The ‘Stache Bash, the Tampa Bay Derby Darlins’ 2010 championship bout, pitted two teams with the same records (3-1) against each other: the Cigar City Mafia and the Black Widows. Both teams’ losses came from the other, making for a match as exciting to watch as it was impossible to predict. The Mafia shocked everyone by bringing their strongest opening in memory, an opening that would prop them up and ultimately carry them to a win (129-82).
Cigar City came out swinging hard, and didn’t stop until halftime. Piecing together a small lead early on (14-1), it wasn’t until Sasha Haughtbich’s power jam that one could tell things had changed. Sasha might have scored three grand slams, but it was her team’s defense that was the star. Keeping Haughtbich protected from Widows Mara Blade, Eliza Lot, and Buster Ash (20-1). It wouldn’t be until Widow jammer Anita Bopabitch returned to the track that Sasha called it off.
Called it off only to watch Bopabitch return to the penalty box! In one of those priceless, scratch your head moments where you curse the refs for not using microphones. Not that Mafiaso Kat “el Prod” seemed to mind; scoring eighteen points and cementing Cigar City’s lead (38-2).
Defensively, the Mafia were marvels to watch. Stationing themselves in an unorthodox, middle of the pack position, and then just skating back-and-forth, side-to-side, almost leisurely. Only firing up when a Widow skated too close…
Another important factor was the pack’s speed. We’ve seen slow packs in Tampa before, but never utilized this consistently. The Mafia controlled the pack, slowing down for their power jams, and speeding through their penalties.
Cigar City had one final failsafe: their tenacity. As soon as a Widow jammer made lead, the Mafia’s jammer would immediately start intercepting. Harassing the Widows’ jammer until the jam was called, and ending up with a surprisingly high success rate. Frequently managing to limit their opponents to a mere point or two on every “non-Mafia lead” jam (97-16).
The half’s last jam is where the Black Widows finally found their rhythm. Their defensive core (Buster Ash, Mara Blade, and Bettie Kruger) managing to stuff Kat “el Prod.” Giving jammer Rojo Grande the room she needed to kick off the Widows’ slow (Ha! A pun!) comeback charge (103-27).
Before the ‘Stache Bash’s nail-biting finale (here), though, we had a halftime show by the universally loved Junior Derby Chicks! Showcased in what was easily their best bout yet!