BEDS TIME: The mighty BRIGHTON ROCKERS aim to quash REBELLION this weekend!

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A mere two weeks after taking on the Tiger Bay B-team in Cardiff, the mighty Brighton Rockers AllStars are back on the road. This Sunday (30th October) sees a slightly shorter trip up country to take on Rebellion Roller Derby. The venue is Houghton Regis Leisure Centre, with the Rockers game kicking off at 12.45, followed by a match between Rebellion B-team Rebel Uprising and the Kent based Apex Predators. Tickets are priced £8.04 (including fees) online – see the link at the bottom of this piece – or £10 on the door. Under 16s go free. The Kings Arms in Houghton Regis is hosting the after party.

“Where in the sam heck is Houghton Regis?” some of you may be asking. It’s just off the M1 north west of Luton. This ought to make for a fairly painless direct Thameslink journey from Brighton, but the Gods of Engineering Work will put you on a bus between the coast and Three Bridges. The nearest station to the leisure centre (Leagrave) is a good 2.5 mile hike, so we suggest getting off at Luton and hopping on either an A or Z bus. It’s actually the same circular bus route, with the letter changing en route. Since Houghton Regis/Parkside is the halfway point (20-25 mins) either bus will do. Car users should point their Sat Nav at LU5 5PY.

Are you one of those people who don’t like reading predictions ahead of a game? Then skip the rest of this paragraph. Rebellion are one of the earliest formed UK derby leagues, predating the Rockers by some margin. They currently rank 47th in the UKRDA on 510.3 points, with the Rockers placing 23rd (595.0). The prediction machine at Flattrackstats gives Brighton a 91% chance of victory, with an expected differential of 13:6 equating to something like a 195-90 away win. Switching to the European rankings system (likely more accurate as it’s based on a much higher number of games) sees Brighton ranked 73rd (582.0) against Rebellion’s 95th (553.3). Brighton’s chances of victory drop to 66% with a predicted 21:17 differential equating to a much narrower 189-153 Rockers win. Since Rebellion’s B-team hasn’t yet played a ranking game, the FTS computer won’t predict anything about their contest v Apex Predators. Soz.

Enough complicated maths stuff, let’s hear from the hosts and a Rocker about what they’re expecting…

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REBELLION ROLLER DERBY

Hi there. For any Brighton fans reading this who might not know of Rebellion Roller Derby, can you tell us a bit about your league?
Despite being collectively very creepy we love hugs, especially during training. We have a small cupboard at our training venue where we keep our line up manager Gav and bench coach Blitz hostage. Shhhhh!

Do you know much about the Brighton Rockers? Any particular players or tactics of theirs you’ll be looking out for at Sunday’s game?
We know the amazing Gin, who is very much a double threat not to be taken likely. We have heard they also like hugs, so we are hoping to take advantage of this and trick their walls into letting our jammer escape. Hahaha.

Any particular Rebellion players or tactics that the crowd should watch out for?
Rebellion is well stocked full of jammer and blocker talent. Best to watch everyone at the same time somehow?

Rankings wise, Brighton place a little bit higher than you at present. What sort of a game are you expecting?
Coach Blitz says: “Brighton are an experienced team not to be taken lightly. However, we enter every game in the mindset that we are here to win. As soon as that first whistle goes it’s on like Donkey Kong.”

The day’s other game sees your B-team Rebel Uprising take on the Apex Predators. What should people expect from that match?
I believe this is only the Apex Predators’ second open door game, so they remain very much an unknown entity. This is Rebel Uprising’s first game, so to the outside world they are very much another unknown entity. Expect the team with the most together walls to take this one.

Finally, what facilities are there at your venue? Anything else to see or do in the Houghton Regis area?
There will be food laid on by us at the venue; hot dogs, vegan chilli, crisps, tea, coffee. There’s nothing else other than vending machines at the leisure centre. No bar. There isn’t much in Houghton Regis – a couple of bars and supermarkets. It’s a very small area, but it’ll do!

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HIPPY HIPPY SKATE – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

Two away games within a fortnight is something of a rarity for the Rockers. How was the Cardiff trip and have you all recovered sufficiently to face Rebellion?
I can’t speak for what it was like on the party bus or in the hostel (I came up to Cardiff a day early and stayed elsewhere) but I understand the Rockers continued their tradition of winning the after party in great style. As for the game itself, we had a great time and the Tiger Bay B-Bombs were such a lovely team. Fortunately I think the hangovers and assorted bruises have faded enough for us to give Rebellion a good game!

What do you know about Rebellion Roller Derby? Any particular RRD players or tactics you’ll be looking out for?
The Rebellion roster looks pretty fierce! The Rockers have been practising our offence and we’ll be trying to put that into practise on the day – we’ll need to against those walls. Gin has skated with Blitzkrieg (the Rebellion bench coach) before and has been giving us tips about his favourite moves, so hopefully we’ll have guessed enough (and practised enough) to be able to counter some of their offense in turn. I don’t want to go into too much detail though, in case they’re reading this…

What sort of a Rockers squad can we expect for this game? Will there be many changes from the side that travelled to Wales two weeks ago?
The Rockers roster has a similar core to what we had for Tiger Bay B. Mighty Mouse won’t be with us, which is a shame because she was on fire at Tiger Bay (winning Best Jammer in her first ever A-team game!). We’ll have Emma the Condemner and Racey back, so it will look a little bit more like a ‘classic’ Rockers A-team. As for who to look out for, I never get tired of watching Gin Atomic leap across the track, but I also think Finn McCruel is making a huge mark on the Rockers – she’s a badass, incredibly strong and with an amazing derby brain.

The Rockers are currently ranked a bit higher than Rebellion. What type of game are you expecting? Care to predict the result?
I’d love to win it and I think the Rockers are playing pretty strong, but I try not to predict things ahead of the day. I think I’m one of the less competitive players on the A-team. I’m still so thrilled whenever I’m rostered for an AllStars game that I count it as a win if I don’t fall over my own feet! Mostly I go in hoping for game that forces both teams to bring their best – I want to play some great derby and have a good time.

Finally, the Rockers are back in action at Haywards Heath very soon, with the A-team facing two continental teams in quick succession. Rockcity of Eindhoven (Holland) on Nov 12th and the Harpies of Milan (Italy) on Dec 3rd. Have you started thinking about those games yet?
It’s exciting and a little overwhelming to have so many games in rapid succession. I have to admit I haven’t had a chance to think too much about the Milano Harpies – I can’t think more than two games ahead! But we’re definitely thinking ahead to the game against Rockcity. We had a great time playing against them at the Slip It tournament in Caen earlier in the year, so we’re looking forward to seeing them again! The B-team is also playing on the 12th, taking on a combined Southampton Roller Derby and Basingstoke Bullets squad with a lot of our fantastic new rookies playing for the first time ever in front of a crowd. I think fans of the league will be pleased to see our awesome new B-team skaters, and fans of roller derby in general will get to watch a hard-hitting game with Rockcity. I predict a great atmosphere, because I know the team always has the most fun when playing against lovely people.

LINKS
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1783951281861467/
TICKETS: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2642389
REBELLION: https://www.rebellionrollerderby.co.uk/
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
PREDATORS: http://www.southerncoedrollerderby.com/

Tiger Bay B-Bombs v Brighton Rockers PREVIEW

tbp1This Saturday (15th October) sees the Rockers A-team in action on the road as they play in Wales for the very first time. Their opponents are the B-Bombs second team of Cardiff’s top rated Tiger Bay Brawlers. The game takes place at Cardiff Central Youth Club with first whistle at 6.30pm. Tickets are available online for £5 each. Any Rockers fans who have yet to book transport will find trains to Cardiff a little spendy this late in the day. Our tip here is to buy a ticket from Brighton to Bristol Temple Meads, which costs less than £20 each way. Then it’s an hour by National Express coach (£8) to Cardiff. Somehow this works out less than a third of the price of a train all the way! The city has that ‘capital curse’ when it comes to hotel prices and you’ll struggle to get anything for much less than £100 a night this weekend. Staying down the road in Newport is a possible budget option.
    When this game was announced, Tiger Bay were delighted to pronounce it the first game in their new permanent venue. Sadly, a couple of weeks ago it was revealed that said venue is under threat of imminent closure. Check out the petition page in the links at the bottom of this piece for more info on how you can help in the fight to save it. Unfortunately, the people of Tiger Bay were so busy with the campaign around the venue closure that we were unable to get any replies from them for this preview. In a moment we’ll hear from Brighton’s Hairy Fairy, but firstly, what do Flattrackstats predict for the game? (Skip the rest of this paragraph if you don’t like knowing predictions pre-game.) They rank Tiger Bay B as 57th in Europe on 605.1 rankings point, a little ahead of 70th place Brighton A on 585.3. FTS call this as 70% chance of a home win, with a predicted differential of 46:35 suggesting a fairly close scoreline in the region of 184-140. We shall see…

HAIRY FAIRY – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

This will be the Rockers first ever game in Wales. What are your expectations? How does playing 100+ miles from home differ from a local game?
Yes, it is our first game in Wales. I’m more Welsh than English genetically speaking so I’m happy in Wales and looking forward to a weekend of my favourite accents with my favourite team. The Rockers are looking forward to the game but we’re pretty sure it’s going to be a tough one for us. The Tiger Bay league have just got stronger and stronger over the last four years and both their teams are so well trained.
    We love away games and we actually often play better as a result of not having so much organisational behind the scenes prep to do on the day. It’s such a luxury to just turn up and play. We’re often more focused. However it’s always daunting not having a friendly home crowd to cheer you on. It can be a bit lonely when the only cheers that you hear are against you. That’s the one disadvantage about playing so far away – we’re not sure how many fans we’ll have to help us out.

Tiger Bay’s A-team have been ranked top of the UKRDA several times over the past few years, so presumably their B-team are no slouches. Do you know much about them and the players/tactics that you might face?

Indeed. We are under no illusions. Often B-team players are hungrier for the win because everyone on that team wants to be noticed and make an impact to help them move up to the next level. I don’t know any specific players I’ll be watching out for, but I’m not going to underestimate anyone on the track.

Do the Rockers have any new players taking part? Who should the fans look out?
Look out for Finn. She’s a newish transfer from Finland originally and has also skated in Ireland. She’s a total powerhouse with some amazing stealth moves. She’s got such a calm presence on the track, which makes working with her a total joy.

Care to predict the result?

OH NO WAY! I can’t jinx it. I hope either way it will be close. It’s always best for us when we keep a close game throughout. It really keeps us on our toes, learning and adapting throughout the whole game.

Can we expect any more Rockers games (home or away) between now and the end of 2016? What are the league’s plans heading into 2017 and beyond?
It’s a big secret so don’t tell anyone but…. we have a pretty exciting possibility of a game in an awesome Brighton venue before this year is out! It’s still in the discussion phase, so fingers crossed… As for 2017 we are taking on new players, aka Fresh Meat, in January so that’s always a great start to the year. As one of the FM coaches I love watching them develop and seeing new talent emerge. We also have some pretty great games against teams from the UK and overseas in the pipeline, so keep your ear to the ground.

LINKS
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/196094580807060/
TICKETS: https://www.tickettailor.com/checkout/view-event/id/65212/chk/6c0a/ref/fb
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
TIGER BAY: http://brawlers.co.uk/
CCYC PETITION: https://www.change.org/p/save-cardiff-central-club