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/

Women from Portsmouth and Brighton met in a leisure centre. You won’t BELIEVE what happened next…

prwr1

The imposing pale honey majesty of the Palace’s exterior – Saint Leu stone facade and sandstone paving – glints in the late June sun as a procession of officials, reporters and observers file into the building. Close to a thousand in all, packing into the Galerie de Glaces, the Hall of Mirrors. Introductions solemnly despatched, the signatories step forward from the crowd and form a queue at the table. First the Germans, then the French, British, American and Italian representatives. One by one they approach the sheet of parchment spread out across the table in front of them, each adding a shakily scrawled signature and official seal. Just shy of 230 nights have passed since the armistice was signed at Compiègne, bringing to an end the War To End All Wars. Now this piece of limed, stretched and whited sheepskin – upon which inked names slowly dry in the draughty Versailles hall – represents the best hope for enduring peace across Europe and the World…
    Shambolic up against Awesome Wells in the star. Two packs colliding in a maelstrom of black and navy, cyan and white, combatants on both sides being grounded by a succession of hard hits, but up fast and back into the fray. Home crowd cheering as Wells takes the outside line, four whistles ringing out to end the jam. Rose Bleed and captain Emma the Condemner look at each other and sigh. 14-8. Brighton had opened well, taking single pass wins in each of the opening three skirmishes (Swann v Nina Nunchucks, Rose v RIP McMurphy, Kapow v Wells) to lead 14 nothing. The Wenches starhead trio have hit back to take the next round of battles though. Into the eighth now. Announcer Sassy McAwesome reminds us there have been no jammer penalties for either side yet. “Although I’ve probably jinxed it by saying that,” she adds, as Rose obligingly takes a penalty box star seat. Two good PJ passes for McMurphy ties the game at 22 apiece – that’s half a bottle of whisky in the roller derby drinking game.

prwr1a

The ever impressive Mighty Mighty Bash and Hairy Fairy hold Wells back well with their backs. Great jinking stepovers from Kapow through PRW’s defence, but a hard hit from Duchess of Crutches forces a ground-bound call from the Sussex starhead. Whooligan v Nunchucks take to the line. Both sides are putting out really strong packs today, but the initial initiative has been slipping away from the Rockers as the game (albeit still in its early stages) has progressed. Bench guru Mass Janeycide, presumably looking to shore things up, calls Brighton’s first team timeout. The Sussex side are fielding a small roster here – a prior head injury having seen Derby McGee withdrawn from the squad – with more than half of the eleven forming the jammer rotation. Those six against PRW’s band of three means that (until PJ starts confuse matters) we’ll be seeing a lot of repeated match-ups in this game. The powerful Nunchucks faces Swann then Whooligan, captain RIP goes up against Rose and Bash, and Wells takes on Kapow and Sham. Another four jams pass with everything staying super tight on the scoreboard. 33-32 to Brighton it says.
    The next one’s a biggie. Awesome Wells off early for a track cut. Kapow looking to take advantage, Bash clearing a path with the kind of offensive defence for which she’s famed – Malibash Stacie and Duchess both sent flying on the same hit. Twenty point jam. Just over ten minutes left of the period, Wenches bench Tess Of The Derby Wheels calls a TTO. Back on track a barely containable McMurphy gets lead straight from the whistle, but Bash is out seconds later and quick to close her down. Track cut call on Sham sees a power jam for Wells, but Rose (returning from the sin bin) blocks her advance nicely. Star pass to Dropkick Molly as Sham returns. The navy town navy blues holding Kapow back strongly now, with the likes of Miss Dynamighty, Halcyon Daze and Brookslide proving particularly tough in the Wenches packs. Duchess marshalling the Pompey walls well, one eye as ever bedecked in what we assume is plastic garden mesh. (There’s a bunch of goldfish in a garden pond somewhere glaring ominously at the oval hole in their cat protection shield.) Rockers maintaining the twenty point gap Kapow carved out in the 15th still. Sham on a power jam, getting knackered and battered by a tough Hampshire defence. Rose off for an accidental trip on Halcyon in the last jam of the period. Brighton lead 90-64 going into the break.

prwr2

It’s a dying art. The papersmiths – their noisy machines pressing wood pulp at a rate of knots – will do for artisans like George and Albert soon enough. The brothers know it. That’s why they’re branching out, getting into leather gloves these days. Still, the original family business is not dead yet. It begins at the farm. The skin must be removed within hours of slaughter or the flesh will have started to rot and the end product won’t match the Stallards’ exacting standards. Into the lime pits (pokes) it goes, topped up with water from the Homewell, soaked in there for a week or so. Scrape off the wool, back in the pokes for a couple more weeks; split off the inner skin, more scraping, then stretch it out on a frame; chalk and soda ash to remove the last of the fat, boiling water to parch the skin; shaved and levelled, left to dry; more chalk, more ash; washed, rubbed and cut to size. Ten weeks all told to produce probably the finest parchment in all of Europe…
    There’s talk of a possible bar somewhere here in Havant Leisure Centre, but we’ve gone for the old trick of filling our shoes with bootleg rum and hiding really long straws under our clothes. We take a quick saunter around the hall, puzzled passers pondering what that squelching sound might be. Cupcakes, raffles, vendors and merch. Brief chat with the Hoodlum Fang posse who advertised in our last fanzine. Off skates Racey is personing the Brighton merch table, whilst the Wenches one is staffed by the former manager of the official Rockers pub. Small world, but then these two sides are pretty close neighbours on the UK derby map – only Eastbourne, Croydon and (Guildford based) Surrey live nearer to BN1. Kit checks starting. Back to the seats. Don the stupid hat to ensure no-one sits next to us. Realise we can’t read a single word of our notes from the first half. Take a couple of long slurps of shoe rum. Second half notes can only get worse. Wenches on the attack as the action resumes, Nina taking full advantage of a PJ start to claw back half of the 26-point deficit.

prwr2a

Enyo Face and Bash pegging back RIP McMurphy and the navy gang’s talisman is starting to look human (rather than superhuman) now – well, as human as you can look when you have a giant skeletal grimace painted across the lower half of your face. Brighton reasserting themselves strongly in Jam 4 as a pack of Whooligan, Hyde ‘N’ Shriek, Cake Or Death and Sham holds off Nina Nunchucks, whilst the ever sprightly Rose wheels in pass upon pass. 117-81. Dropkick Molly has replaced Awesome Wells in the Pompey rotation this half and she’s up against Swann next. Hairy Fairy and Bash pinballing Wenches pivot Duchess back and forth across the track until the frustrated PRW linehead gets sent to the box. Swann adds 23, the same Rose chalked up last jam, and with only one pass in reply the Rockers are starting to build up a commanding lead. The dudes in Brighton black are getting LJ time and again now, the Sussex side sitting on the shiny side of a 50-point gap. Rockers blockers suddenly being sent off left, right and centre, though – back block, multi player, etc. An official timeout sees Derby McGee rush twixt crowd and bench to tell the Rockers something important, possibly “try not to get sent off so much, yeah?”
    Nunchucks pitching in with a bunch of great apex jumps now, but Brighton are maintaining that 50-point differential jam by jam. Eleven minutes left as RIP picks up a penalty, Brookslide knocking Cake all over the track as Shambolic notches up some points. (This will be the ninjasome Rockers triple threat’s last game for some time as she’s joining the Rockers’ burgeoning ‘foreign legion’.) Janeycide calling for an official review over something or other. Packs trash-talking (or maybe nice-talking) on the pivot line as the zebras huddle. McMurphy starring up alongside Swann a fair bit this half. The Brighton jammer, who has often cited RIP as the player she most admires, is giving as good as she gets in these exchanges. Duchess trying to edge Kapow off in the next jam, but the plastic eyed Pompeyite gets called out for a penalty. That makes seven and she’s out of the game. Probably not long enough left now for the Wenches to miss her too much, though. Swann edges the Sussex side over 200. PRW respond with a swish move, Molly passing the star to Wells over both packs’ heads as the jam begins. Another Portsmouth star pass attempt in the next (and final) jam, but it’s deemed illegal and their captain takes a seat in the penalty box as Kapow jams in a handful to round things off at 221-159.

prwr3

We text a Portsmouth friend for suggested pubs in Havant to visit before and after today’s action. The response – “Decent pubs? In Chavant? Hahaha” – is none too encouraging, so we go for the chain of last resort. J D Wetherspoon, oh how we love you. Supping on a warm Jägermeister whilst ducking the chunks of mushy peas being flung around the place by endless tables of bawling infants, we look at our notes from the game. Those muck-chucking babies can surely write more legibly than we can? We mull over exactly how wrong – and stupid and selfish – it would be for us to feel a tiny bit relieved that Sham is taking time off from the Rockers, since in our drunken scrawl ‘Sham’ and ‘Swann’ look identical, so anything we’ve attributed to one in this piece could well have actually been done by the other. We gaze across the pub, hoping for some kind of local colour to pad out the review, that being the sort of shyster thing we’d try to get away with. A display on one wall explains the local history that gave this pub, The Parchment Makers, its name. The whiteness of Hampshire chalk and cleanliness of Havant’s springs made the town’s parchment the brightest and most prized around, apparently. Even the Treaty of Versailles (28th June 1919) was written on Havant parchment, they say…
    Swann (or possibly Sham) picks up Brighton’s Best Jammer award, with Best Blocker going to Hairy Fairy and MVP to Bash. For Portsmouth, the awards land on Nina Nunchucks (Jammer), Halcyon Daze (Blocker) and Brookslide (MVP). Brighton’s margin of victory is roughly double that predicted by Flattrackstats, which is especially encouraging considering the small squad the Rockers used. The day’s other game sees Portsmouth’s B-team take on the Killa Hurtz from Chelmsford. As announcer McAwesome points out – almost as if she’s reading aloud from the preview on this very website – FTS had called this as 87% likelihood of a Wench win. Although PRW will indeed take the victory, the freshly bouting Essex side prove tough competitors. Perhaps taking after league icon McMurphy, there’s enough face paint for a Kiss convention upon Pompey’s B-team ranks; Valkyrie Pain’s silver face, Atomic Affliction’s eye stripe, Hurricane Hayes’ extra mouth and more. This trio are amongst the standout jammers for the Hampshire side, along with pacy Hel On. Fleet footed Space Hop’her and Snarley Quinn are battling hardy and hard in the Killa Hurtz star, ably assisted by Essex blockers like tough-to-pass Princess Prissy Pants and captain Clark Smash. The likes of Smash Hips, Wheelma Flintstone and A-team bench coach Tess keep things tight in defence for PRW.

prwr3a

The last few jams are notable for more “duty manager to customer services” tannoy announcements than we’ve ever heard – hopefully these don’t relate to the cheap Aldi rum currently leaking from our shoelace eyelets. Rakey Brakey Face puts in some great scoring passes at the end for Killa Hurtz, but the Wenches take the win 230-177. As with the A-team game, Portsmouth have done roughly half as well (points margin wise) as online predictions suggested. Saying that, online predictions are 90% computer guesswork and several PRW players had to double up to play in both games, which can’t have been easy given the physicality of the two matches. After another quick pint in the Parchment, we catch a train to Southsea, spending much of this journey removing peas from our hair (and the rest of it adding rum to our footwear). After party venue The Honest Politician is a boisterous bar in the heart of Studentsville. The staff refuse to serve us five Jägermeisters in a single glass, claiming it’s illegal. Just as we’re about to recite the entire 2003 Licensing Act at them to prove it’s not they put five single shots and empty tumbler in front of us. Strange laws in this part of the world, but hey – at least they let us in. Something various Wetherspoons near the train station will later be reluctant to do, no matter how much we insist Sketchers that smell like rotten Captain Morgan are quite the thing in Sussex these days.
    Portsmouth and Brighton are both back in action this Saturday (22nd November). The Wenches take on London Rollergirls’ third team Batter-C Power in Crystal Palace at an event that also features an LRG exhibition game (England superstar Kamikaze Kitten’s last match on home soil). Ticket details are in the link below. Meanwhile, the mighty Rockers are heading North, with a mixed A-team and newer players line-up taking on Manchester Roller Derby in Trafford, a few miles South West of the City Centre. The day also features Manchester’s men’s team in action and we’ll have a full preview up on this website super soon, including an interview with recent Rockers recruit Gin Atomic. It’s gonna be an awesome game, so get there if you can. Looking beyond this weekend, the fixtures for next year’s British Championships are due to be made public in the next few weeks – a free shot of shoe rum (like sloe gin, but infinitely more toxic) to anyone who leaks them to us before then. These are exciting times in UK derby, folks, especially for fans of the mighty Brighton Rockers. We don’t need a document signed and sealed on Havant parchment to tell us that!

[Photos by Andrew Paul Hayward – Raw Speed]

MANCHESTER V BRIGHTON
FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/728878427165521/
TICKETS: http://tinyurl.com/mrdnov14

LONDON v PORTSMOUTH

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/events/293805150805341/
TICKETS: http://tinyurl.com/m6ylrhs

BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS 2015

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BritishRollerDerbyChamps
T’INTERNET: http://www.britishchamps.com/

Portsmouth Roller Wenches v Brighton Rockers preview

PRWP0

People from Southampton call Portsmouth folk ‘skates’ and you can find out why this weekend – or maybe you can’t. Either way, the mighty Brighton Rockers are back in action on Saturday (25th October) as they take on Portsmouth Roller Wenches, statistically one of the most evenly matched opponents they have ever faced. Although the match is in Havant, it’s Brighton’s nearest open door away game ever, just an hour’s travel by road or rail. We thoroughly recommend that all Rockers fans, even those who normally only attend home games, get along for this one. Brighton’s planned home game in November has been cancelled, so this is the closest to home they’ll be playing for quite a while. Also, not only does it mark nearly a year (just one day shy) since the A-team last played away from Haywards Heath, it’s also the final appearance for a while for a few top Rockers who are taking extended breaks from derby. So get yourself down there to cheer them on. Doors are at 1.30pm and the Wenches v Rockers game is first up at 2pm, followed by a second match in which Portsmouth’s B-team take on Essex girls Killa Hurtz. Tickets are £7 in advance (£8 on the door) from the link at the bottom of this piece.

GETTING THERE
Havant Leisure Centre is located in Havant – there’s a shock. It’s around 45 miles from Brighton, so if you’re driving point your car left/West for just over an hour and you’ll find lots of parking at the venue. For us car-dodgers it’s less than five minutes walk from the train station (use the north exit, rather than the main one) and trains from Brighton take 61 minutes, seven quicker than driving, with no changes and no engineering works, yay! With a railcard a day return to Havant is £8.50, and there are around a dozen pubs (including a Wetherspoons) just south of the station, should early arrivers feel thirsty – although none rate all that well on Beer In The Evening. The after party is taking place at The Honest Politician, a loud studenty pub with cheap drinks deals on the main nightlife drag of Elm Grove, Southsea. This is three or four stops further away on the train (15 mins walk from Portsmouth & Southsea or Fratton) and it may be worth buying a return to P&S instead of Havant to begin with, then hoping that the ticket gates are open when you arrive for the game. Otherwise an add-on ticket’s about £3 return. For connoisseurs of real ale and beards who fancy pre- or post-after party drinks, the Hole In The Wall (Great Southsea Street) is 3-4 mins walk further up Elm Grove; it’s probably the best ale pub in Hampshire.

PREDICTIONS
Portsmouth currently place 14th in UKRDA on 614.1 points, a little way behind the 10th placed Rockers (640.8). The predictometer at flattrackstats.com gives Brighton 64% probability of taking the win, with an expected points differential of 41:35. This would equate to something like a 184-157 away win. Pretty darned close! The Euro rankings differ only fractionally, still giving Brighton (26th, 638.9 points) a 64% win chance over the Wenches (41st, 612.7) but with a marginally narrower 7:6 differential, equivalent to a not much different 183-157. The day’s second game sees Portsmouth’s B-team, ranked 177th in Europe on 515.0 points, given an 87% win probability against the Killa Hurtz who rank 283rd (473.6). Predicted score differential of 27:16 here equates to something like 216-128 on the board.

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Some leagues have one player that absolutely everyone in UK derby has heard of. For the Rockers it’s The Mighty Mighty Bash, for the Wenches RIP McMurphy. An iconic triple threat with distinctive face paint, RIP was the first player from a newer derby league to receive sponsorship (courtesy of apparel gurus Queens of the Sin Bin) and has been called “the player I’m most inspired by” by at least one of the current Brighton roster. Erstwhile London Rollergirl – and never knowingly understated announcer – The Duchess of Crutches is another who should be at the heart of things for Portsmouth, along with the likes of Nina Nunchucks, Awesome Wells and many more. We’ll hear from Bash shortly about Brighton players to look out for. With a few key Rockers about to take a sabbatical from derby, expect some of the bigger names to ‘go out in style’ at the weekend. Meanwhile, will summer arrival Swann be inspired enough by McMurphy to send McMurphy flying? Find out on Saturday. Now let’s hear from some players…

PRWP2

MALIBASH STACIE & HAROLD BASHUP – PORTSMOUTH ROLLER WENCHES

Hi there. Most Brighton fans are aware of neighbours the Wenches, but for any who aren’t, can you tell us a little about PRW’s history and achievements to date?
PRW began in June 2010 and it took us a while to get bouting due to trouble finding venues. But since our first game the team has gone from strength to strength, climbing up the rankings and beating some tough teams such as Kent and Bristol. We have highly skilled skaters, including some who progressed to a high level in Team England tryouts and some who are sponsored. We have a great team spirit and PRW are proud of what it means to be a Wench!

You defeated Brighton’s B-team Bruisers 246-191 back in March 2013. Has your squad changed much since that game? Any particular Portsmouth players or tactics the crowd should keep an eye out for?
There have been a few changes since that game, but we have been going from strength to strength throughout all of these changes. In terms of players, watch out for all of them as they all have their own talents that we are proud of. In terms of tactics there are lots the crowd should look out for, but we might get it trouble if we tell you.

What do you know of the Brighton A-team? Any particular Rockers players or tactics you’ll be watching out for? Care to predict the result?
As a team we’ve seen a lot of their bouts and we know that they are very strong, so we need to look out for them trying to power through. We won’t try to predict the score, as both teams work and play hard, but either way it’s going to be one heck of a game to watch!

The day’s other game sees your B-team up against Killa Hurtz from Chelmsford. The Essex side are fairly new to bouting, so presumably a bit of an unknown quantity?

We certainly don’t know as much about Killa Hurtz as we do about Brighton, but our Bs have a lot going for them and will be giving it their all, adapting their tactics to take home the win.

For those travelling across for the games, can you tell us a little about your venue.
Our venue is a leisure centre so you can always go for a swim beforehand! There’s food and drink available upstairs for those who want it and there should be plenty of seating, but to avoid disappointment (and save money) you should buy your tickets in advance at http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/tickets/

Finally, what can people expect from the after party? And do you have any tips for other things to see and do in the Portsmouth area?
If there’s one thing that always happens at a Wench after party, it’s the Wench pyramid. We can’t help it and we’re always trying to get more and more people in it. We love it when the other team(s) get involved and try it too. As for Portsmouth, it depends on what you’re in to. We have a beach and fairground, some amazing places to eat, several places to go for a shop, and lots of museums and warships for those who are interested in our history.

PRWP3

VARIOUS INTERVIEWEES – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

Hi there. Your last game (home to Bristol) saw the Rockers take the win by 68 points. Did that match go the way you thought it would? Anything from it you’re using in preparation for Portsmouth?
EMMA THE CONDEMNER: In May 2013 when we were up against Bristol in the midst of a tough tournament, it’s fair to say we underestimated them, got cocky and lost. However much we all know that a lot can change in a year, and however hard you train, I for one was s**t scared about facing them again. So yes, I was definitely very pleased to win this time round. They were tough to beat, but we managed to keep our calm and hold our game, and these are both things that we will be taking with us to Portsmouth. I don’t want to give too much away, but we have been working hard on skills taken from the Gotham bootcamp and building on things that worked against Bristol.

The game in Havant will be the A-team’s first away match in almost a year. In the intervening time you’ve played six home games. How does home and away preparation differ and is this your shortest away trip ever?
MISTRESS VON ÜBER VIXEN: As the current Rockers’ bout co-ordinator, it has been a very busy season! We’re looking forward to a few more away games in the future. Portsmouth is indeed the shortest travel distance we’ve gone for an open game and that makes training for this match easier than most. We can focus on our gameplay exclusively, without the added pressure of putting on a home event. All league members contribute to hosting bouts, so away games leave us with more time to strengthen our tactics and line-ups.

Brighton’s B-team Bruisers played Portsmouth in March last year. The Wenches took the win 246-191. Did any of the current All-Stars roster play in that game? What do you know of the Wenches in general?

THE MIGHTY MIGHTY BASH: Hyde ‘N’ Shriek, Enyo Face, Kapow, Emma and Cake Or Death were all on the roster when Brighton met Portsmouth last. As regards the Wenches in general, to be honest I’ve been a bit out of the derby loop of late. I have not seen Portsmouth play for quite some time. I coached them a while back but I’m sure they are a different team now. I’ve heard they’ve come up in rankings quite a lot recently. Brighton Rockers and Portsmouth Roller Wenches have a pretty good relationship, so I reckon both teams know what individual skaters to look out for. However, the outcome of the game I’m sure will come down to the team that works well together and keeps things solid on the day.

Moving on to Brighton, are there any players or tactics we should look out for from the Rockers at this game? Would you care to predict the result?
BASH: Tactics-wise, I’d say just always be on the look out for ‘the raw prawn’. Keep an eye out on Enyo Face and Emma the Condemner. Both have really upped their game in the last few weeks. I don’t have a prediction for you, but I have a feeling it may be close either way.

The day’s other game sees Portsmouth’s B-team up against Killa Hurtz from Chelmsford. Have you any predictions for how that one might go?
MISTRESS: Unfortunately, none of us know anything about Killa Hurtz, so it will be interesting to see what this team has to offer. I do know that they’ve had two recent strong transfers from the Seaside Sirens, although as far as we’re aware only one will be playing in this particular game.

Finally, we understand there may be a few changes to Brighton’s squad after this game, with some big name players taking time out and at least one incoming transfer. Is it easy to adapt to such personnel changes? What can we expect from the Rockers going into 2015?
RACEY: Yes, we have a bit of a roster change-up on the horizon. A few of our key travel team players are taking temporary leave to do much more exciting things, which is sad, but also really exciting as it means there will be spots up for grabs for all our skaters who are not yet rostered. Hopefully there will be some fight-to-the-death action for those spots. Obviously this is going to mean some changes for the team, particularly for line-ups and play style, though also for the games we will be looking to book for 2015. It’s going to be really exciting for both us and the fans to see how the new look team will develop. We have some great up-and-coming players in our midst so I’m totally confident that they will be holding their own on the track. Watch out!

[Photos by Rebecca Cornford]

LINKS
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/696301107128151/
TICKETS: http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/tickets/
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
WENCHES: http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/