Click the image above to visit the online version of the special souvenir magazine we put together for the Brighton Rockers’ 10th anniversary in 2020. Featuring interviews with Rockers stars past, present and future, this magazine looks back over the Brighton league’s Decade Of Derby. Physical copies will continue to be given out post lockdown at Rockers home events while stocks last. Huge thanks to all of our lovely interviewees, fab photographers and awesome advertisers including the Lion & Lobster, Brighton Bierhaus, Pure Nuff Stuff, Downlands Brewery and more. GO ROCKERS!
Click the image above to visit the online version of our latest Brighton Rockers fanzine. This issue was published on the 7th March 2020 for a triple header at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath. The Rockers A and B-teams took on challenge side Team Unicorn, whilst third team C-Side had a 30 minute exhibition game against some skaters from Eastbourne Roller Derby. Check out the magazine for an interview with BRATS Player Of The Year Cake Or Death, four C-team debutants and more. Huge thanks to all of our lovely interviewees, photographers and advertisers.
**ANNOUNCING THE WINNERS OF THE BRATS AWARDS 2019**
Your votes have been counted, the certificates have been printed and the badges have arrived. Due to a clerical error the manufacturers actually made two of each badge, so our lucky winners will be able to wear one at all times, whilst supergluing the other to their fridge or pet. There were so many awesome performances last year, but we can only give out a handful of awards, so who done winned? Find out below… (PS winners please get in touch so we can arrange to get the shiny things to you. Cheerses.)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: CAKE OR DEATH
Remarkably this is Rockers mainstay Cake’s first BRATS Award – well, apart from the ‘Most Voted For’ consolation prize in 2017. It was a landslide as she picked up around 90% of the vote, leaving everyone else trailing after a barnstorming year on track.
JAMMER OF THE YEAR: KAPOW!
Last year’s Player of the Year has to make do with the Jammer gong this time out. The likes of Skate Bush, Go Go Gozer and Deathblade picked up a fair few votes here, but Kapow finished in front of the chasing pack.
BLOCKER OF THE YEAR: FELLEN E ASSAULT
One of the most keenly contested categories with eight different skaters picking up votes. There were strong showings from Hairy Fairy, Gozer and others, but last year’s winner Fellen edged ahead to retain the title.
B-TEAMER OF THE YEAR: GOLDIBLOCKS
A very close contest for our Rockerbillies award for 2019 saw Goldiblocks finishing a single vote ahead of tied second place Pina Collider and Skates Of Wrath.
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: JOADICEA
As with Cake’s victory for the Player award, this one was almost unanimous with Joadicea comprehensively triumphing in the BRATS ‘Class of 2019’ rookie contest.
ICON OF THE YEAR: FINN McCRUEL
In last year’s Icon poll, Finn lost out by just half a vote to Hairy Fairy. This year saw the same two duking it out, but this was Finn’s turn to triumph (by a marginally more emphatic whole vote)!
OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR: SEZ WHO?
It was an NSO versus ref tussle in this category, which swiftly became a straight fight between last year’s winner Hissing Hellcat and 2019’s eventual victor Sez Who?
OTHER OF THE YEAR: JOHN HESSE
Announcers, photographers, bench crew and more battled it out in this category. Remarkably it’s the first time picture king John Hesse has won the gong. In the interests of family harmony we won’t mention that Kira came second.
MOST VOTED FOR: HAIRY FAIRY
With several people picking up votes in multiple categories, this special prize goes to the person who picked up the most votes in total without actually winning anything (except this). This year it’s Hairy.
FRIEND OF BRATS: MR SÉAMUS
We’ve finally got round to awarding our annual ‘services to BRATS’ award to Mr Séamus, who has paid for adverts in all 27 issues of our fanzine despite having nothing to advertise. Cheers millionsly Sir.
The people of Tottenham might not be fans of Brighton-based sports teams at present (some 3-0 football thing a few days ago, apparently) but the mighty Rockers are heading to that very enclave of North London this Saturday to take on their chums the London Rockin’ Rollers. This event, which also features the LRR B-team vs Dorset B, is taking place at Tottenham Green Pools & Fitness. Doors are at 2pm with tickets available online (£12 adults, £6 kids) from the link down below.
The Rockers game will be the first one up at around 2.30. So is this sporting event going to finish 3-0 to Brighton too? Er, no. That’s a modest score for a single jam (of which there are usually about 43.6 in a derby game) rather than a whole contest. There are likely to be HUNDREDS of goals (points) in this one, so come along and see which side gets the mostest. It really could go either way. Eek!
We at BRATS have been to this venue for LRG games and even (for some reason) LRR training, but never an actual LRR home game, so we can’t speak for the facilities, stalls, food, drink etc in the hall. We can say it’s an easy enough few minutes walk (or a minute or so on one of the many regular buses) north from Seven Sisters tube, which is a short hop from Victoria on the Victoria line, so there’s no reason at all for everyone in Sussex not to turn up. You can even do some Extinction Rebellioning on your way home, yeah?
[SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T WANNA KNOW]
The world of educated guesses (but still guesses) that is flattrackstats.com has the Rockers placed 294th in WFTDA and LRR at 345th. Despite being the visitors, Brighton are given 68% chance of victory here, although the 11:9 differential suggests a pretty close (165-145, say) away win. The day’s other game sees visitors Dorset B (199th in Europe) given 76% chance of seeing off LRR B (290th) with the predicted differential of 37:26 suggesting a 185-130 Dorset win. NB Predictions are as often wrong as right. The only way to know for sure is to come and watch the games!
VARIOUS FOLKS FROM BRIGHTON ROCKERS SAY…
The Rockers know LRR quite well. How does that change your approach compared to playing against complete strangers?
In some ways we can relax because we know they’re a lovely league and always fun to play against. However, we know that rosters can vary a lot in a year, so we can’t know exactly what to expect in terms of gameplay. We just have to work hard during training to make sure that we all know our own strategies inside out, as well as always having a Plan B and a Plan C up our sleeves. We have heavy sleeves!
Any particular players or tactics to look out for?
From us Rockers, Lazy Jo. From LRR, we’re not looking out for anything as we’ll just concentrate on playing our own game.
Care to predict the result?
Our last game against LRR was super close [a 227-184 loss in a scores released closed door] so we’re expecting another nail-biter, but this time we will have some more points than they, oh yes.
You’re back on the road two weeks later for a big tournament in Hull. Any advantages or disadvantages to away trips in quick succession?
Luckily London is not that far, so travel wise all is good. It’s also great to be playing a tough game a couple of weeks before a multi-team tournament, so we can see what areas we need to focus on leading up to Hull.
Finally, any message for the Rockers fans in Tottenham this Saturday?
We love you!
AGENT COOPER FROM LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS SAYS…
Hi LRR. Who the hell are you?
We’re a London-based roller derby league and one of the oldest leagues in Europe. We played in the UK’s very first interleague scrimmage and Europe’s first interleague bout. Yeah, we’re that old! We celebrated our tenth birthday last year with an event including a super fun old school rules game – pivot starts, remember them? We have two fantastic travel teams and a (W)Rec(k) league with their own travel team. We regularly run beginners rookie courses, so if you’re interested in starting to play roller derby in London, come and say hi!
You’ve had quite strong links with the Rockers over the years, being their WFTDA mentor league etc. Does that affect your approach to the game?
Our history with Brighton goes right back to the start with LRR legend The Mighty Mighty Bash helping to set up the Rockers and later transferring to skate there. We’ve not played against Brighton since June 2018 [the closed door sanctioned game mentioned above] and it’s been too long. Being their WFTDA mentor league doesn’t affect games at all. It was a pleasure to mentor them and it’s always a pleasure to play them too.
Any players or tactics the crowd should look out for? Care to predict the result?
With a fair few of our current A-team injured we’re bringing some exciting new talent into the mix; superstar jammer Slammer And Sickle is one you’ll want to keep an eye on, and new Allstar blocker Stings Like Abbie will make life difficult for the Brighton jammers. We predict it’ll be a corker.
Any thoughts on the day’s other game (LRR B vs Dorset B)?
We’re incredibly proud of our Badasses. They’ve been kicking butt and their attitude on the bench is always amazing. They’ve been working very hard and we’re so excited to see them take on Dorset.
Finally, what can Rockers fans expect from your venue, event and the day in general?
Expect a bloody nice game of roller derby.
[Photo by John Hesse]
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/732910307158765/
Oops we did another one! Turn Left is a fanzine (now in trifold A3 brochure format) dedicated to the awesomes Brighton Rockers roller derby league. Click above to view Issue 27 online. This mag was published on the 21st September 2019 for an event at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath where the Brighton Rockers took on Limerick Roller Derby and the B-team Rockerbillies faced Bristol Bees. As well as previewing the games, this issue includes an interview with Slap Dash and Hippy Hippy Skate, celebrating their birthday and last game respectively (Hippy is moving to London Rockin’ Rollers). We also have recollections on the B-team’s recent tournament success at Eastbourne Extreme. If you’re after a physical copy of the mag there are a few on the flyer shelves in Brighton’s Evening Star and Bierhaus pubs. Huge thanks to all our lovely interviewees, photographers and advertisers.
The mighty Brighton Rockers are back in action in Haywards Heath this Saturday (21st Sept) against teams from the West of both Ireland and England. The A-team take on Limerick Roller Derby then the B-team face their Bristol Roller Derby equivalents. True fact: if you draw a straight line on a map from the centre of Limerick to the centre of Brighton it passes right through the centre of Bristol. But we digress… Doors are at 2pm with the A-team game kicking off half an hour later, followed by the Bs just after 4.30pm. It’s Slap Dash’s birthday and Hippy Hippy Skate’s last game before transferring to the London Rockin’ Rollers, so expect a super special day. Tickets are £8 online from the link at the bottom of this piece or £9.50 on the door. Students and Compass Card holders pay £7 and under 12s go free.
If you’ve never been to the Dolphin before it’s crazy easy to get to. Car users can point their Sat Nav at RH16 1LY. Train folks will find the leisure centre seven minutes walk from Haywards Heath station (turn left and follow the signs) and this weekend is free from engineering works yay! There’s a decent enough pub, the Burrell Arms, opposite the station and a large Sainsbury’s with ATMs halfway to the venue. There should be a bottle bar, cakes, merch, a raffle and more in the sports hall, with a cafe and vending machines in the foyer. The after party will be back in Brighton at the games packed World’s End.
PREDICTIONS [Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know]
Flattrackstats’ own (non official) WFTDA rankings place A-team competitors Brighton 295th and Limerick 373rd. The hosts are given 92% chance of victory with a differential of 56:29. This means the Rockers will need to get almost double Limerick’s points total to improve their ranking, whilst anything substantially less will benefit the visitors. The B-team match is predicted to be closer with the Rockerbillies 261st in Europe and Bristol Bees 274th. Brighton B are given 62% chance of victory and are expected to score 15 points for every 13 from Bristol. This suggests a fairly narrow (20 points or so) overall victory margin, which is super close in derby. Bear in mind that the prediction computer gets it wrong as often as it gets it right. The only real way to know how the games are gonna play out it is to be there watching them.
“The A-team won 173-157 in Limerick in 2017. It will be interesting to see how things have changed for both teams over the past two years. I’m expecting a challenge, but I’ve also heard they’re a great league to play against, so I can’t wait. In the B-team game we’re expecting to face a strong Bristol side. From our perspective, three victories at Eastbourne Extreme has boosted everyone’s confidence and the Rockerbillies are hungry for more success.”
SLAP DASH, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“The 2017 match was a challenging game at the time and a very close one at that. Brighton won by 16 points, so we’re definitely not going to underestimate the Rockers. All of the Limerick skaters are forces to be reckoned with, every player bringing their unique strengths and skills to the game, so we’re ready and prepared for this rematch.”
LIMERICK ROLLER DERBY
“Our Beehive is constantly changing with some Bees being promoted to the A-team and new bees coming from drop in, but as a good beehive we work as a team and always aim to look after each other and have fun. The only thing we can predict is a tough game from the Rockerbillies. We’ll be digging deep, getting low and most importantly having fun on track.”
BRISTOL ROLLER DERBY
[Photo by John Hesse]
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/403414430300795/
And we’re back! We said we’d put out publications for special events and what could be more special than a Brighton Rockers Brighton Fringe double header? Turn Left is a fanzine dedicated to the awesomes Brighton Rockers roller derby league. Click above for the online edition. This issue sees us switch to a new format (A3 trifold leaflet) which doesn’t it lend itself so well to online posting. Just imagine it folded in three with these two pages being the front and back of an A3 sheet. This issue was published on the 1st June 2019 for an event at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath where the Brighton Rockers took on Glasgow Roller Derby in both A and B-team games. As well as previewing the games, this issue includes an interview with Go Go Gozer, a fantasy Fringe programme, recollections of the Rockers’ recent games in Holland, and much (a bit) more. Huge thanks to all our lovely interviewees, photographers and advertisers.
This Saturday (1st June) Haywards Heath plays host to what is to date the most long-awaited rematch in Brighton Rockers history. It was way back on the 20th April 2013 that the Rockers took on Glasgow Roller Derby up in Scotland. That’s a gap between home and away A-team open door games of a whopping 2,233 days. By way of contrast, the next longest wait for a hosting rematch was the 1,358 days between away (March 2012) and home (Nov 2015) games against Belgium’s GO-GO Gent. This is followed by 882 days v Rockcity Rollers who Brighton met in Eindhoven a few weeks ago. Vienna comes next at 588 days, with Brighton’s other home and away A-team opponents, Cambridge, Portsmouth and Dublin, all seeing gaps of less than a year.
So this Saturday’s clash is a big deal, but it’s probably best not to ask the 2013 Brighton players still skating for the Rockers for their thoughts on that previous game. It was, you see, the first open door defeat in Brighton’s history and the loss was a big one: Glasgow 310 to Brighton’s 111. Will Saturday provide those players with an opportunity to avenge that result? [SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T LIKE READING PREDICTIONS BEFORE A GAME] Flattrackstats seems to think so. They rank Brighton 253rd in WFTDA with Glasgow 281st. The Rockers are given 74% chance of victory with a predicted differential of 45:34 suggesting something like a 180-136 home win. It should be pointed out here that these FTS rankings differ from the actual official WFTDA rankings. The latter have Glasgow 267th and Brighton 268th, and a prediction based on those rankings would come up with something close to a draw!
“We’re preparing ourselves for big hitters and a solid team. We know it won’t be easy. They have a few A/B crossovers too, so it’ll be interesting to see how ours match up against theirs across both games.”
GO GO GOZER, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“Here in Glasgow we keep our canny eyes on the opposition to make sure we don’t underestimate them. We’ll be sure to look out for any loose pebbles from the beach which might stick in our skates.”
HADRIAN’S BRAWL, GLASGOW ROLLER DERBY
Tickets are available online at £8 adults (£7 students and Compass Card holders) and free for under 12s. See the link at the bottom of this piece. Tickets on the door are smidgeon more for adults. Doors are at 2pm on Saturday with the A-team game at 2.30 followed by the B-team match at 4.40. [SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T LIKE PRE-GAME PREDICTIONS] This first meeting of the Brighton and Glasgow B-teams is also expected to be a close one. Flattrackstats rank Glasgow’s Maiden Grrders as 212th in Europe with Brighton’s Rockerbillies 235th. Glasgow B are given 53% chance of victory here with the predicted differential of 51:49 suggesting a super close 153-147 win for the Scots.
The venue is the Dolphin leisure centre in Haywards Heath. Sat Nav users should point their cars at RH16 1LY. Train folks will be excited to hear there’s no engineering works for once, so there should be five trains per hour from Brighton to Haywards. The venue is seven minutes walk west of the station (turn left and follow the signs) with an OK pub opposite the station and a big Sainsbury’s with ATMs halfway to the venue. The Dolphin itself has vending machines and a cafe in the lobby, plus a table selling booze in the hall. There will also be games, competitions, merch and more. The event is part of Brighton Fringe Festival so there will probably be a few surprises too, including maybe something made of paper from us at BRATS to pick up on your way in. See you there!
[Photos from 2013 game by Dave McAleavy]
EVENT TICKETS: https://www.brightonrockers.com/shop-cttr
EVENT FB PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/2128172783898694/
EVENT FRINGE PAGE: https://www.brightonfringe.org/whats-on/brighton-rockers-roller-derby-135705/
BRIGHTON ROCKERS: https://www.brightonrockers.com
GLASGOW ROLLER DERBY: https://www.glasgowrollerderby.com/
With a big bang the door to Rotterdam’s Bar de Regenboog (population: three regulars, one barpeeps and your writer) flies open and a large party – quite literally, a party – spills in. This hot ball of glitter, tinfoil, sparkles, neon and shiny sci-fi fancy dress (around twenty strong) is better known as The Brighton Rockers On Tour. There’s certainly plenty to celebrate this Sunday April evening as this super-force of roller derbyers have just wheeled out what is surely the Rockers’ most awesomely successful weekend ever on track. BRATS takes another swig of dense particle soup, aka the strong Belgian beer we’ve already cleared the bar’s shelves of, before joining the players in a series of strangely coloured shots served in tiny glass mugs. As the Rockers pack the tiny stage and call out song requests to the multitasking barserve, there is the matter of interviews about the weekend’s three games to attend to. That’s if we can find time and create space for them in this tiny bar. The volume cranks up as the shiny throng of Rockers continue to celebrate their rising status in the derby universe – Brighton are likely to climb around 15 places in the next official WFTDA rankings because of this weekend.
Whilst we have galaxies of questions, for now let’s rewind to around 1.28pm yesterday afternoon at the RC de Lichtstad, a warehouse turned roller hockey venue in western Eindhoven. Behind the mesh fencing that surrounds the rink a supercluster of Rockers in centre track perform the Haka Khan – or whatever the actual name of their neon strewn pre-game choreographed dance-out is. Sez Who, borrowed from Eastbourne Roller Derby for the weekend, takes a sip of her coffee (served the semi milky way). She’s here to assist the Rockers bench crew, Psychosamatic and Adios Aimeego, who are busy making final checks to their blocking line-ups and star system (jammer rotation). The sun is shining, the absence of walls on three sides of the venue presenting a gleaming church and woodland as the unusual backdrop to today’s action. The mercury reading is low though, the metal roof imposing extra chilly shade as many Rockers take to the track in hoodies – opponents Rockcity Rollers stick to standard team shirts so they’re either double tough or used to it. It’s too cold to stand Venus de Milo still on the bench, so for once the incessant between jam dancing (largely led as ever by Slap Dash) is serving a practical purpose in keeping Brighton’s squad members warm.
Rockcity’s squad of ten take an early lead, before jamming turns from Brighton’s sprightly Deathblade and Finn McCruel bring the Dutch side back down to earth. The chilly weather mars none of the action as Skate Bush, Mighty Mouse and Hippy Hippy Skate bump up the Rockers’ tally, whilst great jamming from Rockcity’s Cat Core Galore and The Great Tyrant translates into less on the scoreboard. As the hosts call a timeout at 88-30 down, BRATS nips into the clubhouse where we are delighted and/or frightened to discover that Jupiter (or possibly Jupiler) beer is just €1.70 a glass. Go Go Gozer is running rings of Saturn around the Rockcity defence as we retake our place on the four rows of bleachers along the far straight. To our right an impressive turnout of travelling Rockers fans devours stroopwafels like the Roman god Neptune devoured ships. Falling on uranus is a regular occurrence in roller derby and that’s one disadvantage of this venue’s concrete floor, the other being the constant track tape repairs its lack of adhesion causes. Whilst the intense cold means NSOs wrapped in blankets, an even stranger sight is one of the Rockcity bench crew covered head to toe in fur – on closer inspection this turns out to be an actual dog, who we are going to call (for no particular reason) Pluto.
With a half-time gap of around 70 points it looks like Eindhoven’s Rockcity Rollers will be shooting for the moon in the second period, but anything can happen in roller derby. Although Brighton were tipped to win this first game of their Europa trip, the Rockers are currently on course for around double the predicted differential. The excellent announcer explains how difficult it is for a titan like Tyrant to be blocked by a Mighty Mouse high skater (centre of balance stuff) as Rosie Galore pegs back Finn. The gap is around a hundred points now and you don’t need an atlas to see which way we’re heading, although Rockcity continue battling with Lotta Havoc bagging them a rare lead jammer status. We pan across to the packs where Bitchface Betty, Dee Dee Dominator and Scream Queen have been amongst Eindhoven’s standout blockers. Brighton equivalents Hairy Fairy, Fellen E Assault and Cake Or Death are regularly keeping Rockcity’s jam score to nix, but a blistering final effort from Tyrant (geeing up the crowd) sees the hosts hit triple figures in the final seconds. It wouldn’t win the Hydra, but it’s been a really strong and impressive performance from the Brighton Rockers, who chalk up a solid 223-101 victory over the tenacious Rockcity Rollers.
BRATS usually hangs around to watch an event’s other games (in this case Rockcity B beating Charleroi’s Blackland 164-123) but as genuine snowflakes drift across the bleachers we take this as our cue to leave this ice planet. Escaping the stellar temptation of €1.70 beers whilst we can still find (let alone check into) our hotel is another factor. The shop windows we pass on the 20 minute walk back into town offer a magnitude of delights, such as jewelled machine gun hookah pipes and actual children on rollerblades playing table tennis – what the heck is that shop selling? It’s a long held derby tradition that BRATS are always first to arrive at an after party and in this case we get to rock bar Café The Jack light years ahead of anyone else. To be fair the pub’s only just opened and the second game has only just started, but we can’t resist the gravitational pull of the strong keg beers on offer. These gas giants include two 11% stouts (one Dutch, one Scottish) but we are mindful that tomorrow’s first game kicks off at the ungodly hour of midday. Not only that, but it’s a distant world away – well, an InterCity train, two tubes and some walking – so we call it an early night and continue our other tradition of also always being the first to leave the after party.
After yesterday’s awesome but eclectic venue, it’s in some ways comforting to be in the less alien (ie totally expected) setting of a suburban leisure centre as Sunday’s first whistle blows in Rotterdam’s Sportcentrum West. It’s hosts Rotterdam Roller Derby who put the first points on the board before a starburst from Shambolic, who has joined up with the Rockers today after missing yesterday due to work. It seems the penalty box is still a regular habitable zone for Sham, the hosts taking advantage of several misdemeanours in quick succession to lead by 20. Fliza Minnelli is shooting star on head down the inside line in several jams now, but a magnificent star turn by Mighty Mouse keeps the Rockers in touch at 26-40. A supergiant power jam from Hippy Hippy Skate, followed by some great jumping passes from the hugely impressive relative newbie Deathblade, sees Brighton close to 50-55. Rockers blockers kill a power jam and Hippy wins a space race with Rotterdam’s May, though the latter still finds a path through as the hosts maintain their lead. Brighton bodge an overly complicated four corners pack start, and Rebel Drillsome, Pocket Bomb, Vicious Phoenix and Monster Mary peg back Deathblade whilst Loos Licht makes multiple orbits of the track.
That was enough to give Rotterdam a sizeable half time lead as the points for the team in white dwarf those of black clad Brighton by 92-63. During the interval BRATS naturally gravitates from the three rows of bleachers in the hall to the adjacent bar (with window seating overlooking the action) where we don’t moan too much about the slightly more than Eindhoven €2.25 cost of a beer. Strangely there’s no announcer here and even the music is turned off during the game, with the on track and bench calls filling the vacuum. This actually seems to create more atmosphere as the crowd gets a window into team communication, although several players will be warned about accidentally swearing – family audience, yeah. Brighton edge their score up to 75 early in the second half, but are then void of points for several jams as a resurgent Rotterdam go more than 40 ahead. Emma The Condemner, Mills & Boom, Slap Dash, Slaughter Melon and others putting in good blocking stints for Brighton, but the outnumbered hosts (eleven players here to Brighton’s full squad) are finding the black holes to maintain that lead. The Rockers start eking out three or four points per jam now, but it’s an astronomic gap to close at such a slow rate.
Cometh the hour cometh the Sham as the Rockers supernova makes the gap a more closeable 102-125 and a shaken Rotterdam call a timeout. There’s an even bigger ray of light for Brighton as Skate Bush pulls it back to 116-125, although Cake Or Death fouls out and there are less than ten minutes left. Cosmic side surfing from Shambolic on the outside line as Finn McCruel keeps Pocket Bomb in her pocket; Skate Bush and Mills & Boom joining the defensive effort as Sham wheels in pass upon pass to jam Brighton into a 140-133 lead. Hosts battling back though, as Hairy Fairy and Fellen E Assault struggle to keep May from Brexiting the pack whilst the telescopic Go Go Gozer pushes against the white wall of Rotterdam. Rockers eight points up with less than two minutes left as Sham gets a stellar wind behind her and power jams it up to 156-140. Rotterdam use their official review to force a final jam, but the hometown blockers ricochet like asteroids off the ever resilient Hippy Hippy Skate, who closes the game out 163-144. That was an out of this world final fifteen minutes as the mighty Brighton Rockers overturn a sizeable deficit and upset the odds to take the win over a tough Rotterdam Roller Derby.
Sadly we have to miss the day’s non-Brighton game for an expedition on Rotterdam’s spiral galaxy of a tube system in search of our hotel. Walking back to the venue, suitably impressed by all the great modern architecture, we are puzzled that this ocean planet of a city (90% of it rivers and bridges by our reckoning) only contains stationary ships and boats – we don’t see any actually moving on the water for our whole visit. We don’t have time to create some nebulous theory to explain this, since the day’s final game is seconds away. Rotterdam defeated Belgian side GO-GO Gent 160-132, so a win for Gent against Brighton will trigger a singularity of victories and the use of point differences to separate the three sides. However, any sort of victory for the Rockers will see them raise the Harbour Cup and bask in the starlight of its shiny golden shelly shipness. Gent are first on the scoreboard with Valerie jamming in a couple of points, but a globular cluster of scoring jams for the Rockers sees them quickly 31-14 ahead as an official timeout is called so a ref can go to the toilet or something. The two teams going pretty much point-for-point before Skate Bush takes advantage of a power jam for an elongation of Brighton’s lead to 54-25.
A cluster of (typically) loud North American types in front of us will cheer on the interstellar jamming of Shambolic and Go Go Gozer in particular throughout this game. As Gozer lands a big jump on turn four that surprises even herself, the sonic boom from the colonials is rewarded with a victorious tongue out gesture from the skater. It’s not all Go Go Gozer v GO-GO Gent though as Skate Bush, Hippy Hippy Skate and Sham (the latter aided by great offensive blocking from Finn McCruel) have the Belgian packs chasing their stardust. The second half of the first half has actually seen the red clad Gent jammers – particularly Fever and Valerie – post the more meteoric rise in points though, with GO-GO go-going into the break just 79-67 down. Gent are first out of the blocks in the second period as they close the Rockers’ lead to 83-79 with the Belgians now looking for the escape velocity required to claim a lead of their own. Binary stars in the box at the start of jam three with Sham and Valerie both released from penalty purgatory on the whistle. Skate Bush v Fever next and – with the former off for a forearm – GO-GO’s score suddenly eclipses Brighton’s as Gent lead 90-87.
Brighton aren’t going to let the score for the skaters in red dwarf their own for long as Hairy Fairy, Fellen E Assault and Finn peg back Ego Stripper whilst Hippy puts the Rockers back into a 95-90 lead. Then again, Gent aren’t going to give up either, with tough blocking from the likes of Amber, Genia, Sandra Buttblock and Vermassacre closing the gap to 101-97 as another redshift threatens. Ten points for Hippy followed by a dozen for Deathblade gives Brighton visible light between themselves and a Belgian team whose already low numbers are further reduced by a foul out. Gozer tries a helmet cover pass over the pack to Hippy that almost completely takes Gent by surprise, but they spot the celestial object at the last moment and block the move. A second attempt sees the dark matter change hands as Hippy sets off on pass after tiring pass – “sorry Jo” shouts the Brighton bench, “that’s OK” comes the breathless reply. Hairy Fairy, Slap Dash, Gozer and Fellen keep the Gent jammer’s motion retrograde as the hard-working Hippy puts Brighton a whopping 172-120 ahead. There’s just time for Sham to add a few more orbital paths round the track in the final jam as the Rockers close out a 188-124 win over the determined Gent contingent.
Delighted captain Skate Bush raises the Harbour Cup to the cosmos and we fast forward four hours back (er, forward – time travel is confusing) to the Bar de Regenboog, where the brilliant Brighton glitterati are effusive about how awesome the weekend’s opponents, venues, cities and games have been. We’re focusing on wider Rockers stuffs now though, so we corner Finn who admits that she and Sham were only late additions to this weekend’s awesome constellation of “half A-team, half B-team and one C-team”. Sez Who, whose own Eastbourne league could only roster nine players for this month’s British Champs game in Luton, admits to some jealousy over the strength in depth Brighton’s status as a major planet in UK derby bestows. Indeed, the Rockers receive weekly Fresh Meat enquiries and this year’s intake starts very soon; email firstname.lastname@example.org asap to take the first step towards becoming an evolved star of Brighton roller derby. With the Rockers’ friendly rivals Croydon Roller Derby (one of BRATS’ favourite leagues) recently sadly disappearing down a wormhole due to a shortage of skaters, a regular input of freshies is key to Brighton’s long-term future. Next up for the Rockers is a 1st of June A/B double header in Haywards Heath against Glasgow Roller Derby, formerly ranked #1 in UKRDA and winners of the first British Champs, although their star has waned a little since. Tickets for this epic event have just gone on sale, so make sure you snag yours now or something something giant molecular cloud.
PHOTOS USED WITH MANY THANKS
Eindhoven game pictures by Patrick Spruytenburg
Rotterdam tournament pictures by Em O’Sullivan
Space picture by NASA
ROCKERS VS GLASGOW 1ST JUNE FB EVENT
ROCKERS VS GLASGOW 1ST JUNE TICKETS
The mighty Brighton Rockers have had packed weekends of roller derby before – a couple of two-day tournaments in Caen and one in London spring to mind – but we’re pretty certain this is the first time the A-team have taken part in two different open door events over a single weekend. The action takes place in the Netherlands. This Saturday (13th April) they face the Rockcity Rollers A-team in Eindhoven. The game is taking place at the RC de Lichtstad with admission €5 (under 12s free). Brighton’s game is at 1.30pm and is followed by Rockcity’s B-team against Belgium’s Blackland Rockin’ K-Rollers.
The following day (Sunday 14th) sees a three team tournament in Rotterdam. This takes place at Sportcentrum West with admission at €8 (under 12s €4). Brighton face the hosts in the first game, which kicks of at a super early (to us) midday. This is followed by Rotterdam vs GO-GO Gent (from Ghent/Gent, Belgium) at 2.30pm. The day’s final game sees Brighton taking on GO-GO at 5pm. The overall winner gets to raise the RRD Harbour Cup. As spelling nerds BRATS would like to thank Rotterdam Roller Derby for not using the American ‘harbor’ there. (Don’t get us started on Hamburg’s Harbor Girls, grrr!)
Since it seems the UK isn’t crashing out of the EU today, you can still get yourselves out there visa-free to catch all this awesomeness. Various methods will get you across the water (eg Stansted-Eindhoven, Gatwick-Amsterdam, Eurostar, Eurotunnel, ferry companies with ferries, etc) with plenty of travel and hotel options within the Netherlands. It’s shaping up to be one of the Rockers’ epicest away trips ever. Let’s check out the predictions…
THE FLATTRACKSTATS.COM COMPUTER SAYS…
[NB Skip this section if you don’t like to read predictions before games.] Eindhoven’s Rockcity Rollers have the upper hand over the Brighton Rockers in actual games, beating the Sussex side 167-140 at a tournament in Caen and 185-151 in Haywards Heath, those games bookending 2016. Flattrackstats thinks Saturday’s game will go the other way. Brighton are ranked 295th in the WFTDA world rankings* on 521.3 points, whilst Rockcity are 366th on 468.5. (*Well, Flattrackstats’ version of the WFTDA rankings which their prediction machine uses. These are not quite the same as the official rankings and include WFTDA teams such as Rotterdam who aren’t yet officially ranked.)
The prediction computer gives the Rockers 83% chance of victory here with an expected 38:25 differential suggesting something like a 228-150 Brighton win. In Saturday’s other match, Rockcity’s B-team High Voltage (176th in Europe) are given a whopping 92% chance of defeating Charleroi’s Blackland Rockin’ K-Rollers (320th in Europe). Predicted differential of 9:4 suggests something like a 225-100 High Voltage victory.
In Sunday’s tournament, hosts Rotterdam Roller Derby are the strongest of the three teams, placing 267th in the Flatttrackstats WFTDA rankings on 536.4 points. They are given 73% chance of defeating Brighton in the day’s opening game, a differential of 48:37 mathsing out to around a 196-148 Rotterdam win. GO-GO Gent place 302nd in FTS WFTDA (518.7 points) and Rotterdam have 75% chance of beating them in the second game. A differential of 4:3 means something like a 200-150 victory for the hosts.
See how similar the predictions for those two games are? Kind of suggests that the day’s final game between Brighton and Gent is going to be a close one. Indeed, if either team was at home, FTS would give that team around 60% chance of victory. Splitting the difference for a neutral venue sees the Rockers given 52% chance of the win here with a 25:24 differential suggesting a super close 175-168 win for the Brightonians. These teams are currently one for one (Brighton won 169-140 in Ghent in 2012, GO-GO winning 258-112 in Sussex in 2015) so this best-of-three decider spread across nearly a decade could go right to the wire!
Now let’s hear from a Rocker as well as from the weekend’s opponents…
SKATE BUSH – BRIGHTON ROCKERS A-TEAM CAPTAIN
The Rockers AllStars’ last game was a super exciting one point home defeat against Dundee. You recently dropped two places in the WFTDA rankings having gone up eight the previous month. Do you pay much attention to the rankings?
We’re a competitive team and as such we do pay attention to rankings, but they aren’t the be all and end all of our games. We pick games that will be challenging and fun for us as skaters, and exciting to watch for our fans. As captain all I want is for every skater to have a good game, enjoy it and not get broken. We are currently in the process of building up our A-team charter and finding our feet in the WFTDA rankings. Once we have that sorted we’ll probably be aiming for global domination.
You have a pretty busy schedule this weekend with three WFTDA sanctioned games in the Netherlands, yeah?
It’s going to be tough for sure. It’s a lot of derby for one weekend and playing games when you’re already sore or tired from previous games is always hard. But we’ve been training for that – lots of cardio and big hits training to toughen us up. Mentally that many games can also be tricky, especially on our newer skaters, but we skate as a team and we are all in it together.
What kind of a squad are you taking out there? Any particular players or tactics for fans to look out for?
We have a full roster going to the Netherlands and we have a mix of our most experienced skaters and a few new rosters. We are strong as a team but we have some awesome individual weapons. Finn McCruel is nailing her new role as jammer and Fellen E Assault continues to be an incredible blocker – she’s someone we all want on track with us every jam. We’ve obviously got new tactics but those are top secret.
You’re facing Eindhoven’s Rockcity Rollers at their place on Saturday, then GO-GO Gent and Rotterdam in Rotterdam on Sunday. Any thoughts re your opponents?
We’ve played against Rockcity Rollers and GO-GO Gent before and they were brilliant to skate against, so we are looking forward to playing against them again. As for Rotterdam, we don’t really know much about them or how they play, but that’s not really an issue as we always try to play our own game and focus on what works best for us.
Any off track plans for the weekend?
Yeah – it’s an official Rockers On Tour event, so we will definitely be experiencing everything the Netherlands has to offer. We also have a load of fans travelling with us this time. It’s brilliant to have support in the stands, plus it means we’ll be bringing the party wherever we go!
Finally, you take on Glasgow Roller Derby on 1st June in Haywards Heath. Any thoughts re that game and beyond?
Absolutely. We are really looking forward to our games against Glasgow A and B – we’ve heard they are awesome on and off track – so we’re expecting an exciting and tough game and some excellent after party antics afterwards. The game is also part of Brighton Fringe which always brings a good crowd of people. We’ve worked hard to make our games a good afternoon out for everyone, so expect tough and exciting bouts, loads of party games for kids (and adults), cakes and a fully stocked bar. We have most of our games and dates lined up for this year now. We’ve got some brilliant opponents lined up, so check us out on our website, Facebook and Instagram for more info.
VARIOUS FOLKS – ROCKCITY ROLLERS
Hi Rockcity, in case anyone reading this doesn’t know about your league can you give us a quick summary of your history so far?
In July 2010 a handful of women in Eindhoven (including one of the co-founders of the Texas Rollergirls) got together to form what would become the Rockcity Rollers. We started out skating in the city park. Soon after we secured our practice space at RC de Lichtstad which has been our home ever since. In 2015 we won the Dutch Roller Derby Championships, but that’s already quite some time ago. We like to play roller derby to good rock music and have great after parties!
Any memories from your two previous games against the Brighton Rockers?
Last times we played Brighton we had a completely different team. A lot of people from that roster are now retired, have started their own families or moved to other cities. Those were some good times but we are excited to tell you that we have had a chance to train some new, amazing people and our team is still great. We are very excited to play the Rockers again!
Any particular Brighton Rockers players or tactics that you’ll be looking out for?
We remember the Rockers having a strong offence. We have something prepared for that! We are also very excited to see everyone again and just catch up.
Any Rockcity players/tactics the crowd should look out for?
Look out for Dee Dee Dominator – she is strong, small and tough, and she has a fierce offence move with her legs. Also, watch out for Lotta Havoc who is a strong blocker and jammer.
You won both your previous games against Brighton. Are you expecting to make it a hattrick of wins?
We are very competitive and always play to win. However, in the end, for us it is more about playing a good game and having fun. We will try to live up to the hattrick of wins for sure!
Any thoughts re the day’s other game which sees Rockcity’s B-team against Blackland Rockin’ K-Rollers?
Rockcity High Voltage is a mixed team of experienced and inexperienced players because we want to give everyone a chance to taste the real feeling of the derby. It is a good learning experience for everybody. For some players, this game will be their first or second game ever! We are very excited to show off our new talents and we hope they do great.
What should people expect from your venue/event?
Our venue is super awesome! A little roller rink near the city centre of Eindhoven. We have a concrete floor which we adore. Dressing rooms and showers are not luxurious but do the job and are next to the rink. We have a canteen with a bar for beer and other drinks and snacks. We will also provide a big buffet a la Rockcity for all the teams and officials. Supermarket, ice cream parlour and Dutch fried snacks are within a two minute walking distance. The city centre is a 15 minute walk away, although here in the Netherlands everyone uses bikes all the time.
And from Eindhoven in general?
The after party will be at the best rock and metal bar in Eindhoven, The Jack at Stratumseind 55. Don’t get scared by the metal. During party hours they play a wide selection of music, especially some great classics that will get your dancing moves out! They also have a large choice in special beers and other beverages. Eindhoven is known for Phillips and DAF trucks. When you are here visit the old Phillips area and the DAF museum. For art fans, you should visit the Van Abbe Museum. The city is vibrant and fun so you will not be bored while you are here.
HANNIBAL LECTURER – ROTTERDAM ROLLER DERBY A-TEAM CAPTAIN
In case anyone reading this doesn’t know about Rotterdam Roller Derby can you give us a quick summary of your history so far?
RRD was founded in 2010 and is Rotterdam’s only roller derby league. The Rockers are playing our A-team, the Death Row Honeys. We also have a B team, the Killer Bees. Our officials are known as Rofficials, our fresh meat are called the Juvies. We also cooperated in the past with a men’s team called the Classy Cockroaches. The Honeys play teams from all over Europe. In the last two years we’ve played teams from NL, Belgium, Germany, UK, Sweden, Finland, France and Italy.
What are your expectations for Sunday’s tournament?
To have an awesome time! This is our second home tournament so we have high expectations for fun and awesome derby.
Any particular Rotterdam players or tactics to look out for?
You want us to give away our secret weapons? No way! You’ll just have to wait and see.
What do you know of your tournament opponents, the Brighton Rockers and GO-GO Gent?
I used to play for Kent Roller Girls and actually got into derby because I heard about it from a former Brighton Rocker! I lived halfway between Herne Bay and Brighton, so I could just have easily become a Rocker and I’ve seen then play quite a few times. The first ever game our president Van Minkelen watched, back when she was a rookie, was Brighton playing Ghent. So, although we haven’t played the Rockers before, we’re really excited to meet them on track. Ghent are another team that we’ve admired from afar for a long time. They’ve been such a force in European derby for a long time so we can’t wait to have a go-go at them on track.
Finally, any words on what to expect from your venue/event?
The venue? Well, for teams from the UK the floor is a bit of a shock, so be ready! Dutch sports floors are squishy so get your hardest wheels ready. It really helps the leg muscles but they’re not the best for trying to get your 27 in 5. We have a cafe in the venue which serves food (sandwiches and chips, that kind of thing) and drinks (booze and non-booze).
And from the Rotterdam area in general?
As it’s Sunday we don’t have an after party planned but maybe we’ll have a spontaneous do somewhere! Rotterdam is an awesome city. If you’re looking for things to do at night head to Witte de Witstraat and Nieuwe Binnenweg (near Eendrachtsplein metro). If you have time to walk along the river, see the Cube Houses, and the Markthal then they are all worth a visit. To get the best views head up the Euromast and if you want the best (biggest!) breakfast in town get a water taxi across to the Hotel New York.
FEVER – GO-GO GENT
GO-GO Gent’s a hugely established derby league. Can you give us a quick summary of your history?
We’ve been around since 2009. We were the first league in Belgium and have been WFTDA members since 2012. We are well known for hosting SKOD (Skate Odyssey), a WFTDA sanctioned tournament for five years. Everyone loves our kitty.
You’ve played Brighton a couple of times before, once in Ghent and once at Brighton’s venue. Any thoughts re those games?
That game in Gent was such an awesome one! It was back in…. 2012? It was a fundraiser for breast cancer research since one of our members had been affected by that. We played in pink jerseys for that one. Brighton won both the game AND the afterparty and stole our hearts. Three players who’ve played both those previous games will also play on Sunday: Fever, Sandra Buttblock and Vermasvsacre
What are your expectations re Brighton this time? So far it’s one win each, so best of three yeah?
Best of three sounds great! Hard to know what to expect… There’s always been a fair amount of time between each game. The second one was in 2015 I believe? We won pretty big that time, but our team has changed completely since. We might get a really close game this time… It will be hard-fought for sure!