Under the light of the full moon, Adelaidians again descended upon the Showgrounds for the Adelaide Roller Derby (ADRD) on Saturday 15 June. Bout 4 of 2019’s competition saw last season’s champions Mile Die Club face off with the Salty Dolls.
Local four-piece indie band Oscar the Wild, 2019 St Jerome’s Laneway Festival alumni, provided the rink-side entertainment for the evening and did a spectacular job of it. Their sound provided the perfect pre-match and half time soundtrack for those seeking food, drinks, wares or merch. At the conclusion of their first set, a familiar voice shrieked through the pavilion. Finger Prince was back in the commentary box after a short hiatus. Together with his sidekick and co-commentator The Philistine they manoeuvred through the preliminary bits—toilet location, smoking location, team skate outs, slow-motion jam for the virgin derby attendees—in their typical humorous fashion. And then it was on.
The Dies took an early lead 24-0 thanks to some stellar blocking and Mad Sqweelz Milz (43) jamming but it wasn’t long before the Salties got on the scoreboard with a 3 point jam from Trinket (119). But as the Die’s Bobby Dazzler (55) was sat in the box, the first time of many in the bout, the Salties were not able to penetrate the Dies blockers to benefit from the power jam.
The teams skated through a scrappy first half that saw a lot of bodies on the floor and in the sin bin. Power jams were abundant including 9 points from the Salties Trinket (119), and a monstrous 23 points from Mad Sqweelz Milz (43) to increase the Die’s lead to 88-39 with 7 minutes left on the clock.
Although the Salties were struggling to get points on the board they were putting in an almighty effort to stop the Dies from skating around that rink. The final 2 minutes of the half saw everyone stuck in a block party by the commentary box. As hard as the jammers tried, they were not breaking through the wall. It was only in the final 30 seconds that Bobby Dazzler (55) was able to smash through and score 4 points to take the Dies to a 100-51 lead at half time.
After a short break and a Salties sing-along to wish IV (4) a happy birthday the second half commenced. What was witnessed was a resurgence of confidence by the Salties who took up the gauntlet in an effort to turn the bout around. Trinket (119) continued with her jamming dominance and was assisted by Rose Hip’n’shoulder (360) while the Dies kept getting sent to the box. At one stage 3 of their skaters were sin-binned at the same time. This allowed the Salties to narrow the gap 112-71.
Both teams were literally throwing themselves into the competition, unfortunately, resulting in the awesome folk from St John’s being required to tend to injuries. The Salties Gnome Chompsky (8) went down hard at one stage knocking her head on the concrete floor. The Dies Mad Sqweelz Milz (43) also went down hard. In what can only be described as a respectful sign of professionalism, Team Zebra surrounded her shielding her from the concerned yet gawking crowd while St John’s assessed her. It was a relief to everyone when she shook it off and skated off the rink for a rest.
From this point, it was as if someone hit the fast forward button on the remote as the pace dramatically increased. Despite everyone putting in a mammoth effort already they dug deep and found that extra energy generally reserved for a grand final bout. While vice-captain Count deBumps (123 ha ha ha) in her black and red tailed coat and Moe Skeeto (33) continued with their fierce blocking for the Dies, Evil Stig (05) jammed her way to 20 points. Meanwhile, co-captain Victoria Bitter (31) exhibited some fancy footwork for the Salties with an inside pop to score 8 points.
Trinket (119), who was on fire for the whole bout, continued with her epic jamming scoring 15 points followed closely by another 16 points before ending in a Moe down with Moe Skeeto (33). The two of them out of breath and splattered on the floor was a perfect personification of the night’s bout.
The Salties managed to reduce the gap to 29 points with one jam remaining. I was on the edge of my seat as Blue Wrenegade (2880) put in an almighty effort to try and bring it home for the Salties but it just wasn’t meant to be with Mile Die Club winning 169-147.
Both teams competitive spirit added to the overall enjoyment of the evening proving yet again how awesome ADRD is. Check it out for yourself on Saturday 20 July at the Adelaide Showgrounds when all the teams compete in a doubleheader. See the Mile Die Club try to bury the Wild Hearses and the Salty Dolls try to knock the Road Train Rollers out of their path to victory. Doors open at 4 pm.
Roller Derby Review By Anita Kertes