The Austin Chronicle

'You Come at The Queens, You Best Not Miss'

By Richard Whittaker, May 10, 2014, 12:00pm, The Score

Another month, another Texas Rollergirls double header. This time, the May 10 matchups see the rebuilding Honky Tonk Heartbreakers versus the nigh-unstoppable Hotrod Honeys, before the Hell Marys try to leave the Hustlers in their flaming dust.

Last month's bout was about bruising point differentials. In the opening bout, the Hustlers just could never find their bearings in the face of a seemingly unstoppable Hotrod Honeys. But then again, this season, who can? The three time champs seem to be revving their engines towards their first title since 2010, and seemed to treat this bout as practice time. For a team with arguably the best jammer rotation in the league, the Honeys seemed strangely reliant on Bloody Mary, fielding her for pretty much every other jam. That just seems odd, considering how many other top tier skaters they have.

The Hustlers are back in rebuild mode, but they had an important component last time around with the return of Fifi Nomemon. No doubt Bloody knows she's back after a good-sported but massive jammer-on-jammer take down near the end of the first half. But the Hustler's hallmark heart wasn't enough to keep the Hotrods in their sites, and so they fell to the dominating force, 69-240.

The evening's main event seemed lot tighter, with the Honky Tonk Heartbreakers pulling back from a big early deficit against the Hell Marys to close out the first half, if not neck and neck, then at least within jumping distance.

The Hells seem like the Hotrods' most likely opponent in the championship bout, but the rebuilding Heartbreakers seem closer than ever to putting the new pieces together after seeing their pack eviscerated by retirements this year. They're still clearly missing both superstar jammer Flash Gorgeous and veteran blocker Desi Cration being on the roster but not on track, and while their pack still has issues, the revamped jammer line-up is feisty and headed to future infamy. They seemingly know they have something to prove – that could explain why Sideshow Ho pulled off the longest apex jump I have ever seen – but like everyone, they seemed badly shaken when newcomer Deep Dish Nitza went down hard and had to be taken off by the medics. The rookie had done a lot to get the Heartbreakers back in contention, including a 17 point run as the Hells struggled to exploit a star pass between Peacewar (still a stong contender, alongside the Hotrod's Stone Her, for rookie of the year) and Rosie.

But the Hells had the lead, and stayed in the lead. While the Heartbreakers faltered in the second period, the tartan mob stayed on target and coasted skillfully to a century lead, 156-256 at the finish.

Side note from last month: In the March update, the Women's Flat Track Derby Association issued its latest rule changes, and much of it was was welcome clarification or good evolution (especially the new 30 second penalty rule, which makes the odds of a power jam blow-out much smaller.) However, there was one change that simply damaging to the game, and that's the new language about multi-player blocks. WFTDA says that it "formalizes the principle that impeding an opponent with an impenetrable wall is illegal." If the new interpretation of the rules about grasping stand, then any team that can field a pair of quarter-way competent skaters that can hold hands and travel side ways can just lock down play. This seems to be another example of WFTDA changing the rules to solve a non-existent problem, and it left a lot of loyal fans wondering when a play that was clearly illegal a year ago is now standard tactics.

Maybe things will change and this will no longer be as much of an issue as it was last month. But I'm unsure, and I speak as someone who was OK with single whistle starts and cracking down on fights, so I'm not opposing the change just to oppose it.

Sat., May 10, 5:15pm. Austin Convention Center, 500 E. Cesar Chavez, 512/404-4000. $15 ($12, advance; $5, kids).

Copyright © 2023 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.