbreakers came into the season as the favored challengers for the dominating Hotrods, but that wasn't to be. And from the first whistle, it was clear the Heartbreakers were showing no mercy. Olivia Shootin' John may have been wearing the jammer star, but was blocking Bloody Mary straight off the line.

By jam nine of the first period, the Heartbeakers were ahead 18-3, and it looked like the Marys were going to lose, and lose hard. But successive unanswered two-point jams Virulent Viv and Bloody started to close the gap, and that's when the momentum changed.

Photo by Richard Whittaker

The Honky Tonks may have kept the lead, but the Marys were starting to put points on. A dry spell at the beginning of the second half soon turned into a flood that lifted the Marys right until the final jam. The Heartbreakers came in with a 45-43 advantage, but in the previous jam, Marys' star acquisition The Angie Christ had called the jam with 17 seconds on the clock. It all came down to lead jammer status: If Bloody got it, the Marys had a shot at tying or winning. If Olivia took, she could call it for the Heartbreakers. Even though Bloody skated as strong as ever she has all season, she couldn't beat OSJ through the pack, and that was all she wrote. The score stayed at 45-43, and the Heartbreakers got their third place by a knife edge.

As for the championship, the score line – 88-24 to the Hotrods – may not seem close, but this was a tight game. It all came down to the pack, and a difference between the two teams. Skillswise, the Hustlers had the edge in one-on-one blocking: But the Honeys' pack control was peerless. When they had the chance to score, the Honeys took it, with Rice Rocket kicking off the bout with an unanswered three point jam, which Vicious Van GoGo (another veteran retiring this year) took to 12-0.

Even when the Hustlers had lead jammer status, they couldn't always do much with it, as Molotov M. Pale found when she got locked up in the pack and was forced to call the jam. When Barb and Cat first faced off, the Hustler was able to break the impasse with a solid five points while the Hotrod hit the penalty box. But two jams later, Shank racked up a brace of grand slams for the Hotrods, and that was the last time the Hustlers were in real shooting distance.

Not that they weren't fighting it all the way. Cheap Trixie locked Rice down in the fifth jam, while pivot sans pareil Bullet Tooth Tracy swept Lucille Brawl away with a jammer take-down, not once, but twice in a single jam. But even with Cat losing a wheel twice in the second period, her team just kept clawing ahead. The Hustlers could only put two points on in the entire period, while the Hotrods swarmed ahead for the dominating win.

Interteam afterparty antics at the Jackelope (Photo by Richard Whittaker)

Now the post-season begins, beginning on Sept. 6 with a visit from the Bay Area Derby Dolls. But this is when other flat track travel teams need to get worried. This was the most aggressive and focused that TXRG has seemed in a long time. There were pervasive changes in tactics that imply the Texecutioners traveling team will have some pretty serious weapons in their arsenal come the WFTDA Nationals in Philadelphia in November. If anyone wants to start betting against TXRG taking the national title this year, you better think long and hard before putting your money down.

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WFTDA, TXRG, Hustlers, Hell Marys, Hotrod Honeys, Honky Tonk Heartbreakers

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