MONTRÉAL, QC – In the final game of the Montreal D1 tournament, #1 London faced #2 Texas in a tense battle of smart defense, quick transitions, and line-defying footwork to showcase top-ranked derby at its finest. After a 4-1 season, #1 London brought their methodical game play to rival Texas’ storied experience in a back and forth contest that didn’t appear to favor either side. Ultimately, after London’s Rogue Runner scored a break-out jam 33-point jam in the second period, Texas fell slightly short in mounting a comeback as London locked down defense to ultimately win 1st Place 146-135.
After a tight scrum in the first 20 seconds of gameplay, London’s Lexi Lightspeed picked up lead over Texas’ Fifi Nomenom to put up a 4-0 jam, only to have an 11–0 against them in the following jam at the hand of Hauss the Boss versus a light London defense, who were unable to help free Rogue Runner. London answered back in jam 3, when AnDracula scored 10 over Olivia Shootin’ John, and London kept their marginal lead for the next few jams, until a 13-0 by Fifi Nomenon swapped the lead to Texas’ favor, 29-19.
Texas would hold their lead for the remainder of the period, with London putting up several double-digit jams to close the margins. In the final jam of the period, AnDracula posted a 7-0 against Texas’ Freight Train, who was boxed as London’ smartly trapped Texie defender, StoneHer, to slow the pack, closing the half with a one point deficit, 71-70 Texas.
With both teams showcasing epic defense that featured Stef Mainey, Kid Block, Onyeka Igwe and Juke Boxx (London) and Jackie Daniels, Smarty Pants, CC Boom and Peacewar – who would ultimately win tournament MVP (Texas), it was expected that jammers would have to rely on perfectly-timed offense and some bravado to escape the packs. Impressive footwork and strength were on display as the teams traded points and often used star-stashes and passes to their experienced pivots to limit natural grand-slams.
Period 2 started in the same fashion with Lexi versus Fifi, with Lexi obtaining lead and a 10-0, which returned the lead to their favor 80-71, London. Brawling grabbed lead in jam 2 with Rogue Runner, but a track cut forced by Trauma gave berth for Hauss the Boss to go on a 10-3 run, closing the score to 83-81.
After several traded jams and lead changes, jam 6 broke the score open as London’s Rogue Runner posted a natural 33-7 jam (the highest scoring jam of the game) on a stymied Hauss and a Texas pack experiencing a penalty spiral. London retained this lead despite late game power jam opportunities gifted to Texas, whose chaotic offense seemed to cause more confusion for their jammers than points.
In the second-to-last jam of play, both teams’ jammers were boxed, but upon returning to the track, Master Blaster picked up a second penalty in the 2-minute run, and Fifi closed the score to 146-126. Starting the final jam with a power start, Texas sent Freight Train to the jam line, who was able to grab lead and 10 points over the jam, before being boxed herself on a cut, courtesy of Kid Block. With zero time-outs remaining, Texas called an official review to contest the call on Freight, but the call stood and London escaped with the gold medal, 146-135.
London fielded a consistent 4-jammer rotation, led by Rogue Runner with 54 points over 8 jams, while Texas fielded 5-jammers led by Freight Train with 51 points over 9 jams. Lead jammer designation and penalties were equitable, as indicated by the final score. London advances to a first-round bye at Championships in Portland.