The Rossland Trail Roller Girls’ bid for a finals berth will be on the line Friday night as they get set to play the Valley Vendettas in West Kootenay Roller Derby action at Selkirk College in Castlegar.
In their July 27 match, the Roller Girls seized an early lead but watched it slip away, in a heartbreaking loss to Salmo’s Babes of Brutality, 190-167. The 1-2 Roller Girls now find themselves in a critical matchup against the Vendettas.
“For RTRG this is our final chance for a shot in the final coming Sept. 8,” explained Roller Girls captain Amy Den Biesen. “It’s a must win game and we also need to win by a significant amount of points.”
The Roller Girls are also anticipating that the Nelson Killjoys will do them a favour and eradicate the Dam City Rollers in the other end of the double-header.
“I think the chances of that are really good actually,” said Den Biesen whose derby handle is Squeeze Loueeze. “The Killjoys so far are undefeated, they have a really strong jammer line up going for them.”
The Roller Girls and Dam City have identical records, so any combination of a win or loss will send the other to a possible finals berth. If both teams win there will be a three-way tie for second place with the Babes of Brutality. In case of a tie the WKRD goes to a point differential to determine which team advances.
In any event, a loss will extinguish their season, but a victory will at least kindle some hope for a shot at the championship and a sip out of the coveted Golden Boot.
The Roller Girls have had their ups and downs this season, looking particularly sharp in their 204-167 victory over Dam City back in May, however, the amalgamated team of Gnarlies Angels and Bad News Betties succumbed to the Killjoys and Babes in two very close matches.
“We started out really strong, and had some really good jammers this season, and unfortunately we’ve had a couple injuries with our jammers, so we’re trying to kind of pull blockers to jammers and reorganize ourselves before we go into this next bout. So I think that is going to be our toughest challenge,” added Den Biesen.
The versatile blocker and sometime jammer likes the direction that the league is going, parity being the key to WKRD evolution.
“Our league has matured, we’re really stable this year, we’ve got a great league, we’ve got a great board. Things have went really smoothly, we amalgamated a couple teams, Rossland-Trail and Nelson only has one team, so I find the league more manageable and the skill-set across the teams has really evened out . . . so it’s making it really fun.”
After three years of domination by the Babes of Brutality and Gnarlies Angels, it is refreshing to go into a match that is not a fait accompli, she added.
Through amalgamation and fresh-meat workouts that welcome new skaters to roller derby, most teams have topped up their rosters and enjoy relative stability, but the WKRD is always on the lookout for more help particularly in the guise of potential referees and non-skating officials.
It is a pair of matches not to be missed. The Roller Girls are still steaming from their last loss to the Babes and look to prove a point when they take on the Vendettas, who beat the Babes 181-154 earlier in the season.
“I think we’re a little pissed off that we lost this last game to the Babes, because we really wanted that game, and they took it from us,” said the former Bad News Betty. “We definitely want a shot to play in Rossland on Sept. 8. That’s a big deal for the Angels, they’ve always been a part of the finals, so the Angels that are on the team we want to do them proud, and at least fight for third place.”
Rossland-Trail rolls out the wrath against the Valley Vendettas Friday at 6 p.m. while the Dam City Rollers and Nelson Killjoys go at 8 p.m. at Selkirk College. Tickets are $10, with a 50/50 and adult beverages and barbecue available.
The bouts will determine the top four WKRD teams that advance to Mountain Mayhem in a final throw down for the championship and Golden Boot Sept. 8 at the Rossland Arena. The first and second place teams vie for the Boot while the consolation match between third and fourth place will battle for bronze.