LIVE DERBY OUTDOORS – Two Rockers Teams At EASTBOURNE EXTREME This Saturday!

The mighty Rockers have a super busy summer ahead. On August 5th they will be skating in the Brighton Pride parade. On July 22nd (Saturday week) they’ll be hosting a special fundraising music and quiz night at the Latest Musicbar – see the links below for details. Before both of those events, however, this very weekend they will be taking part in Eastbourne Extreme. Europe’s only outdoor roller derby tournament takes place over two days (Saturday and Sunday) on Eastbourne seafront. This year the Rockers A-team and B-team will both be in action on the Saturday. That’s this Saturday, July 15th.

The B-team Rockerbillies kick off proceedings with a game against a specially formed Eastbourne Extreme Team (players from a variety of leagues) at the early hour of 10am. The A-team Rockers AllStars will take on Eastbourne Roller Derby’s Bourne Bombshells at 4pm. In between there are games featuring Eastbourne’s men’s, juniors and co-ed teams, with two sevens tournaments (women’s and open to all) on the Sunday. See the flyer halfway down this preview for the full schedule.

The event takes place on public sports courts at Fisherman’s Green on Eastbourne seafront, roughly halfway between the Pier and Marina. Admission is totally free for spectators, with toilet facilities and food outlets close by. You can bring in your own booze etc – there’s a Spar, Tesco Express and Co-op about four minutes walk inland – and sun cream is advisable. There’s a ticketed after party (£8) right by the derby venue on the Saturday, whilst Sunday’s (free entry) is at the Crown & Anchor pub near the Pier.

Trains from Brighton to Eastbourne are at 32 and 52 past on Saturday. The 32 is much faster (takes half an hour) but is usually only two carriages and can get quite busy, so arrive early for a decent seat. A day return is £7.20 with a railcard or you can get the number 12 bus (which takes much longer) for £6.50 return. The venue is around 25 mins walk from the train station. Point your map app at BN22 7AA. There’s a big car park adjacent (£4.80 all day) as well street parking on inland side streets.

PREDICTIONS AND THAT
[Skip this section if you don’t want to know how the prediction sites expect these games to go.] Since the Rockerbillies are facing a challenge team specifically created for the event, we have no way of predicting the result of that one. As for the Rockers v Bombshells contest, using the UKRDA rankings on Flattrackstats the Rockers (23rd place on 595.0 points) are huge favourites over the Bombshells (58th on 422.7). Brighton are given 98% chance of victory with a 26:5 differential working out as something like a 260-50 Rockers win. The European rankings on FTS have the Rockers 72nd (593.4 pts) and Bombshells 233rd (479.3). Using these figures the prediction drops slightly to 95% chance of a Brighton win, with a 29:10 differential suggesting a 232-80 type scoreline.

The Scottish Roller Derby blog’s worldwide rankings (Brighton 383rd, Eastbourne 1109th) suggest pretty much the same as Flattrackstats. It should be pointed out, however, that this will be the first outdoor game for most of the Rockers, whereas Eastbourne have hosted and played in a number of games at this venue already this summer. The prediction algorithms are geared up for traditional sports hall games, rather than the variables that outdoors and tarmac bring into the mix, so we’re expecting a much closer game. But what do the Rockers expect? Let’s find out…

RACEY – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

Last month’s trip to Ireland resulted in two Rockers wins: 173-157 v Limerick and 453-65 v Belfast. That Belfast result is Brighton’s biggest points haul and margin of victory EVER. What are your thoughts on those games (and the trip overall) and were you expecting such a big win?
Aren’t we the best!? Still on a massive high from that weekend. We knew Limerick was going to be the tougher game, so to get that win under our belts first meant we were on cloud nine. We went into the Belfast game super confident. We had been working really hard for months on our defensive walls and offence. To see it all come together brilliantly in those games was so satisfying. The weekend as a whole was cracking; we managed to survive our murder house accommodation and snagged the only hot sunny weather Ireland has seen since 350BC.

This Saturday sees both the A-team and B-team in action outdoors at Eastbourne Extreme. The Rockerbillies face a mixed league opposition at 10am. Any thoughts?
I’m expecting big things from our Rockerbillies! Their skills have really developed over the past few months especially, and they are now playing at a really competitive level. One of their major strengths, I think, are their derby brains; they are super switched on when it comes to tactics and reading the game.

The A-team face the Bourne Bombshells at 4pm in probably the highest profile game of the entire Extreme weekend. What are you expecting from that contest?
I don’t really like to go into games with any expectations. I just want us to play our best game and the results will be what they will be. We haven’t played Eastbourne in a very long time, and most of us haven’t skated Extreme before so it is a bit of an unknown. They are our derby neighbours though and we know each other well so it is going to be a fun game to play for sure.

How does playing roller derby outdoors on tarmac differ from games in sports halls?
Well, I’ve skated outdoors a whole bunch of times, but never actually played derby outside. I’ve been wanting to play Extreme for a long time to have a chance to try it out. I imagine sharp stops are going to be interesting. I know we get to wear sunglasses, which is fabulous.

What are your expectations for Eastbourne Extreme in general (both on and off track)?
I’ve been to Extreme a bunch of times and it is always such a great day out. Sunshine, skating, seafront – what else could you want?

[Photo by John Hesse]

LINKS
EASTBOURNE EXTREME 15TH & 16TH JULY
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1124805250982415/
BRIGHTON ROCKERS FUNDRAISER 22ND JULY
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/286286108483695/

A Munster Calls – The BRIGHTON ROCKERS Face LIMERICK And BELFAST In Ireland This Weekend!

The mighty Brighton Rockers A-team are in action this weekend over in Ireland. They will be facing Limerick Roller Derby and Belfast Roller Derby in a three-team mini-tournament at the UL Sport Centre in Limerick tomorrow, Saturday 17th June (doors at 11am). Should you fancy a trip over, Shannon airport is nearby, but this late in the day even the budget airlines are far from budget – expect to pay £300-ish return. The cheapest accommodation option is probably Troy Self-Catering Village, about ten minutes walk from the venue, at around £30 a night. Or for fancier folk, Brennan Court Guesthouse is right next door to the sports centre at £60 a night.

PREDICTIONS AND THAT
[Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to know how Flattrackstats expects these games to go.] Unfortunately the European rankings bit of the FTS website, which we were going to use to predict all three games, isn’t working at the moment. We can predict two of the matches using other rankings systems. Belfast place 18th in the UKRDA with 610.1 points, some way ahead of Brighton in 23rd (595.0). Averaging out home and away predictions for the neutral venue gives 62% chance of a Belfast win, with an expected differential of 10:9 working out as something like a 200-180 loss for the Rockers. Limerick place 203rd in WFTDA on 564.9 points, with Belfast 348th (458.1). The hosts are given a whopping 98% chance of the win here, an expected differential of 13:4 equating to circa a 260-80 home win. The Limerick v Brighton game can’t be predicted right now as the European rankings are offline – we’ll add it when we can. Meanwhile, let’s catch up with a Rocker ahead of the tournament…

MISTRESS – BRIGHTON ROCKERS BENCH COACH

The event in Haywards Heath last month saw a big win for the A-team over Hell’s Belles (345-136). What do you recall of that game and the B-team’s narrow loss (187-202) to Suffolk Bees?
Both games were very exciting for us and the crowd. The Rockers have been working so hard for the last year and we’re thrilled that it’s paying off. Hell’s Belles were fantastic competitors; they made us push for every point and it was a pleasure to share the track with them. On an even brighter note, the Rockerbillies have been a real inspiration for us. Their determination and spirit shows more and more with every game. Unfortunately this one was a loss, but only by a dozen points, and they were fighting until the very end. I’m so incredibly proud of them.

This Saturday (17th June) the A-team are heading over to Ireland for a three team tournament in Limerick. The Rockers’ previous trip to the Emerald Isle (Dublin in 2012) has become the stuff of legend. What are you expecting this time around?
Legendary is definitely the right word for that Dublin trip, and our first venture to Limerick will be a great experience for us. We get to play two amazing teams, including Belfast, where the one and only Finn McCruel got her derby start. We’ve got a solid roster of strong, smart players and we may even have a few tricks up our sleeves. It’s going to be a tough back-to-back challenge, but we’re up for it. We’re so excited to experience the wonderful Irish derby hospitality again, and no doubt there will be stories that become the stuff of legends (at least at the after party!).

You’ll be facing hosts Limerick Roller Derby and Belfast Roller Derby. Any thoughts re those teams? Are there extra challenges involved in playing two games straight after each other?
The rankings are fairly close, and we’ll certainly be keeping that in mind; but we’ll be coming in with our game, and I have confidence that with our teamwork we can make some great things happen. To be honest, I’ve not seen either opponent play. Both games are going to be tough and we always love to learn from new teams – we expect a run for our money!

You’re hosting a fundraising night on July 22nd at the Latest Musicbar. What can people expect from that event and what are you raising money for?
The event was supposed to be held last week as a fundraiser for our trip to Ireland, but we ran into venue issues and had to reschedule. So now we’re hoping that lots of Rockers supporters will come to help us celebrate and refill the kitty in July, so we can keep doing what we do. We’ve got a fun quiz (hosted by yours truly), great bands and some extra special surprise merch for the night, as well as classic Rockers after party games. It’s going to be SOME night.

Finally, do the Rockers have much planned for the remainder of 2017?

We’ve got a pretty full summer ahead of us! On Sunday, whilst the A-team are away, the Rockerbillies are raising money skating the South Coast Roll – a whole marathon on skates! Check out the link below to sponsor them. We’ll be taking part in Eastbourne Extreme in July, skating Proudly in the Brighton Pride parade in August, and arranging some incredible games for the autumn. There’s so much to look forward to!

LINKS
JUNE 17TH IN LIMERICK: https://www.facebook.com/events/1363738197050969/
JULY 22ND FUNDRAISER: https://www.facebook.com/events/286286108483695/
SOUTH COAST ROLL: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/Brighton-Rockerbillies

ROCKERS vs BELLES and BEES – Looking Ahead To This Sunday’s Derby Action!

The mighty Brighton Rockers are back in action in Haywards Heath this Sunday (14th May). The A-team recovered from their heavy loss at home to Vienna in March, thumping Portsmouth away a few weeks later to get back most of the ranking points they’d shed since the start of the year. They will be taking on the Hell’s Belles from Hertfordshire at 2.35pm on Sunday, with the B-team Rockerbillies facing Suffolk Bees (the Suffolk Roller Derby B-team, obvs) at 4.55pm. Doors are at 2pm and tickets are available online from the link at the bottom of this piece, priced £10 adults, £8 students, free for under 12s. There will be tickets available on the door, but the special 4-for-the-price-of-3 deal is online only.

The venue is the Dolphin Leisure Centre. Car users should point their Sat Navs at RH16 1LY, while it’s only five minutes walk west from the train station. This being a Sunday, engineering work means there are fewer trains to Haywards Heath than usual, just two an hour from Brighton (and a couple more via Hove). The pub outside the station, the Burrell Arms, is OK for a pint or two, and the nearest ATM is at the big Sainsbury’s halfway between the venue and station. Whilst the cashpoint is outside, should you need anything from the supermarket itself, bear in mind that it shuts at 4pm (ie before the end of the first game) on Sunday. Enough blather, have some stats…

FLATTRACKSTATS.COM PREDICTS
Skip these two paragraphs if you don’t like to know predictions ahead of a game. Having reclaimed most of their lost ranking, the Rockers A-team currently place 99th in Europe on 554.4 points. Hell’s Belles are not far behind in 102nd (553.9 points). FTS give Brighton 56% chance of victory here, with a 13:12 predicted differential suggesting something like a 195-180 home win. Switch to the UKRDA ranking system – which doesn’t factor in Brighton’s recent big losses to European sides – and the Rockers (24th) are given a whopping 86% chance of beating the Belles (38th). Predicted differential here is 29:16 which is a 232-128 type victory margin.

Moving on to the second game, the B-team Rockerbillies place 307th in Europe (454.9 ranking points), below the Suffolk Bees who are 279th (463.7). Home advantage almost bridges that gap, but not quite! FTS reckons this is going to be a close one, with the visitors given 51% chance of victory and the closest predicted differential we’ve ever seen: 78-77. That suggests something like a 234-231 away win. Yowsers! Now let’s hear from the teams…

“I used to know a bit about Hell’s Belles back in my days with the Milton Keynes Concrete Cows, but that was many years ago and a lot has no doubt changed. I’ve had the customary check on Flattrackstats and see that they’ve recently played against Rebellion. Now we lost to Rebellion by one point, whereas Hell’s Belles played them and lost by 204 points. Make of that what you will, I ain’t sayin’ nuffin’. The crowd should look out for Fellen E Assault and Cruelty Spree on track – this will be their first open door A-team game.”
KAPOW – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“I know the Rockers are a driven and dedicated team. I’ll be watching out for all their players and tactics. I played one of my cherry poppers at Brighton when they played Hot Wheel, so it will be awesome to see how their game has changed in the last two years. The audience should look out for Candy CaneHer in the Hell’s Belles ranks – she’s a crowd pleaser!”
STINGS LIKE ABBIE – HELL’S BELLES

“The Rockerbillies face the Suffolk Bees. Predictions? Let’s just see what happens. Playing regular games for B-teams is super important for all areas of game development, from learning the rules to putting your skating skills into practice under high pressure situations.”
KAPOW – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“Brighton are something of an unknown quantity. We’re really just looking forward to a fun day out, a new challenge and extending some Suffolk love out into Sussex (which is where I’m from originally).”
ASTERISK – SUFFOLK BEES

Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our magazine Turn Left on the door – this one’s a special issue in which we talk to twenty former Rockers stars!

[Photo by John Hesse]

LINKS
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1257070474390968/
TICKETS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/shop
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
HELL’S BELLES: http://www.hertsrd.co.uk/
SUFFOLK: http://www.suffolkrollerderby.com/

THE SOUTH COAST DECIDER – Portsmouth Roller Wenches v Brighton Rockers Preview

This Saturday 25th March (ie tomorrow) sees the final instalment in what has become an almost three years long best of three series between south coast roller derby titans Brighton and Portsmouth. The action takes place at Havant Leisure Centre from 3.25pm (doors at 3) with the epic A-team decider up first, followed by a first ever open door meeting between the two leagues’ B-teams. Tickets are £7 (including booking fee) from the link at the bottom of this piece. Online sales close at midnight or you can pay £8 on the door tomorrow.

Havant is on the Brighton side of Portsmouth, so it’s a short trip of around an hour by road or rail. Car users should point their Sat Navs at PO9 2AY, whilst direct trains from Brighton are at 12 and 42 past the hour. A day return to Havant costs less than £9 with a railcard. Please note that the after party is at the Wave Maiden craft beer bar in Osborne Road, Southsea, around 20 minutes walk from Portsmouth & Southsea station. Anyone travelling by train who is thinking of hitting the after party would be well advised to spend an extra quid or so to get their ticket to Portsmouth & Southsea rather than Havant (breaking your journey is allowed).

Havant Leisure Centre (NB Google may try to trick you into going to the Horizon Leisure Centre in Waterlooville instead) is around seven minutes walk north of Havant station, set amidst various civic buildings as the name Civic Centre Road might suggest. Pubs in the area are generally a bit rough and ready – the best is probably the Parchment Makers (Wetherspoons) five minutes walk south west from the station, nine from the venue. Although it’s an away game this is actually the second closest roller derby venue to Brighton (after Haywards Heath), so we hope as many Rockers fans as possible can travel across for tomorrow’s games.

PREDICTIONS & PAST RESULTS
[Skip the next two paragraphs if you don’t like reading predictions before a game.] Portsmouth’s A-team currently place 22nd in the UKRDA on 597.3 points, with the Rockers a smidgeon behind in 24th (595.0). The prediction machine at flattrackstats.com gives the Wenches 57% chance of victory here, with an expected differential of 32:29 working out at something like a 192-174 home win. FTS also offers a prediction based on the Euro rankings, but given how spangled Brighton’s placing is after recent games against continental sides we don’t dare press the button for that!

We have to use Euro rankings for the B-team game though, and these suggest the Rockerbillies are in for a challenge. Portsmouth’s B-team place 157th on 516.1 points, with the Brighton Bs 362nd on 436.4. The hosts are given a 93% chance of victory here, with an expected differential of 55:23 working out at something like a 275-115 win for Pompey B. It’s worth noting that these B-team rankings are based on a small number of games – the home side’s last ranked match was around a year ago – so they’re probably not that great an indicator re tomorrow’s second string game.

We don’t just have the FTS computer for guidance when it comes to the A-team match-up. Do past results hold an indication of what to expect? The first public game between the two leagues was exactly two years and five months ago on 25th October 2014 in Havant. The final score then was Portsmouth 159 – Brighton 221. The two sides didn’t have long to wait for a rematch. This was a British Champs game in Haywards Heath on 11th July 2015 which saw the Wenches upset the odds to effectively relegate the Rockers from Tier 2 South. Final score: Brighton 150 – Portsmouth 215.

It’s notable just how similar the scores from those two games are. A lot of time has passed since the most recent match-up, but if past scores are anything to go by both leagues have reason to be confident. Brighton can point to the fact that they are the away team – both previous games saw away wins. The Wenches meanwhile have the upper hand overall, albeit by a tiny amount. The current aggregate score is Portsmouth 374 – Brighton 371. So how is tomorrow’s decider going to play out? Head on over to Havant Leisure Centre to find out. In the meantime, let’s hear what members of both leagues are expecting…

THE DUCHESS OF CRUTCHES – PORTSMOUTH ROLLER WENCHES

On the off-chance someone reading this doesn’t know of the Portsmouth Roller Wenches, can you give us a quick summary of your history and achievements to date?
We are a six year old UKRDA league and came up alongside Brighton as “south coast sisters”. We count our growing comprehensive Fresh Meat program as one of our recent achievements, alongside spreading the word of roller derby in our local area through promotion of the league. We played two seasons in Tier 2 of British Champs but left the format to travel and play more European games. We are ranked in the top 12% of the European table and we’re big in Japan.

What are you expecting from Saturday’s A-team game against the Rockers? Care to predict the result?
I don’t think past Wench/Rocker results will be any indicator of what’s to come tomorrow. Both teams have evolved and changed so much since they last met. I can predict that both teams will want it and both teams will fight for it.

Being an hour apart on the coast the two leagues presumably know each other fairly well. Any particular Brighton players or tactics you’ll be looking out for tomorrow?
We don’t have a tendency to give too much thought to individual players, just the big picture. We are familiar with the Rockers’ most recent game play as we were able to watch them play against Vienna earlier this month.

Similarly, any particular players or tactics the audience should look out for from the Wenches A-team?
Um, I obviously won’t be divulging anything specific tactically, only to say that what we have been working on is looking tight and right. I’m sure the audience will clock the marvellous new talent we have making their A-team home debuts in this game.

The day’s second game sees a first ever meeting of the Portsmouth and Brighton B-teams. How are you expecting that one to go?
I hope this will be a fun and fulfilling game for both B-teams. Our leagues have a lot of history and these skaters are the future of both the Rockers and Wenches, so I hope they carry on the tradition. Look out for some of our Bs who are also making their Wench home debuts.

Finally, for those Rockers fans travelling across to Havant on Saturday, what can we expect from your venue? And from the after party?
There will be fabulous merch stalls including Hoodlum Fang, Skate Station and more, along with great raffle prizes and baked goods. There will be a bar and food available upstairs at the sports hall, and if we’re all lucky our sponsor Nando’s Gunwarf will be sending the Nando’s Chicken along to cheer us on! The after party takes place in the best bar in Southsea, which is of course The Wave Maiden. We really hope everyone can join us after the games for some refreshing craft beer and delicious homemade food in this skater owned and operated pub. Chances are there will also be dancing and whisky slaps. Yes, this also happens to be my bar! 🙂



SKATE BUSH – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

Care to predict the result of Saturday’s A-team game against the Wenches?
We always enjoy playing Portsmouth – they are an amazing team with super strong players – but we’re gunning for the big win. We are working on getting our rankings back this year and this is a good place for us to start.

Being south coast neighbours you presumable know the Portsmouth league quite well? Any particular players or tactics of theirs that you’ll be looking out for?
We do know each other really well. We even trade players occasionally, eg Little Miss Demeanor :o) If they’re playing we’ll be looking out for people like Nina Nunchucks, Dropkick Molly and Valkyrie Pain – she’s a brutal blocker and jammer – but we’ve been practicing taking the big hits so we are ready for them all.

Any players or tactics to look out for from the Rockers in the A-team game?
We’ve been working really hard on our walls (nothing new there) but recently we’ve taken to being really flexible in the way we form them. We’ve always been an adaptive team but that’s really improved recently. Having Finn McCruel join us last year has really upped our blocking and offensive work – so watch out for some super strong walls and some killer offense.

Any thoughts on the first ever meeting of the Portsmouth and Brighton B-teams?
Our B-team is really strong at the moment. We’ve got some amazing new players coming up through the ranks and our crossovers are a force to be reckoned with. Watch out for Farmergeddon – she’s been teaching us some of Brawling’s tricks of the trade recently.

Hopefully as many Rockers fans as possible will make the short trip along the coast on Saturday. Any message for them?
We love you. It makes such a difference having our fans cheering us on and our fans are obviously the best – plus they help us smash the after party.

Finally, any other games/events (that you can tell us about) on the horizon for the Rockers in 2017?
Our next game is away to Norfolk Brawds in April and then we’ve got a few exciting games in the pipeline but nothing confirmed yet. We’ll announce the games when they’re confirmed on our website and Facebook page, so keep an eye out.

THERE’S ANOTHER PREVIEW OF TOMORROW’S GAMES (INCLUDING THE VIEWS OF OTHER BRIGHTON AND PORTSMOUTH SKATERS) ON PAGE 14 OF OUR LATEST FANZINE. CLICK HERE FOR THE ONLINE VERSION.

[Photos by John Hesse]

LINKS
TICKETS: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2858244
FB EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1228722217209474/
FB AFTER PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/1368304253189741/
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
WENCHES: http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/

Turn Left Issue 19 Now Online

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The biggest Dolphin crowd in quite a while saw the Brighton Rockers A-team and B-team both suffering defeat at the wheels of a very impressive Vienna Roller Derby. The big crowd means we only have a couple of spare physical copies of our fanzine, which are headed for the flyers shelf in the Evening Star pub. Please note: The Star is currently closed for a refurb, our magazines will be in there shortly after it reopens on Monday week (13th). If you can’t wait (or get to Brighton) then just click on the cover image above to be propelled towards the online version of the mag. Inside you’ll find our biggest interview ever (with Shambolic and Finn McCruel), Rockers Head Ref LaserHammer on the recent changes to the rules, a preview of the upcoming away games in Porstmouth, and much more. Special thanks to all our lovely interviewees, photographers and awesomes advertisers including http://www.meadowyurts.co.uk/ http://www.turnleftderby.com/ and http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/ Yay!

WHO Will RULE Under The NEW Rules… As VIENNA Waltz Into BRIGHTON?

vrdp

The mighty Brighton Rockers have their first home event of 2017 this Saturday 4th March at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath. Both the A-team and B-team will be action against their equivalents from Vienna Roller Derby. Tickets priced £10 adults, £8 students and free for Under 12s are available from the link at the bottom of this piece or on the door. There’s also a special online only deal of four adult tickets for the price of three, so round up some chums for a bargain price. Doors are at 2pm. If things follow the usual format of Rockers double headers we expect the A-team game first at around 2.30, followed by the B-team match at 4.30-ish.

If you’re one of the many who caught the Rockers in action for the first time at December’s exhibition game at the Corn Exchange, the venue in Haywards Heath is actually pretty easy to get to from Brighton. Drivers should point their Sat Navs at RH16 1LY – there’s parking at the leisure centre. A train from Brighton to Haywards Heath takes around fifteen minutes (£4.55 return with railcard) and the leisure centre is seven minutes walk west of the station. There’s a reasonable pub by the station (Burrell Arms) and a big Sainsbury’s on the way to the venue. There are ATMs at the station and Sainsbury’s but none at the leisure centre itself, so bring some cash for the bar and merch stands. Rail users from west of Brighton should note that the trainline between Brighton and Littlehampton is completely closed on Saturday, so allow a little extra time for a rail replacement bus to Brighton.

[Skip this paragraph if you don’t like to know predictions ahead of a game.] Brighton’s A-team didn’t have the best of starts to the year, going down to three heavy defeats in a tournament in Normandy at the tail-end of January. That has hit their ranking and is reflected in the Flattrackstats predictions. Vienna are rated 82nd in Europe on 565.5 points, whilst the Rockers place 113th on 536.2. The visitors are given 66% chance of victory, with an expected differential of 46:37 working out at something like a 184-148 away win. Vienna’s B-team place 252nd (472.4 pts) with the Rockerbillies 317th (449.5). The Vienna Beasts are given a 62% victory chance here, with an expected differential of 7:6 equating to something like a 175-150 win for Vienna B. It’s worth noting that Brighton are fielding full size squads (fourteen players) in both games, and we’re expecting them to fare far better than these predictions suggest.

This will be both leagues’ first open door games under the new WFTDA ruleset. The world governing body introduced no fewer than thirty rule changes two weeks ago, the biggest changes to the rules in around three years. See if you can spot what’s different on track. Or better still, pick up your free copy of our magazine ‘Turn Left’ on the door. Inside Rockers Head Ref LaserHammer talks us through the rules changes, whilst Finn McCruel and Shambolic look back on the last three months of games. The mag has full previews of not just Saturday’s games v the Austrian capital, but also the away trip to Portsmouth later in the month (Sat 25th) and much more. Enough blatant plugs for our tawdry zine, let’s hear from both leagues involved this Saturday…

“We’re going into the A-team game with a full roster and in theory, if we can do our magic, we can get all of our ranking back. We dropped down a lot because of results in Caen, but a good win over Vienna will put us back up there. So yeah, I’m hoping we beat them by a hundred points to get our old ranking back!”
SHAMBOLIC, BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“For the sake of harmony I would hope that both leagues win one game each. But as bench coach I really hope that Vienna Roller Derby wins both games. I leave the predicting to Flattrackstats and whatever they say is not written in stone either. It’s roller derby, so anything can happen!”
VENOM IN FURS, VIENNA ROLLER DERBY

[Photo by John Hesse]

LINKS
TICKETS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/shop
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1249739501774598/
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
VIENNA RD: http://www.viennarollerderby.org/

NORMANDY WISDOM – The ROCKERS Are Going To Give SLIP IT 4! What For

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The Christmas decorations are barely down, but this weekend sees the mighty Brighton Rockers playing three games overseas. By our reckoning it’s the earliest start to a Rockers season EVER – they usually wait until at least February before strapping on their skates in front of a crowd. The early start is due to the scheduling of the Slip It! tournament in Caen, Normandy. Brighton’s season began there last year, but the 2017 tournie is taking place nearly a month earlier than 2016’s…

Although Caen is literally just across the water from Brighton – set off swimming due South from the end of the Pier and you’ll end up thereabouts – it’s a bit of a mission to get to. Last year the team opted for the Dover-Calais ferry, misjudging quite how far they’d have to travel on the other side. The most direct route involves getting a ferry from Portsmouth to Caen itself, although the ferry port is actually around 10 miles away in Ouistreham. Last year BRATS opted for the Newhaven-Dieppe ferry, which is super cheap (£30 return for a foot passenger) but then involves a 2.5 hour train journey (£30 each way) on the other side. The SNCF timetable says change at Rouen, but it’s usually the same train for both stages of the journey.

Hotels in Caen are pretty cheap in the winter if anyone reading this fancies a last minute trip. The venue is the Halle Aux Granges, a chilly sports hall close to the Abbey in the West of the city centre. Tickets are 10 Euro for the whole weekend, free for under-12s, and available on the door. Brighton have two games on Saturday (against hosts Caen at noon and Amsterdam at 4pm local time) plus a game on Sunday whose opponents and timeslot depend on how they did the previous day. Last year’s Sunday night after party was pretty spectacular, and this year’s is in the same small bar (Au Chef Raide) close to Saint Pierre church in the centre of town. Sadly, circumstances mean BRATS can’t make this year’s event, but we are hoping someone there will be able to provide this site with a tournament report.

[If you don’t like predictions, skip this paragraph.] Flattrackstats.com have Brighton as by some way the lowest ranked team in Pool 2, placing 88th in Europe on 567.1 points. Hosts Roller Derby Caen (44th, 619.8) are given 86% chance of victory with a 42:23 differential suggesting they’ll beat the Rockers by about ten points more than last year’s 236-145. Amsterdam are ranked 40th (623.3) and – allowing for a neutral venue – have around 84% chance of victory with a 15:9 ratio suggesting something similar to the Caen result over Brighton. In Sunday’s playoffs the Rockers will play whichever Pool 1 team finished in the same place (1st, 2nd or 3rd) in the table that they did. Whether it’s Nottingham’s Hellfire Harlots (27th, 661.6), Helsinki’s Kallio B-team (35th, 632.8) or Roller Derby Madrid (60th, 599.9), Brighton will be facing a much higher ranked team for sure. Anything better than last year’s last place finish will be an awesome result for the Sussex side.

Can’t make it out to Normandy this weekend? Worry ye not. Roller Derby Caen will be streaming the tournament live on Facebook, so check out their page. Allowing for the time difference, Brighton are playing at 11am (v Caen) and 3pm (v Amsterdam) on Saturday, then at either 11am, 1.15pm or 3.30pm on Sunday. Now let’s hear from one of the Rockers ahead of the tournament…

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SHAMBOLIC – BRIGHTON ROCKERS ALLSTARS

Hi. The Rockers are kicking off their 2017 season the same way you began your 2016 one – by playing in the Slip It! tournament in Normandy. What are your recollections of last year’s tournie?
Apart from the twelve hours of driving it was a lot of fun! It was the first real tournament we had played (aside from the Alexandra Palace one dayer in 2013, which most of the current team didn’t play in) and really showed us the different styles of derby from around Europe. We had previously been playing a lot of more local teams who have similar styles, so the variation in Normandy made us learn to adapt to the games there fast. It was also quite intense playing games so close together. Caen are amazing hosts – that after party…!

Last year you took a fairly mixed squad, with quite a few prominent A-teamers missing and some players making their AllStars debuts. Will it be similar this time? Who should people look out for in the Rockers ranks?
Again we are coming with a small but mighty squad. Notably we’re missing Gin (obvs) but also Cake Or Death and Dr Whooligan. However we have brought up a couple of newer players who are handling it amazingly, such as Farmergeddon and Harriet Hotter, and I can’t wait to play with them on track. We only have thirteen players instead of a full squad of twenty, but it’s quality not quantity, right? Plus we have Finn – who could want more!

Your first game this Saturday is against hosts Roller Derby Caen. You lost 236-145 to them last year. What do you recall of that game and will you being doing anything different this time?
They are super solid and are a small league that play with a great hive mind. Their jammers are all smart, fast and strong. I remember being stuck in the bosom of Quinn Cardinal quite a lot. She is a one woman blocking machine!

Your other group game is against Amsterdam Roller Derby. Do you know much/anything about that team at all? What are your expectations for the game?
I’ve been wanting to play Amsterdam for AGES! It’s really hard to find any info on teams these days, and I’d rather not go looking too hard as you end up in that dangerous position of trying to play their game not yours. Our aim is to just adapt as we go. We have really mixed our packs around this time for ultimate flexibility and being able to adjust easily.

Depending on how you do on Saturday, you’ll face one of the following in Sunday’s play-offs: Roller Derby Madrid, Nottingham’s Hellfire Harlots, or the B-team of Kallio Rolling Rainbow (Helsinki). What do you know of those sides? Do you have one in particular you’d like to play against?

All of them! I’m so excited about the other teams, and interested to see how they cope in a tournament situation too. Never underestimate anyone. Kallio are obviously going to be strong as their A-team are incredible, but we have a couple of bits of Finland on our side too, shhhh!

Last year you finished sixth out of six – what are you hoping for this time around? Presumably you enjoyed the experience as you’re heading back. What are the benefits of playing in a tournament like Slip It! for the Rockers? And are you expecting another messy after party?

We want to learn. After last year we decided that our goal was to play more European teams, which we did, and I feel that really upped our game. I think our only weakness will be playing short, but we have a secret weapon (one loud blue-haired Canadian). It’s not about winning or losing as much as having fun and fulfilling our own personal goals. We also made some great friends last year, Eindhoven being our new BFFs. We’re going into this with great attitudes. And the knowledge that come what may, we are SMASHING that after party!

Finally, you’re playing against Vienna in Haywards Heath on March 4th. Any thoughts looking ahead to that game – and to 2017 in general?
The tournament is going to be a great warm-up for Vienna. We ended last year on a real high. I hope we can continue that into 2017. We also have some amazing players coming up, with our B-team becoming known for not only being the most fun to watch, but with some serious skill there too. Yeah it’s gonna be a good year all round!

[Photos by Vinciane Piérart aka NSP 189]

FACEBOOK PAGES (LIVE STREAM ON ONE OF THESE)
HOSTS: https://www.facebook.com/rollerderbycaen/
EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/371502006520486/