Blue v Black: Warrior Run preview

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The Rockers are in action this Sunday (30th March) but not on skates and not on the derby track. Ten Brighton players are taking part in the Warrior Run, a daunting obstacle course race in the Sussex countryside. Divided into two teams of five – Team Black and Team Blue – the Rockers participants are looking for donations in exchange for the torture they will be putting themselves through. All money raised will go towards the upkeep and development of the Brighton derby league, and you can donate at the link below.

https://www.justgiving.com/yimby/brightonrockersrollerderby

To make things more interesting for donators, we suggest you choose one of the two teams to back, then find a friend who wants to back the other team – if you can’t find such a friend, maybe see if anyone on Facebook (on the BRATS or Rockers page) is interested. You can then combine your donations in the form of a ‘wager’. For example, Bob thinks Team Black will triumph and his friend Kate reckons Team Blue will be victorious. Instead of donating £10 each, Bob makes a donation of £20 using his bank card. Kate gives him £20 cash. If Team Black wins, Bob keeps Kate’s money – she has effectively paid for both of them (her cash covering Bob’s card payment). If, on the other hand, Team Blue are the victors, Bob gives Kate her cash back and his card payment pays for both of them.

Keep an eye on the Brighton Rockers Facebook/Twitter to find out who wins. The victorious team is the one that finishes the race in the quickest time (which is either the total or average of all five on the team’s finishing times). In the almost impossible event of a dead heat, Bob would give Kate half her cash back and they’d go halves on the donation. So which team should you back? We’ve spoken to members of both Team Black and Team Blue to find out why they believe they’re going to be the Brighton Rockers Warrior Run Champions…

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RACEY – TEAM BLACK

You’re taking part in this weekend’s Warrior Run to raise money for the league. What exactly is it, and what kind of things will the money collected go towards?
Warrior Run is a torture field in the South Downs which is filled with muddy army-style obstacles interspersed with the Rockers most hated of all exercise – running. We are raising money to basically keep the league operating and to try and recruit more members. We’re entirely self-funded, and since losing our training and bouting venue to developers last year, paying for practice space is becoming more and more demanding on the purse strings. We get so much positive feedback from women (skaters and non-skaters alike) on how they are motivated and inspired to get involved in sport after watching us play, and we really want to make the most of that and help get more women on eight wheels.

Do you know much about what to expect from Sunday’s course. From their website there seems to be a lot of climbing, carrying tree trunks and wading through mud involved. What elements are you most looking forward to, and which are you dreading?

I am most looking forward to the mud. I love mud. My main aim is to hurl as much mud at Chaka Carnage as possible, preferably while she is struggling over an obstacle, even at the detriment of my own team. The rope climb looks killer, and I’ve heard that if you can’t climb it you have to just dangle from it for punishment – the shame.

There will be both individual and team times for the race. How are you hoping to do individually? Have you been doing any special training?
I’m not going to kid myself; I’m not the best runner in the world, so I’m not expecting to break any records, but I will be going all out. My competitive side will kick in once I get going and I reckon I’ll do pretty well on the strength obstacles. I’ve been running most days to try and get used to the distance, and I’ve been sticking with my gym routine so I’m ready for it. Team Black is pretty kick arse – I think we have the edge over Team Blue in strength and utter dick-ish competitiveness.

Who else is on Team Black, and what particular skills do they each bring?

We have Rose Bleed who is jumpy and nippy; Emma the Condemner who can charge like an NFL player; Scare Hostess who is nimble and catty, and The Mighty Mighty Bash who is pure muscle and mental strength (and can carry us if we get tired). Sorted.

Your rivals on Team Blue have a steely line-up too. What are you expecting from them, individually and as a team?
The trash talk has already begun between us and I’m not gonna stop now! I’m expecting a lot of moaning, whinging, crying and allegations of cheating from Team Blue when they cross the finish line after us.

If people are choosing one team to back, why should they pick Team Black to triumph over Team Blue?
Team Black will be sporting the ugliest leggings, which are likely to turn sheer and saggy-crutched when wet; hence we’ll be quicker to finish in order to lessen the public humiliation. We’re a shoe in.

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KAPOW! – TEAM BLUE

Can you tell us a little of what you know about the Warrior Run ahead of Sunday’s race, and what sort of things the money you raise will go towards?
There are lots of reviews and videos showing people starting off in their clean clothes looking full of energy and finishing the complete opposite – knackered and covered in mud! There will be muddy tunnels to crawl through, string mazes like they had on 90s TV show Gladiators, massive walls to get over, monkey bars and more. I’m pretty sure that all the ladies taking part in the run dislike running – some might even say hate – but we’re all doing it for the love of the team. The money raised will be going towards things such as training up newbies, putting on bouts for the public to watch, bringing in guest coaches and sending the team off to represent Brighton when playing other teams around the country.

The Warrior Run website features lots of scary photos of mud, ropes, people carrying tyres through minefields (possibly not minefields), etc. What obstacles are you most and least looking forward to?
Ohhhhhh! I saw that there are monkey bars that are really high up. This makes me nervous, as there was an unfortunate incident where I got stuck up one when I was about four. I haven’t been on them since then. There doesn’t seem to be a ladder to get up so I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to reach it… I am super excited about rolling around in mud though – never need an excuse to get muddy!

How are you hoping to do, time-wise? Have you been doing any special training – individually or as a group – to prepare for the event?
Time-wise is really tough to say, but as long as it’s faster than Team Black I will be happy! I’ve been going for runs up to the golf course and through the woods to practice muddy terrain and hills. There are lots of dog walkers up there though, so I usually end up running away from chasing dogs. As a team we have been going to CrossFit. I think that will really help us because the Warrior Run requires a lot of strength as well as stamina.

Who else is on Team Blue, what specific skills do they bring to the team, and which aspects do you think each team member will be best at?
Shambolic is the ultimate climber; she’ll be scaling the giant walls before Team Black manage to blink. Chariot Sophia, small and mighty, will have loads of extra energy to tell us jokes and keep spirits high when we are up to our eyeballs in mud and tears. Chaka Carnage is ferocious and tall – the rest of Team Blue are vertically challenged so she’ll no doubt be helping to get us over the big walls. Enyo Face with the smile that will melt hearts is our secret weapon – she’ll make allies of other racers out on the field; allies who will slow down the enemy.

What kind of a showing do you expect from your opponents Team Black? As individuals, how do you think they’ll each fare?
Honestly I think it’s going to be really close on the day. Team Black will certainly be tough competition and definitely don’t want to cross the line after us. I have heard on the grapevine that Emma the Condemner has been training hard and running lots. The run will be fine for her but what about the obstacles? Bash is a frequent CrossFit attendee and this will work hugely in her favour. I also believe that she is a bit competitive… in fact if you check certain dictionaries you might see a photo of her in the definition. Racey – Racey by name, racey by nature haha! I believe she is training for a marathon so the running part might be OK, but again we’ll see how she is wading through water. Rose has been heard joking that her team mates will need to piggyback her across the finish line but I think it’s all a ruse. Also she is notorious for having not a hair out of place after a bout – let’s see how she fairs after this. Scare Hostess has kept her training programme secret, so will possibly be Team Black’s secret weapon.

If someone was going to ‘bet’ on one team of the two, what reasons can you give to back Team Blue to triumph over Team Black?
Have you seen who’s in our team?! We have all been working super hard to get ready for this run, and have got ourselves some snazzy trainers with speed stripes on them… not to mention amazing leggings. You won’t be seeing any of us get stuck in the mud!

[Skater photos by Richard Hanson & John Hesse]

LINKS

DONATIONS: https://www.justgiving.com/yimby/brightonrockersrollerderby
WARRIOR RUN: http://warrior-run.co.uk/
BRIGHTON ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com

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Brighton Rockers v Paris bout report

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Thelma Track. Knocked back. Still on track. Clearly winded. Stops for a moment. Stands there, hands on hips. Shaking her head as if realising there’s no way past the brick wall. The one emblazoned 888 that lies ahead whichever line she tries to take. Others might be tempted to give up around now, pass the star to their pivot or whatever, but such surrender’s not for Thelma – probably the best opposition jammer we’ve ever seen here at Haywards Heath – at least not right now. Nothing for it but to take a deep breath, another run-up, another try, another solid shoulder block and she’s down on the outside this time. Brighton bridging, pulling her back from the turn four approach to turn two. Starting again. Half a track further back. Head down. Breathing heavily. She’s skating on fumes now…
    They said this was going to be easy. The stats nerds with their charts and algorithms, impenetrable calculations founded on a whole history’s worth of European derby results. 80% chance of a Brighton win, they calculated, victory margin of 40-50 points. Have they got it so wrong? At the moment it certainly seems that way. The French visitors, mustering as much Gallic poise and Parisian panache as a derby track allows, are tearing the Rockers apart in these opening exchanges. Three players alternating in the visitors’ star. Thelma Track, diminutive and deadly, finding space where none exists to skip straight through the Brighton four-walls. Rose Hyène and Bully Bunker, swift and feisty, are racking up plenty of points too. Whilst the French jammers put up solid numbers in almost every jam, Brighton’s are finding the blue pack an incredibly tough proposition to pass. It doesn’t help that the Rockers penalty box is proving such a go-to destination for the Sussex side, with several hometown blockers following The Mighty Mighty Bash’s (post-star pass) first jam and (star-clad) fourth jam lead.
    Team timeout Brighton. Six jams in. Seven points so far for Brighton, seventy (yes, 70) for Paris. Regular bench coach Mass Janeycide is supposed to be on maternity leave, but she rushes from the bleachers to join the timeout huddle. Can the Rockers pull something out of the hat? If what happens next was the plan, it’s a somewhat confusing one, as a succession of Brighton jammers take lead only to instantly call it off with no attempt to get round and score points, even when the rival jammer is in the box. Our mobile phone vibrates frenziedly as friends from various parts of the crowd bombard us with “why are they calling early?” texts. We don’t know. Nor does the announcer, grizzled – and grizzly – derby veteran El Toupée. Indeed, several of the team will later tell us they were just as confused by this tactic as the crowd was. At least the Brighton pack are holding up the nimble Paris starheads better now, with a very sturdy lone blocker defence on Hyène from Dr Whooligan being a particular standout.

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It had been the typical pre-bout preparation for Bash. (Or at least, what we imagine her pre-bout preparation to be.) 6,000 press-ups, 2,000 squat thrusts and 750 burpees before breakfast, then taking the team bus to Haywards Heath. We don’t mean sitting on it, we mean yanking it up and onto her shoulder, then walking it up the A23/A272 to the venue. A few early penalty calls may have restricted her impact in the first half, but right now that bus-ferrying right shoulder is working overtime, sending the Paris Number Six – four foot tall first half nemesis – back, down, over and out, time and time again. Doing the same to anyone else sporting a white star, and any of the French blockers who get too close. Linking up especially well with the likes of Derby McGee and Hairy Fairy against Bully Bunker now in what has grown, over the past half-hour, into a super tough Brighton barricade. No pasarán. Meanwhile a blur of black kit, cyan trim and star, yellow and green wheels, is circling – part seagull, part vulture – and edging up those hometown numbers…
    Janeycide stays in her seat for the second Rockers timeout. The Sussex side have been taking lead more regularly than the visitors the last dozen or so jams, but this has hardly affected the scoreline. The Paris jammers have been hot on their heels almost every time. PRG’s starheads are so pacy that, even when they break through late, they’re forcing their opposite numbers – Bash, Chariot Sophia, Whooligan – to hit it and quit it for a couple of points at best. El Toupée bantering over the mic with Mother Trucker as the latter fixes track tape between jams. Rockers packs starting to hold the French jammers up more as the period draws to a close. Emma the Condemner drilling a path for Sophia to pick up a natural five, but these are Brighton’s last points of the half. Scores on screen. It may not be Mont Blanc, but there’s certainly a mountain to climb. 42-131 to the visitors. As if the scoreline wasn’t disheartening enough, the leisure centre bar has run out of Guinness. The Rockers need a radical change in the score, so we’ll go for a radical change of drink. Pear Magners. Never had it before. Perhaps it’s absolutely delicious, a taste sensation that will revive our spirits, whilst on track the Brighton team revive their chances. It actually resembles sugared vinegar and we end up tipping half of it away. This doesn’t bode well.
    Half time cluster of folk we know by the main doors to the centre. Football Dude, The Brewer, Pub Lady and others still puzzled by the early calls, but now pondering the scoreline gap. Any glimmers of hope? Paris only have twelve players and rely heavily on pace – maybe they’ll start to tire in the second period? The Brewer theorises that Brighton may have allowed the scoreline to drift deliberately, as there’s a student film crew here making a short documentary about the game. “Can you imagine how wild the crowd will go if Brighton claw it back and win in the last few minutes? It would make for a great narrative,” he insists. It’s a theory grounded in straw-clutching fantasy and tongue-in-cheek false optimism, though, rather than the harsh reality of the track. The Rockers have come back from a 50-point half time deficit before, but today’s is close to a hundred. A gap too wide to bridge is the general consensus here. The team no doubt have a different view. Brighton have never lost an open door bout in Sussex, and have spent the whole of half time discussing tactics, making plans. Ultrafoxx, who made her Rockers debut today and featured in a few first half jams, is on the booze. She’s been told she won’t be playing in the second period. Rosters have been shuffled. Line-ups tweaked. Experienced players told to expect to feature more heavily. Brighton are doing what you do when you’re under siege, as they surely are. They’re bringing out the big guns.

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Chariot Sophia is tearing up the track like there’s an alligator snapping at her heels. This isn’t a Sussex power jam, but it sure as hell feels like one, as she hurtles round and round and around and around; her opponent somehow lost, bullied and bossed, inside and behind a concrete wall of black shirts; Sophia is no longer racing her rival, but racing the clock, as the seconds tick away – of both the jam and the match – towards nothingness. One set of numbers, the timer, dropping fast. Another, the Brighton score, rising with as much speed as Sophia’s legs, wheels and feet can bestow. At one point almost everybody in the banked bleacher seats will rise to their own feet, arms aloft, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves here, as we have done in all these bits in italics. Let’s go back to where we were. To the start of the second half…
    Hooligan added to the Paris rotation. A sign that the jamming trio used in the first period need bolstering with fresh legs, perhaps? Either way, we look forward to Hooligan lining up against Whooligan on the jammer line, if only to see how announcer El Toupée deals with it. Rose (Bleed) has already starred up alongside Rose (Hyène) a couple of times, but at least they had differentiable second names. This is better from Brighton. Racey and Hyde ‘N’ Shriek marshalling Hooligan as Shambolic pulls the Rockers to the 50 point mark. Sophia hitting Thelma off as Bash racks up a handful in the seventh. Whooligan v Hooligan. 74-140. The cushion is being eroded. The Bastille is starting to crumble. Paris, rattled, call a team timeout. Brighton are edging it back now. Their packs are getting the measure of a slightly tiring PRG star rotation, with Thelma and Bully’s fleet-footed apex jumping now a rarer commodity. Rockers jammers are getting more purchase from the super tough visiting blockers – Princess Bitch, Meryl Strip-Her, Dark Pistol, Roxy Bat Girl and others – now too, but Brighton have another enemy in play, one that’s not dressed in blue.
    The clock. As the tenth jam ends, with Thelma forced to call as a long tussle with Whooligan allows Sham to catch up, it’s 78-143. The Rockers have closed the gap from 89 points to 65 in ten jams. That’s an average of 2.4 points per jam. At such a rate, Brighton will take the lead in 27 jams time, but with barely fifteen minutes left on the clock, even half that number of jams before the final whistle is unlikely. They really need to ratchet their point-scoring up. Two or three big hauls are required. In short, the Rockers need some power jams, but this Paris side have been keeping it very clean. (As indeed have Brighton in the second period. Penalty box addict Sham will only pick up one foul all match, and will make sure everyone at the after party knows this.) Hope arrives in Jam 13. Thelma held back by a well marshalled pack, frustrated, picks up a penalty. Crowd goes wild for Sophia on the PJ. Calls it with Thelma standing. Triple figures. 101-156. Sham starts as the only jammer on track. Busy penalty box for Paris now. Bash lead next, then Whooligan – a recent addition to the regular rotation, growing stronger in the role as the game progresses – for a four ‘n’ call. Then comes the seventeenth jam of the second period, the one we began this whole bout report describing.

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Today’s official programme features an interview with Bash. “I love hitting someone so hard that they fall to the ground spectacularly,” she says, “and then maybe just looking at them for a second before hitting them to the floor again, just to make sure they know it was me.” It’s an attitude that seems to have rubbed off on her teammates, if the big grin Hairy Fairy bears before, during and after sending Thelma flying is anything to go by. A succession of power jams follow and we reach Jam 20. Less than five minutes left on the clock. 141-167. We’ve already told you what happens next. A Brighton pack holding back the Paris jammer. A Rockers starhead – Chariot Sophia – circling, five point scoring pass after five point scoring pass. Fans on their feet after the third pass. 166-167. One blocker passed. Tied game. Another. Lead change. Brighton ahead for the first time in a match they’ve spent most of 50-100 points behind. A fifth pass follows the fourth. 35-0 for the jam. An awesome haul for a Power Jam, but this wasn’t a Power Jam. The Paris jammer was on track throughout. Unfortunately for her, so was Bash and the rest of the Rockers pack.

    There’s a minute and change left. 176-167 to Brighton. Empty penalty box for both sides. Sham v Rose Hyène. Brighton just need to get lead and call it. Just get lead, Rockers… Just get lead… Paris get lead… Dammit… First scoring pass… 176-171… Sham through now, chasing her down… PRG jammer hits the pack and calls, but points for Sham too… 178-174… Less than 30 seconds on the clock… The only way to force a final jam is by calling a team timeout… Maude Fondeo on the Brighton bench indicates a timeout, but she’s asking if anyone else wants one… The period timer has stopped with one second remaining… There’s confusion… There’s always confusion at the end of a bout when Paris play in the South East… Hearts in mouths for the fans… Ref huddle in centre track… Everyone waiting to see what’s decided… Will this one end in an eight minute official timeout, scores changed to a tie and an overtime jam?… Seems unlikely, but that’s what happened when Paris were at London Rockin’ Rollers last year… Rockers head ref LaserHammer was a pack ref at that one… Déjà vu, perhaps, for him?… The refs disperse… The decision is made… Announcer announces it to the crowd… No-one in a position to call a timeout did… The clock had already run down… The game is over. Paris look suitably pissed off. Hometown fans scream, cheer and file down to trackside for the laps ‘n’ slaps. Every time you think a Rockers home bout couldn’t possibly be any more exciting, any more nerve-wracking, any more dramatic than the last one… somehow it is.
    Over at the after party, the crew filming documentary PIVOT, BLOCK & JAM are out in force. “Everywhere we turned today there was a camera in our face,” laughs one of the Rockers, turning to see a camera in her face. The Brewer wisely turns down our suggestion of telling the team his half time theory; that they let Paris take a big lead to give the documentary a more dramatic narrative. They’d probably punch him at the very suggestion. As indeed would Paris, the French side boasting several of the paciest jammers and indeed – whether running, nay sprinting, interference or speeding up the packs – fastest reacting blockers we’ve seen from a home opponent. There are not many PRG players here this evening, partly as they have another bout 200 miles away tomorrow, though one also suspects many are too narked at how things finished to wanna party… although it must be said, they confounded the predictions and played well above neutral expectations. Any anger at today’s result will carry over to Sunday’s game, with Bristol suffering that ire in the form of a commanding 398-119 Paris victory. You feel the Rockers might enjoy the thought that their comeback today could have impacted Bristol’s fate tomorrow – the West Country side having surprisingly knocked Brighton out of last year’s UKRDA Southern Tournament – although the weekend’s results will actually see Paris leapfrog above the Sussex side in the rankings (up from 28th to 16th in Europe, with Brighton dropping to 19th).

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The Brighton league look forward rather than back. For now to the after party fun and games, as Conspicuous Banger invites players from both today’s sides to bite on her increasingly trimmed box. Then to the 30th of this month, when ten Rockers will take part in a mud and obstacle strewn race to raise funds for the league – see the link below for sponsorship details. Then beyond to May 10th, when they return to Haywards Heath to take on the Middlesbrough Milk Rollers. MMR, the league that took a whole year off bouting to train themselves tougher. MMR, the league who currently rank second in England (10th in Europe) and had two players in the most recent national side fourteen. That MMR. It will be the toughest challenge Brighton have ever faced at home. Yet as we leave the after party – with its unexpected air of expected, rather than surprise, victory – we know to never underestimate these eight-wheeled warrior women again.

[Photos by Rebecca Cornford]

LINKS
MARCH 30TH PLEDGES: https://www.justgiving.com/yimby/brightonrockersrollerderby
MAY 10TH FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/263499857152210
MAY 10TH TICKETS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/#!tickets/cttr
BRIGHTON ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com
PARIS ROLLERGIRLS: http://www.parisrollergirls.com

Turn Left Issue 5 Online

ISSUE 5 ONLINE

If you missed Saturday’s home bout against Paris Rollergirls, we can tell you it was the most awesomes Rockers bout EVAH. There will be a full report up here later in the week. In the meantime, if you missed out on the fanzine we produced for the day, there should be a handful of physical copies available in the Evening Star, Cornerstone and Punktured. Or just click on the cover above to go to the online version. Huge thanks as ever to all the interviewees, photographers and lovely advertisers. Cheerses.

Brighton Rockers v Paris Rollergirls bout preview

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Tied game. 37 seconds left. Final jam. Kozmic Bruise takes lead for Paris Rollergirls. Jack Attack maybe six feet behind, on her tail. Kozmic hits the London Rockin’ Rollers pack on the outside of turn four and calls it. Looks like two points for Paris, maybe three. Didn’t look like Jack caught anyone when the PRG jammer called it, but by the fourth whistle who knows? Could barely hear it above all the stamping feet of the ever rowdy London fans. We are high up on the bleachers at the opposite corner of the hall from the action, and our heads have been shredded by something like a dozen lead changes in the last 15 minutes. What are the refs going to give? 2-0 to LRR for the jam. 137-135. Unofficial final. Screaming home fans rushing down to trackside, squashing up sardine-like for the victory laps and slaps.
    Paris have challenged the score for the final jam, though. Official time out. A long one. Nearly ten minutes. Crowd ushered back outside the ref lane. The two teams filling the time with a dance-off, cartwheels on skates and such like. Decision made. Two points each. Tied game still. 137-137. Overtime jam. Referees struggling to hold back the crowd, keep the ref lane clear. Now every seat is a suicide seat, and no-one can sit at a time like this. Kozmic back in for Paris, well rested after the long ref huddle. Jessica Rammit in the star for London. Full two minutes to play. No lead jammer. Both starheads having to be ultra careful when they pass through the pack – a jammer penalty would kill the game for their side – but then so too are the blockers, can’t give away numerical advantage now. Cleanest derby jam ever, as well as the most intense. Both teams scoring four for four. Kozmic taken down but back up super fast. Another four for four. Jess down and quickly back up. Another four for four. The London jammer has gained an extra burst of energy from somewhere, three maybe four feet ahead of her French opponent, five seconds left on the clock, will she make it past a blocker before the jam timer blows? Not sure anyone’s nerves in the crowd – let alone on track – could survive a further overtime jam. Whistles ring out. 150-149. London. Bedlam.

We’ve been asked at the last two Brighton Rockers after parties whether the bout we’d just come from was the best we’ve ever seen. Both times we’ve had to say no. Not the epic game against Central City in Haywards Heath in November, where the Rockers clawed back a 60-point deficit, then rode a 15-minute wave of lead changes and tied scores, before triumphing in the final minutes? Nope. Then what about the match against Rainy City last month – more of the same, but arguably even more resilient a Rockers resurgence, even more nail-bitten a climax? Nope. Those were definitely the second and third best bouts we’ve been to, but first place goes to… see those paragraphs in italics above.
    So, as you can expect, when we heard that Paris were coming to play Brighton, we circled the date – SATURDAY 15TH MARCH, 3PM – with an even thicker marker pen than we usually do when Rockers bouts are announced. We don’t know how laws of probability work, but we’ve come to this conclusion: The league who hosted our second/third most favourite (most awesome, most nail-biting, most battling, most breathtaking) bouts ever are hosts. The league who were the visiting side in our first most favourite (most awesome, most nail-biting, most battling, most breathtaking) bout ever are the visitors. Therefore this match-up is going to be so many levels of amazing that they’re going to have to extend the Richter Scale just to measure the excitement. Jeepers!
    Coming up in this preview, we’ll hear from both teams – as well as from others – about the bout, but first let’s see what the nerdy derby stats sites have to say about it…

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RANKINGS AND PREDICTIONS
The two ranking websites both expect this match-up to be less of a challenge for Brighton than the recent home bouts against Rainy and Central City. This might come as a surprise, given the strength of the Paris roster. For instance, nine of the twenty who turned out for 7th placed Team France in the 2011 World Cup were from PRG. Even though the current French training squad draws from a far wider selection of teams, there’s still going on for a dozen Paris players in the 40. The league’s variable results and ever changing squad make-ups, together with a diffusion of talent throughout France (Toulouse now usually rank higher than Paris, with the likes of Nantes and Bordeaux not too far behind the capital) has kept PRG’s ranking points lower than their performances would seem to deserve.
    Brighton, meanwhile, rank slightly higher amidst UK leagues in the Euro Rankings than they do in the official UKRDA table itself. This is partly due to recent home bouts not qualifying as official sanctioned bouts for the latter, but still providing ranking benefits for the former. (For example, Brighton were ranked above Newcastle and Windsor in Europe, but below them in UKRDA… although Windsor’s heavy defeat at Rainy City at the weekend has seen them drop in the latter this morning, lifting Brighton to ninth.)
    Flattrackstats place the Rockers 16th in Europe and Paris 28th, the teams having 661.7 and 637.8 ranking points respectively. Their online predictor gives Brighton 79% chance of the win, compared to 21% for Paris, with the Rockers expected to pick up 17 points for every 12 (not 14 as wrongly stated in Saturday’s fanzine) that PRG score. This would equate to a typical derby result in the region of 187-132 in Brighton’s favour. Over at Derbydataeurope, the Rockers place 15th (361.02 points) and Paris 26th (238.69). This site hasn’t put up their score prediction for Saturday’s game yet, but we’ll add it in here if and when they do.

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THOUGHTS ON THE BOUT
We caught up with members of both teams, along with some other folk, for their thoughts ahead of Saturday’s contest. You’ll find further quotes from these people (plus a four page bout preview, star interviews and more) in the next issue of our Turn Left fanzine – pick up your free copy on the door at Haywards Heath on Saturday.

“I don’t like to think about expectations for a game too much. I just go into it with the aim of playing my best, though there is no doubt it will be a tough game. A lot of them are Team France players and very experienced.”
RACEY SLAMHARD, Brighton Rockers captain

“I must confess we do not know any Brighton players. First rendez-vous! I will not predict the result because we have had many surprises before when trying to estimate results. We are just going to play our game, do the best we can, focus and enjoy.”
ROXY BAT GIRL, Paris Rollergirls captain

“Don’t be surprised to see PRG choose to skate short, as they have done each time I’ve seen them play so far. If they’re on hand – and on skates – keep your eyes on Butch Shan, Sally Broyeur, Roxy Bat Girl, Meryl Strip-Her, Crapule and Bully Bunker, to name just a few. In fact, don’t take your eyes off any of PRG. They have a habit of turning a massive loss into a victory, even if the points don’t truly reflect that.”
EL TOUPÉE, Saturday’s bout announcer

“PRG have ten or more French internationals to choose from, so whatever permutation of players makes the trip over it will be a tough visiting side. Brighton seem to have cured their pre-2013 habit of second half dips, and now come out battling stronger in the final period. You can probably gauge the toughness of the contest by how many jammers they field when scores are close. If it drops to just two or three alternating in the Brighton star, it’s extra feisty out there!”
MISTER ADAM, Turn Left editor

“Our game against the Rockers was, to my memory, defined by Brighton’s very strong defensive walls, which called for effective offence on our part to get our jammers through. Paris, on the other hand, liked to keep the packs quick and were forever nipping around the front to speed things up a little to disjoint our walls. The strong slow defence of Brighton versus the fast packs of Paris should be an interesting clash of styles and test of adaptability.”
BOOTS MANUVA, Central City Rollergirls

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WHERE AND WHEN
The Brighton Rockers v Paris Rollergirls bout takes place this Saturday 15th March at the Dolphin leisure centre in Haywards Heath. Doors open at 2.30pm, with first whistle at 3pm. The Dolphin is about five minutes walk from the train station – turn left on exiting the station and follow the roller derby signs stuck to things. There’s a bar, a café-bar, vending machines, etc. The sports hall features bleacher seating, vendors and the slipperiest skating surface known to humanity. (“It’s not slippery, it’s just smooth,” insists our skating teacher – pfft.) The after party will take place at the Rockers home pub, the Cornerstone in Brighton, and features the league’s own beer – Downlands Off Your Rocker – which comes in an unfined/vegan incarnation for the first time this weekend.
    Whilst some refs, NSOs, photographers and others may have been kidnapped by a thing involving blokes on skates that’s happening in Birmingham this weekend (blokes on skates, what fresh madness is this?) a lively crowd is expected for this long awaited match-up. It’s Brighton’s first ever home game against continental opponents, and you’re advised to snap up tickets online asap. These are only £8 each (two pounds cheaper than previous bouts), £7 for students and free for under 12s. You can also get four for the price of three, so bring along a derby virgin or two and it works it out at only £6 each. See the links below [tickets for May’s bout v Middlesbrough are also now on sale] and be ready to witness all kinds of awesomeness.

[Photos by John Hesse and Jason Ruffell/Roller Derby On Film]

LINKS
BUY TICKETS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/#!tickets/cttr
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/291347387682129/
BRIGHTON ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
PARIS ROLLERGIRLS: http://www.parisrollergirls.com/