Like a Boss

Texas Rollergirls take the Governor's Cup to kick of 2010 season

Call it the Texas derby derby: Four flat track roller derby teams from around the Lone Star State, competing for bragging rights and the Governor's Cup. This weekend the Texas Rollergirls got to knock the winter rust off their wheels with their first bout of the 2010 season, and another championship for the trophy case.

Since its founding in 2006, the tourney has seen a shifting roster of teams (Houston Roller Derby dropped out in 2008 in the wake of Hurricane Ike, to be replaced by the West Texas Roller Dollz), and this time around it was Houston, the double whammy from the Big D of Assassination City Roller Derby and the Dallas Derby Devils and the home team hosts. With Alamo City absent, that meant a mind-bogglingly complex double elimination bracket system (see our image gallery from the weekend here.)

No-one wanted to get ahead of themselves calling the first bout of the weekend for the home town Texecutioners but from the first jam against Assassination City the question wasn't if but how badly they would win. Bloody Mary barely broke out of a glide to take three grand slams and 15 points: A feat duplicated by Morphine to give the Texies an unanswered 30-0 lead by the end of the second jam.

Like every team present, AC were working with a new travel team roster. It didn't help that they were under-strength, meaning the Texies were sitting on over 100 points before the visitors took lead jammer status or made any points. So it was little surprise that the closing whistle saw a 330-8 scoreline.

So what about the new Texies line-up? Due to retirements and injuries, there were some familiar faces missing from the bench (Rice Rocket, Bullet Tooth Tracey and Cat Tastrophe gone, Cheap Trixie in a cast and Ryder Down up on the bleachers after last year's bad break before last year's Women's Flat Track Derby Association nationals in Philadelphia – read our coverage here.)

However, the rest of the derby world shouldn't be expecting an easy ride from a rookie team. With less emphasis on power blockers and more on agility, the new roster seems to fit smoothly with the form of derby that rules the national roost. Not that Texas can bring the hit, as anyone on the receiving end of one of Shank's swooping assaults or a knock-out blow from the increasingly impressive Kat A Killzem would tell you that. The new line-up's ability to recycle players through the pack, or the smooth way Shank, Crackerjack and Dilla play off each other or the continuing dominance of Belle Starr at the back of the pack, or the whole team's mastery of the misdirect, proves this is in no way a rebuild year.

That can't be said for Houston: With 11 skaters on their roster who had never bouted together as a travel team before, they had difficulty skating as a coherent unit against Dallas in their first bout of the weekend. Player for player, they were evenly matched, but the Devils were just more of a team, cruising to a 174-66 victory. However, with the double elimination system, Houston redeemed themselves by crushing Assassination City, sending the other Dallas outfit home for an early bath.

Day two would be their real test. To get to the finals, Houston would need to reverse their loss to Dallas in the first bout of the day. Whoever won that would head straight into a match-up against the undefeated Texies and, due to the double elimination, would have to beat them twice in back-to-back bouts. No small order, and when Dallas crushed the bayou city girls for the second time, they were sent to the stands for the championship bout.

As many in the crowd had predicted, it was Dallas versus the Texies for the iron armadillo. They'd already faced off on Saturday, with the Texies handing down a definitive 166-35 defeat. Yet roller derby can be a game of strange reversals and easy upsets, and with a very different roster from their first match-up, Dallas were not to be steam rolled. Houston hadn't gone down easy (with jammer Mistilla making a strong case for being the weekend's MVP) and with the ferocious Weapon X back in the Dallas pack this was going to be a hard struggle for the Texie's jammers.

With grand slam machines like Morphine and Olivia Shootin' John out there, the possibility was always there for a high-scoring game: But it was The Angie-Christ (now living up to all her jamming potential) that shone, somehow managing to get an unanswered five points after coming out of the penalty box. The quiet heroine of the Texies bench may have been Molotov M. Pale: Fast off the line, she was a scrapper in the pack, making a line where there wasn't one.

The Texies' relentless push and unstoppable point scoring seemed to frustrate Dallas, whose players took some unnecessary trips to the box. Yet Texas were just more together, and while the 156-24 scoreline seems like a blow-out, it was less about individual players and more about how deadly they are combined.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

WFTDA, Texecutioners

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