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It's Finally the Day!

The Men's Roller Derby World Cup is here.

Nerves were high, but national pride overflowing as we skated out on the track for the opening ceremony. Australia greeted the crowd first (Argentina went at the end as they were playing the first bout of the tournament). Japan won the skate-out, pulling off a leg whip during their lap of honour.

It was a bit hard not to be in awe with skaters such as Ballistic Whistle for Team England (London coach, Reidell rep), Jonathan R for Team USA (Founder of modern Men's Derby), Mr Furieux for Team France (Parkour convert, Bont Quadstar and jukiest jammer you'll ever see), The Rev for Team Canada (Long-time RollerCon coach and scariest blocker around), and many, many more.

Some nervous introductions were going around the gear room, where every country was assigned a square. A few jokes were made with USA spilling out into Japan territory and the England boys coming to point out their incursion onto foreign soil.
Pretty soon, the first game for the Wizards was on us, and it was time to see how we faired.

We took the track against the unknown squad from Germany - and while the men in black scored first, it was soon pretty clear the green and gold was in sync across every pack. Germans made it to 12 points, but after 10 mins in, they did not score again as the Wizards went on with textbook defense and a 232-12 final score.

USA showed how strong they were scoring 314-0 against Finland, but Wales gave them a better workout, final score 217-13.
Showing dominance also was England - with 345-22 over Netherlands and 363-0 over Sweden. Team Canada were also showing their experience with 220-18 against Scotland and 349-11 over Japan.

Argentina certainly the team with the most fight, with some strong results despite a roster of just 8 skaters.

The Wizards took the track again in the afternoon, this time against Ireland. What a strong team they were - smashing our walls and punishing jammer mistakes, and took the early lead against the Aussies. Strong jamming by Rave N BustHer and Lt Damn kept the Irish score always going up. However we kept our cool, discussed where we were failing, and corrected those mistakes. Some solid defense and some good assists helped us knock the scoreboard back in our favour, and after the longest 30 mins I can recall, we finished in the lead at 111 to 65.

Not long after, the toughest challenge of Day 1 - Australia vs France. The Wizards picked a super strong roster, unfortunately without AJ Stephens due to illness nor Ya Mum due to a shoulder injury from the Ireland game. The Aussies knew the goal - solid walls and shutdown the French jammers.

Mr Spew, Copter, Monkey Nuts and Galah really lead the way for the Wizards in building defense that was infuriating Mr Furieux. Despite a few jammer penalties against us, Australia kept it cool and even took the lead just before the 15 minute mark. Sausarge Rolls and Skate Pilgrim were on fire with the jammer star - using speed, strength, agility and smarts to get past the French defense, and keep the game close. The win was just our of reach however, a few calls going against the Wizards toward the end and allowing France to take the game 117 to 57.

So that's day 1. Now we move into full length games, and the Wizards line up against Team England at 2:30PM local time (GMT). If we win that game, we can play for the World Cup. If England come out ahead, we still play off for the Plate trophy - 5th will be possible.

Who's going to tune in to be cheering us on tomorrow? Check out the standings and game times at http://live.mrdwc.com/knockout

Til then, Skate! Skate! Skate!
KP #89

Photo by: Roaringstorm Photography

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