With the schedule of bouts for the first day of the Roller Derby World Cup almost complete, now is as good a time as any to start looking over the events for insight.
Australia and New Zealand entered the tournament as the dark horses; not having played anyone in the US or Europe, we had no idea how good they'd be. Arguably, we still don't know how good New Zealand is - anyone could lose to the USA by 377:8 - but we do know that Australia is as formidable as some had feared, beating the seeded Team Germany with triple their score, and Finland by a larger margin. Personally, I'd go as far as suggesting they're the only team outside the North American continent who might be able to win.
New Zealand are most memorable for borrowing the tradition of the Haka from their Rugby playing compatriots; we'll see if it has more intimidating effect on Team Scotland than it did on the USA, tomorrow!
Meanwhile, the France-Canada bout went just as we might expect, as did the Sweden-Brasil match up (although Brasil played a little better than I'd expected; despite also picking up a worrying number of penalties). Argentina-Ireland was hard to call, but All-Ireland proved they have the potential to go far in the elimination round, beating the South American team handily. (Indeed, the Scottish Roller Derby Blog seems fairly agreed that Brasil may actually be a stronger team overall than Argentina is, based on their first bouts played.)
The scores were:
Canada 244 : 17 France
Australia 136 : 53 Germany
Argentina 51 : 164 Ireland
New Zealand 8 : 377 USA
Brasil 30 : 163 Sweden
Australia 179 : 29 Finland
Scottish Referees Ella Bella Bang Bang and Cherry Fury made appearances refereeing the first two bouts, and returned to ref on the exhibition USA-USA bout proceeding as I write this.
(Team Scotland Photographer, and talismanic lens Lenszilla, made visible appearances as well. We look forward to seeing the fruits of his labour.)
Anyone who missed a bout should be able to view the recorded footage from Derby News Network's archive, eventually. It looks like the World Cup is creating a high enough load that archive copies may only be available after the Cup itself, however.