Bennington Banner – 7/13/2015
By Geoff Smith
MANCHESTER >> If first impressions are anything to go by, the Southshire Roller Derby (SRD) team has found a welcoming home at Riley Rink.
SRD hosted its first-ever home derby match on Saturday, and roughly 600 players, officials and fans packed into the boards inside the rink to watch two exciting games of roller derby.
“It was pretty amazing,” said SRD founder Amy Moore. “The roar here, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like that at derby.”
In game one, the Capital District Trauma Authority — which hosted the match along with SRD — dispatched the Mean Mountain Boys 335-77, while in the nightcap the hosts, playing their travel Battle Cats team, fell to the Pair O’Dice City Rollers, 238-123.
But while the results did not lend themselves to close matches, the action on the flat track kept a capacity crowd occupied throughout the event, an energy that the players could feel as they skated around.
“It was awesome having all the home fans here,” said Battle Cats captain Renee Tower. “It was a whole different thing than our away game. The energy from the crowd, the people that love us, was nice.”
The night had a few hiccups as the Southshire team adjusted to hosting a home meet, but for the most part the action moved smoothly over the four hours of action. In the men’s game, the action on the track mixed with the fans sitting on top of the playing area created a warm environment inside the venue, then just as the women prepared to take the track the overhead doors that surround the rink were opened, creating an indoor/outdoor experience for the highlight match.
“It was fun, but there was definitely a little bit of pressure having all those people there that know you, watching,” said Tower. “It was a little extra push to knock some people down and do some fancy stuff.”
The men’s game started out as a clinic for the first-time watchers in attendance, as the Trauma Authority scored 61 points in the first six jams (rounds) of the night. The Mean Mountain Boys slowly found their footing as the first 30-minute period wore on, and a 30-point jam by the team brought the crowd to its feet. Trauma Authority, though, continued to exert its dominance, and put up a 30-point jam of its own in the second half.
“I love watching the guys. I think they play a great, physical kind of derby,” said Moore. “I think the Albany team did a good job cycling through their whole bench for jammers and put on a good show.”
In the women’s game, the City Rollers moved out to a quick 8-0 lead in the first three jams and never looked back, although the home fans desperately tried to push the Battle Cats closer throughout the match. At halftime, the Battle Cats trailed 129-46.
The biggest cheers of the night went to the Battle Cats on the few jams they dominated, including a 20-point power jam in the first half and a 16-point jam in the second half.
“Being that most of us, it was our second or third game, it went really well,” said Tower. “We were just hoping it wasn’t 600 to 100 or whatever. We felt good about the way the points went.”
“I think we were very happy with how we did,” added Moore. “I know we broke 100 points, so we were happy with that. We did a whole production and then we played some derby, so I’m happy with everyone’s performance and their skills. We have things to go back and work on. We learned a bunch of things to get ready for the next one.”
Both the Battle Cats and the Trauma Authority will return to Riley Rink on Sept. 5 for another doubleheader.