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This weekend, the Ohio Roller Girls will travel 1,052 round-trip miles for a tough double-header on the road against two teams they have only faced once before.  The #23 in the world Ohio squad will first lace their skates in Richmond, Virginia. They will be welcomed by the #75 River City Rollergirls, where Poe’s Punishers look to put the first notch in Ohio’s loss column in 2013.  OHRG will then drive up I-95 and take on a heavily favored #12 Charm City Roller Girls squad on Sunday in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Ohio Roller Girls are currently 6-0 in 2013 and recently came off a huge win over a higher ranked Steel City squad earlier this month (246-162).  The trip to Richmond will mark the second time the Ohioans will face the River City girls as River City came to Columbus last season for OHRG’s 2012 home opener.  Outsized, OHRG fought their way to a 126 point victory in front of the home crowd, 196-70.

This season, River City’s Poe’s Punishers are 1-4, but have played higher caliber teams than in previous seasons.  They started their 2013 season with a narrow 13 point loss to the Carolina Rollergirls (177-164).  Carolina was the only squad to defeat Ohio in the regular season last year as the OHRG went 20-1 during their grueling schedule.  River City then lost to the Columbia Rollergirls 185-112, but they secured their first win of the season over Dutchland three weeks later 206-92.

River City’s trip to Vermont on April 13th then caused a bit of controversy along the east coast as both the charter and reserve teams made the voyage for scheduled bouts against the Green Mountain Derby Dames.  The Green Mountain Black Ice Brawlers defeated the visiting River City Uncivil Warriors 157-100 in the opening B-team bout.  River City’s Poe’s Punishers and GMDD played the first half of their bout, but fifteen jams into the second half River City decided to forfeit the contest.  At the time of the forfeit, River City was down 162-50, but the score during any forfeit is recorded as 100-0.

As derby fans looked for answers, River City posted the following to their webpage: “The River City Rollergirls is an athletic organization that strives to be a role model and inspiration for a growing generation of young women.  At the heart of the game, we promote a healthy and safe way to stay active.  In every bout, skater safety is of the utmost concerns.  There were several moments throughout the bout that made us concerned about the safety of the skaters.  As a team, we decided that we needed to take a step back for the safety of all skaters.  The Green Mountain Derby Dames is a hardworking, dedicated, skillful group of skaters who played extremely well and earned their win.  We apologize to their fans for how we had to end the bout.”  After their forfeit, River City traveled north and was overmatched by the New Skids on the Block of Montreal Roller Derby 342-96.

Although Ohio will be favored, they’ll have their hands full as River City boasts a number of very talented skaters.  Staples on the jammer line are Julia Bondage and Paris Kills, and several other skaters can easily step into that role.  Blocking for their jammers will be Norah P. Neffrin, Forty Ounce Bounce, Murphy, Miss Bea Trippin, and Raven Darkhold.  Jammer Julia Bondage is tied for first place for most points scored during a single jam in a sanctioned WFTDA bout with a 45 point jam against Central New York last season.  Right behind her on that list with a 44 point jam is Ohio’s Phoenix Bunz, who posted that feat against Steel City earlier this month.  According to the River City announcer, Sashion Victim, the squad’s roster has also been bolstered by transfer skaters Bella DeBrawl (Pacific) and Speed Junkie (New River Valley).

In the undercard, Ohio’s Gang Green will take on River City’s Uncivil Warriors.  Gang Green is currently 1-2 during the 2013 campaign with their lone victory coming against the Bleeding Heartland Code Blue Assassins (150-114).  They have suffered losses to the Toronto Bay Street Bruisers and the Steel City Steel Beamers.

The River City Uncivil Warriors are struggling as well, posting an 0-4 record thus far.  The Uncivil Warriors have fallen to the Carolina Bootleggers (193-126), the Columbia Miss B’Havers (160-132), the Dutchland Blitz (213-135), and the Green Mountain Black Ice Brawlers (157-100).  The primary jammers for the Uncivil Warriors are Finger Flippin Good and Eva Anarchy.  Looking to clear the way for their jammers will be Just Plain Power, Orangyna, Sirius Block, Lenore Quicksilver, and Alpha Betty.

The following morning, the Ohio Roller Girls will travel to Baltimore for a battle against the #12 Charm City Roller Girls.  Charm City is coming off its third straight appearance at the WFTDA Championship tournament where the top 12 teams compete for the championship trophy, The Hydra.  In 2010 and 2011, Charm City was unable to make it out of the first round, suffering losses to Rocky Mountain and Minnesota, respectively.  Unfortunately for Charm City, they ran into an intensely hot Denver Rollergirls squad in the first round at the 2012 tourney and were again bumped from the tournament on the first day.

Don’t let their current 1-2 record fool you, however; Charm has played some of the best competition in the country thus far.  They started off 2013 with a loss to (now 7-0) #18 Angel City 210-193, and followed that defeat with another, this time to #9 Philly 231-129.  Charm City was able to post a victory during their third bout, a 214-108 drubbing over #21 Boston.  At #23, Ohio will actually be one of the lowest ranked teams that Charm City will face all season, a testament to Charm City’s willingness to play top-tier teams all season.

Much like at the end of 2011, Charm City has had to deal with significant roster changes.  Over the past couple of years, they have lost skaters such as CC Bang Bang, Dolly Rocket, Grose Misconduct, and Joy Collision due to either retirement or transfer.  Following the 2012 Champs tournament, they lost three more high-octane skaters in Holden Grudges, Collene Oscopy, and Crowella De Vil.  As she has the last few seasons, I.M. Pain will carry the load on the jammer line for Charm City.  Battery Operated and Colleen Best will also split time with the starred helmet cover.  Looking to impose their will in the pack will be Allie B. Back, Feral Kat, Lady Quebeaum (pronounced Ka-Boom), Quickshot Kitty, and Uvetta Work.

The Ohio Roller Girls have a tough four week stretch ahead. After they play River City and Charm City, they have four more bouts scheduled in the three following weeks.  On May 4th, the OHRG travel to St. Louis and face #13 Arch Rival.  Ohio will then be at home on May 11th as they welcome the #44 Blue Ridge Rollergirls.  The following weekend will again see the local squad on the road as they travel to Georgia to lace their skates against the #15 Atlanta Rollergirls and the #28 Tampa Bay Derby Darlins for another back-to-back contest.

Photos courtesy of Dorn Byg, see photos from last year’s victory over River City here.

Andrew Marron