While Blood & Thunder still have yet to formally announce the location and date for the 2017 Women’s Roller Derby World Cup, by the end of November we will have already seen two of the “lead up” events for next year’s tournament.
The first is the the already complete European Roller Derby Tournament, held in Mons, Belgium. The second will be Team Wales Roller Derby’s “The Road To TBC”, scheduled for the 26 and 27th November 2016.
Between the two tournaments, we will get a good look at most of Europe’s competitors in the Third World Cup, albeit at an early stage.
Attending the European Roller Derby Tournament were France, Belgium, Wales, Spain, Denmark, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and new team Iceland.
The Road To TBC will bring you France, Wales, Belgium and Spain again, with the addition of Scotland, Sweden, West Indies and Ireland all showing their national team debuts at the event!
But what can we predict, if anything, about The Road to TBC from what has come before?
Firstly, we can look at ERDT. Whilst only 50% of the lineup overlaps between ERDT and TRtT, we can judge some expectations about absolute strength.
Here’s the now-traditional Bayesian inferred strength charts from ERDT, with the top four teams also singled out in separate highlights [as usual, these charts are relative to the winner – in this case, France – and so they are not directly represented]. We’ve marked vertical lines to show the performance (also relative to France) in the Blood & Thunder Women’s World Cup 2014, for those teams who attended.
As is pretty clear, whilst Spain is just about separate from the top three, although closely competitive with Wales and Belgium; the distributions for Belgium and Wales are almost indistinguishable. While France was indisputably the strongest team at ERDT, it’s reasonable to suggest that the tournament also showed that Belgium and Wales are almost identical in strength. (Wales was the victim of one of the classic problems with single elimination tournaments, being relegated to the consolation brackets by an early encounter with the eventual Champions, and achieved Third as their highest possible relegation place.)
It’s also possible to see that, assuming France is still relatively similar in strength, that Wales, Spain and Portugal have all noticeably improved in strength from 2014.
Over the page, we’ll talk about the teams at The Road to TBC in more detail…