2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #8 London takes down #9 Montréal, 231-152

2017 WFTDA D1 Champs: #8 London takes down #9 Montréal, 231-152 Photo credit: Derby With Recess. facebook.com/DerbyWithRecess

PHILADELPHIA, PA – This was the third game for  #9-ranked Montréal this weekend after an exciting opening game against Crime City where the New Skids won by just four points, and then took a tough 253-99 loss against Victoria the same day. #8 London had a similar deficit against Arch Rival on Friday, losing to the St. Louis team 225-82.

Both London and Montréal were the first for their respective countries to make it to WFTDA Playoffs, and it was the New Skids who gave Brawling their first sanctioned game at Anarchy in the UK in 2011. That first meeting was the only time Montréal beat the Europeans, and, with today’s 231-152 win, London has beaten the team six times since then. Today was the 6th in that series, with a final score in favor of London, 231-152.

This tournament season, Montréal has appeared to be a second-half team. In almost all of their Playoff games, and their two games prior this weekend, the team amped things up in the last 30 minutes, pulling out higher lead percentages and points. However, today London seemed to have taken notes from yesterday’s play and stayed in control of the flow of their game to the very end. The New Skids scored 76 points in both halves, but ultimately it was large-scoring jams in the first half which helped London to their eventual 79-point win.

The first three jams went to Montréal, with Miracle Whips and Falcon Punch each putting up textbook 4-point passes followed by a 7-point jam by The Honey Badger. Mel E Juana was back in their rotation today after sitting out the game against Victoria, and unfortunately gave up the first jammer penalty of the game. London utilized a strategy of going long this game, one that paid off this jam with Mel’s elbow penalty, and Delta Strike got London on the board with 13 points.

In the regular season, Rogue Runner scored an average of 76 points per game, but yesterday could only get a slim 14 against Arch Rival. With the resulting power start, she showed up with her usual scoring power by hopping through the pack for 14 points. Meanwhile, her blockers worked in pairs to split the Montréal blockers up and recycle Mel back from turn 1 to the apex between 3 and 4. It ended up going a full negative lap before the jam’s end, and London took the game lead, 27-18.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Penalties gave Montréal the pack advantage to start the next jam, which helped Miracle Whips earn lead almost instantly. The jam ended with a speedy three points and still two Brawling blockers in the box. Falcon Punch earned another lead status, and hopped around Arocha to earn a grand slam but was followed out by Kid Block who took a star pass. Falcon came into the London tripod hips first for a jam total of eight points that put the lead back in Montreal’s favor, 29-27.

London kept a short jammer rotation to start this game which proved successful as Rogue Runner returned for another double-digit jam. It was clear that her style works best with speed, as she stepped past the Montréal defense and jumped the apex to get out of the pack first. It didn’t help that the New Skids appeared to only field three blockers and, while missing their pivot, The Honey Badger got held to one scoring pass while Rogue Runner put up 19 points. With the lead back in the hands of London, the team kept hold of it for the rest of the game.

London got four power jams in the first half, but that wasn’t necessarily where the most points came from. They continued to take risks when they had lead status by letting Montréal score, and had multiple jams where the jammers matched points. With 13 minutes left in the first half, Brawling led 62-45.

A few jams later things got interesting when Miracle Whips got knocked to the infield and her front truck fell off. While Rogue Runner made grand slam after grand slam, Whips had to find her pivot while on six wheels, and hand off the star. That switch left Montréal short a blocker for the rest of the jam, and as blockers from both sides went to and from the box, play was reduced to a 2:1 pack in London’s advantage. After a 34-4 jam for Rogue, London called an official review.

While the review took a while, the crowd cheered as someone showed up to fix Miracle Whips’ skate. The review in question about a lack of a destruction call was not awarded, however, the referees had time to decide instead that each jammer had actually committed penalties. Mange Moi El Cul had become the jammer after the star pass and sat with a track cut while Rogue Runner was given a back block. The two started from the box in the next jam and Rogue added two more points to bring the score to 111-61.

Not long after, Montréal found a power jam opportunity when AnDracula miscalculated which blocker to come in behind and left instead with a cut. Falcon Punch had already begun scoring but while trying to jump the apex they landed on a blocker instead and swapped jammer spots in the box with their own misconduct. While the New Skids were unable to take full advantage of those moments to accumulate the points they needed, London continued to maintain their point spread.

With all four opposing blockers holding Miracle Whips back in the last jam of the half, Delta Strike barely needed Kid Block to break off and nudge the neon defense to lap the pack for 25 points while Montréal snagged a last second four with a star pass. By halftime, London led 145-76  with Rogue Runner claiming 69 of their points. Falcon Punch was at 100% lead status so far and led Montreal’s score with 27 points.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Photo credit: Derby With Recess.

Despite the New Skids getting out of the pack first for jam lead more often in the second half, the team couldn’t seem to gain any momentum in the score. They kept London’s large jams to a minimum, but still couldn’t put in enough double-digit jams themselves to close the gap.

London still had Trisha Smackanawa and Jack Attack in their pocket, each making appearances on the track before the game’s end to cushion their rotation. While for Montréal, The Honey Badger was pulling off many impressive moves on their toe stops, and ended up their second highest scorer at 35 points. Even with skate fixed, Miracle Whips struggled to regain footing and only scored about half as many points as they did against Victoria the day before.

London worked well as pairs, even using two blockers to open up the pack for their jammer, and Montréal tried to respond similarly at the jam starts. The New Skids would pair off and form around the London tripod, trying to smash their defense while coming together to hold the opposing jammer. Sometimes this tactic worked well, but giving the tiniest amount of room for Rogue to run was deadly, and she closed out the game with 97 points.

Montréal continued to fight into the last game seconds, but jams lengthened as London worked the clock. And then when that clock finally ran out, London secured the win for their finale game this weekend, 231-152.

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