Day 3 of the second ever Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup was devoted to the first stage of the Elimination round, along with the completion of the Consolation bouts for those teams not finishing in the top of their group.
Overall, due to the pairing of Group #1 seeds against Group #2 seeds in the Elimination bracket, it has to be said that the closest and most exciting bouts of the day were mostly in the Consolation round.
While they seemed less certain in the first period, Team Japan pulled out easily the best performance of their tournament in the second period of their Consolation bout against Mexico, really showing how much they've developed as a team over the past few days (even if both teams had an overflowing penalty board by the end of the game...). Switzerland v Italy was a very close to-and-fro game, especially in the first period. Once again, accumulated penalties told on both teams, and Italy pulled ahead for the win in Period 2. And Denmark v Portugal once again repeated the same story - a close first period, with Denmark turning on the gas in the second to secure a convincing win.
Over in the Elimination bouts, Norway, West Indies and Brasil all had predictably crushing bouts against the probable top three in the tournament; USA, England and Canada. Brasil managed to score an impressive 75 points against Canada, however, showing what a great team they've become since the 2011 Cup!
Sweden, New Zealand, Finland and Argentina had less easy groups to win, but triumphed over Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France in the end. Of these, the Argentina v France bout was the only truly close bout of the Top 16 playoffs, with the result completely unpredictable during the first period.
With the rankings going into the Final 8 being determined by score difference in the previous single bout, this close Argentina win rather sealed their fate, as the #8 Seed must play #1, the dominant USA.
Over to Scotland, however, where our team was unlucky enough to be drawn against Australia, #4 placed team from 2011, and probable #3 or #4 place contestors in this tournament. It was a difficult first period for Scotland, with some incredible displays of blocking and jamming on track; however, Australia managed to control the lead jammer position for the entire first period, preventing Scotland's excellence from doing anything other than limiting Aussie scoring. In the very last jam of the period, a star pass to Kerr during a leadless jam, allowed a literal last-second score, putting a single point on the board for Scotland!
Rejuvenated by breaking their duck, Scotland returned to the 2nd Period determined to mix it up. Liston, jamming for the first time in the game (tournament?), picked up the first lead jammer call for Scotland during the opening (power) jam and the first grand slam pass seconds later. This was the start of a much more confident play by Scotland, with Gow taking a natural lead jammer call soon after, although being forced to call after a single scoring pass after a block knocked her face first into the concrete floor (this also put her out of action in the line-up while she was checked out by the medics). A few power jams for both teams (including a couple of jams where both Scotland and Australia's jammers headed to the box simultaneously), and the Australian blocking mostly told, despite sterling blocking by Maclean, Davis, Liston, Parry (until she fouled out), Cider, Kerr, Simpson and Skinner in particular on the Scottish team.
In the end, a scrappy final jam featuring more alternating jammer penalties, brought the score to 464-35 for a deserved Australia win, but a hard fought one against Scotland's resilience.
At the quarter final, then, the drawing of high seeds against low continued to produce some predictable blowouts, with USA destroying Argentina just like they destroyed everyone else in the tournament, and England taking a very convincing win over Sweden. Being closer to the middle of the seeds, the Canada - Finland and Australia - New Zealand bouts were slightly less one sided, with Finland standing up pretty well to the #3 seed and taking home 145 pts to Canada's 290.
USA will play #4 seed Australia today, before number #2 and #3 seeds England and Canada duke it out. The winners will go through to the Final, while the losers will play for 3rd place in a last minute change to the schedule (check our UK timetable for the accurate timings).
Now, a brief digression for a slightly controversial statement.
Blood and Thunder's official "Knockout standings" (which are based on the score differentials only for the Group of 16 bouts, as far as we can tell) are [taken from their Facebook page]: OFFICIAL KNOCKOUT ROUND STANDINGS:
- Team USA Roller Derby
- Team England Roller Derby
- Team Canada B&T World Cup
- Team Australia
- Team New Zealand Roller Derby
- Team Finland (Roller Derby)
- Team Sweden Rollerderby
- Selección Argentina de Roller Derby
- Team France Roller Derby
- Team Ireland Roller Derby
- Team Belgium Roller Derby
- Team Netherlands - Women's Roller Derby
- Team Scotland Roller Derby
- Roller Derby Brasil
- Team West Indies - Roller Derby World Cup.
- Team Norway Roller Derby
Needless to say, the Top 8 rankings may change based on the games still to play (although we at the Blog believe that England does have a strong chance to beat Canada to 2nd place).
What's more problematic is that the placements in the bottom 8, including Scotland, are apparently based only on a single score differential, so teams like Norway, Scotland, West Indies and Brasil are penalised by taking on the eventual number 1-4 seeds in their only rank-contributing bout. We at the Blog disagree strongly with this ranking approach, as it can be shown to underrank those 4 teams - the highest rank Scotland could expect would be 12, under this approach, which they have been assigned. In the particular case of Scotland, it rankles more, however, as, if we compare the results of Scotland v Finland in the group stage (126-78 for Finland, a 2/3 length bout), and the results of Belgium v Finland in the Elimination stage (383:124 for Finland), it is very clear that Scotland should be ranked above Belgium. Based on other pairwise score-comparison considerations, we believe that Scotland's "true" rank in the tournament is probably 10th, narrowly ranked just above Ireland (who Scotland beat not long ago at the Road to Dallas tournament). We believe Norway is strongly penalised by their matching against USA as well, and think their rank should also be at least 2 higher than it actually is in the table.
The full score table for the day is below:
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2014 (FULL 60 MINUTE BOUTS)
|TRACK 1 (ROLL-LINE TRACK)||TRACK 2 (BLOOD & THUNDER TRACK)||TRACK 3 (TBD TRACK)|
|3:00PM||GR 7-1 (Canada 581) VS. GR 2-2 (Brazil 75)||GR 3-1 (Sweden 303) VS. GR 6-2 (Ireland 133)||3:10PM||CONSOLATION 3 ( Japan 114) VS. 4 (Mexico 278)|
|5:00PM||GR 1-1 (NZ 356) VS. GR 8-2 (Netherlands 91)||GR 8-1 (USA 854) VS. GR 1-2 (Norway 6)||5:10PM||CONSOLATION 2 ( Switzerland 136) VS. 5 (Italy 193)|
|7:00PM||GR 2-1 (France 162) VS. GR 7-2 (Argentina 205)||GR 4-1 (Finland 383) VS. GR 5-2 (Belgium 124)||7:10PM||CONSOLATION 3 (Wales 395) VS. 6 (Puerto Rico 75)|
|9:00PM||GR 5-1 (Australia 464) VS. GR 4-2 (Scotland 35)||GR 6-1 (England 708) VS. GR 3-2 (West Indies 31)||9:10PM||CONSOLATION 2 (Portugal 135) VS. 7 (Denmark 245)|
|11:00PM||TEAM 1 (USA 569) VS. TEAM 8 (Argentina 14)||TEAM 3 (Canada 290) VS. TEAM 6 (Finland 145)||11:10PM||CONSOLATION 1 (Chile 116) VS. 8 (Germany330)|
|01:00AM(SUN)||TEAM 3 (England 278) VS. TEAM 7 (Sweden 72)||TEAM 4 (Australia 284) VS. TEAM 5 (New Zealand 56)||01:10AM(SUN)||CONSOLATION 7 (Denmark 332) VS. 8 (Puerto Rico 169)|