MALMÖ, SWEDEN– The first Division 1 WFTDA tournament to take place outside North America happened in Sweden over the weekend with 6 teams playing 10 games over 2 days. With teams ranked #3 – #33 there were bound to be some blowouts, but there were also some rankings upsets and exciting matchups. With London leading the derby scene in Europe, they finished the weekend with four wins while experimenting with some different lineups, but the rest of the teams shook up the rankings a bit.
#3 London Brawling kicked off the WFTDA Recognized Tournament with a game against #20 Detroit and a 345-79 win, an improvement for Detroit by 100 points from when the two faced off in 2o14. Brawling was playing without Lexi Lightspeed, Arocha, or Olivia Coupe, but instead debuted jammer Carley McAdam and Toronto transfer Onyeka Igwe. They finished 4-0 at The European Smackdown and scored a total of 1,477 points by the weekend’s end.
Master Blaster didn’t make an appearance until their regulation game against Crime City in the last game of the weekend, where she reportedly scored a 31-point jam. Along with Stefanie Mainey, who pulled off a 34-point jam against Glasgow, Rogue Runner, Lexi Lightspeed, Trisha Smackanawa, and Carley McAdam– the Brawling jammer rotation has definitely been reinforced this season. Captain Juke Boxx is back in full blocking effect, and London’s braced formations dominated the competition over the weekend keeping Glasgow to only a total of nine points. Crime City was able to get the closest to them at the tournament with 98 points.
The hosts, Crime City, came into the tournament ranked #25 by WFTDA and the same by Flat Track Stats, but ended the weekend with three wins and one loss and jumped to #15 according to FTS. Part of that was due to their performance against #20 Detroit where they started slow and then pulled way into the lead due to multiple power jams and effective offense. They also scored a huge spread against #29 Glasgow, beating them by 490 points in their first game of the tournament.
As the lowest ranked team of the tournament, #33 Helsinki out performed their rank by winning 2 of their 3 games, including a 485-73 win against #28 Glasgow and a second half turn-around win against #20 Detroit by 54 points. They scored 76 points in the first 3 jams against Glasgow which Mad Malooney, their recent transfer from Stockholm, helped along.
Those big points wouldn’t have happened without effective blocking however, and when they didn’t have penalty problems their offense could swiftly spring their jammers for lead. Before the tournament Flat Track Stats put Helsinki at #34 and now they ring in at #27.
#17 Stockholm played three games over three days including their bonus Friday game against #20 Detroit where they lost by just 11 points. The next day they played #3 London where Stockholm’s defense held strongly, but it wasn’t enough to hold back Brawling’s scoring and London took the win 295-49. To try and battle it, they were able to pull off some sneaky star passes however. The last day they beat Glasgow by 305 points making it a 1-2 weekend for them.
#20 Detroit was missing their highest scorer from last year’s playoffs, Feta Sleaze, which forced them to adjust and utilize various people in the jammer star. They relied mostly on Swift Justice, Meryl Slaughterburgh, and transfer speed skater, Jilleannae Rookard. Both Cookie Rumble and Racer McChaseher used to jam often in the past and they took their turns this weekend, and recent Texas transfer Sarah Hipel did some jamming as well.
After their win on Friday against Stockholm, they had a hard time putting up the points they needed due penalties. Against Crime City they were stuck at 33 points for 10 minutes in the first half while Crime capitalized on their jammers cycling to the box. Versus Helsinki, Detroit took advantage of their early penalty problems and with their great bridging they were able to knockout and drag the opposing jammer back into the pack. They changed up their passive offense from previous games, but Helsinki also pulled ahead and Detroit ended with a 1-3 record for the weekend.
#28 Glasgow struggled a bit at The European Smackdown and lost all four of their games. They scored the most against #33 Helsinki but had the best differential against #17 Stockholm. They utilized braced blocking formations but were unable to recycle quickly enough at times to hang onto the jammer.
Against #3 London, they had moments of glory, but London worked up 134 points before Glasgow was able to put up three points in the 7th jam. They added six more in the second half against the stalwart Brawling defense and by the end London won 526-9. Before the weekend Flat Track Stats ranked Glasgow at #39 but now they’ve fallen to #73.
Audience chosen MVPs for the weekend were London’s Gaz for blocker and Lil Slinky from Stockholm for jammer. The announcers also got a pick and chose Cookie Rumble from Detroit as tournament MVP.
The European Smackdown was important for European roller derby, showcasing the top level teams on that continent and making it available to the local derby scene. As a WFTDA Recognized Tournament, it may have also been an example to the organization how a successful high-level tournament can be pulled off in Europe for future WFTDA tournament seasons.
To view the archived games, Crime City stated that the they will be available at ccr.solidtango.com for awhile, still behind a pay wall, but that they might become free at later date.
If you like numbers, head over to Scottish Roller Derby’s stats analysis of The European Smackdown.