First jam of the bout, and started the same way as almost every jam of the last bout. All of the blockers lining up right in front of the jammer's starting line. No one from either team wanted to take the necessary step that brings about the second starting whistle that releases the jammers. Most of the crowd didn't understand how the rules were being used, but they understand that it was the players holding it up, and they started booing. Not a good way to start. After a minute and eight seconds the second whistle blew. Roxanna Hardplace score 1 point for D-Funk, while Racer McChaser didn't score any for the Madonnas. It was a lot of waiting to see 1 point scored.
Anomaly scored the first points for the Madonnas in the 2nd jam with 5, and Racer followed that in the 3rd with another 9. Polly Fester scored the first double digit jam of the bout, when she score 14 for D-Funk in the 4th jam to take back the lead. Racer scored 4 in the 5th to take the lead back for the Madonnas, and Anomaly gave them another 5 in the 6th. Polly Fester then gave the lead back to D-Funk with a big 19 point play.
Some slow starts small scores started to make the crowd snooze, then the Grand Prix Madonnas scored 14 points in the eleventh jam. It wasn't enough to take the lead back, because by then they were down 40-43. In the 12th jam, Tinja made her first big play of the bout, putting 14 points on the board for D-Funk.
The rest of the half played out slowly and painfully. Either stalling tactics, or an unwillingness to draw the second whistle caused the 16th and 18th jams to be wasted. Both teams would just stand there waiting for someone else to trigger the start, but no one would. The two minute jam clock would wind down to zero, and the jam would be over. Other jams had some small scoring, and the first half ended with the D-Funk Allstars leading 59-54.
The first two jams of the second half only produced 2 points, by Lily I. Monster for the Grand Prix Madonnas. Polly Fester scored made a big 15 point play in the third jam, increasing D-Funk's lead to 74-56.
The Madonnas began chipping away at the point deficit in the 8th jam. Racer scored 7 to her opponents 1, and then take jammer position for her team in the next jam to outscore her opponent 5-3. Teams don't like having the same player jamming in consecutive jams like that, because most players don't have the stamina to put up points without a break between jams. The Madonna's Rocky Brawlboa then scored 13, cutting their deficit to 92-87. Racer would go to the jam line again in the 11th, score 14 points, and put her team in the lead for the first time in the second half, 101-96.
Racer McChaser kept making the big plays for her team, and in the 16th jam, she scored 16 points, increasing her teams lead to 121-100. D-Funk was running out of time, and needed to make some big plays. Roxanna Hardplace would score 9 points for them in the 18th jam, and 10 in the 20th, but it wasn't enough. The Grand Prix Madonnas won 135-122, and continues to be the only undefeated team in the league. By virtue of scoring 90 of her team's 135 points, Racer McChaser won the MVP award for the game. Can the Madonna's play this well without Racer?
Captain Fatal Femme, and Co-Captain Mad Hatcher let me in on what they were thinking after the bout:
Detroit Area Dork: What are your initial thoughts on the bout?
Mad Hatcher: I feel really positive about our team. We supported each other a lot this game, we worked really hard. We'll have to watch the footage, evaluate, and go from there.
Fatal Femme: I'm really proud of our team. We did everything we set out to do, we were prepared. The reffing didn't exactly go our way, but you can't control that.
Mad Hatcher: We're really proud of our team.
Detroit Area Dork: What was the point of contention at the end there with the officials?
Fatal Femme: Racer, the jammer, was released before she served a full minute, and I was contesting that. They said they released her early, but there was only four seconds left, and no timeouts left. Either way, it didn't matter, time ran out.
Detroit Area Dork: How were the Grand Prix Madonnas able to pull ahead, when your team led most of the first half?
Mad Hatcher: I think we lost our momentum when our jammers starting going to the penalty box.
Fatal Femme: That, and when they were making the "no-pack".
Mad Hatcher: They were going all the way down on their bellys and their butts [at the start of the jam, before the jammers are released], to get a no-pack situation.
Fatal Femme: Then we're not able to touch their jammer, and she can go straight through.
Mad Hatcher: Kind of a tricky manuever.
Fatal Femme: Nothing to do to counter it.
Detroit Area Dork: Do you think the other team relied on one jammer too much?
Fatal Femme: They always do. You can quote me on that.
Mad Hatcher: That's part of their game.
Detroit Area Dork: What do you think is next for D-Funk in the post-season?
Fatal Femme: Going into the break, we have time to do all sorts of things. Have fun, just going into that next bout to have fun. We love playing the 'Whippers.
Mad Hatcher: And line up at the pivot line.
Fatal Femme: Starting their would be nice, instead of all the way back at the jammer line.
Detroit Area Dork: The jammers started each play in front of the jammer line. Every single jam. Is there a name for that?
Mad Hatcher: We don't have a fancy name for it.
Fatal Femme: The rules will change, and hopefully that will put an end to it. I don't like it, the fans don't like it, my teammates don't like it. It's a loophole, and you have to try to use it to your advantage.
Detroit Area Dork: There was a lot of booing when the jam stalled out because of this tactic.
Mad Hatcher: I don't blame the fans. It's really boring. We're working hard to get the refs to change the rules, so everybody starts on the first whistle.
Detroit Area Dork: What are waiting for to make that second whistle [which releases the jammers] to happen?
Fatal Femme: It needs to be changed to just a one whistle start. It's leaning towards that, and having a starting blocker box that they have to start within, away from the jammers.
Detroit Area Dork: When you're all standing there waiting, what needs to happen to make the second whistle happen?
Fatal Femme: Take a knee, to take yourself out of play. Once you take a knee, you're out of play, and there's no pack, the jammers get to go.
With much effort, I was able to track down the Madonnas' Captain, Spanish Assassin:
Detroit Area Dork: What are your thoughts on that bout?
Spanish Assassin: We know that it was going to be hard hitting, a lot strategy in this bout. We knew it was going to be tough, but we've been preparing all season. We've got a great group of girls that played together, we did our best, and we pulled it off.
Detroit Area Dork: What gave your team the edge tonight?
Spanish Assassin: We changed up a couple of things at the half. We kept what was working in the first half, and everybody kept their cool. Our walls were working all day, our jammers were getting bruised, we just capitalised on the things that were working, we didn't lose, we stayed together, and we never gave up.
Detroit Area Dork: In your last bout, your team went the whole first half without any major penalties, but there were a lot more penalties from your team this time. Was there a different style of play?
Spanish Assassin: Yeah, definitely a lot more starts on the jam line. We typically don't like to do that, but since the other team was doing it, and since it was working for us, we were getting our jammers through first a lot, it changed up the style of play. Whenever you have everybody like sardines in a can like that, you're going to be elbowing more, you're going to be compacted more in the pack, so you're going to pick a lot more minors because there's so many people fighting in one small area. So we accumulated a lot of minors, but so did they. It just came down to who kept their head in it longer, who got less penalties, and we pulled through.
Detroit Area Dork: Every play started with the blockers right in front of the jam line. Is there a name for that?
Spanish Assassin: Yeah, "no one likes it".
Detroit Area Dork: Both teams kept wanting to do it though.
Spanish Assassin: It's definitely something that's being used more, and because the fans don't like, and because it's stops gameplay, WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Derby Association) is refining the rules. With this new rule set that comes out, it's not going to be allowed any more. People don't necessarily like it, but it works, and it jams up other jammers, so it's being used a lot more unfortunately. It's coming down to whoever can do it better is winning, but pretty soon we'll be getting a new rule set, so you shouldn't see it any more.
Detroit Area Dork: Do you think your team relies on one jammer too much?
Spanish Assassin: No, not at all. We've got a great bunch of jammers. We got Racer [McChaser], we got Nom [Anomaly], we got [Lily I] Monster, we got Cali from last year. Cinda [Railya] unfortunately wasn't playing because she's got a shoulder injury, but she'll be back for the next bout. We've got Hooli, we've got Rocky [Brawlboa], we've got Yoko [Krazy]. We've got a lot of people that like to jam, they like to block. Depending on what team you're coming up against, you kind of use different style jammers. We threw out more in the first half, so who was working, and in the second half, we went with those people, because they were obviously scoring more points against our opponents' style of play.
Detroit Area Dork: D-Funk led for most of the first half, what changed to allow you to take the lead from them?
Spanish Assassin: We learned from what we were doing in the first half, and we fixed it. We capitalized on our walls. Instead of playing it as safe as we were in the first half, we started the jams instead of just standing there and letting the time burn, because we needed points, but we were also very confident in our walls stopping their jammers. So in the second half we started taking a knee more, forcing the start, and sure enough, our walls kept their jammers back, our jammers were getting through, scoring points, and it just worked.
Detroit Area Dork: How do you think you need to prepare for the next bout against the Pistoffs?
Spanish Assassin: I think they're going to be a much different style of play. The Pistoffs are very strategy heavy, they're smart, they're very agile. They're very experienced because they have a lot of veterans on their team, so it's going to be a lot more rolling play, it's going to be a lot more hitting, it's going to be a lot of quick strategy being thrown at us, instead of this starting on the jam line business. Our biggest thing is our walls. We own the defense. We have really good walls, so we're going to go with that, and we should be able to take on whatever gets thrown at us.