Some WINNING Happened… Here’s Who YOU Voted For In THE 2017 BRATS AWARDS!

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!

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Turn Left Issue 21 Now Online

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!

Shut The DORSET, Don’t Let NORFOLK In – The BRIGHTON ROCKERS Host Epic Roller Derby THIS SATURDAY 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 info@brightonrockers.com asap. You know you want to.

nbp2

[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…

nbp3

“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]

BUY TICKETS
https://www.brightonrockers.com/shop-cttr

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE
https://www.facebook.com/events/148099769125027/

BRIGHTON ROCKERS

https://www.brightonrockers.com/

NORFOLK ROLLER DERBY
http://norfolkrollerderby.co.uk/

DORSET ROLLER GIRLS
http://www.dorsetrollergirls.com/

OMG They Made Roller Derby EXTRA CHAOTIC! Get To ROCKERS SEVENS This Sunday!

Roller derby rolls back into Haywards Heath this Sunday (27th August) as the mighty Brighton Rockers host their first ever Derby Sevens tournament. Here’s everything you need to know about this awesomes and extra hardcore derby event…

SEVEN FACTS ABOUT ROCKERS SEVENS

1. WHERE AND WHEN
It’s taking place this Sunday, the 27th (a date that ends in the number SEVEN) of August at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath, with doors from midday and a roughly 6pm finish time.

2. GETTING IN
Tickets are priced (in keeping with the theme) at SEVEN pounds for adults, free for under 12s. Get yours from the link at the bottom of this piece. They should be available on the door too.

3. GETTING TO
The venue is almost exactly SEVEN minutes walk from Haywards Heath train station – turn left and head on in that direction, following roller derby signage attached to lampposts, dogs and passers by.

4. ON THE WAY
There’s a decent enough pub (The Burrell, which is SEVEN letters) opposite the station, and a big Sainsbury’s roughly halfway between the station and venue (it shuts at 4pm on Sundays but has an ATM outside – there’s no ATM at the venue).

5. BAR BOOZE
There are bar facilities in the venue and bringing in booze from elsewhere is very much frowned upon. There will probably only be SEVEN bottles of London Pride in the fridge though, and we’ve bagsied five of them. Just saying.

6. PARTY TIME
The official after party is at the East Street Tap in Brighton. Whose address is 72 East Street. Which is a number that starts with SEVEN, yeah?

7. MAGAMAZINE
We only produce our fanzine Turn Left for traditional Rockers home games, but we made a late decision to do a one-off mini-mag for this event. Pick it up on the door. It’s exactly SEVEN pages long (if you don’t include the cover).

SEVEN QUOTES ABOUT ROCKERS SEVENS

1. EMMA THE CONDEMNER, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“There just isn’t the time to ‘find your feet’ and if you start to give away points there isn’t the time to recoup them later!”

2. TORI BEE, FOR 7s SAKE

“It’s like those scrimmages where hardly anyone shows up and you have to play every jam! It’s a test of endurance for sure, but you play a whole lotta derby, the fun keeps going and you can stay in your groove.”

3. BULLET BOMBER, BOURNE BOMBSHELLS

“Depending on how the line-ups work, you could be doing one on then one off as a jammer, or be blocking three or four jams in a row before sitting one out.”

4. CAZ VEGAS, JACKALS
“The games are shorter, but you need to remember that it’s not just an hour’s game with two halves and that your opponents change!”

5. FELLEN E ASSAULT, 7 DEADLY SINS
“It takes less penalties before a foul out, but that absolutely definitely never happens to any of us, so I’m sure that wont be a problem, yeah?”

6. AMPERSAND WHAT, WE ARE ALL LOVE
“There are no timeouts nor any extra players if you need one, so there’s no time to get a moment’s rest. It’s good for upping your endurance and seeing all the amazing things your body can do under pressure.”

7. EMMA THE CONDEMNER, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“A player will foul out after four penalties instead of the normal seven and there are no timeouts. Basically it’s going to be a really fast-paced day packed full of derby!”

[Photos by John Hesse]

LINKS

FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1378515305601263/
TICKETS: https://www.brightonrockers.com/shop-cttr

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/

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/