A fan magazine dedicated to the awesomes Brighton Rockers roller derby league. This issue was published on the 9th February 2019 for a double header event at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath. A super close A-team clash saw the Rockers edged out 195-196 by the seven skaters of Dundee Roller Derby, the B-team Rockerbillies went down 198-260 to London Rockin’ Rollers Badasses. This final regular issue of our magazines contains previews of both games, a retrospective, Player of the Year results, our favourite Rockers quotes, a list of A-team scores and much more. Many thanks to all the lovely interviewees, fab photographers and awesomes advertisers who kept us going for 25 issues to become the UK’s longest running roller derby magazine. We will continue to post content online and will return with some one-off magazines. Thank you all – you rule!
This Saturday (9th February) sees the mighty Brighton Rockers back in action at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath. Having sat out December’s event, the A-team Allstars return to the track to take on Dundee Roller Derby, whilst the Rockerbillies B-team face the Badasses of London Rockin’ Rollers. Doors are at 2pm with the A-team game at 2.30 followed by the Bs battle at around 4.30. Tickets are available online for £8 adults (£9.50 on the door), £7 students and Compass Card holders, with under 12s going free. See the link at the bottom of this piece to buy.
Car users should point their Sat Navs at RH16 1LY. Train users will have to get a replacement bus from Brighton as the line is shut all weekend for work on the tunnels. These run every ten minutes and take about 40 mins. The leisure centre is about six minutes walk east of the station and there’s a big Sainsbury’s halfway along. Early arrivers will find the pub opposite the station (the Burrell Arms) pleasant enough.
There are vending machines and a café bar in the venue lobby, whilst the nearest ATMs are at the side of Sainsbury’s. There will be the usual merch stall, contests and activities, plus possibly some Valentine’s and birthday (the Rockers turn nine on the 14th) related shenanigans. You can pick up the FINAL edition of our free magazine Turn Left on the door. This bigger than normal edition also entitles you to discounts at our namesake online skate shop and in Brighton’s Pub of the Year – wowser!
PREDICTIONS AND THAT
[Skip these two paragraphs if you don’t like to read predictions before a game] Flattrackstats offer two different predictions for the Brighton v Dundee A-team game. Their WFTDA rankings have the Rockers 289th (on 520.0 points) while Dundee are 266th (535.8). The visitors are given 55% change of victory with an expected differential of 21:20 meaning something like a 189-180 away win. The global rankings favour the Scots more strongly, giving them 76% chance of victory and a 27:19 differential (eg a 189-133 away win). With Dundee bringing a very small squad, we’re expecting the game to be much closer.
How close are we expecting the B-team game between the Rockerbillies (219th in Europe on 427.3 points) and LRR Badasses (208th, 434.5) to be? When we checked a few days ago Flattrackstats called this as 50% chance of victory for both sides with an expected differential of 2:2 meaning a flatout draw. We have NEVER seen FTS predict a drawn game before and it isn’t even possible within the rules (overtime jams are added until there’s a winner). They’ve now altered their prediction to give Brighton 51% chance of victory. A predicted differential of 51:50 still means only a couple of points in it! Let’s hear from some skaters…
“For the game against Dundee we’re bringing in some newer players who haven’t played for the A-team before. They’re amazing and should be interesting to watch. As for the B-team game, based on the stats it should definitely be a close one!”
SHAMBOLIC, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“It’s the first game of the season and we are playing with a pretty small roster, but that’s actually a very common theme for us. You’ll see our skaters get a LOT of track time, but we’ve been working on our endurance derby to compensate, and we all love playing together.”
LISTON, DUNDEE ROLLER DERBY
“We love the Brighton Rockers and always have a brilliant time playing them, regardless of the result. We will be ready for all the Rockerbillies skaters to really bring it. We know this will be a tough and physical game, and we’re looking forward to the challenge.”
EVA LA TART, LRR BADASSES
[Photo by John Hesse]
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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.
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LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS: https://londonrockinrollers.co.uk/
The mighty Brighton Rockers AllStars take on their ‘friendly rivals’ Croydon Riot Squad at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath this Sunday 22nd May. A home game for Brighton on a Sunday is something of a rarity (we can only think of one previous occasion) so be sure to take advantage of this opportunity for a post-roast festival of sport. ‘Festival’ being the operative word, since the game, despite its geographical remove, is part of Brighton Fringe Festival.
Doors open at 4pm (first whistle is at 4.30) and tickets are available online for £10 adults, £8 concessions and free for under 12s. You can also get four adult tickets for the price of three. Tickets are available from both the Brighton Rockers and Fringe Festival websites, but we recommend the former as there’s a small fee added at the latter. We have a full preview of this epic game lower down, but first off we’ll recap two other derby events that have taken place at the Dolphin in the past couple of weeks. Given that these two events were hosted by Brighton and Croydon respectively, they provide useful clues for what to expect on Sunday…
SATURDAY 30TH APRIL: BRIGHTON V NEWCASTLE B REPORT
Coming in off the back of a great display – albeit a small loss – away to London’s Batter C Power in March, the Rockers AllStars round off April by facing the Whippin’ Hinnies B-team of Newcastle Roller Girls. Newcastle’s A-team is the top ranked English team in UKRDA and has already won this year’s British Champs with two months left to go, so it’s no surprise that their second team are favourites here. Flattrackstats expect the Hinnies to win but by the tiniest of margins (six or seven points). Seven jams in and the margin is invisible. It’s a tied game at 20-20, Joanna Bruisin’ and Blackjack Belle doing much of the damage for the Geordies, with Gin Atomic and Shambolic scoring well for Brighton. Hairy Fairy and Obliviator doing good work to peg back Mills & Boom now as Skate Bush edges Brighton ahead.
Our companion is disappointed that Newcastle don’t play in black and white stripes – “make the refs play in green or something” – as fantastic jams from Sham and Skate give the Rockers an unexpected 48-21 lead. Sham is back in the star a few jams later, ducking and diving through the Hinnies pack to chalk up 25 points. After an extended break for travelling a year or so ago, the nimble ninja is back to her best as she helps Brighton to a chunky 107-42 interval lead. The second half sees the Rockers continue to dominate. Khal Jojo and Pretty Skate Machine are amongst the standout blockers for Newcastle, with Hairy, Gin, Emma The Condemner and others proving super solid for the home side.
With the scores at 134-67 there is an extended stoppage for treatment to tough Brighton blocker Chaka Carnage. She will play no further part in the game and her injury takes some wind out of the Rockers’ sails. The Hinnies take advantage of Brighton’s slight loss of momentum to start clawing back at the lead; the home side have started picking up noticeably more blocker penalties now. Another Rockers injury sees ever impressive starhead Skate Bush bowing out of the match. With further Brighton skaters such as Sham picking up knocks, the home side are glad to make it to the final whistle with a decent victory margin still intact. This 170-143 win is the Rockers’ first open door success since beating Leeds side Hot Wheel, also by 27 points, in May of last year. Without the injuries we would have likely been looking at closer to a three figure differential here. Rest assured that this win not only builds upon the performance against Batter C, but (especially coming after seven straight losses) also marks a turning point for the rapidly improving AllStars.
Today’s proceedings began with the B-team facing the Hoodlum Gang, a mixed league side organised by the Hoodlum Fang fashion label. That match ended in a 168-223 defeat for the Rockerbillies and saw a great performance from both sides. For Hoodlum the likes of Chunder Woman, Grace Bopper, Ore Raura and the appropriately named Hench were amongst the standouts. In the Rockerbillies ranks, plaudits go to Lab Wrath, Bionic Betty (here playing her final game for Brighton), fast jamming Shakesbeer and many others. No doubt there’s a whole slew of future A-team regulars in the ‘billies ranks. Indeed, B-team MVP Hippy Hippy Skate put in a great stint for the As today too. The day ends with Gin Atomic’s 30th birthday celebrations, a surprise on track marriage proposal for Cake Or Death (many congrats to her and Phil), and a suitably messy after party back in Brighton.
SATURDAY 14TH MAY: CROYDON V LRR REPORT
With barely time to catch our breath, the sound of clacking derby skate wheels returns to the Dolphin two weeks later. Last year three teams in the British Championships (Brighton, Eastbourne and Croydon) hosted games here. With the first two having withdrawn from the 2016 tournament, today’s Croydon hosted double header is most likely the only Champs action that Haywards Heath will see this year. First up is Bristol Roller Derby v Portsmouth Roller Wenches. Based on last year’s Tier 2 South results we’re expecting Bristol to dominate this one. Flattrackstats agrees, but it’s the Wenches who are fastest out of the gates, taking a 20-3 lead over the first few jams. Nina Nunchucks and Psyclone DestroyHer particularly effective in the Pompey star, but a power jam sees Bristol clawing their way back. Hard N Sharpe and Delta Strike are chalking up points for BRD, with RIP McMurphy hitting back for the Wenches. Lead change! 46-45 to Bristol.
Great blocking from the likes of Valkyrie Pain and Rosie Rocketpants for PRW; likewise from Black Thorn, President Garfield and others for Brizzle. Portsmouth’s blockers in particular are picking up a lot of penalties here. In fact, Valkyrie picks up her seventh with a quarter of the first half still to go, leaving the game. Successive power jams from Psyclone and Nunchucks sees the Wenches snatch a half time lead of 123-117. Pompey extending their lead at the start of the second, but Bristol peg them back to 169-160. Delta Strike and The Blizzard jamming in points for BRD. McMurphy and Elke Dickson sturdy in the Wenches defence. Jammer switcharoos aplenty and Rosie becomes PRW’s second foul out. That means more jams (and more penalties) for those left, and the domino effect sees two more Wenches sent to the stands, with at least one Bristolian joining them. What’s left of the Pompey squad holds firm for an unexpected 306-276 win.
It’s hosts Croydon Riot Squad v London Rockin’ Rollers next, and the latter go into this one as firm favourites. We think this game can’t possibly be as exciting as the last one, but it turns out we’re very wrong. There are three lead changes in the opening few minutes, but that’s not unusual as teams feel each other out before one side starts to impose themselves. It seems that side could be LRR as a well used power jam sees them take a 21-11 advantage. This looks like being a fairly low scoring contest with two very solid defensive units at play. Total Bevlam, Smashasaurus Bex and Polly Filla amongst the standout defenders for Croydon here; Miss Justice, Von Bitch, Rammit and others proving equi-tough in the London packs. LRR look like they might run away with things with the scores at 50-13, but the Flying Kiwi and Dyduch are amongst those putting in great turns in the star for Riot Squad. Suddenly London’s lead is a single point (54-53). It’s not often that there’s only one point between the sides during a roller derby game, but this margin will be repeated several more times before the game is done. Starting with a lead change that puts Croydon 62-61 ahead.
The Croydonians stretch this to a seven point gap (75-69) at the interval, but this game has plenty of drama to come. Queen Mob, Rammit and Jack Attack putting in some ferocious turns in the London star, with Jacks chalking up another lead change and single point margin. LRR leading 90-89 and starting to pull away now, but Croydon are fighting hard and keeping in touch. Riot Squad icon Apocalex, here playing her last game for the side, amongst those battling in the purple packs. Meanwhile, Agent Cooper is being let off the leash more in the Cronx star, swooping and sweeping at speed through the walls of red. CRD keeping within ten or fifteen points of the Rockin’ Rollers here. Ten to fifteen points being that sweet spot in derby differentials – the gap it can just take a 30 second power jam to close. Riot Squad battle hard but LRR keep their noses in front, taking the game by a much closer than predicted margin: 151-137.
SUNDAY 22ND MAY: BRIGHTON V CROYDON PREVIEW
So what have we learned from those very recent Brighton and Croydon games? Firstly, both sides fared better than the rankings computer had predicted, suggesting that both leagues are currently on an upwards trajectory. Though there have been a few closed door games between Brighton and Croydon, the A-teams have only met once before in public. That was in July 2014 (at, where else, the Dolphin) and the Rockers took the win that time 163-151. Super close! So what’s expected this time?
***SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t like knowing Flattrackstats predictions ahead of a game then skip past this paragraph*** There are two different rankings systems on the FTS website. The UK Roller Derby Association one is, as you’d expect, based on the results of UKRDA sanctioned games only. Brighton currently place 19th in the table on 602.3 points, with Croydon just behind in 20th (599.5). FTS gives the Rockers 58% chance of taking the win here, with an expected differential of 51:46 equating to something like a 153-138 Brighton win. Switch to the Europe-wide rankings system, however, and Cronx place higher. They’re 45th on 619.2 points, with the Rockers 69th on 584.8. Run those stats through the predictometer and there’s 69% chance of a CRD win. Predicted differential of 17:13 suggests something like a 170-130 Riot Squad victory in this case. In other words, this one really could go either way!
The venue is as ever the Dolphin in Haywards Heath, which is seven minutes walk from the train station (turn left and follow the signs stuck to lamp posts). Point your Sat Nav at RH16 1LY if driving. The pub opposite the station, the Burrell Arms, is OK for a pre-game pint, if a little football geezer-y. There’s a very large Sainsbury’s (with ATMs outside) halfway between the station and leisure centre. Be warned that this closes at 4pm on Sunday, so get any provisions prior to doors opening at the roller derby. The last two events have seen the Dolphin move their stash of booze from the lobby cafe to a table in the sports hall itself. This is awesomely convenient, but we suspect is largely aimed at not having a queue of green-haired derby types scaring off parents arriving to drop off kids at the pool. Expect to pay between three and four quid for a bottle of beer/cider/wine, and please leave the London Pride for us (there’s never enough). The after party is at Idelwild, a bistro bar on Haywards Heath Broadway, about twelve minutes walk from the Dolphin.
Snap up your tickets for this epic rematch in advance from the link below. There will also be tickets available on the door. Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our unofficial Brighton Rockers fanzine Turn Left on your way in. Sunday’s issue is jam-packed with stuff including… Best mates Gin Atomic and Agent Cooper (playing on opposite sides for the first time in an open door sanctioned game) have a huge banter-off ahead of the contest. Mass Janeycide and Noise Tank trade tips on bench coaching the Rockers. Emma the Condemner selects the programme for a Brighton Rockers themed arts festival. We also hear from Croydon captain Dyduch and others, plus the latest news from all six Sussex roller derby teams and more. See you there!
[Photos by John Hesse, except CRD v LRR by Neil Biggs]
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Sunday saw the mighty Brighton Rockers hosted the final day of British Championship Tier 2 South action. Playoff and relegation places were decided as the Rockers took on the London Rockin’ Rollers, Royal Windsor Rollergirls did battle with Bristol Roller Derby, and Portsmouth Roller Wenches faced the Seaside Sirens. We’ll have a full report on the day’s events in the next week or so. Did you miss out on a copy of the fanzine we gave out on at the game? It features interviews with all six competing teams, loads of stats (including top jammer and blocker tables for all the sides), a report on the Brighton B-team’s Eastbourne Extreme debut and more. Click on the image above to read the online version. All the physical copies were snapped up on the day, so unfortunately there are none in the Evening Star this time. Sorry!
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This Sunday (9th August) sees the British Champs Tier 2 South season reach its crescendo at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath. In most divisions there’s often nothing to play for on the final day. Here in T2 South there’s *everything* to play for. Three teams (Royal Windsor, Bristol and London Rockin’ Rollers) are vying for two playoff places, whilst another three (Brighton Rockers, Portsmouth and Seaside Sirens) are fighting to stay in the division – two of the latter trio will be relegated to Tier 3. We have a full preview of Sunday’s action, with predictions plus quotes from all six teams taking part, further down this piece. We begin though with a look at how things went in the previous T2 South Game Day, also in Haywards Heath, last month…
People have said we often concentrate more on a venue’s beer selection in these reports than on the actual roller derby. Whilst we don’t think that’s the case, WHAT THE HELL IS UP WITH THE DOLPHIN CAFE TODAY? Usually it has a selection of bottled ales and lagers, and although these will run out during the day, there’s always at the very least a few ciders or Bacardi Breezers left at the end. Not today. The first game hasn’t even started as we bound up to the bar. “What fine ales do you have, o Yeoman of the Caff?” we ask. Blank look. “What beers are you selling?” A shake of the head. “Lager? Cider?” More head shakes. “What alcohol do you have?” Our server gestures to four bottles sat atop the fridges. Two miniatures of white wine, one of red wine and one Smirnoff Ice. Our faces drop at the realisation this is all they will be selling today. Then drop even further when we realise these aren’t a display of the drinks they stock, these *are* the drinks they stock. Just these four warm (no-one thought to put them in the fridge) bottles. That’s it. We buy the whites and Smirnoff Ice, leaving just one 187ml bottle of red wine for everybody else in the hall to share.
MEMO TO THE BRIGHTON ROCKERS: PLEASE SUGGEST TO THE DOLPHIN THAT THEY GET SOME BEERS AND THAT IN FOR SUNDAY. NOT ONLY IS IT GOING TO BE A VERY LONG DAY OF DERBY WATCHING, BUT THE WHOLE ‘SUNDAY’ THING MEANS THE NEARBY SAINSBURY’S SHUTS AT 4PM. AU SECOURS! THANKS XXX
First up on track is the all conquering Royal Windsor versus the London Rockin’ Rollers. LRR have big playoff aspirations this season, but such is RWRG’s dominance of the division that the main aim in this game is surely to keep the differential down. LRR are just 17 points worse off than second place Bristol differential wise, but every point that Windsor beat them by here will add to that gap. The first few jams are low scoring as the two sides test out their opponent’s defences. With things standing at 15 points apiece seven minutes in, the division’s star jammer Cle-Blam-O sets to work, effortlessly driving in 20 points with Rammit picking up none in return. It’s 35-15 to Windsor, but good work from Pand’Assassin sees LRR close back to 34-42. The likes of Mimika Mayhem and DisorderLee putting in tough blocks for the Londoners, but Windsor’s jammers – particular Cle-Blam-o and Culverhouse – are super wily, and the Royals go into the break 123-83 up. That’s damn near spot on the predicted 3:2 differential.
The second half sees LRR rally. Some great apex jump sprinkled jammer outings from Rammit, taking advantage of a bigger than usual blocker penalty accruement from RWRG, and the ladies in red have closed the gap to 137-171. Star pass problems for Miss N Link put Windsor back in the ascendancy, but LRR are keeping the gap down to the 40 points they were behind at the break. They are also gaining lead jammer status way more often than anyone else has managed against Windsor in Champs, just 14-16 behind in leads midway through the second half. Culverhouse powering through again and again now, taking advantage of her low centre of gravity to dip straight through the middle of the London pack for a series of natural fives. “Let’s go London, let’s go…” chants from the rowdy travelling support, who are small in number as indeed is the crowd in general. (London Rollergirls are hosting an event in South London that has leeched a fair chunk of today’s potential audience.) Windsor holding the LRR jammers back through tough blocking from Laptalis, Hillsdon, Riley Cyrus and others. We can’t help noticing that half the Windsor squad are single named, with the rest rarely more than eleven characters. RWRG must have the lowest ‘letters on the back of shirts’ expenditure in UK derby. Von Bitch throwing hits at Cle-Blam-O left right and centre, but the Windsor jammer is through. Rollin Stone R calling a team timeout with the clock on fifteen seconds to force a final jam, and the 3:2 prediction turns out remarkably close with a final score of 296-197 (we make that a differential of 3:1.99662).
The day’s second game, featuring the hosting Brighton Rockers up against Portsmouth Roller Wenches, is a biggie. Should Brighton win they will guarantee their own survival whilst sending Portsmouth and the Seaside Sirens to Tier 3. Victory for the Wenches will make PRW favourites for survival due to having the easier final game (v Sirens). Rockers picking up a lot of defensive penalties in the early stages, with Mass Janeycide calling an early team timeout in response. Wenches sending out really tough packs here, with the likes of RIP McMurphy, Dropkick Molly and Halcyon Daze proving a challenge to pass. The Duchess of Crutches is a particular ‘last line of defence’ annoyance to the Sussex jammers, with Brighton forced into quite a few star passes over the course of the game. The Rockers are battling hard – Hairy Fairy and Chaka Carnage sturdy in the packs as Swann trades hits with McMurphy on a regular basis – but the Wenches defence is taking it out of the Brightonians. Sussex starheads looking knackered as PRW call a team timeout with a 74-26 lead. Skate Bush toughing it out well against Duchess as the impressive recent A-team addition claws some back for the Rockers. Final jam of the period is a masterclass of staying in bounds from Dr Whooligan, who shakes off tough hits to score eighteen without reply. It’s 91-56 to Portsmouth at the break.
As a line forms at the cafe – do they not know we drank all the booze? – we do a bit of maths. There’s two ways this could go. Brighton could produce one of their famed second half revivals to send Portsmouth down. Or the Wenches could hold on for the win. The latter would put these two sides level on points, with only differential separating them. At the interval the Rockers are 89 points better off on -113 compared to PRW’s -202. Every point more or less than the current 35 scoreline gap that Portsmouth win by here will add or subtract two from that 89. Each point is worth two since it’s +1 to one side and -1 to the other. Yikes! Things start out better defensively for Brighton as play resumes, with Hairy Fairy sending Nina Nunchucks to ground as the Rockers packs fight to keep Duchess out of their own jammers’ way. Gin Atomic takes advantage of a penalty call on RIP McMurphy to win the fourth jam 23-4. Rockers have closed it to 97-112. McMurphy off now with what looks like a recurrence of the nose injury she picked up in Pompey’s previous Champs game. Wenches 120-100 up with twenty minutes to go. Psyclone DestroyHer putting up some good points for PRW now, before Molly takes advantage of a power jam start to open up a bigger gap for the visitors. Portsmouth timeout as they lead 189-135. “Gin, Gin, Gin, Gin” chants from the Rockers bench – hopefully whoever stocks the cafe is listening, but they’re actually chanting for Atomic, who claws a few back. There’s not enough time left for a Rockers rally though, and the Wenches close out a 215-150 win.
HOW THINGS CURRENTLY STAND: The Rockers and Wenches repair to the beer garden of Brighton’s Hobgoblin pub for an old school after party with pot luck panties, limbo dancing, gin roulette and more. We sit in the corner with a calculator working out how things stand ahead of the final divisional Game Day (this Sunday). Essentially the Tier 2 South is now split in half. The top three could all finish in any of those positions (1st, 2nd and 3rd) with the top two progressing to Playoffs against two Tier 2 North sides in LRR’s venue, Newham Leisure Centre, on September 19th. Similarly, the bottom three could all finish 4th, 5th or 6th. Only the team finishing fourth will remain in Tier 2, with the other two sides relegated to Tier 3.
It’s fairly unlikely that Windsor will miss out on Playoffs or that Sirens will stay up, so the real battle is between LRR and Bristol (both currently on nine points) for the second playoff place, and between Brighton and Portsmouth (both on three points) for fourth place survival. If these pairs match results – eg both LRR and Bristol lose on Sunday – then placings are decided on score differential. Bristol are currently 116 differential better off than LRR, with Brighton 29 (not 31 like we maths wrong in Sunday’s fanzine) better off than PRW. What happens if two sides finish up on the same points *and* same differential? We put the question to Champs Tournament Head NSO Pettichoke, who tells us, “it’s then decided by the result when those two teams met.” This gives LRR (who beat Bristol) and Portsmouth (who beat Brighton) the edge in ties. If you understand all of the above, well done. Please can you explain it to us.
GAME DAY SEVEN @ SUNDAY 9TH AUGUST: This weekend’s event, the final Tier 2 South Game Day, is something of a first for Brighton as hosts. The first time (we think) they’ve hosted an open door on a Sunday, and the first time (we’re sure) they’ve hosted a triple header. As you’d expect, fitting in three games means a fairly early start. Doors are at 12.30pm with the first game whistling off at 1.05pm. We advise early arrival since the first game is Brighton v LRR, which is likely to be the day’s closest match-up and will also set up what the teams in the other two games need to achieve to make Playoffs or avoid relegation. Tickets are available online from the link at the bottom of this piece, priced at £12 adults, £10 students, free for under 12s. There’s also a 4-for-the-price-of-3 offer. Tickets will also be available on the door (same price, but no 4-for-3).
The Dolphin is situated seven minutes walk from Haywards Heath train station (turn left and follow the signs) and has parking out front. Somehow National Rail have forgotten to schedule any engineering work – yay! – but bear in mind that trains will be fewer and a little slower on a Sunday. There’s a Sainsbury’s (with ATMs) halfway between the station and leisure centre. The supermarket itself shuts at 4pm due to Sunday trading laws, so let’s hope the Dolphin has remembered to stock up on booze, grub and soft drinks. The after party is taking place at the
Witch Inn Sergison Arms Savannah Cafe Bar, which is around fifteen minutes walk from the Dolphin; head back to the train station and hang right at the roundabout just past the station – it’s on the left five mins down the road.
Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our fanzine Turn Left on the door on Sunday (and mentally rewrite any reference to the differential gap between Brighton and PRW as 29, rather than the 30, 31 or 32 we wrongly state on different pages!). It includes interviews with players from all six teams, tables listing the top performing jammers and blockers on each side, a report on last month’s Eastbourne Extreme tournament which featured the Brighton B-team, and much more. We’ll leave you with the thoughts of participants, neutrals and prediction computers on all three of Sunday’s games…
1.05 PM: BRIGHTON ROCKERS V LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS
WHAT TO EXPECT: Although all three of the day’s games are important ones with plenty at stake, this first game is arguably the most important as it sets up what the teams playing later will need to do. The most interesting result would be a Brighton win, as this would then set Bristol a target that they must lose by less than against Windsor (to beat LRR to a playoff place) and also set Portsmouth a target they’ll need to beat Sirens by to survive relegation at Brighton’s expense. This game looks like it could be a close one, with Flattrackstats giving LRR a 57% chance of victory and a predicted differential of 29:27. That would equate to something like a 203-189 win for the visitors, which is super close in derby terms.
DR WHOOLIGAN, BRIGHTON ROCKERS: “Shambolic is back for this one. Straight from her adventures abroad, Sham has dug out (and hopefully Febrezed) her skates and returned to the track. We also have Rose Bleed back in the pack. Skate Bush is back on jamming; she’s had an amazing Champs, jamming straight away from her first game with the Rockers. LRR are very similar to us on and off the track, and we always have a great game. We have no special tricks planned, just the aim of an empty penalty box and super strong walls to stop those slippery LRR jammers.”
MISS N LINK, LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS: “We’ve lost a few skaters this year due to retirement and injury. Our captain Jack Attack is still off skates and will be leading us from the bench. We’ve played the Rockers a few times over the years. Last time was a couple of years ago, where the score was a close one. We always love meeting these ladies on track, so we’ve been really looking forward to this match-up.”
POISIN CHERRY, ROYAL WINDSOR ROLLERGIRLS: “Brighton has some double threats, such as Gin Atomic and Swann, who can rack up the points as jammers or form a solid wall as blockers. However, Rammit was a strong jammer when we played LRR and their walls were tough, so it will be an interesting game to watch.”
ADMIRAL, PORTSMOUTH ROLLER WENCHES: “LRR v Brighton is too hard to call. The predicted outcome is 57% chance of an LRR win. That’s a slim difference, and Brighton will not want to be relegated any more than we do.”
3.20PM: ROYAL WINDSOR ROLLERGIRLS V BRISTOL ROLLER DERBY
WHAT TO EXPECT: As these teams currently place first and second in the group, this game ought to provide the highest overall quality of derby from today’s matches. If LRR lost the opener, then there’s a good chance that these will be the division’s two entrants to Playoffs (battling two teams from Tier 2 North for promotion to the top flight). If LRR beat Brighton, but by less than 116 points, then Bristol will need to beat Windsor here to nip LRR to that second playoff spot. The only way Windsor could miss out on Playoffs is if Bristol beat them by 190+ points, which is highly unlikely. FTS give Windsor 85% chance of the win, and a predicted differential of 50:31 suggests something like a 300-186 win for RWRG.
POISIN CHERRY, ROYAL WINDSOR ROLLERGIRLS: “We are extremely proud of all of our skaters that have taken part in the British Champs and we wouldn’t be where we are now without every single one of them. Bristol have put in a strong performance in Champs and we know that they are going to be just as strong today. Their walls are tight and their jammers determined, so I’m sure they will keep us on our toes.”
SOMEONE, BRISTOL ROLLER DERBY: “Keep an eye out for Lil Miss Bloodlust who has been having a good tournament. We also have a few new players join our squad, so keep an eye out for Rip Tease, Bear Thrills, Hard n Sharpe and Lex Lethal, who may make their tournament debut. We aren’t worrying about individual Windsor players because they’re strong throughout their squad. They are a very well drilled team with strong jammers, solid walls and stinging offence. But so are we. This will be a good game!”
DR WHOOLIGAN, BRIGHTON ROCKERS: “Royal Windsor have been such a dominant team in Champs. Culverhouse is the jammer to watch – she’s so strong and has very agile footwork – and Riley Cyrus is a tough backward blocker. I think Bristol will definitely give them a run for their money though; they are hot on their heels in the table. The Blizzard knows how to run rings around the opposition.”
FORCE TEN GAIL, SEASIDE SIRENS: “Windsor have been incredibly strong in this group and really know how to take advantage with the scoreline, but Bristol have been getting stronger and stronger all year, so it really could go either way.”
5.30PM: PORTSMOUTH ROLLER WENCHES V SEASIDE SIRENS
WHAT TO EXPECT: The opening game will have set Portsmouth a target for this one. If LRR beat Brighton then the Wenches only need to win against Southend’s Sirens to ensure their survival and Brighton’s relegation. If Brighton beat LRR things get more complicated. Add the number of points Brighton won by to 29 (the advantage the Rockers had over the Wenches in the table prior to today). That’s the minimum number PRW must beat Sirens by to finish above Brighton. Seaside, meanwhile, will only stay up if they beat Portsmouth by 430+ points. That’s probably not gonna happen, especially given that FTS have this as 85% chance of a PRW win. Expected differential of 27:16 equals a scoreline such as 243-144 to the Wenches.
ADMIRAL, PORTSMOUTH ROLLER WENCHES: “We’re obviously hoping for a high scoring win today, to secure both three game points and also a good differential, but we know the final outcome will also depend on Brighton’s result v LRR. Sirens have had a tough season, but will come and play to win. We saw their game against Bristol. Despite it being high scoring for Bristol, the game also saw Sirens put 122 points on the board, which means we shouldn’t underestimate their jammers. Force Ten Gail in particular has been a strong performer for them.”
FORCE TEN GAIL, SEASIDE SIRENS: “We played the Wenches last year and I think we just scraped a win last time we met [150-147] but things have changed a lot for us, so we really don’t know what to expect. We’ll be watching out for Duchess and RIP McMurphy. For the Sirens, Who?Rae! has been on great form since returning to us earlier in the year after a tib-fib break followed by a ‘nine month injury’. She has been jamming quite a bit recently, which is great to see. Our priority is to enjoy the game and play our hardest. That’s all we can do.”
DR WHOOLIGAN, BRIGHTON ROCKERS: “Portsmouth v Sirens should be a great match-up. Portsmouth’s team has been working so hard to get to the level they currently play at. RIP McMurphy is always great to watch. The Sirens have been working hard on playing cleaner (they were down to six players when we played them) so it should be a close game!”
POISIN CHERRY, ROYAL WINDSOR ROLLERGIRLS: “Both Portsmouth and Sirens have a good mix of players, with Nina Nunchucks and Force Ten Gail high on the jammer performance tables. There should be a lot of skill displayed with hard hits and maybe even an apex jump or two.”
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[Photos by John Hesse]
This weekend saw British Championships action in Haywards Heath as the mighty Brighton Rockers hosted a Division 2 South double header event. The day featured a game between the division’s unbeaten sides London Rockin’ Rollers and Royal Windsor Rollergirls, as well as a vital relegation battle match-up between the Rockers and Portsmouth Roller Wenches. We’ll have a full report on the day’s events in the next week or so. Did you miss out on a copy of the fanzine we gave out on Saturday? It features interviews with all four competing teams, as well as spotlights on the Rockers 2015 Fresh Meat intake and next weekend’s Eastbourne Extreme tournament. Click on the image above to read the online version, or get yourself down to the Evening Star pub near Brighton Station to pick up a free physical copy (from the shelves by the ladies loo) while stocks last.