Click on the cover image above to check out the latest issue of our Brighton Rockers fanzine. This issue came out on the 24th February 2018 for a double header of Brighton A v Toulouse B and Brighton B v Team Dragon. This one’s a World Cup Special featuring Rockers’ memories of the recent tournament in Manchester and more. If you’re after a physical copy there are a handful now in the Evening Star and Bierhaus pubs. Many thanks to all our awesomes interviewees, fab photographers and ace advertisers including Meadow Yurts, Pure Nuff Stuff, JW Lennons and more. Yay!
The mighty Brighton Rockers are in home action this Saturday (24th February) with one of the most intriguing double headers to date at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath kicking off at 2.30pm (doors at 2pm) with reduced ticket prices online. Earlier this month, almost the entire Rockers A-team (and most of the Bs and rookies) attended the Roller Derby World Cup in Manchester as spectators. The tournament featured 38 teams playing almost 100 games (as well as some exhibition matches) and the Rockers reportedly spotted loads of new tactics that they are looking forward to unleashing on Saturday…
…er, except their opponents are the Blocka Nostra B-team of Roller Derby Toulouse. Team France had an awesome World Cup, eventually finishing sixth out of the 38 teams. And how many of the French squad were from the Toulouse A-team? More than half of them (11/20) including five out of the six jammers! (Indeed, the only jammer not from Toulouse was Caen’s Dédé Froquée who Brighton have previously been on the wrong end of.) OK, so the Rockers aren’t facing those Toulouse A-team international skaters on Saturday, but they will be facing an entire B-team coached and trained by them!
As for the day’s other game, Brighton’s B-team Rockerbillies take on the Team Dragon challenge side. These two teams met here in September 2016. Whilst the ‘billies won 200-118 that day, half of the Brighton squad then were ringers from Eastbourne’s Bourne Bombshells. Both sides will be hugely changed for this encounter. Team Dragon utilise a huge roster of skaters from various leagues. Their biggest links are with the London Rollergirls network however, and alongside feisty LRG Rec Leaguers, it’s not surprising to see the odd ‘retired’ superstar pop up in their ranks… so this one really isn’t for the guessing!
Events are taking place (as ever) at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath, one of the UK’s top venues for open door roller derby. The Rockers have reduced ticket prices to £8 in advance (£9.50 on the door) for adults, with a reduced price for students and free tickets for under 12s. Haywards Heath is around 15 mins from Brighton on the choo-choo, and the venue is then seven minutes walk; turn left outside the train station and follow the signs. Doors are at 2pm, but if you arrive early there’s a decent enough pub (the Burrell Arms) opposite the station and a huge Sainsbury’s (with ATMs if you need cash) halfway between the station and venue. The after party will be back in Brighton at the Earth & Stars pub.
This looks like being one of the biggest crowds to a Rockers game in a while, so don’t delay if you haven’t yet snapped up tickets. We’re also promised merch stalls, a cake stand, a guess the sweets in the jar game, derby bingo cards, colouring competitions for the kids, and an opportunity to throw live chickens at the skaters (we might have misunderstood and/or imagined that last one). Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our magazine Turn Left on the door – this one’s a World Cup Special, with various Rockers folks’ thoughts on attending this month’s event in Manchester.
***SPOILER ALERT – SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH IF YOU DON’T LIKE READING PREDICTIONS BEFORE GAMES*** Whilst Flattrackstats include some Team Dragon results in their database, they don’t offer rankings for challenge teams, hence no prediction either. So you’ll just have to guess what will happen in the B-team game. As for the main event, the Rockers AllStars currently place 57th in Europe on 611.2 points, with Toulouse’s Blocka Nostra 70th on 597.1. Even with home advantage, the Rockers are only given 66% chance of victory. The expected differential of 36:29 works out as something like a 180-145 home win, which is super close in derby terms – so this one could go either way!
“Team France had a great World Cup and Toulouse are one of the top five leagues in Europe, so we’re expecting a tough game from their B-side. I wouldn’t like to predict anything. I always go into games expecting to lose whilst hoping to be pleasantly surprised!”
HAIRY FAIRY, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“I personally don’t know anything about the Brighton Rockers team, although we have a couple of skaters who do, eg Chunder Woman was in Fresh Meat with Brighton. We’re not expecting it to be easy and we can’t wait to play in this challenging game.”
MICROBE, TOULOUSE BLOCKA NOSTRA
“Four B-team debuts are expected v Team Dragon. We’ve been impressed with the jamming of Cold Crush (who has joined us from Copenhagen Roller Derby) whilst Go Go Gozer, Goldiblocks and Miley Virus are great at blocking in a wall. They’re all raring to go.”
KAPOW, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“We know the Rockerbillies will be well drilled and strong. We’ll be hitting up Eastbourne Roller Derby for some gossip about them prior to the game. The result is likely to be a coin flick really. Let’s be cocky and say we’ll edge it by ten points!”
MAMA, TEAM DRAGON
[Photos by John Hesse and Vincent Micheletti]
ROLLER DERBY TOULOUSE
TEAM DRAGON RD
We busted open the ballot box that was at the Rockers event last month. We hired an army of abacus twiddlers to tot up the physical and online votes. We ordered some badges and printed out some certificates. The only thing left to do now is to announce which super awesome bags of awesomeness have won what. So let’s do that…
OTHER OF THE YEAR – MISTRESS VON UBER VIXEN
This category covers everyone who isn’t a player, referee or NSO. Ten different names put forward for this one, with an actual baby finishing in third place – well done Kit N Run Junior! Photographer John Hesse has to settle for second, whilst bench coach Mistress (who missed out by just half a point last year) takes the gold.
Past winners: Tenacious P (2016), Mass Janeycide (2015)
OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR – REFEREE DAHMER
This category tends to be dominated by refs rather than NSOs, though Hissing Hellcat finished joint second this year alongside two-time winner LaserHammer. The victor was never really in doubt though as “ref with the short shorts” Dahmer bagged twice the number of votes of everyone else combined!
Past winners: LaserHammer (2016), Noise Tank (2015), LaserHammer (2014)
ICON OF THE YEAR – FARMERGEDDON
This award for “the most inspiring Brighton Rocker on or off track” saw the most names put forward in any category. A dozen people were in the running and it ended in a photo finish between Farmergeddon and last year’s winner Finn McCruel, with the former just nudging ahead.
Past winners: Finn McCruel (2016), Shambolic (2015)
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – RAGING BEAVER
Five skaters made their Rockers debuts in the game our ballot box was out at. These all picked up multiple votes, as did a trio of others. Kit N Run finishes a strong second, but Raging Beaver (with more than 40% of the vote) grabs the gold.
Past winners: Farmergeddon (2016), Speedy Gonzalex (2015)
B-TEAMER OF THE YEAR – SLAP DASH
Ten different skaters picked up votes in this category, but it ended up as a two-horse race, with the Rockerbillies captain Slap Dash edging out Yorkshire Brewser by a single vote.
Past winners: Cruelty Spree (2016), Bionic Betty (2015)
BLOCKER OF THE YEAR – FINN McCRUEL
Hairy Fairy’s hopes of making it three years in a row falter as she has to settle for third place here, just behind Cake Or Death. Finn took almost 50% of the vote to smash this one.
Past winners: Hairy Fairy (2016), Hairy Fairy (2015), Emma The Condemner (2014)
JAMMER OF THE YEAR – DR WHOOLIGAN
2014 Player Of The Year Whooligan has to settle for the Jammer gong this time out. Others making strong showings in the voting include Shambolic, Farmergeddon, Hippy Hippy Skate and Chaka Carnage.
Past winners: Shambolic (2016), Skate Bush (2015), Kapow (2014)
PLAYER OF THE YEAR – SHAMBOLIC
With two-time winner Gin last spotted in Australia (on the C-team of World Champions VRDL) the coast was clear for someone else to grab this year’s main award. Up hop, step and skipped Gin’s former housemate Shambolic, who edged ahead of a strong chasing pack (Finn McCruel, Cruelty Spree, Farmergeddon, Cake Or Death and others) to take the win.
Past winners: Gin Atomic (2016), Gin Atomic (2015), Dr Whooligan (2014)
That rounds up the eight categories on the voting form, but a minimum badge order of ten means we add two extra awards as usual. The MOST VOTED FOR gong is for whoever picks up the most votes across all of the categories without actually winning any of them. After finishing third in this ‘don’t call it biggest loser’ contest last year, our WINNER – CAKE OR DEATH nudges ahead of Brewser, Kapow and Cruelty for the victory here.
Finally we have our FRIEND OF BRATS award. I know we bang on about our fanzine advertisers a lot, but the mag wouldn’t be possible without them. An issue costs around £150 to get printed and the lovely ad folks cover the vast majority of that. Having taken out a full page ad in every issue since we started, our WINNER – MEADOW YURTS have paid more towards our print bill than anyone else. They’re totally ace and everyone reading this should go and buy a yurt off them right now… preferably two.
That rounds up the 2017 BRATS Awards. If you won one, yay you! Please get in touch and let us know how we can get your super fancy (not fancy at all) winner’s badge and certificate to you. If you didn’t win one, rest assured you’re still pretty awesome and everyone says so (even if it’s only behind your back). Here’s to a derby-packed 2018 for one and all. Hurrah!
Click on the cover image above to check out the latest issue of our Brighton Rockers fanzine. This issue came out on the 25th November 2017 for a double header against the Norfolk Roller Derby A-team and Dorset Roller Girls B-team. If you’re after a physical copy there will be a few available in the Evening Star and Bierhaus pubs from tomorrow evening (Monday 27th). Many thanks to all our awesomes interviewees, fab photographers and ace advertisers… Yay!
The mighty Brighton Rockers are in action this Saturday 25th November in Haywards Heath. The A-team will be taking on the Norfolk Brawds from Norwich, whilst the Rockerbillies face the Bournemouth-based Dorset B-Side. Both games look like cracking match-ups. (As we understand it, both pairings have met behind closed doors in secret but epic clashes recently!)
And for extra spice, the Rockers A-team beat Cambridge away 162-145 in a game they were expected to draw or lose on Saturday just gone, so will be super fired-up for Brighton’s first time ever playing public games on two Saturdays in a row! Meanwhile, five players will make their debut for Brighton B against a Dorset side who are playing their first ever open door away match… Wowsers! How can so much awesomes possibly be contained in a single event?
Saturday’s action takes places at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath. Doors are at 2pm, with the B-team game around 2.30 and the A-teams at 4.55. Tickets (£10 adults, £8 students, free for under 12s) are available from the link at the bottom of this preview and most likely on the door too. Car types should point their SatNav at RH16 1LY. For train folks the venue is seven minutes walk from Haywards Heath (turn left and follow the signs stuck to lampposts etc). There’s no engineering work on the trains for once, yay!
The pub opposite the station (the Burrell Arms) isn’t sure if it’s a sports bar or a food pub, but it’s OK for a pint and a few dozen Jägers and has a huge garden. There’s a big Sainsbury’s halfway between the station and venue, which is useful for specialist snacks and ATMs (no ATM at the leisure centre). The venue has a booze table in the hall, a café in the lobby, and many vending machines. The after party is back in Brighton in the Western, slap bang in the centre of town; five mins walk from the station, the beach, etc.
Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our tawdry Rockers fanzine TURN LEFT on the door. In this issue Cake Or Death predicts today’s A-team score, we talk to the five B-team debutants, get the inside line from the visiting teams, and much more. As it’s the last game of the year it also includes a voting form for our Annual Awards. And if you want to be eligible for such an award yourself next year, please note that Brighton have their 2018 Fresh Meat taster sessions on Monday (27th Nov) and Sunday (3rd Dec) so drop a message to firstname.lastname@example.org asap. You know you want to.
[NB Skip this section if you don’t like to hear predictions ahead of games.] As far as the A-team Rockers v Brawds game goes, the UKRDA and European rankings on Flattrackstats offer widely differing predictions. The Rockers place 25th in UKRDA on 595.0 points with Norfolk 36th on 549.5. Throw in home advantage and FTS gives Brighton 83% chance of the win here, with a predicted differential of 17:10 working out as something like a 221-130 comfortable home win. It’s worth bearing in mind that UKRDA rankings are only updated every three months, and Brighton (in particular) tend to play against more European than UKRDA sides these days, so you’re probably not getting that up-to-date or accurate a picture with this prediction.
Switching to our favoured European table, Brighton are 67th on 598.8 points, while Norfolk are a few places higher in 63rd on 604.2. Home advantage nudges this Brighton’s way on the predictor, but only just. The Rockers are given a 52% victory chance with a 47:46 differential equating to a squeaky close 188-184 Brighton win. The caveat here is that Brighton’s game away to Cambridge last Saturday has yet to be added to the website, and the result (a 17 point Brighton win with an impossible-in-derby draw predicted) means that the Rockers should actually be on a tiny bit higher ranking and win/score figure. So somewhere inbetween the disparate UKRDA and Euro predictions seems most likely if (and that’s a big if) the prediction computers can be trusted…
Moving on to the B-team game, the Brighton Rockerbillies are ranked 320th in Europe on 453.5 points, whilst the visiting Dorset B-Side are a good deal higher in 216th on 486.9. FTS reckons the visitors have 69% chance of the win here, with a predicted differential of 57:44 suggesting something like a 171-132 Dorset win. Since we are giving out caveats, it should be pointed out that the visitors have only played one open door game before today (home to Southampton earlier this month) so their ranking is based on just that single game – hence this prediction is even more random/volatile than usual FTS predictions! Still, enough of the numbers, here are some words from the teams…
“I think it will be a low scoring game v Norfolk. Their jammers are good and they have super strong walls. This is going to be classic Brighton. Either come from behind, then lots of toing and froing; or start really well, then lots of toing and froing. But I’m going to predict the exact score… in the fanzine that you can pick up on the door.”
CAKE OR DEATH, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“We’ve been doing our research and are quite perturbed to have discovered that Brighton will be intending to stand in front of our jammers and try to stop them getting past. Jolly unsporting if you ask us! NRD actually stands for team NeRD because our real strength lies in stats. We will spreadsheet Brighton into submission!”
WHIPLEY & PHILTHY, NORFOLK ROLLER DERBY
“We have five debutants taking part against Dorset. We held our Halloween intraleague recently and one of our rookies is a really great jammer (a former ice skater) who sneaks through those tiny gaps, whilst others are really solid blockers and so on. They’re a really good bunch and I think they’ll smash it!”
FARMERGEDDON, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“We played the Rockerbillies quite recently in one of Dorset B-Side’s first closed doors so we know a little about each other. I didn’t play in that, but I have it on good authority that they have strong walls and are a lovely bunch. We’ll be doing our best not to be lulled into a false sense of security by their seemingly gentle natures off track!”
REIGNBOW BRIGHT, DORSET ROLLER GIRLS
[Photos by John Hesse]
NORFOLK ROLLER DERBY
DORSET ROLLER GIRLS
Oh my giddy goodness, the Brighton Rockers A-team are playing on two consecutive Saturdays. Today (18th Nov) sees a trip up to Cambridge, whilst next week (25th) they are at home in Haywards Heath to Norfolk at an event which also sees the B-team play Dorset B. We’ll have a preview of the home games in the next couple of days, but here’s a last minute look ahead to today’s Cambridge trip….
The action is taking place at the Kelsey Kerridge which, unlike most British leisure centres, is pretty much right in the centre of town. Doors are at 1pm and the Brighton game is scheduled to be first up at 1.30 with the Cambridge B-team hosting LRR B at 3.30. Tickets are available on the door, priced £8 adults and free for Under 16s.
GETTING THERE AND STUFF
Car users should point their Sat Navs at CB1 1ND which is a car park (Queen Anne Terrace) next to the venue. Four hours parking is a fiver. Train folks should be aware that there are very few fast/Victoria trains from Brighton today. Journey planners suggest routes with several changes and a tube journey. The wise owls at BRATS say get the Bedford Thameslink train to St Pancras, then just stroll next door to Kings Cross. The journey should take around 2.5 hours each way by road or rail.
The station is a little way from the town itself. This is deliberate. As with Oxford, the University overlords demanded the railway be built away from the colleges/town so students weren’t tempted by the sinful delights of London or, er, Ipswich. Luckily the leisure centre is on the station side of town, around ten minutes walk away.
The venue joins those at Bristol and Glasgow for getting boos for allowing no booze. At least there are a few pubs within a couple of minutes walk. The Grain & Hop Store (cut a corner across the park) is probably the closest and is where the after party was five years ago. This year’s is a little north east of the venue in the Tram Depot. What we will be pondering over our pints is: Why the hell is it pronounced ‘Came-bridge’ when the river is pronounced ‘Cam’? Mind you, don’t get us started on the way they pronounce ‘Magdalene’ round these parts…
PREDICTIONS AND THAT
Skip this bit if you don’t like to hear predictions ahead of a game (although we do share an interesting one in the interviews below)… As far as the A-team game goes, these teams have met twice before, but a derby lifetime ago. The Rockers sneaked a 141-132 win at home in 2011 before thumping Cambridge (or Romsey Town, as they then were) 304-60 away the following year. Cambridge have bounced up the rankings in recent years and currently place 22nd in UKRDA with 598.5 ranking points. Brighton are a little way behind in 25th with 595.0. Flattrackstats gives the hosts 58% chance of the win here, with a predicted differential of 48:43 mathsing out as something like a 192-172 Cambridge win.
We tend to put more stock in the European rankings as they cover a broader range of games, including the UK ones. (Around 60% of Brighton’s games in the past two years have been against Euro not UK sides, for example.) Using these, Flattrackstats comes up with something we’ve never seen before. It predicts that Cambridge (75th, 951.0 points) at home to Brighton (68th, 598.8) has 50% chance of a Cambridge win and 50% chance of a Brighton win, with the teams expected to finish exactly equal on points. Obviously that can’t actually happen (in derby you keep playing until there’s a winner) but it suggests this one really is too close to call!
In the day’s other game, using the Euro rankings (as only A-teams are UKRDA ranked) Cambridge’s Punt Rockers B-team place 160th on 513.4 points, whilst the visiting London Rockin’ Rollers B-team Badasses are 173rd on 507.3. Add home advantage to the mix and the Punts are given 60% chance of victory. Predicted differential of 55:48 mathses out to something like a 220-192 win for the Cambridge Bs. Which makes both games super close anything can happen match-ups…
CAKE OR DEATH – BRIGHTON ROCKERS
Cambridge and Brighton have met open door twice before. That was way back in 2011/12, which is ages ago in derby terms. Presumably both teams have changed a lot since then? Absolutely! Derby is evolving so quickly and luckily we have resources such as online videos and high level coaches to help us keep up. However, each team finds their own way to keep up with changes, so it’s always interesting to see how each team is playing now.
Any particular Cambridge players or tactics that you will be looking out for? I don’t know much about their current roster. I’ve heard they have a fearsome reputation for excellent walls though!
Which Brighton players or tactics should the crowd look out for? Finn McCruel is my absolute hero. She won’t be out there doing the biggest hits, so she’s not always noticed, but by the end of the game opposing blockers and jammers alike will be hating her! She’s all over the track at once and forms impenetrable walls. Having jammed against her in practice I know she makes you want to cry. The crowd should expect a more dynamic Brighton team today.
Flattrackstats calls this (using Euro rankings) as a genuine 50-50 game, which we’ve never seen before! Are you expecting it to be that close? 50% win chance each? That’s so cool. How exciting is that, I love it! As always I will make my own prediction of the result. I think it will be a thrilling 245-213 win. To the Rockers, obvs.
Any thoughts re the day’s other game, Cambridge B v LRR B? Ooh, that’s exciting! I imagine they’re pretty evenly matched. LRR are such sweethearts. Well, off the track they are – they’re pretty brutal on the track. I’m looking forward to watching that game.
Brighton then take on Norfolk (A-team) and Dorset (B-team) at Haywards Heath next Saturday. This must be the first time you’ve played open doors two Saturdays running. What are the pluses or minuses of doing that? I didn’t even think of this, so maybe it’s not too big of a deal. I think we approach each game individually, but it’s awesome to have more games to play.
JANEGEROUS – CAMBRIDGE ROLLERBILLIES
Cambridge and Brighton met in open door games in 2011 and 2012. Presumably things have changed a lot since then? Cambridge pride themselves on never changing. Since the CloneMaster3000 came online in early 2008, the Romsey Town Rollerbillies have been growing replacements for each of their skaters. These are useful for spare organs, or sometimes even just for someone to sit with when no-one else will because your pads SMELL, for the love of…. Jeez.
Any Cambridge tactics the crowd should look out for? We have been EXCESSIVELY practicing leg whips. Today is the day. Watch with your eyes, but sense it with your ganglions.
Any particular Brighton players or tactics that you’ll be looking out for? I don’t really know… but if they do that thing where they get in the way of our jammer, or protect their point, then I dunno…. I might just pop.
Flattrackstats predicts 50/50. Are you expecting it to be that close? Yes and no. I imagine it will be closer in terms of body contact than score per se. If we can find a way of merging the two and creating a super powerful all-seeing all-winning team of point-scoring closeness and glory, then I imagine that would be preferable. But failing that… We’ll do the thing and then that thing’ll happen.
What about the day’s other game, Cambridge Punts (B-team) v LRR B? Punting is a popular pastime for plenty of people while perusing the plains of East Anglia. The punts are prolific in persistence in playing to perfect their roller profession. Prepare to party Punt style as these pugnacious punts take to the track.
What can you tell us about your derby venue and Cambridge itself? Kelsey Kerridge was the initial breeding point for the Romsean Rollaerians from Alpha Smasha Roller Badger 7. They first integrated the humans of the local area by leaving DNA in hair strands around the hall. These were slowly collected in the rolling of the wheels on the floor. When concentrated in a hot knotty mess around an axle and in proximity to the bearings, then strange things started to happen. Cambridge, as a result, has grown an outdoor ice rink outside Kelsey Kerridge as the perpetual cold seems to slow the shedding.
FB EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/715136265277741/
CAMBRIDGE ROLLERBILLIES: http://rollerbillies.com/
BRIGHTON ROCKERS: https://www.brightonrockers.com/
LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS: https://londonrockinrollers.co.uk/
Our regular magazine Turn Left only appears at traditional Brighton Rockers home games, but we put together a special eight-page mini-mag for Sunday’s epic Derby Sevens event hosted by the Rockers. Click on the image above for the online version of it, or pick up a physical copy on the flyer/games shelves in Brighton’s Evening Star and Bierhaus pubs. Special thanks to all our lovely interviewees, photographers and awesomes advertisers.
Or click below if you want to check out our short (3’40”) YouTube vlog on the event. Yay!