2012: Advent Roller Derby: Rules 101: 2.2.2

by on December 5, 2012

There are a lot of rules in roller derby. 60-odd pages of them, in fact. All the UK & Ireland roller derby bouts are played under the WFTDA ruleset, of which a new version has just been released. You can read them online here, if you fancy. I’m going to take a few key rules and discuss them in a little more detail over Advent, and today I’d like to start with one of the most important ones. It isn’t the first rule, it isn’t the last rule, but it is more than really important: it’s integral to the game. It comes under the Structure section of Game Parameters:

2.2.2 – The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

There cannot be a draw. You can’t have Blue 104 – 104 Red. There must be a winner. 

If it seems like there is a draw, the officials will triple-check the scoresheets just in case it’s a mistake in someone’s mental arithmetic, or a slip of the scoreboard operator’s finger, and if it turns out to actually be a draw, there’s another rule to dictate what happens next:

2.5.1 – A bout may never end in a tie score. If the score is tied at the end of a bout, an overtime jam will determine the winner. […] The team with the most points at the end of the overtime jam is the bout winner. If the score remains tied, additional overtime jams will be played until the tie is broken. […]

That’s quite a lot to take in, even when I’ve narrowed it down a little. Essentially, if there’s a draw when “the final whistle” blows, then there will be an overtime jam. If there’s still a draw after that overtime jam, there will be another one. And if necessary, even more of these overtime jams until there is a winner.

Don’t get the wrong idea from this, overtime jams are incredibly rare. I’ve seen two bouts that ended after two overtime jams, none that ended after one overtime jam, and hundreds that ended after no overtime jams. They’re incredibly exciting though.

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