(CWMBRAN, SOUTH WALES, UK) The collective eyes of St. Louis-based GateKeepers Roller Derby are firmly focused on a coveted prize, a three-peat as champions of the Men’s Roller Derby Association (MRDA).
The flat-track faction took another stride towards that benchmark with Saturday’s 204-133 semifinal victory over the San Diego Aftershocks at the governing body’s annual championship held Cwmbran Stadium.
With the impressive win, the top-seeded GateKeepers (10-0) advanced to Sunday’s gold medal game that takes place at 1 p.m. St. Louis time against either #2 Bridgetown Menace or #3 Southern Discomfort (UK).
An early 31-0 rally set the tone for the inevitable ticket punch for the trophy tilt. Trailing 17-11 three minutes in, the GateKeepers claimed five consecutive lead jams and utilized impenetrable walls to keep the Aftershocks grounded.
David Metcalfe’s nine-pointer scored with 25:40 left in the frame flipped the scoreboard to St. Louis’ favor, 20-17. Then the blocking, paced by Percy Controll, The Saint, Hulk, Double Excel, Wrecking Bill, The Doc, Bled Zeppelin, Spin Diesel and Monster Jam, kept San Diego silent over the next five minutes.
Highlighted by a pair of eight-pointers each from jammers Shane Bower and Corey Porter, the GateKeepers stretched their lead to 42-17 with 20:00 left in the period.
St. Louis continued to apply pressure defensively as the period progressed and widened the score to 89-48 following Magnum P.I.M.P.’s ten-point power jam on the half’s penultimate rotation.
The GateKeepers held a 96-60 lead at intermission. In the second period, the Aftershocks, the tourney’s fourth seed, kept chipping at the deficit and trailed 118-89 ten minutes deep.
GKRD then produced their definitive statement, a 44-0 run over the next four jams. Porter started the rally with nine and Metcalfe collected six that pushed the score to 133-89 with 16:30 left in the game. Bower netted 14 points via the power jam that widened the margin to 147-89. ScreechAround finished the stretch run with 15 claimed that extended St. Louis’ lead to 162-89 with 13:30 left.
The GateKeepers outscored San Diego, 108-73, in the second half en route to the 204-133 MRDA championship semifinal duke. Bower paced St. Louis scoring with 72 points.
Come Sunday afternoon, the Gateway City rollers aim to supplant themselves as the most-decorated men’s team in today’s modern adaptation of the sport. To watch Sunday’s championship game for free online, go to THIS LINK.
Arch City Sports will have a recap of Sunday’s championship game immediately after it is completed.
INDIVIDUAL SCORING: Shane Bower 72, Magnum P.I.M.P. 39, ScreechAround 35, Corey Porter 30, David Metcalfe 24, The Saint 8.