Monday, November 19, 2007
Hotrod can't quite beat Gridlock
Saturday night at City College saw the finale of the 2007 Gotham Girls Roller Derby season - the final between the 3-0 Bronx Gridlock and the 2-1 Queens of Pain. Queens, the two time defending champions, came into this one as an underdog, but one with a history of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Especially against the Bronx.
Last year, by a quirk of circumstance, the last two games of the round robin regular season were effectively semi finals. Both featured late comebacks, and both were decided by a single point. Queens beat the Bronx when Suzy Hotrod, truck driver, punk rock star, and elite derby girl, racked up five points from nowhere as time expired and broke hearts across Gridlock Nation. Queens went on to pummel Manhattan in the final, and the Bronx girls have not forgotten it.
Last season's new-team nerves were gone as the Gridlock swept through the regular season. Rookie Luna Impact, ace blocker Beonsláy, angry captain Ginger Snap and lethal Philly import Kandy Kakes helped super fast jammers Beatrix Slaughter, Bonnie Thunders, and Brigitte Barhot (voted hottest derby girl by the fans) total truly awesome numbers.
Drawing Queens in the final was a bonus. Early in the second half, led by the amazing Beatrix Slaughter, Bronx eased out to a 34 point lead, and it all seemed over. But a couple of great Queens jams, notably by Cheap Skate, brough the deficit back to 18.
The crowd started to stir, but again the Bronx pulled away, scoring 20 unanswered points to take a seemingly unassailable 38 point lead. Everyone could relax. And the Gridlock seemed to do so, at their peril. The Queens jammers chipped away at a less and less disciplined defence, bringing the margin back to 27. Then Scarlet Rage went 9-0, and the margin was 18 with time running out.
Then the spectre of Suzy Hotrod returned. With Barhot hitting the penalty box twice, and the Bronx defenders strung out all over the place, Suzy drew on hidden reserves of strength and speed to pull out an incredible 15 to 0 jam. The 1,110 strong CCNY crowd was on its feet, going crazy, as Queens was suddenly in reach with 1:33 remaining. But in a frenetic and confusing final jam, Brigitte Barhot came out of the box at just the right moment and redeemed herself, holding off Suzy Hotrod to see the Bronx to a 5 point win.
Tears were shed as the ecstatic Gridlock team embraced on the track. Queens congratulated them warmly, but you could see the look in the eyes of their stars. Next year, it's time for revenge.