The hard hits and trophies are right around the corner and the men’s game is taking it international as the 2017 MRDA Championships, the Cymru Clash will take place this year in scenic Wales, just outside the capital city of Cardiff. This exciting weekend of top level derby is co-hosted by South Wales Silures Roller Derby and the MRDA and is taking place at the Cwmbran Stadium, Cwmbran, South Wales October 13-15, 2017.
This year’s championships feature 11 of the top teams in the MRDA including 4 teams making their first appearance at MRDA Championships. Fans can expect the action on the track to be as intense and exciting as ever during this three day event. The first day of derby will start with the first round of games and winners will advance to face the top 3 seeds who have a first round “bye” and are already one step closer to the Championship game. If your favorite team falls short on day one, don’t fret as there will be rounds of consolation games to keep things interesting on both Saturday and Sunday of the Cymru Clash.
St. Louis, Missouri’s GateKeepers Roller Derby (8-0 record in 2017), the 2015 and 2016 MRDA Champions, show up as the #1 team in the MRDA as of the Fall rankings and are looking to crown themselves as three time champs in 2017. While they have not played a sanctioned game since the Sibling Rivalry Invitational in late June, their impressive results against Magic City, Denver and Twin Cities leaves no one doubting they mean business in Wales. Their roster remains filled with incredible talent and skill, but every team is going to want to make a name for themselves to be the first team to defeat the Gatekeepers in sanctioned play since 2015. The action starts for the defending champs on Friday, October 13th against the winner of Manchester vs. Vancouver earlier that day.
Coming in ranked at #2 in the MRDA is surging Bridgetown (5-1 record in 2017), who notched a league breakthrough fourth place finish at last year’s MRDA tourney and almost upset the St. Louis Gatekeepers in a classic scrum at the Big O in May that went down to the very last jam. With an impressive stifling defense and explosive offense, do the skaters from Portland have enough to wrest the title from St. Louis? The bracket is such that a rematch between the Menace and the Gatekeepers only happens in the Championship game, so stay tuned! Their quest to claim the title begins on Friday, October 13th when they face the winner of Toulouse vs. Austin earlier in the day.
One of the two local favorites (relatively speaking), Southern Discomfort (3-0 record this season) takes the track in Cardiff as the #3 team in the MRDA, their highest ranking ever as a league. While they have only played a limited amount of games this season and have not faced any of the top teams from the MRDA, this team never disappoints at the Championship level. Their roster remains strong and talented and they will play the winner of Puget vs. Austin on the second day of competition. If they can survive their first opponent, a potential clash awaits them against Bridgetown, must see viewing for any fans of the men’s game.
The newly minted version of the San Diego Aftershocks (7-1 record in 2017) will travel to Wales as the #4 ranked team in the MRDA and they could be the wild card for this weekend that turns this tournament on it’s head. With a diverse roster of skilled skaters, the Aftershocks have put up some impressive outcomes in sanctioned play this year, only suffering a loss to Bridgetown in May. Their first round opponent on day one is against the New York Shock Exchange, a challenging start to their dreams of winning it all, but everyone has permission to cheat a little bit and glance at their potential match-up on day two with the St. Louis Gatekeepers. Safe to say that one speaks for itself.
The New York Shock Exchange (#5 in the current rankings), a perennial MRDA Champs entrant, is 5-2 in sanctioned play heading into the Cymru Clash with competitive contests at the March “Man-Ness Invitational” in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and then in May at the Big O. The Brokers have claimed tight wins over #7 Magic City (149-140) and host #11 Philly Hooligans (191-121) this season. They did suffer a loss to Bridgetown and 2017 has been a challenging one for the venerable organization as they continue to integrate skaters and adapt to changes in their roster. They hope to advance out of their first round match-up with San Diego on day one.
The first of our 6 teams playing in the first round on the first day is the #6 team in the MRDA, the Puget Sound Outcasts (4-3 season in 2017). The Outcast suffered a 182-130 setback to Vancouver in early April, but avenged that loss with a win in their rematch just a month later. Their other two losses were handed to them by the #1 and #2 teams in the MRDA, so there is no question Puget is battle tested prior to this tournament. They play Austin to start their run and a victory in that game allows them to advance to play the next day against Southern Discomfort. Not an easy road, but the combination of veteran and up and coming skaters from Portland gives them a shot to have a very productive visit abroad.
Making their MRDA Championship tournament debut is our next entrant, the skaters of Roller Derby Toulouse (ranked #8 in the world with a 9-1 season in 2017), the “Quad Guards” from of course Toulouse, France. The hosts of this year’s European Qualifier “The Harvest of Champions”, not only delighted fans by putting on a wonderful event, but by taking care of business on the track as well. They posted solid margins of victory against all of their opponents and have only suffered one loss this year to the #3 team in the world, Southern Discomfort. Their first round opponent is going to be a spirited contest with Philadelphia and if they advance, they will take on the Bridgetown Menace.
The Vancouver Murder (3-4 season in 2017) are #9 in the MRDA and after notching their first trip to the MRDA Champs last season, they are poised to perform even better this year. With challenging games all season, the Canadian skaters have seen some of the toughest the MRDA has to offer and it will be the positive outcomes at the Big O and the Wild West Showdown that they will look upon for motivation when the first whistle blows on October 13th. They face Manchester in their first game and if they can advance, will face the #1 seed, the St. Louis Gatekeepers.
The second team emerging from the European Qualifiers, is the #10 team in the MRDA, Manchester Roller Derby (8-3 season record in 2017). The New Wheeled Order is going to have their own home track advantage as well as their fans only have a few hours of travel down the M6 to make this game and generate some noise. Manchester has played a prolific amount of derby in 2017, with a total of 16 sanctioned and unsanctioned games under their belt, time together on the track is not a problem for this squad. Their three defeats this season all came at the hands of Toulouse (including an 11 point setback in the European Qualifiers), but their results and success have grown as the season progressed. They face the Murder from Vancouver in the first round and this game is going to be intense as both teams want nothing to do with an early loss at this tournament. If they win, they will advance to play St. Louis and a shot to take out MRDA’s reigning Champions.
The Philadelphia Hooligans (6-4 season in 2017) head off to Cardiff just outside of the top 10 in the MRDA, coming in at #11 and they want nothing more than to make enough noise to end up even higher. The early part of the season for Philly was a challenge to find wins, but they took their lumps, picked up some valuable experience and as 2017 progressed, turned things around ending up with two wins (over Austin and Race City) at the Salish Sea Slam, the MRDA North American Qualifiers while winning a rematch against the Mass Maelstrom. Fired up and ready to show the world what Philadelphia derby has to offer, the Hooligans will take on Toulouse in a tough first round match-up on the first day.
The final team in the 2017 MRDA Championship is Austin Anarchy Men’s Roller Derby (7-4 season in 2017) out of Austin, Texas. The scrappy Texans opened up some eyes with their excitement and solid play on the track at the North American Qualifiers, coming up just three points shy of beating Race City in their opening game and then bouncing back with a win against Montreal the next day. With a solid weekend at the 2017 Midwest Derbyfest and 2017 Clover Cup, Austin travels to Wales with nothing to lose and everything to gain. They have a tough first round game against the hard hitting talent of Puget Sound, but the Anarchy hope to live up to their name and break some brackets along the way.
Eleven teams head to Cardiff, Wales with dreams of a Championship as their singular focus. A two-time Champion looks to make themselves into a dynasty and a host of hungry teams await them in the wings looking to dash those dreams and start their own path to greatness. New teams and new faces look to make the 2017 MRDA finale one not soon to be forgotten, so start your watch party planning right away and with six MRDA games on Day one, you might need to start stocking up on those snacks too!
For more information on the 2017 MRDA Championships, go to the event’s official webpage or to the event’s official Facebook page.
Cymru Clash: Day One
FRIDAY, October 13th
- Game One – Vancouver Murder vs. Manchester Roller Derby
- Game Two – Roller Derby Toulouse vs. Philadelphia Hooligans
- Game Three – Puget Sound vs Austin Anarchy
- Game Four – St. Louis Gatekeepers vs. Winner of Game One
- Game Five – San Diego Aftershocks vs. New York Shock Exchange
- Game Six – Bridgetown Menace vs. Winner of Game Two
Schedule with time zone breakdowns: https://tinyurl.com/y8rg4hmh
(Team rankings are from the MRDA’s Fall 2017 rankings.)
(Preview written by Magilla Guerilla aka Coach Dad)