Brighton Rockers v Middlesbrough Milk Rollers preview


The Brighton Rockers complete a series of three home games in fairly quick succession when they face off against Middlesbrough Milk Rollers on Saturday 10th May. The match starts at 3pm at Brighton’s usual home venue, Haywards Heath’s Dolphin leisure centre. The venue is five minutes walk from the train station, and features seating, vendor stalls and two bars. Tickets for the game, which is part of Brighton Fringe (the world’s third largest fringe festival), are on sale online at £8 each or £24 for four (£6 each). Tickets for under 12s are free. See the link at the bottom of this piece.
    To say this a big game – the word ’bout’ was recently dropped by world governing body WFTDA, incidentally – would be something of an understatement. The Middlesbrough team currently rank fourth in the UK, and with the teams above them hailing from North and West of the border, they’re the highest placed English league (in the absence of all-conquering London Rollergirls, who are too USA-focused to qualify for the UKRDA rankings).
    Two of the Milk Rollers were amongst the most recent Team England fourteen, which took part in a tournament in France and saw England defeat not just the host nation, but also number two in the world Canada. Terri Sudron and Ella Storey represented the national side, and their international exploits highlights the current strength of the Teesside league. Middlesbrough famously took a whole year off playing games in 2011 to focus entirely on training, and the plan seems to have done the job, with MMR having charged up the rankings since they resumed competitive play.


On paper this is the biggest challenge the Rockers will have faced at home, and it will take an awesome performance if the Sussex side are to maintain their historic unbeaten home open door record. Having said that, Brighton have beaten the second, third and fourth ranked English UKRDA sides at Haywards Heath in recent months, so taking on the top ranked league next seems a natural decision.
    The official UKRDA table at places Middlesbrough fourth on 676.5 points, with the Rockers tenth on 644.5. The site’s online predictor gives the North East team a 69% chance of taking the win. Brighton have been remarkable consistent in terms of points scored at the Dolphin recently, coming within a couple of points of 175 in all of their last four home games. The Milk Rollers, meanwhile, tend to average a little over 200 away from home. This would seem to tie in with flattrackstats’ predicted 17-21 score differential (the equivalent of a 170-210 away win). As ever, though, if it was really possible to accurately predict sporting results, bookmakers would be homeless, so let’s see how it plays out on the day.
    Be sure to snap up your tickets in advance. Not only is it the only way to grab the ‘four for the price of three’ deal, but with Brighton Festival and Fringe (which the game is part of, remember) starting on May 3rd, the next week could see a rush on tickets from visiting culture vultures, so don’t miss out. Also don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our Turn Left fanzine on the door; this issue is a festival special and includes specially commissioned derby art and poetry. We’ll leave you with a few words from a member of each team, plus a skater who has faced both sides in recent months…


“I’m so excited to be playing in this game. Middlesbrough are such an awesome team! I’ve encountered a few of their players at mixed scrims and Team England tryouts. They’ve got a bit of everything in the skaters I’ve seen, but I don’t know much about their style. I’ll have to wait and see, but that’s part of the fun!”

“We always keep an eye on our opponents. We’ve heard a lot of good stuff about the Brighton Rockers, and we’re expecting a close and challenging game. Obviously we’ll be watching out for Bash, although I’m sure she’ll make her presence known early on!”

“MMR and Brighton should prove to be a pretty close battle – they are both very physical teams, with strong blockers and fast agile jammers. MMR may seem to have an obvious advantage with Team England squad skaters Terri Sudron and Ella Storey in their crew, but there’s no denying the skill and strength of Brighton’s skaters – notably The Mighty Mighty Bash, Shambolic and Chariot Sophia.”

[Photos by John Hesse and Chris Bell]



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