British Champs UKRDA National South Day 6 Preview + Day 5 Report

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The Rockers have hosted a lot of exciting derby events, but perhaps none as pivotal as the ones coming up at the Dolphin this Saturday (11th July) and Sunday 9th August. British Championships is a 72-team thirteen division national derby tournament which launched this year. Brighton are in one of the two second divisions (Tier 2 South) and are hosting this division’s final two Game Days. These are the events that will confirm which two of T2 South’s six teams will progress to Playoffs (meeting T2 North sides in the hope of promotion to the top flight) and which two will be relegated to the third tier.
    Although the final day, Game Day 7 which features all six of the divisional sides in a mammoth triple header event, might seem the bigger deal, in fact an awful lot could be decided at this Saturday’s Day 6. For starters the first game sees the two unbeaten sides, London Rockin’ Rollers and Royal Windsor Rollergirls, face off. One of these will lose their unbeaten status whilst the other will all but guarantee their spot in Playoffs. The second game pitches the hosting Rockers against Portsmouth Roller Wenches. If Brighton win this game they guarantee at least safety from relegation (plus a fairly remote chance of making Playoffs) whilst simultaneously relegating Portsmouth and Southend’s Seaside Sirens. Ouch!
    A win for Portsmouth would give them a slightly better chance of final day survival than the Rockers, since the Wenches have an easier final game (v bottom place Sirens) than Brighton, who will face LRR. Sirens and Bristol Roller Derby are sitting out this day, but will no doubt be following events closely – particularly Bristol, who have an eye on pipping LRR to the second Playoff place. The action takes place at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath, with doors at 2pm. Tickets are £10 for adults, £8 students, free for under 12s. These are available online via the link at the bottom of this piece (look for the double header ones, as August’s £12 triple header is also on sale) until 4pm tomorrow Friday 10th. They can also be bought on the door for the same price, but a “4 for the price of 3” deal is only available online.
    Before we hear from players, neutrals and prediction computers about Saturday’s two epic games, we’ll give you a quick summary of the last T2 Game Day, which took place three weeks ago in Havant. Although Brighton sat that day out, the results have set the table up in the exciting way it is going into Saturday. (NB: If you’re wondering why we don’t have a write-up of the Rockers’ May friendly against T2 North’s Hot Wheel RD on this site, we felt Bash’s swansong deserved a wider local audience, so we wrote it up for our friends at Brighton Source instead. You can find a link to it at the bottom of this piece.)

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DAY 5 REPORT: HAVANT @ 20TH JUNE 2015

Attendances at this season’s Champs games have fluctuated wildly, and today’s crowd in Hampshire is much smaller than we were expecting. Of course, there’s simply so much derby happening in the UK these Champs-packed days that potential spectators are becoming increasingly thinly-spread. Indeed, the two Game Days Brighton will host both clash with high profile London Rollergirls events. We rather suspect that the Government has something to do with today’s low crowd, though. A quarter of a million people are marching through London to protest against austerity, and given the typical demographic of roller derby folk (particularly in terms of politics and professions) it’s highly likely some are missing from the crowd today due to that.
    First up on track are hosts Portsmouth and LRR. With three players (including Betty Swollox) recently retired, and iconic Jack Attack watching from the sidelines with a strapped-up leg, LRR are going through one of those ‘transitional’ phases that derby leagues have. Saying that, there’s still enough top level talent on track for them to jam in two points for every one the Wenches get in this first period, which ends 117-60 to the visitors. Rammit responsible for a fair chunk of those, with Nina Nunchucks and RIP McMurphy hitting back for the Wenches.
    It’s a very physical game with the likes of Von Bitch and Obnoxious Li putting it about for LRR, and Dropkick Molly and Wheelma Flintstone steely in defence for PRW. McMurphy picks up a broken nose from VB, acquiring a hockey mask and losing her face paint as a result, then plays a big part in a spirited second half Wenches fight back. It’s not enough and LRR take the game 207-144 to maintain their unbeaten record and stay just behind Windsor on points difference in the table.

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We find some signs pointing towards a leisure centre bar, and excitedly follow them to find a proper bar with tables and comfy chairs and… its shutters down. There is a cafe attached that’s open, but despite the server’s best efforts on our behalf, his supervisor won’t let him unlock the bar bit to sell us a beer. We’ve often moaned in these reports (perhaps misunderstanding the point of leisure centres in the process) about venues that don’t have bars. Now we’ve discovered something even worse. One that does have a bar, but won’t open it. Aaagh!
    After a brief libation at Wetherspoons (five minutes down the road and home to today’s after party) we return for the Bristol v Sirens game. The former have been responsible for the season’s key surprise result so far – a squeaky (four point) victory over Brighton on Day 3 – and they’ll pull out another surprise today. Not that they weren’t expected to win against Sirens, with the numerically disadvantaged Southend side propping up the division after a series of heavy losses. It’s the scale of Bristol’s win that comes as a surprise. Force Ten Gail and Ella Gnaw eke out what points they can for the Seasiders, but tough Black Thorn and all-over-the-track President Garfield defend hard.
    Meanwhile, Delta Strike, Lil’ Miss Bloodlust and others power Bristol to a 498-122 win. Yowsers! That’s better even (differentially) than league leaders Windsor managed against Sirens, and it’s a shame there are so few BRD fans here to see it. They normally travel in numbers and volume, so their scarcity at what must be their closest away venue (in this division) is striking. Maybe they’re all shouting at Big Ben. The loudest support in the second game comes from the LRR squad cheering on Sirens. A look at the table suggests why. Bristol’s huge margin of victory takes them above LRR and into second place. There’s still everything to play for at Game Days 6 and 7. Speaking of which…

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DAY 6 PREVIEW: LRR V ROYAL WINDSOR (2.40PM)

JACK ATTACK, LRR: “We’ve played Windsor a few times over the years and I think they are going to be the most challenging of all the Champs games. We’re totally prepared for it, though, so I think it’s going to be a really good close game. I certainly can’t predict the result as you never know what might happen on the day, but we’ve got a brand new All Stars team with some great new talent as well as veterans.”

CLE-BLAM-O, WINDSOR: “We’re looking forward to playing LRR. They are a lovely team, but we know we need to watch out as they are also a tricky team with some really good players. At Royal Windsor we’re all about the team work. You’re only as strong as your weakest player, but luckily all of RWRG are FIERCE. Bring it on!”

ELLA GNAW, SEASIDE SIRENS: “Windsor’s Riley Cyrus is relentlessly strong backwards blocking and the packs waterfalling made it very tough for our jammers when we played them. They also have a tactic of running the jam clock on to get the points on the board. LRR are just lovely to watch on the track and they look like they enjoy every second. Deadly DeVito’s offence for her jammers is difficult to ignore, and the team’s ability to switch to offence is quick and effective.”

FLATTRACKSTATS.COM: The continued lack of a neutral option on the online predictor means we had to run this through twice, with each side at home, then split the difference. RWRG are ranked 7th in UKRDA on 663.6 points, with LRR in 15th (625.1). Windsor are given an 80% predicted chance of victory with an expected differential of 3:2. This would work out as something like a 270-180 win to the Berkshire side. A prediction based on the European or WFTDA rankings actually favours Windsor even more (90% win chance and 44:27 differential). The above differs from the predictions in Saturday’s fanzine, which are based on marginally older rankings.

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DAY 6 PREVIEW: BRIGHTON ROCKERS v PORTSMOUTH (4.45PM)

SWANN, BRIGHTON: “We’ve only played at the same Game Day at PRW once this year, so we’ve not seen too much of them lately. I seem to remember them having some quite aggressive offence the last time we played them, so we’ll be looking out for that. Dropkick Molly is my one to watch. She’s really consistent and clean and that’s all very valuable in a good player. Our ones to watch? Skate Bush and Irish Mist are coming on in leaps and bounds; they impress me more with every game.”

ADMIRAL, PORTSMOUTH: “We know Brighton really well and have seen them grow since their foundation. For obvious reasons we can’t say too much about strategy, beyond saying that we will be expecting the Rockers to deliver tough walls, hard hits and great jamming. Wenches will be bringing their usual mix of character, flair and spirit. We are super excited to have Peggy Peril back with us, and our newer skaters have really been doing great stuff. Tactics wise, the crowd will have to wait and see!”

BLACK THORN, BRISTOL RD: “I think there are more similarities than differences between these two teams. Their jamming styles are physical and their blocking is brutal. Both teams managed to disrupt our slow controlled defence when we played them, and they forced us into a more physical style of play, resulting in higher than average penalty counts. Both teams also came away with not too different results against Windsor. I’m expecting a physical and relatively evenly-matched game.”

FLATTRACKSTATS.COM: Using the online predictor on the second game, with Brighton given home advantage, sees the Rockers (16th in UKRDA on 620.8 points) given 84% chance of victory over Portsmouth (23rd, 588.2). Expected differential of 17:11 would equate to something like a 204-132 home win. The European rankings give a fractionally different prediction of 83% Brighton win on a 47:31 differential. Obviously, all these predictions are based on past performances, and don’t reflect which players may or may not be available on the day. Again these numbers differ slightly (by 1-2%) from the earlier version in Saturday’s fanzine.

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY (MANY THANKS TO)
Game Day 5: Graeme Willetts
Final Pic: John Hesse

FACEBOOK EVENT FOR SATURDAY
https://www.facebook.com/events/1449649895353261/

TICKETS FOR SATURDAY (PAGE 2 ‘DOUBLE HEADER’ ONES)
http://www.brightonrockers.com/#!shop/cttr

THE ROAD TO PLAYOFFS
http://www.britishchamps.com/womens-t2-the-road-to-playoffs/

BRITISH CHAMPS WEBSITE
http://www.britishchamps.com/

SATURDAY’S LIVE TWITTER FEED
https://twitter.com/britchampslive

ROCKERS V HOT WHEELS (MAY 23RD) REPORT
http://brightonsource.co.uk/reviews/brighton-rockers-roller-derby-review/

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British Champs National South Game Days 3 & 4 Report + Day 5 Preview

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The British Championships UKRDA National South division kicks back into action tomorrow, Saturday 20th June, at Havant Leisure Centre. Here’s a brief preview of Game Day Five, along with belated recaps of Days Three (Southend) and Four (Bristol)…

Portsmouth Roller Wenches are hosting the action in Havant. The mighty Brighton Rockers are sitting this one out (as are table toppers Royal Windsor) but Brighton will be hosting the final two divisional Game Days on 11th July and 9th August. They also have a taster session in Hove on Monday for those who want to give derby a try. As for tomorrow, even though the Rockers aren’t playing, pop along to Havant if you can. It’s only an hour away by train and the day’s opening game is a match-up between Brighton’s two remaining opponents. Doors are at 1pm with tickets available online (see link at bottom of this piece) priced just £7 for adults – far less than at any other National South Game Day – and free for Under 14s. Tickets will also be available on the door for an extra quid. Don’t expect much in the way of decent pubs in Havant – a Wetherspoons full of screaming kids is as good as it gets – although Portsmouth itself, or better still Southsea, is pretty good for ale.
    The opening game at 2pm features the Portsmouth Roller Wenches (who Brighton play in July) taking on Brighton’s Final Day opponents London Rockin’ Rollers. The Londoners sit in second place having won both their games to date, with Pompey fifth after two losses. LRR are ranked 14th in UKRDA on 625.3 points, whilst the Wenches sit in 20th on 592.5. Even given the Hampshire side’s home advantage, the predictor at Flattrackstats calls this as 70% chance of a London win, although the expected score differential is pretty close at 56:45. That works out at something like a 224-180 away victory, which is nail-biting in derby terms (although using the European ranking system the predicted gap is wider). LRR have three jammers in the divisional Top Ten charts – Rammit, Beat Girl and Jack Attack – and nullifying these will be key to Portsmouth’s chances.
    The day’s second game at 4.30pm is a match-up of the hosts of the most recent two T2 South Game Days. Bristol Roller Derby currently rank 21st in UKRDA on 589.4 points, with their opponents Southend’s Seaside Sirens not far behind in 25th (575.9). Splitting the difference between home and away predictions – introduce a neutral/tournament button please FTS! – calls this as 61% chance of a Bristol win on an expected differential of 50:42. That works out at a typical derby scoreline in the region of 225-189 to Bristol. This effectively makes both the day’s games too close to call with any degree of confidence, at least using the UKRDA ranking system (the European one favours Bristol more strongly). Sirens will certainly be hoping that’s the case as they have yet to register their first win. An unexpected victory for Southend over third place Bristol would also benefit Brighton a great deal. Speaking of which, let’s rewind the clock to recap last month’s Champs action in Bristol; and first, the games back in March from somewhere just outside Southend…

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It’s the first day of spring and there’s a bit of a breeze blowing in across the garishly coloured attractions that dominate the beachfront. “Four pound each for the train,” says the lady at the entrance to Southend Pier. Stuff that, we want to walk. “Three pound 50 then.” Eh? Nobody *ever* tell Southern Rail about this set-up – it will give them ideas. We’re keen to get to the end of said pier as we’re somewhat confused. OK, geography’s not a strong point, but we always thought Southend was on Sea (the clue’s in the name, yeah?). Yet what we can see from the beach is more reminiscent of a river (albeit a very very wide one) with some sort of nuclear power station on the other side. As stupid as we clearly are, we’re not the only ones to have been confused by this view. A friend from these parts is currently in town celebrating her birthday (with her best friend, the derby playing daughter of a celebrity derby fan). Our mate admits she grew up confused by the hoo-hah over people swimming the Channel: “I always thought that power station just there is in France, yeah? I could swim to that no problem.”
    Perhaps it’s such childhood dreams of crossing the Channel in record time that breeds hearty sporting stock like the Seaside Sirens. The local derbyers are swimming against the tide in this first match of Game Day Three, though. Opponents Royal Windsor are the National South division’s highest ranked side, and they know they have to beat the hosts by 160 or more points to retake top spot from the London Rockin’ Rollers. Windsor’s main tactic is a masterpiece of self confidence. Get lead, pass the Sirens pack, then call it right? Nah, not if you’re the Berkshire starhead you don’t. The jammers in white know how tough their own packs are; know that the likes of Trashbag, Laptalis and Riley Cyrus will hold the Southend jammers up for seconds that feel like minutes on every pass; know that if racking up as many points as possible is the aim, they might as well just let these jams run the full two minutes. Whilst the other side might make some passes, you – the Windsor starhead – will be making far more.
    The first jam runs the full 120 seconds. Windsor lead 22-12. This is about as good as it’s going to get for Sirens. Hosts calling an early team timeout now. Just three jams gone. Their Royal guests will dominate this game as they are dominating this division. 73-32 after eight minutes. Blue team battling. Ella Gnaw trading jammer-on-jammer hits with Cle-blam-O. Force Ten Gail probably the best option in the star for Southend, but the Windsor pack is castle strong and PoiSin Cherry is dancing in natural fives against her. Culverhouse starred up now and taking the outside line. Frocky Balboa and Tiny Temper amongst the blockers battling valiantly to hold back the Windsor wave. The hosts have named this event ‘Tsunami’ and the Sirens are getting swept away here by the sheer strength of the Royals. Ella and Tiny holding up Siouxsie Sutures well in the final jam, but when the whistle goes there’s 265 to 93 on the board. Windsor have passed the 160 point victory margin needed to take top spot… oh, and it’s still only half time.

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Refs share insights in the loos. (“There’s nothing to call; Laser’s on fire, he’s calling everything.” “The Windsor jammers are getting through without having to throw a hit.” “They aren’t going to let up in the second half, they want that differential.”) We do our usual thing of bemoaning the drink selection at the bar; 17 different sorts of lager but no actual beer, gah! Making the best of a bad situation, we decide to sample as many different lagers as possible in case we find one we like, and thus can recall very little of the second half, other than that it’s more of the same. The likes of Pegasus (who fouls out late on) and Gail work hard to eek out a few winning jams for Sirens, but the starheads in white – particularly Cleo, the standout jammer in the whole damn division – are too strong and the Royals take the win 508-141.
    Whilst the booze selection lacks variety – maybe it’s a local thing; even the Wetherspoons by Southend station had no dark beers – everything else about the hosting seems spot on. The bleachers are comfortable and buzzing (although the departure of much of the home support sees them thin out considerably for the second game) and the lighting is bright and white, rather than the yellowy murk favoured by many leisure centres. Most shocking of all, the first game didn’t start on time – which in itself is a real rarity in the world of UK derby – but five minutes early. Jeebers! The next game has been much hyped as a best of three decider, with Bristol and Brighton having previously met in 2013 (Bristol won) and 2014 (Brighton won). It certainly lives up to the billing.
    The Rockers get the best of the opening jams with single scoring passes to Emma The Condemner and Gin Atomic in the openers, before Swann, Hairy Fairy and Emma pin back Lil Miss Bloodlust for The Mighty Mighty Bash to jam in a hatful. In next to no time the Sussex league are 19-0 up. Bristol getting back into things now, though, with The Blizzard expertly marshalling Swann to kill off a Brighton power jam. Black Thorn sending Kapow to ground with a big hit as Til Thrillster takes advantage of Bristol’s first lead jammer status. Noise Tank is filling in for Mass Janeycide as bench coach and he calls a team timeout (Brighton now just 31-29 ahead) to halt the opposition’s building momentum. Raven Lunatic up against Bash in the star now, Bash off, Swann throwing shoulders at Raven to run down the jammer penalty clock, Bash on then off again, three penalties in a single jam as Noise screams from the sidelines.

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Lead change and the Westerners are starting to pull away now. 56-35 to Bristol. Their fans being typically noisy – the only really vocal support for any of today’s four teams. Two very tough packs out on track. The likes of Hairy, Bash and Dr Whooligan blocking well for Brighton; Raven, Thorn and Bazooka Salt likewise for Brizzle. Whooligan starred up now, shrugging off hits with great jamming to close the gap to 79-51. Delta Strike probably the most effective jammer in this game, drawing more penalties from Bash. Noise studying the penalty board during an official timeout. How many marks against 888 now? The Westerners holding a 108-79 lead at half time. Rockers claw it back to 102-112 as Delta serves time in the box, but a misconduct call on Whooligan sees Bristol regaining the initiative. Gin putting in some good jamming performances, but BRD are out muscling her at times. Bristol split the pack and lead by thirty with a quarter of the game left. Noise studying the penalty board again and conversing with Bash. Must be close to seven now.
    Hard-hitting Gin v Bloodlust jam goes 11-10 to the latter. Raft of penalties sees the Bristol blues down to one blocker on track. First foul out, but it’s Raven of BRD not Bash. Nine minutes left. Bristol player down injured. Team time out. 200-179. Ophelia Pain racking up a good haul as Brighton slip further behind. Whooligan star pass to Kapow. Rockers not going down without a fight. 220-200. Four seconds on the clock. Last jam. Gin gets lead. Vile Shadow down injured, half on track. Ref blows for safety. All the zeros on the period clock, but the jam didn’t end naturally, so reset to one second for an extra jam once Vile is happily up and off track. Whooligan lining up against Delta. Bristol jammer picks up a penalty. Swooping, skipping passes from Whooligan. Delta on then off again. It’s Whooligan v the jam clock now. Is there time? Must be close… The Bristol fans, pretty wild even at the quietest of times, go extra wild now, when – after a lengthy delay, with all the double checking of scores possible – the official result flashes up as 227-223.
    Awesome fightback from Brighton, who were around thirty points behind for most of the game, but this trilogy of match-ups goes to Brizzle fo’ shizzle and they slot in behind the Rockers on points differential in the divisional table. We repair to a bowling alley on a small industrial estate. Hardly your typical after party venue, but it’s pretty awesome as players take to the end-of-the-pier penny dropping and stuffed toy grabbing machines, before a mammoth laser bowling tournament. Oh, and the Jägermeister’s just £1.80 a shot, yeah. There is some confusion with food, since the staff insist on taking people’s names rather than where they’re sat when ordering. Everyone politely gives their real first name, and it soon becomes apparent that every roller derby player here is called either Gemma, Jenna, Emma, Jenny, Anna or Emily, all of which sound identical when called out by a wandering barman in a noisy amusement arcade. Tip: Next time use your derby names, if only because of all the wonderful words and phrases the bemused staff will then have to call out…

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As with Southend, there is an efficiently on time start to proceedings in Bristol seven weeks later. So much so that as the first whistle goes we are still trying to find our way out of Bristol Parkway train station. As is usual with stations with the phrase ‘parkway’ in their title, pedestrians are barely even an afterthought. The lack of any sort of subway under the track means what should be a five minute hike to the University actually takes three times that. By the time we arrive at the sports hall the hosts have built up a decent lead over Portsmouth Roller Wenches. 65-38 says the board as Valkyrie Pain tussles with Bristol’s ex-Croydon starhead President Garfield. Crowd favourites Delta Strike v RIP McMurphy up next to jam. Things getting very physical in the packs as Nina Nunchucks and Lil Miss Bloodlust trade blows.
    There something disconcerting about today’s track and it takes us a few jams to fully work out what that is. In order to fit in extra seating – unlike BRD’s other venue nearby, they can’t use bleachers here – the track is at roughly a 35 degree angle to the hall itself. Whilst this does mean they can fit in a horseshoe of seating around 80% of the circuit, it also creates an optical illusion depending on where you are stood/sat. From where we are the track looks circular rather than an elongated oval. Luckily those taking part aren’t confused by the angled track the way we are, and the noisy Bristol support cheer on Delta as the hometown heroes pull ahead of the hundred point mark. Wenches star pass to Awesome Wells and there’s 124-67 on the board. Raven Lunatic and E-Z Roller pushing hard against Nunchucks now as Bloodlust spins in a series of scoring passes. Duchess of Crutches running strong passive offence for the Portsmouth jammer.
    It’s a strong end to the first period for both sides with 157-98 showing on the scoreboard. General consensus from the Bristol fans at half-time is that the impressive Bloodlust is growing stronger as a jammer with every outing “but she still looks like she wants to cry all the time”. It’s not often we encounter a sports centre with its own off licence, but any initial excitement at this revelation is tempered by two sobering facts. Firstly, you’re not allowed to drink in the hall itself, but must sit/stand outside like some kind of freak (ie smoker). Secondly, the only booze on offer is sickly sweet ciders and three different types of tequila flavoured lager. This is Bristol ffs, one of the best craft ale towns on the planet (as last night’s sojourn on King Street taught us) and this is the selection the denizens of this campus put up with? Students, it seems, have a lot to learn.

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In the interests of journalism we try all three of the tequila lagers and the second half is already underway by the time we make it back to the hall. RIP McMurphy off for a jammer penalty (not the rarest of events) and a star pass to Black Thorn sees the home captain speeding through the pack, with hard hitting from Vile Shadow clearing her a path. Halfway through the period and the hosts are 246-179 up. Official review for Portsmouth gives the chanting home fans an opportunity to remind everyone that “we like shouting”. Wenches battling back well now, clearing the 200 mark with the gap down to around fifty points. Penalty call on Psyclone Destroyer puts the toe-stoppers on the fightback as Delta power jams in a whole bunch. RIP closes out the game with a pass, call and fall. 305-253 final.
    Bristol are up to third, but there’s a humungous score differential separating them from second place LRR. PRW still to record a win, but they are playing less early games (only two over the first four Game Days) than most others. The Rockers are holding a team talk out in front of the offie. Noise Tank bench coaching again – presumably he’ll be taking on this role for away games now, with Janeycide helming the home ones. Not sure what Noise is saying to the troops – we’re distracted by more four-packs of horrible tequila lager – but they must know today’s game is going to be a tough ask. Royal Windsor Roller Girls are firmly ensconced at the top of the National South table, and by the time today’s final whistle blows they’ll have five jammers in the divisional Top Ten for points difference, plus *eight* players in the equivalent table for blockers. That should give you some idea how things are going to go here.
    Indeed, Windsor replicate the tactics from all their previous Champs outings. They’re happy to let the clock run down on most jams as they know their blockers will restrict the opposition to a limited number of scoring passes. First jam sees Gin Atomic pick up a penalty. Although she scores a few on her return, Cle-blam-O has put Windsor 27-11 up after one jam. Plus ça change. In fact Gin will spend the following two jams in the star as well, starting both in the penalty box as RWRG rack in another fifteen. The Mighty Mighty Bash and Dr Whooligan pull a few back for Brighton, but the almost superhuman Cleo puts in a 20 point jam, sending Rockers jammer Hairy Fairy to ground when the latter tries to nudge her off. Noise calls an official review halfway through the half, but the 75-36 scoreline stands so he sits down and has a banana.

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Emma The Condemner steers Cleo off well now, but Gin picks up a track cut and is at some risk of fouling out before the interval. Lots of passive offence from Windsor, who seem to have a surprisingly small travelling support given their stature as a league. Maybe living so near to Legoland makes it hard to drag yourself away. What RWRG may lack in fan numbers they make up for in everything else, although Cleo will start the next one in the box after the refs confer. Whooligan taking full advantage of the PJ start with some great jumps inside turns one and three as Cake Or Death runs effective interference. The fast emerging Irish Mist knocks Siouxsie Sutures out well as Swann takes lead. Tough defence from Bash, Cake and others in the Rockers packs, but they’re picking up a lot of blocker penalties now. Round of applause for Laptalis as she takes out Bash. The period clock hits zero as a braced three-wall keeps Gin contained.
    The second half offers much of the same with Windsor swiftly opening up a three figure margin. 183-81 is 233-109 ten minutes later. There’s some great springing down the inside line from Rockers debutant Skate Bush, who hasn’t looked out of place in Brighton’s jammer rotation against this storied opposition. The Rockers are matching Windsor point for point now, but that scoreline gap of 120-odd isn’t going anywhere. Team timeout to Windsor with four minutes left on the clock. Brighton picking up successive leads through Emma and Swann, but they’re 325-189 down now with a minute left. Whooligan v Sutures. The Royals jammer calls it with one second left as bench coach Rollin Stone R shouts for a timeout. Forcing the extra jam. They want more points. Greedy gits. They get them as a penalty call on Bash sees PoiSin Cherry win the final exchange 18-3 for an overall final of 348-196.
    As emphatic as that mighty seem, Brighton have picked up 56.3% of RWRG’s points haul here, which is actually better than anyone else has yet managed against Windsor in Champs – although we suspect LRR will have a damn good assault on that come July 11th. For now, we deport to No 51, a bar in the hipster heartland of Stokes Croft, where we order a multitude of Jägers to take away the taste of all that tequila lager. As things stand, going into tomorrow’s games in Havant, LRR will need to beat hosts Portsmouth by at least 360 points to retake top spot from the commanding Windsor crew. That looks very unlikely on paper, but any sort of London win will set things up nicely for the Windsor v LRR game in Haywards Heath in July – the match that could very well decide the title. From a Rockers perspective, final league placing is probably going to depend as much on Bristol’s results as their own. Portsmouth still have three games to play so absolutely shouldn’t be discounted (and could throw the centre table wide open with a win over LRR), whilst the Sirens will be hungry to try and eek out a win from somewhere before the season comes to a close. All the excitement.

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You’ll find ticket links to all three remaining National South Game Days below. Yay!

LINKS

GAME DAY 5 @ HAVANT / 20TH JUNE
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/839162602831375/
TICKETS: http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/tickets/

BRIGHTON ROCKERS TASTER SESSION / 22ND JUNE
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/835137986566280/

GAME DAY 6 @ HAYWARDS HEATH / 11TH JULY
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1449649895353261/
TICKETS (PAGE 2): http://www.brightonrockers.com/#!shop/cttr

GAME DAY 7 @ HAYWARDS HEATH / 9TH AUGUST
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1611173889165316/
TICKETS (PAGE 1): http://www.brightonrockers.com/#!shop/cttr

PHOTOGRAPHS BY (WITH THANKS)
Royal Windsor v Seaside Sirens: Nick Smith
Bristol RD v Brighton Rockers: Warren Miller
Bristol v Portsmouth: Jason Ruffell http://www.roller-derby-on-film.co.uk/
Brighton v Windsor: Jason Ruffell http://www.roller-derby-on-film.co.uk/

British Champs UKRDA National South Day Two REPORT: Rockers v Sirens, LRR v Bristol

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There is a chance (albeit slim) that the Brighton Rockers could win this, their first British Championships game, 300-0. Considering that their much stronger than predicted opponents, Southend’s feisty Seaside Sirens, took a 98-68 lead into half time, this might seem mathematically impossible, but that’s not necessarily the case. Are the Rockers themselves aware of this potential outcome? We can’t help but notice several Brighton players, led by captain Swann, spending a few minutes in the half time break studying the penalty tracker boards. Is it their own accumulated trips to the naughty seats they’re looking at? Or Southend’s?
    If it’s the latter this would echo our own scrawled summary of the first period: “Sirens not playing clean enough for a team that has only rostered ten players.” That’s not to say the Essex side are playing a particularly penalty heavy game, just that these offences become much more of an issue when playing short. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, everyone on the roster plays an equal number of jams and picks up an equal number of penalties. For a team that has a squad of ten rather than fourteen players, average trips to the penalty box for each player go up by 40%. That means the chances of fouling out (for seven penalties) are 40% higher too.
    As it happens the Brighton Rockers are skating short today also, although their roster of twelve only equates to 16.66% above average penalty acquisition. The other important thing to note about a roster of ten, of course, is that this is only enough for two alternating line-ups. The first foul out means skaters will have to start regularly playing consecutive jams. This in turn increases the chances of them picking up more penalties, not just due to the extra track time but also increased tiredness. The net effect – as we’ve often seen when teams skate short – is ‘foul out dominoes’ as each consecutive departure increases the chance of another. So when, halfway through the second period, the Sirens’ imposing captain (and most effective blocker) Frocky Balboa takes the “walk of shame” into the crowd, we’re not expecting this to be Southend’s only foul out of the day…

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Sure enough, a few jams later, Tiny Temper joins her in the bleachers – well, actually, in the queue for the bar, but you know what we mean. A couple of jams further down the line and two more Sirens, Force Ten Gail and Bazooka Salt, foul out within seconds of each other. Like we said: dominoes. The six remaining Southend players will now be accumulating (even ignoring extra tiredness, etc) penalties at more than 2.3 times the rate of a squad of fourteen player. It will only take one more foul out from the Sirens to trigger WFTDA rule 8.2.7: “The Head Ref may declare a forfeit if a team has five or less players still eligible to participate in the game.”
    And what’s the British Champs tournament policy on a team forfeiting? As we understand it, the game is awarded to the opponents by a scoreline of 300-0, or if said opponent is already leading by more than 300, by that differential to nil. So, yes, it *is* technically possible that Brighton could win this game 300-0, even though the Southend league now have around 170 on the scoreboard. Or is it? As it happens, there’s only enough time left for one more jam, and the Sirens will finish with a squad of six, but would the possible forfeit have actually been enforced anyway? We check in with one of the referees the next day. He thinks the Head Ref would only really have imposed that (discretionary) WFTDA rulebook forfeit “if it became a safety issue, such as the remaining skaters being so tired they were causing a hazard to themselves or the other team.”
    We also check with Champs head office re the 300-0 rule. They confirm this is the case where a team elects to forfeit but they “will check” if it applies to an enforced forfeit. “It may not be something they’ve actually considered,” another referee suggests. One thing’s for certain: The Sirens are the latest in a long line of teams (including Brighton themselves on a few occasions) who should be grateful that UK derby is governed under the ruleset of WFTDA rather than its rival organisation, USARS. The rulebook of the latter states that a Head Ref MUST enforce a forfeit when a team is reduced to EIGHT players. Jeebers!

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After a somewhat smaller than expected crowd for the first UKRDA National South division game day (four weeks ago in Windsor), it’s reassuring to see that Newham Leisure Centre is packed to the gunnels for today’s action. Indeed, the crowd is a sold out capacity 300 and – despite LRR’s best efforts to publicise this fact via social media – many ticketless people will be turned away at the door. Technical problems are a common feature of roller derby events, but today’s are mostly related to the announcer’s radio mic giving up for large swathes of the opening game. It also takes us a while to spot the scoreboard, projected as it is at a jaunty angle above the bar, which is itself horrifyingly closed! Said bar’s eventual opening, during Brighton’s first team time out, raises one of the biggest cheers of the day, despite the initial 15-minute long booze queues.
    Out on track, some super tough defending from the cyan Sirens blockers sees the Southenders build up an early lead. A power jam nine for Force Ten Gail, followed by two five point passes for Pegasus as Dr Whooligan wrestles with the Essex walls, puts the Sirens 19-0 up early doors. Brighton sneak a couple of points on the board through ever sneaking (through packs) Kapow, but Southend are giving away very little here. Whooligan struggling to get past the forceful Gail, as Pegasus sits in the box, before she eventually makes it through for three passes. Big jam for Brighton there. 26-20 to the cyans as the bar opens and Mass Janeycide orders that black ‘T’.
    A recent addition to the Rockers jammer roster, Emma the Condemner is up against Ella Gnaw next, with both starheads spending much of the jam being dragged back around the track. Swann taking advantage of a short delay in proceedings to point out the number on her back and ‘C’ on her arm to the announcers, who have been under the impression that Kapow was captaining Brighton today. The Rockers cap taking heavy hits from her Southend counterpart now, on what is a very slippy track. The granite tough Frocky Balboa is proving a tough obstacle for all the Sussex starheads here, with the likes of Hairy Fairy and Emma having to run regular offence against her to help them through.

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Tiny Temper, Gail and Hell de Jour are amongst the standout blockers in these sturdy Sirens packs, with jammers Ella, Gail, Temper and Pegasus edging up the lead for the Essex league. Possibly more photographers here than we’ve ever seen at a domestic derby game, or maybe LRR’s hi-vis media tabards just makes them stand out more? Still, there’s a good eight or nine here, supping on their teas in the half time break. What is the collective noun for a group of photographers anyway? An “exposure of…”? A “composition of…”? Back in the bleachers, the atmosphere is fairly flat for this opening game, with the exception of a small cluster of Sirens fans and a similarly sized cluster of Rockers fans (largely Brighton rookies) in the bleachers.
    One of the Sussex fans gets told off for being too loud by someone sat nearby. She’s not being loud, she’s being Canadian – admittedly this is largely the same thing. Ironically, the complainant will be far louder himself during his team Bristol’s game. Other noisy support for Brighton coming from the Rockers merch table, which includes one Gin Atomic among its staff. She can’t play today for red tape reasons, but should be joining the Sussex roster for the rest of their Champs campaign. The Rockers get off to a flyer at the start of the second period, with Chariot Sophia jamming in 27 points versus 12 from Gail to cut the deficit in half. 95-110 now. Swann, Whooligan and Emma all follow this with scoring jams of their own to trigger the game’s first lead change. It’s 125-122 in Brighton’s favour now as a knock to Swann sees a short pause in the action.
    The Rockers are bagging lead jammer status far more often in this half, having only managed a handful in the first period. Hairy, Swann, Emma, Whooligan and Sophia amongst those putting in good defensive stints for the Sussex side, but a jamming penalty call on the last of these sees Southend regain the initiative to go 131-125 ahead. Kapow then Whooligan as the lead switches back to Brighton. 141-135, 150-149 now. Rockers time out and the Sussex squad are building up a head of steam. Slippery starhead Sophia looks to have taken lead, but she’s off for an elbow instead. Gail against Swann, the former taking the points. Lead change again! The crowd would probably be getting more excited by all this epicness if the announcer’s mic was working. Sirens now 156-150 ahead and there’s an official time out. Refs and NSOs confer. Look at the penalty board. Frocky Balboa leaves the box… and the game.

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It’s difficult to ascertain exactly what impact their captain’s departure has on the Southend league’s play. What we do know for sure is that the ever impressive Dr Whooligan (BRATS 2014 Player of the Year) racks up a whopping 27 points for Brighton in the next jam, as the game’s fifth and final lead change sees the Rockers go 177-160 ahead. Sirens still not giving up. Feisty jamming from Gail, followed by a penalty box switcheroo with Emma. Swann side-surfing her way both into and out of trouble. The Essex side aren’t just playing roller derby now, though. They’re also playing FOD (foul out dominoes) and the resulting procession of departures is accompanied by a widening points gap, with the final whistle sounding on a 253-175 Sussex victory.
    The numerically disadvantaged Southend side certainly shouldn’t be downhearted by such a result though. They fared around thirty points better than the pre-game predictions suggested. Both these sides are at transitional points in their history, with the Sirens having lost a number of players – some to the newly bouting Killa Hurtz of Chelmsford – over the past year or so. Similarly, the Rockers line-up in today’s programme differs greatly from the players Brighton actually have available at present, with at least three of these currently on a break from derby. Said programme also suggests that Bexorcist was line-up manager for both these teams, and that a penalty box visit still lasts one minute, which certainly explains a few puzzled looks at wristwatches from derby virgins in the crowd today.
    Still, these are very small niggles for what is a typically well organised LRR game day, which even features awards (Crowd Favourite) voted for by the fans in attendance. Swann picks this up for Brighton, with the Sirens gong going to Hell de Jour. The Rockers select Force Ten Gail as Southend’s best jammer, with Tiny Temper best blocker and Ella Gnaw as MVP. The Essex side dole out their awards to Brighton’s Kapow (jammer), Hairy Fairy (blocker) and Chariot Sophia (MVP). We barely have chance to get our breath back before hosts London Rockin’ Rollers and opponents Bristol Roller Derby take to track for the day’s second game…

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We weren’t expecting their fans to be quite so loud. Sure, LRR have something of a reputation for rowdy supporters, and their fans do form the majority of those in the hall today. The thing is, we’re not talking about the LRR fans here, but Bristol’s. A cluster of a thirty or more who are waving signs, shouting encouragement and puncturing the air with rousing chants of “BRD” for much of this second game. The announcers are trying to rally the local support, telling them they can’t remember LRR being out-sung like this at home before, but as loud as the London fans get, the very vocal Bristol contingent “take it up to eleven” (to paraphrase Spinal Tap). As away fans in any sport go, they’re pretty damn awesome.
    This support is even more impressive given that BRD are in the lead for approximately two minutes of the entire game. This is from the point Delta Strike (up against Jack Attack in the opening jam) takes a single pass and call, until roughly halfway through jam three, which sees a typically blistering-paced charge from Beat Girl, whose 19 point haul gives the Londoners a 22-10 lead. “BRD, BRD, BRD…!” Jacks, Beat and captain Rammit form the core of the LRR Allstars’ small but highly experienced jammer rotation, and the Bristol side are finding them difficult to contain. Long-time Harbour Harlots captain Black Thorn is at the heart of a tough BRD defence – sending Beat to ground on the inside of the track, then seconds later on the outside – but the LRR starheads are an ever resilient bunch.
    Raven Lunatic, Ophelia Pain, Lil Miss Bloodlust, Delta and Til Thrillster forming the major part of the Harlots rotation here. Or the Bristol Roller Derby A-team rotation, that is to say, with the Harbour Harlots name seemingly soon retired, along with the accompanying kit, which is being worn for the last time today. Thrillster pulls it back to 53-64 for BRD as the South Westerners call a team time out. There’s solid blocking here from the likes of The Blizzard, E-Z Roller, Gremilyn, Vile Shadow and others for Bristol. The home team have plenty of super tough blockers of their own on show, though, such as Rebel Rebel, Flash Bang Wallop, Betty Swollox and the ever terrifying Von Bitch.

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Delta puts in a single pass to take BRD within five points of the Allstars. 80-75 to the latter in points scored. 11-8 to the former in lead jammer statuses gained. LRR jammers chasing Bristol’s down too quickly for them to gain much advantage from those extra leads though. Home pack holding Ophelia back really well as the rampant Rammit spins in three passes without reply. A penalty call at the whistle sees the visiting jammer start the next one in the box, with Jack Attack putting 17 points on the board as the Londoners build some breathing space. It’s 111-77 (which must equate to something brutal in the roller derby drinking game) at half time.
    Two jammer penalties in the first jam of the second period against Delta, and the Somerset (or Gloucestershire or Avon or Wessex or Unitary Authority, depending on what year your map was made) side are starting to slip further behind now. Beat Girl takes fifteen without reply to put LRR up 151-86. Both teams rostering a full fourteen here, so even if the penalties pick up – as they are starting to now, with both teams beginning the next jam with two blockers seated – the risk of foul out dominoes is pretty low here. Rammit dancing through on the outside line, jamming in twenty without reply, as Von Bitch repeatedly introduces Bloodlust to her shoulder.
    Bristol fans chanting Delta’s name, then E-Z’s. Jacks spectacularly taken out mid apex jump by one of the BRD blockers, but the home side are picking up LJ status with more consistency now. Rebel Rebel struggles with some extra tough defending from the Bristolians, passing the star to Obnoxious Li now as the clock ticks down. The London pivot passes through the pack with star in hand rather than on head, and BRD take the jam 8-0. The crowd has thinned out considerably now, as often happens at double headers – some people have homes to go to, apparently. 18-15 to LRR in lead jammer statuses (statii?) currently as Demolition Darcy and Swollox chip in with great defence for Jacks to crank it up to 224-150. Home side one shy of 50% more points than their opponents with only enough time for one more jam now. Can Bristol keep it below that 50%? Beat v Ophelia. Ophelia takes lead. Passes the star to Black Thorn to cheers from the Brizzle crowd. Black Thorn on a scoring pass. Then another. Beat Girl is scoring too though. The final whistle sounds.

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LRR have taken the win 235-164. We make that 43% more points than Bristol. Certainly less than the 50% we’re sure no-one but us was hunched over a calculator watching out for at the end. It’s considerably less than the predicted margin of victory, which suggested around a 2:1 differential in favour of the Londoners, so BRD have much to be proud of from their opening game in British Champs. Til Thrillster takes the Crowd Favourite award for them, with Beat Girl picking up the one for LRR’s Allstars. The Bristol side pick out Jack Attack as the home team’s best jammer, with Betty Swollox as best blocker and Rebel Rebel MVP. LRR give their awards to Bristol’s Thrillster (jammer), Black Thorn (blocker) and Blizzard (MVP).
    In a controversial move, we BRATS swerve today’s official after party. Largely because it’s a roller disco. Even three months of lessons from the head coach of Team GB’s national figure [roller] skating squad have left us unable to skate a single stride (“talk to your doctor about flat feet” was his parting shot) so donning wheels now, after ten cans of beer, would be a huge recipe for disaster. Instead we jump on a bus and hold our own unofficial after party in LRR’s usual venue, a former local of ours, the King Eddy in Stratford. There is much Jägermeister drunk and indecipherable notes are stared at, whilst grumpy pet owners refuse to let us attempt a “human pyramid of dogs”.
    So where next for the Tier 2 UKRDA National South Division then? Geographically speaking, this show moves 32 miles down the A13 to a leisure centre near Southend. Royal Windsor take on the hosting Sirens on March 21st, knowing that a big win (by 160+ points) will see Windsor leapfrog LRR to top the table, whilst the Essex side will be hoping for a first Champs win of their own. The day’s other game sees the mighty Brighton Rockers (who currently place third, not far behind RWRG on points difference) taking on today’s impressive Bristol team in what we feel will be one of the best match-ups of the tournament. We’ll have a full preview of said National South Day Three online in a couple of weeks, and we hope to see as many Rockers fans as possible there on the day – if only to tell that bloke from Bristol to keep his voice down!

[Photos by John Hesse]

THINGS YOU CAN CLICK ON:
FB PAGE FOR DAY THREE @ SOUTHEND MAR 21ST
TICKETS FOR DAY THREE @ SOUTHEND MAR 21ST
BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS WEBSITE
BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS FB PAGE

British Champs UKRDA National South Day Two Preview: LRR v Bristol & Rockers v Sirens

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February 2015 is dominated by three important Saturdays in a row for the mighty Brighton Rockers roller derby league. On the Saturday before last (7th) they staged their first home double header in two years, with half a dozen Brighton players making their public debuts as part of a mixed opener, before the A-team All-Stars took on a Team Dragon side bolstered by a number of international derby stars. You can find our full report on those events in a clickable link at the bottom of this preview.
    The following Saturday was more symbolic than participatory, with 14th February 2015 marking the official Fifth Birthday of the Brighton league, who were founded on Valentine’s Day 2010 in the Lion & Lobster pub. It’s perhaps in keeping with the notion of half a decade’s derby history that this Saturday coming (21st) sees the Rockers take on the Seaside Sirens. Brighton’s first ever public bout/game was away to this Southend league back in 2011, and the result that day remains the Rockers’ biggest margin of victory to date.
    Saturday’s game is all the more symbolic for marking Brighton’s first appearance in British Championships. This tournament makes its debut in 2015, having grown out of the largely regional Heartland Series tournies. A whopping 72 women’s leagues are taking part, divided into thirteen divisions in four tiers. (There’s also a three division men’s tournament.) The Rockers are competing in the chunkily named ‘Tier 2 UKRDA National South’. This is one of two divisions that form the second tier, its members all hoping for promotion to the very top Premier Division above.
    You’ll find links at the end of this piece to a brief preview of all seven Nat South game days (from the online version of our fanzine) as well as a full report on Game Day One. This took place on the 24th January. Brighton and Bristol sat the day out, with hosts Royal Windsor beating Portsmouth (those two sides are sitting out this Saturday) before the London Rockin’ Rollers took a big win over the Seaside Sirens. LRR are hosting this Saturday’s event, which is taking place at Newham Leisure Centre in East London.
    Doors are at 2pm, with Brighton v Sirens at 2.30pm and LRR v Bristol around 4.30pm. The games are followed by a roller disco after party (free entry and skate hire to Champs attendees) that goes on to a very nocturnal 2am. Tickets are £12 in advance or £15 on the door, with cheaper tickets for children and family groups – see the links below to buy online. Travel wise, the District line is closed east of Aldgate. Thameslink trains have resumed stopping at London Bridge at weekends though, so people travelling up from Brighton by public transport are advised to change there for the Jubilee Line to Canning Town, from whence a 300 bus will ‘whisk’ you to the venue.
    The leisure centre is sandwiched between schools, parkland, a hospital and the A13. Although there are a couple of shops and a caff, the nearest pubs are a good mile away along the Barking Road, off New Barn Street or back in Canning Town. These tend to be a little rough ‘n’ ready, and the pubs we’d especially recommend lie even further afield (eg in Stratford or East Ham) thus too far from the venue to really be practical. Therefore we suggest making full use of the bar in the sports hall itself instead. Hell yeah! OK, time to fire up the statsometer…

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RANKINGS AND PREDICTIONS
The London Rockin’ Rollers kicked off their Champs campaign with a big win over the Sirens last month. LRR currently place 12th in UKRDA on 634.3 ranking points. Saturday’s opponents Bristol Roller Derby haven’t played an open door A-team game since winning at Liverpool in November. The Harbour Harlots lie in 25th place (the lowest ranked side in the division, for what it’s worth) with 571.2 points. These two sides haven’t met on track before, and the predictometer at flattrackstats gives the home side a whopping 94% chance of taking the win here. The expected differential of 44:21 in the Londoners’ favour would equate to a typical derby scoreline in the region of 264-126.
    Whilst using UKRDA rankings for a UKRDA sanctioned tournament seems logical, we’ve run these match-ups through the prediction machine using the European rankings too. Here LRR rank 21st on 663.5 points, whilst Bristol are 44th on 605.0. (Brighton, meanwhile, place 27th – below several teams they rank higher than in UKRDA – on 649.1, with the Seaside Sirens 53rd on 592.9.) The Euro prediction for this game is a tiny bit kinder to the Bristol side, giving the Rockin’ Rollers Allstars a 93% victory chance on a 2:1 differential, eg a 250-125 LRR win. Bristol will be looking to prove the prediction computer wrong on all counts here.
    Moving on to the day’s opening game, the Sirens dropped a few places after last month’s Champs defeat. They currently sit 23rd in UKRDA with 643.6 points. Brighton’s only game so far this year was the recent home defeat to Team Dragon. The Dragons included one Tiny Temper in their ranks, and she’ll be facing the Rockers again just two weeks later in the colours of Southend. Will meeting Brighton with the Dragons have helped her recce the Sussex jammers for the Sirens? Or will the Rockers take advantage of gaining insight into one of SSRG’s top blockers? Hmmm…
    Either way, Brighton currently place 10th in UKRDA on 643.3 points. Splitting the difference between home and away predictions (as there’s no neutral option) gives them 90% chance of the win, with a 51:27 differential equating to something like a 255-135 Brighton win. A prediction based on European rankings is slightly less emphatic, giving Brighton 87% chance and a 56:33 (eg 224-132) differential. Given the current transitional nature of the Rockers squad, a result that differs from these predictions wouldn’t come as a huge surprise. Still, that’s enough of the confusing statistics. Now let’s hear from players from all four of the teams taking part on Saturday…

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2.30PM: BRIGHTON ROCKERS V SEASIDE SIREN ROLLER GIRLS

DR WHOOLIGAN & DERBY McGEE – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

Are the Rockers looking forward to the challenge of taking part in the first ever British Championships? What are you hoping for from the season?
We’re looking forward to it a lot. We know that every paper or magazine we’ve spoken to about derby always asks where we are in the league, so it will be nice to finally have an answer! It’s also a great excuse to get to know the other Southern teams better on and off the track. We’re obviously hoping for straight wins across the board, but failing that, we hope that every game is hard fought and helps us improve the skills and plays we are working towards perfecting.

Your only previously experience of tournament play was at the UKRDA Southern tournament at Alexandra Palace in 2013. Obviously these are very different tournaments – that one was over a weekend, this one’s over a year – but is there anything you learned from Ally Pally that you’ll carry over to Champs?

Work on your fitness! I (Whooligan) personally only played one day of that Southern tournament and that was enough. We are all working hard to up our endurance for the Champs season.

You kick off your Champs campaign against the Seaside Sirens in Newham on Saturday. Last time you played the Southend side you won by 265 points. What are your expectations this time around?
The previous Sirens match was a great early game for us. We played with a squad of nine and won. However, that was a long time ago and a lot has changed for both teams. Champs is a really exciting tournament which we’re proud to be in. As we’ve just entered the WFTDA Apprentice Program, we’re planning ahead for the whole year – so we won’t be focusing on this game as an individual match, but as the start of how we develop as a team over 2015.

This month’s game against Team Dragon featured a much changed Brighton side. Care to predict the result of the Sirens game or that of the following LRR v Bristol match?
Playing the Dragons was a great way to start 2015 and turning five years old was a big achievement we’re really proud of. The Sirens are an awesome league and we love those ladies. It’s gonna be a cracking game. They’ve got a lot of really talented, experienced players, and plenty of big personalities. We’re also looking forward to the LRR v Bristol game afterwards. We’ve played both recently and will be rooting for some great derby, as well as obviously scoping out two upcoming opponents!

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ELLA GNAW – SEASIDE SIREN ROLLER GIRLS

Your first British Champs game saw defeat to LRR. Are there any particular things you feel you learnt from that game that will be useful for the rest of the tournament? What are your hopes and aims for the Champs season?
Taking on LRR again so soon after playing and beating them by a mere three points was always going to be fun and a challenge! But as Sirens we went in knowing that we would fight for every point that we put on the scoreboard. It was a very fun game to play. The LRR team are brilliant opponents and it will be great to see them taking to the track against Bristol on Saturday. The Sirens have grown from strength to strength throughout the last two years and fought hard last year to climb the rankings thanks to the hard coaching from our team members. So for us, entering the Champs was just the next step and a new goal to strive towards. It’s exciting taking part in a tournament and watching all the competing teams grow and adjust as it progresses.

You’re up against the Brighton Rockers on Saturday. We believe you’ve only played them once before and that was almost four years ago. Presumably a lot has changed since then?
When we played the Rockers in Southend all them years ago it was our second open door bout and, if I remember correctly, their first ever open door. What a game, it was an eye opener for the team! The play was fast, so fast, and this rematch will be very interesting. Generally speaking, the game of roller derby has slowed down since then and become about taking off speed in order to control the jammer. There has been that complete shift in gameplay, and also both leagues’ rosters have changed too. We will do what we always do; keep our heads up, keep calm and fight for every point we put on the board!

Finally, the day’s other game sees hosts LRR take on Bristol Roller Derby. Any players people should keep an eye out for in that game?
Well, for Game Day One we gave our awards to LRR’s Deadly Devito (best blocker), Jessica Rammit (best jammer) and Jack Attack (MVP). They were all brilliant on the day!

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4.30PM: LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS v BRISTOL ROLLER DERBY

JESSICA RAMMIT & BEAT GIRL – LRR ALLSTARS

This weekend sees the London Rockin’ Rollers hosting a British Champs double header. What encouraged you as a league to take part in this tournament?
We were approached by the organisers last year and were very interested in an event that would unify UK roller derby. Usually we have to organise several bouts throughout the year to play against UK teams and this event gave us the huge opportunity to play against several similarly ranked UK teams and gain further tournament experience in the process. As it’s also UKRDA recognised that’s another bonus. The London Rockin’ Rollers Allstars are aiming high and want to move up more in the rankings in 2015. This will help pave the way for our bigger plans in 2016.

You got off to a flyer against the Seaside Sirens on Jan 24th and now sit strongly on top of the table with +210 points differential. What do you attribute that big win too? Do you think your experience of tournaments in general (more than most other UK sides) was a factor? Who stood out for the Sirens?

Our last tournament was at SKOD in May 2014 and we have played a lot more games since then. We are attributing this win to training really hard. It was a re-match since we last played the Sirens in September 2014. SSRG won that one 150-147, so we were determined to come out on top this time. The Rockers need to look out for captain Frocky Balboa, who is a solid player at the centre of every Sirens wall, and Tiny Temper for her speedy drag backs.

Your Game Day Two opponents are Bristol Roller Derby. Are we right in thinking you’ve never played them before? What do you know about the Bristol side? Any particular players or tactics people should look out for?
The London Rockin’ Rollers B-team, the Badasses, recently faced the Bristol Bees in a closed door bout, but you’re right, our A-teams have never played each other before. From what we know about Bristol we are expecting it to be a close match. We might have the odd trick up our sleeve, but we don’t want to spoil any surprises before the day.

Finally, for the benefit of those travelling up to the event, can you tell us a bit about your venue? What can we expect from the roller disco after party? And is it true that LRR have the rowdiest home fans in UK derby?

The audience at Newham Leisure Centre can choose between sitting on the raised bleachers for a great view of the track or get close to the action on the floor in the suicide seating area. Bring cash if you plan to buy tickets on the door, shop the merch stalls or buy food and drink at the venue as there are no card facilities available. The bar at the venue sells tinned beer, cider, soft drinks and snacks. There are a couple of newsagents nearby in case the audience manage to drink the bar dry! For the after party we have partnered with Skating Haven who hold regular roller discos at the leisure centre. Skate hire is included in the Championships ticket price, so we hope lots of the audience will be staying to party with us. Yes, our fans never fail to cheer the loudest! An after party rarely passes without a gravity defying human pyramid from the LRR fans.

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RAVEN LUNATIC – BRISTOL HARBOUR HARLOTS

What aspects of British Champs encouraged Bristol to take part in the tournament? What are your hopes, expectations and aims for this 2015 Champs season?
The great city of Bristol had to be represented in Britain’s first nationwide roller derby tournament and we actually have two teams in the competition; our women’s A-team and our men’s team, Vice Quad. The Championships have given us a real focus as a league and we are all really excited to be taking part. In 2014, our A-team went through some fairly big changes, with some old favourites retiring or producing the next generation of derby talent. Our new A-team has been together a few months now and we’ve a great balance of experienced players, alongside some newer (but really strong and developing) skaters. Competing in Tier 2 South of the Championships is a huge privilege. We’ll be up against some of the best teams in the South, so we are expecting it to be tough, but it will be an amazing experience and will really help develop us as team.

Your first Champs game is away to the current divisional leaders LRR. Do you know much about the London side? Any particular players or tactics the crowd should look out for?
LRR is a huge game for us to open with, but we are fully prepared and ready for the challenge. We’ve never met on the track before but our B-team have played their Bs a couple of times, so we have an idea of their style of play. We’re obviously aware that the Allstars have some outstanding players who we will be keeping a close eye on. But Bristol can also boast a couple of skaters who attended the World Cup in Dallas in December so keep an eye out for The Blizzard (Team Finland) and Da Silva Surfer (Team Portugal). Other crowd pleasers are team captain, Black Thorn, and the understated but immensely fierce EZ Roller.

Finally, the day’s other game sees the Brighton Rockers take on the Seaside Sirens. How do you see that one going?
We played the Sirens a few years ago but we’re guessing that the team looks very different now, so we don’t have much insight into their game. We’ve obviously had the enormous pleasure of lining up against the Rockers on a couple of occasions and so are more familiar with the strength and tenacity of the Brighton athletes. Although we understand their current squad is much changed too, so anything could happen!

[Brighton v Bristol photos by John Hesse. LRR v Sirens photos by Mindy Cherry Photography.]

THINGS YOU CAN CLICK ON:
FACEBOOK PAGE FOR SATURDAY’S CHAMPS EVENT

BUY TICKETS FOR SATURDAY’S CHAMPS EVENT
READ OUR REPORT ON T2 SOUTH GAME DAY ONE
READ OUR REPORT ON BRIGHTON V TEAM DRAGON
CHECK OUT OUR FULL CHAMPS PREVIEW (PAGES 16-18)
BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS WEBSITE

SKATING HAVEN ROLLER DISCO
MINDY CHERRY PHOTOGRAPHY

British Championships UKRDA National South Division: Game Day One report

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This year sees the launch of the UK’s first nationwide roller derby tournament. British Champs features a total of 72 women’s teams split into a pyramid of thirteen divisions. (There’s also a twelve team men’s tournament.) The mighty Brighton Rockers are competing one tier below the very top division, in what’s called the UKRDA National South. The first of their seven divisional game days took place a few days ago (Sat 24th Jan) in Windsor, and BRATS were there to watch the tournament get underway. The Rockers themselves – along with Bristol Roller Derby – weren’t taking part in this first game day, but it presented a great opportunity to check out four of Brighton’s upcoming opponents, as well as to to get an early taste of Champs in general…

Windsor is posh. Very posh. From the moment we detrain – and yeah, we’re quite posh ourselves, we use words like ‘detrain’ – at Riverside station until the moment we depart, we’re forever expecting someone to tap us on the shoulder and say: “now now, you really shouldn’t be here should you?” Nobody does. Instead they seek to disconcert us by being almost obsequiously polite. Hammering back pre-derby Jägermeisters in the Wetherspoons opposite the Castle, the bar staff insist on constantly referring to us as ‘Sir’. Back in Brighton, the only time anyone calls us ‘sir’ is when we’re being arrested. We’re on more familiar ground when we reach the derby venue itself. The suburban leisure centres that host this awesome sport – from Reykjavik to Rio, Wellington to Windsor – are all reassuringly much of a muchness inside. Wherever you encounter a left-open turnstile, a paper sign taped to it shouting out ‘roller derby’ in 120-point Impact font above an arrow; the semi-distant sound of clacking wheels, the semi-distant smell of cupcakes… you know you’re on safe ground.

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The Royal Windsor Roller Girls have hosted both the most chaotic and the most low-key derby events we’ve ever been to. The former being those Sur5al all-dayers where fifteen different sets of garishly coloured skaters and fans flit in and around every corner of the hall, like dayglo mosquitoes at an 80s beach party. The latter was an RWRG intraleague in Staines where we were amongst just four [£2] paying customers. Today’s event, not unnaturally, lies somewhere between the two extremes. Perhaps a smaller crowd at the moment than we might have been expecting, but there was a fairly late change of hosts for what [alongside today’s Tier 3 event in Halifax] is the first day of the whole women’s tournament. Of course the calendar year itself is still in its early stages, and much of the UK derby community sees January (events wise) the same way BRATS see midday on a Sunday. Yeah, we know it exists – for other people.

A few things suggest this event may have come a little early in the year for the hosts. There are photocopied rather than printed programmes, replete with white borders and hand folding. The projector screen scoreboard is notably small, although it’s supplemented by a delightfully old school (cricket pavilion-esque) numbers on cards version. Most gallingly of all, there doesn’t seem to be a bar here, nor any form of after party. Or at least they’re not telling *us* where the bar or after party are. [Heck, someone was going to act on that memo eventually.] Everything’s fully and awesomely present and correct on track though, and the hosts are up first against Portsmouth Roller Wenches. Not many skaters from the second game in the crowd as the opener gets underway – there are a bunch of London Rockin’ Rollers around, but it seems most of Southend’s Seaside Sirens will be arriving fashionably late today.

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There’s a star pass in the very first jam for the Wenches. Recipient RIP McMurphy is likely to be a key player for Pompey today, with Royal Windsor very much the favourites in this game. (The hosts currently rank 10th in the UKRDA, whilst defeat to Manchester at Tattoo Freeze has seen PRW drop to 19th.) Fairly evenly matched in the early stages though, with Cle-Blam-O, Vix and the rangy Sutton starclad for Windsor; Psyclone DestroyHer, Nina Nunchucks and RIP taking early jamming opportunities for the Wenches. First few jams have been incredibly light on penalties, but now McMurphy and pivot Awesome Wells are both off for Portsmouth. Cle-Blam-O making the most of the opportunity to give Windsor a foothold on the game. 38-5 to the hosts. Wenches clawing some back now, but the Berkshire pack is proving resilient. Trashbag in particular has the navy blue jammers pegged well back. The granite strong RWRG blocker was recently called up as a reserve netminder for Team GB ice hockey, the announcers announce. If three inch rubber pucks can’t get past her, what chance do the Pompey starheads have?

Both teams employing very fast packs for much of this game, although things turn completely stationary for a long 15 seconds as McMurphy and the off-track Sutton stare each other down in a recycling standoff. An official time out shortly afterwards sees the PRW line-up challenge Windsor’s to a Cotton Eye Joe hoedown-off. Portsmouth win this, but the game itself is slipping away from them a little here. Great on-the-whistle apex jump of pretty much the entire left side of track from Psyclone, but the Wenches are picking up the majority of an increasing tally of penalty calls. It’s 115-68 to Windsor at the half time break. Having been unable to find a bar on site, we decide to see if it’s possible to run the length of Alexandra Park, neck a pint and shot in Wetherspoons, and make it back through the park in time for the second half. Short answer: No. The scoreboard reads 146-77 on our return. PoiSin Cherry is on a power jam for Windsor now. She has more experience of a tournament like this than most on track – having featured prominently for Basingstoke Bullets in last year’s Heartland Series – and must be relishing making her RWRG debut against fellow Hampshirians.

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Portsmouth captain the Duchess of Crutches battling to hold the Wenches packs together as Windsor’s strong jammer rotation continue to edge up the lead. Halcyon Daze, T-Wrecks and Wheelma Flintstone amongst the standout blockers for the navy blues, but the home town defence – particularly Riley Cyrus, Melvin, Muscle Crowe and the ever terrifying Trashbag – are giving it back with interest. The strength of the RWRG packs forcing a number of star passes and jammer penalties from the navy blues, but Pompey hit the ton mark with Windsor around 75 ahead. The Royals react in the best way possible, with the likes of Vix, Cherry and captain Cle chalking up 50 without reply. 230-104. About six minutes left. Wenches try to take advantage of a PJ but the Windsor pack are giving away very few points here. A few (mostly short) jams and a final whistle follow. Windsor’s 252-130 win roughly matches pre-game expectations – the differential is a little smaller than a prediction based on UKRDA rankings, but a little bigger than the Euro prediction – and RWRG top the table after the first game of National South. There’s still another fourteen divisional games to go, of course, with the first of those in just 30 minutes time…

It turns out that what wasn’t possible during half time *is* possible during the break between games, and we get back from ‘spoons suitably refreshed in time for the second game’s skateouts. The sizable and stylish London Rockin’ Rollers travelling support seem equally refreshed, but don’t they always? Seaside Sirens 3-0 ahead after a quick hit-and-quit first jam. A relentless tide of scoring passes from the LRR starclads follows, with Jack Attack, Beat Girl and captain Rammit building up a hefty London lead. It’s 54-4 with less than ten minutes gone as the steaming Rollers flatten their Essex opposition. Von Bitch and Betty Swollox particularly effective in the red packs, both rocking in a lot of offence to sweep Sirens out of the London starheads’ way. Killer Bite is probably Southend’s most threatening jammer at the moment, but she – along with the likes of Ella Gnaw, Force Ten Gail and Pegasus – is finding it punishing going against the LRR packs. 114-7 says the scoreboard now. A far cry from the previous time these two teams met, four months ago in Southend, when the Essex side edged the game 150-147.

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The Rockin’ Rollers have a lot more experience of tournaments (albeit weekend ones) than the vast majority of UK leagues, and they’re clearly aiming to get off to a flyer in British Champs. Despite the best defensive efforts of Sirens captain Frocky Balboa, WhoRae, Hell De Jour, Gail, Gnaw and more, the LRR jammers bag almost every lead status and continue wreaking havoc… Jacks grinning to the Rockin’ Rollers fans on scoring passes, as is her way… Rammit going jammer on jammer to edge off rival starheads… Beat Girl, arguably London’s most effective starclad in this first half, proving as sprightly as a truck full of Sprite… Rebel Rebel starring up to good effect too… With 216-65 on the board at the interval, the Sirens will need a miracle to pull this one back, and it’s not to be. Southend do actually fare a bit better in the second period, but whilst Pegasus, Bite and Gnaw are bagging a fair few leads, tough blocking from Flash Bang Wallop, Deadly Devito, VB and others keeps the Essex jammers from profiting much. Final score: London Rockin’ Rollers 372, Seaside Sirens 162. Slightly more than double the predicted differential.

So LRR sit atop the table after the first National South game day, their +210 differential putting them above fellow victors Windsor on +122. The Rockin’ Rollers have a great chance to further cement their top spot later this month. Not only are LRR hosting the event on Saturday 21st February, but they’re taking on Bristol Roller Derby – the lowest ranked side in the division – whilst second place Windsor don’t have a game. The day’s other match-up sees the mighty Brighton Rockers kick off their own campaign. The Sussex side will be hoping to take a leaf out of LRR’s book as they face off against the Seaside Sirens. All this awesome action is taking place at Newham Leisure Centre, a short bus ride from Plaistow tube (easily accessible from Sussex by jumping the District line at Victoria or Blackfriars). Tickets are £12 in advance (£6 kids) from the link below, with doors at 2pm, derby from 2.30-6pm and a roller disco after party to follow. ‘Bring it!’ as they say.

[Photos by Mindy Cherry Photography]

LINKS
BRITISH CHAMPS: http://www.britishchamps.com/
CHAMPS FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/BritishRollerDerbyChamps
CHAMPS TWITTER: https://twitter.com/BritChampsLIVE
21ST FEB FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1376880975944236/
21ST FEB TICKETS: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/306219
MINDY CHERRY PHOTOGRAPHY: https://www.facebook.com/mindycherryphotography

NATIONAL SOUTH TEAMS
BRIGHTON ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
ROCKIN’ ROLLERS: http://londonrockinrollers.co.uk/
SEASIDE SIRENS: http://www.seasidesirenrollergirls.com/
BRISTOL RD: http://www.bristolrollerderby.com/
PORTSMOUTH: http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/
ROYAL WINDSOR: http://windsorrollergirls.com/

Auld Reekie v Brighton bout preview

drr1v2ARRG v BRRD: THE BOUT
On Saturday the 26th of October the mighty Brighton Rockers face arguably the biggest challenge in their history. They’ll be taking on the multiple award winning and majorly feared Auld Reekie Roller Girls on the latter’s own well defended Edinburgh turf [for turf read polished wood]. The Scottish side hold first place in the recently released (first ever) official UK Roller Derby Association quarterly rankings. Brighton place seventh, but go into the bout on a high having last month beaten third place Leeds Roller Dolls in Haywards Heath.
    The bout takes place at Meadowbank Sports Centre, which is located on the A1 (London Road) around two miles East of Waverley station and well served by Lothian buses. “Our bouting venue is pretty large with plenty of seating,” ARRG’s Double D’Struction tells us. “We’ll have a great vendor village with fantastic cakes (seriously the eats on this stall are not to be missed), merch, crafts from Edinburgh’s craftiest ladies and gents and we usually have stalls with skate stuff too. We definitely recommend bring along some cash because you really won’t want to miss the cake. Unfortunately there is no bar because of the licensing law constraints but we do go to the pub after where the drinking will commence with gusto!”
    Tickets, priced at a super reasonable £5.95 (including booking fee) and free for under-14s are available from the link below.
TICKETS: http://arrg.co.uk/events/event/twisted-thistles-vs-brighton-rockers/
VENUE: http://www.edinburghleisure.co.uk/venues/meadowbank-sports-centre/facilities
BUSES: http://lothianbuses.com/

ARRG v BRRD: OTHER INFO
Recommending air travel may not please the environmental lobby, but it works out cheaper than the train. The latter is £127 from London (plus whatever it costs to get to the capital) and takes going on for five hours, six plus from Sussex. Depending on what days and times you plan to travel, at the time of writing you can fly return from Gatwick starting at around £100 on Easyjet with British Airways a tenner or so more. We heartily recommend BA by the way, as it’s one of the few airlines in the world still offering unlimited free booze on domestic economy flights. [Psst, sit near the front so you get served first; it’s only a short flight and six double vodka and cokes each is the best we’ve managed, but that more than covers the price differential over Easyjet.] Skyscanner is the best bet for comparing flight prices.
    Hotel-wise, Trip Advisor remains the go-to place for comparing the various booking websites (booking.com, hotel.com, lastminute, expedia, etc) and their few pence of price difference. As you’d expect for such a hugely popular tourist destination, the central area – Old Town, New Town, Haymarket – is pretty pricey, around £100 a night being standard. Edinburgh’s not a huge place though, being about twice the size of Brighton & Hove, so even the suburbs rarely put you more than 20-30 minutes bus/drive away from the centre. You can pick up rooms in B&Bs from about £40 in the suburbs. There are also a number of centrally located dorm-room hostels.
    Can’t afford to travel up? Can’t get the time off work? Doing something else that Saturday? Whilst excuses for not travelling all the way up to Edinburgh to cheer on the Rockers may be acceptable, there’s no excuse for not doing the next best thing. The Sunday beforehand (20th October) the Rockers host a pub quiz at Brighton’s Cornerstone, a derby friendly pub at the bottom of Lewes Road and Elm Grove. It’s £3 entry with a maximum five in a team, there’s a school night friendly 6pm start, and all proceeds go towards the Rockers’ Edinburgh travel fund. So while you’re waiting for Brighton’s next bout on home wood (against Central City on November 23rd), get your thinking caps on and take on your favourite skaters in a quiz. See the link for details.
FLIGHTS: http://www.skyscanner.net/
HOTELS: http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/
OCT 20TH PUB QUIZ: https://www.facebook.com/events/208697702642275/

drr1v1INTERVIEW: DOUBLE D’STRUCTION (ARRG)
Can you give us a summary of ARRG’s history and achievements to date, and your future plans? We’ve been together since April 2008 and recently celebrated our fifth birthday. In those years we’ve grown from a group of women meeting up to talk about derby into a full WFTDA member league with over 80 members. We have two travel teams: The Twisted Thistles and The Cannon Belles; three home teams: The Leithal Weapons, Cherry Bombers and The Skatefast Club, and a stellar referee and NSO crew. We’re currently first in the UKRDA rankings and after the Brighton bout, and our School of ARRG Knocks 2 bootcamp on 23rd Nov, we’ll be refocusing and looking at our plans for next year and beyond.
    Any particular Brighton players you’re wary of? Any ARRG players/tactics to look out for? We saw Brighton play and fight hard against our neighbouring league Glasgow Roller Derby earlier on this year so we know there are some fantastic skaters to look out for. Someone told us that our skater Unprotected Bex looks like one of the Brighton skaters too. Everyone at ARRG is awesome so we’ll let you pick your favourites. As for our tactics we work hard to be focussed on track, work as a unit and work with a hive mind.
    What kind of after party can we expect? Sorry, the exact details of the after party will be kept under wraps until nearer the time. Rest assured we love to Party ARRG, we recently had a very exciting dancefest with LRG after their bootcamp up here so maybe we’ll recreate that vibe. It would be best to bring your dancing shoes and be prepared for ‘taps oan’ or ‘taps aff’ as we say in Scotland.
    For any travelling fans making a weekend of it, do you have any suggestions for other things to see and do? Obviously there is the usual touristy things like The Edinburgh Castle, wandering down The Royal Mile, ghost tours, bus tours, lots of free museums and galleries, The Edinburgh Dungeons… the list goes on. As for pubs and clubs, let’s just say Irn Bru is good for treating hangovers!
ARRG: http://arrg.co.uk/
NOV 23RD BOOT CAMP: https://www.facebook.com/events/555244554542884/

INTERVIEW: ENYO FACE (BRIGHTON ROCKERS)
For any ARRG fans reading this who might not be aware of the Rockers’ history to date, can you give us a quick summary? We’ve been around for four years in February, bouting for almost three. In that time we’ve gone from undefeated to badly beaten to doing OK. So fingers crossed we’re now on a steady rise.
    Any Brighton players or tactics people should particularly keep any eye out for at the bout? I would be killed for sharing any of our TOP SECRET tactics but the usual Rockers stars will be there to cheer on, such as The Mighty Mighty Bash, Rose Bleed, Shambolic and Chariot Sophia.
    What do you know of ARRG? That they’re awesome.
    Any particular players in their ranks you’re wary of? Admiral Attackbar 11:11 – great jammer, great leggings!
    The first official UKRDA rankings recently came out and Auld Reekie are ranked first in the country. Does that make you extra eager to get one over on them? Hmmm… a little. We always aim to play well and have fun. Then we’ll leave happy.
    Brighton are ranked seventh in the UKRDA table, but you recently beat third place Leeds. What lessons/experience are you taking from that bout into the Auld Reekie one? Never go into a bout assuming anything – in the case of Leeds that we would lose. Always play our best, always wear black!
    Are you looking forward to seeing Edinburgh in general. Any touristy plans, or are you too focused on the bout for anything else? The after party is always something we look forward to and lots of Rockers are hanging around for a day or two after to see the sights.
    What other events do the Rockers have coming up this year and beyond? Our next home game is against Central City on the 23rd November – early bird tickets are on sale now – and we’re looking to have a few European guests next year. Oh and there’s a pre-ARRG pub quiz on 20th October – details are on our Facebook page.
BRRD: http://brightonrockers.com/
NOV 23RD BOUT: https://www.facebook.com/events/647691741929370/

drr1v3 copyARRG v BRRD: PREDICTIONS
The inaugural UKRDA quarterly rankings (up to 30th Sept) were recently released, with some noticeable absences, primarily the London Rollergirls and Cardiff’s Tiger Bay who both failed to play any UK A-team bouts over the past year. Auld Reekie are top of the table with 724 points, Brighton are placed 7th with 654 points. The predictometer at flattrackstats.com gives Brighton just a 5% chance of winning this bout, compared to ARRG’s 95%, and they expect the Scots to score nine points for every four the Sussex league picks up. That would equate to a scoreline in the region of 180-80 in Auld Reekie’s favour. Derbydataeurope’s formula offers a wider difference in ranking points (825 v 368) but a very similar predicted scoreline of 200-89. Still, the whole point of predictions is they’re more often wrong than right, yeah? We asked a few people who have faced both sides for their own thoughts…
    “Auld Reekie are a really strong team who have upped their game even further in recent years through playing loads of tournaments including one out in the USA. Players to watch are Crazylegs and Mo B Quick from Auld Reekie. Brighton’s The Mighty Mighty Bash is another one to look out for with her bone-shaking challenges.” Fonda Chaos, London Rockin’ Rollers
    “We’d probably say the biggest similar threats would come from ARRG’s Crazylegs and Brighton’s Mighty Mighty Bash. Both are formidable hard hitting blockers but extremely agile and smart pivots. Brighton were an amazing team to play and we had the best fun at the after party with them so I think paired with Party ARRG it will be a great experience both on and off the track.” Mona Rampage, Glasgow Roller Derby
    “I think this is a really tough game to call. Brighton are a team moving quickly up through the ranks and have shown their skills and determination to succeed in every bout they’ve played this season. Auld Reekie are an established machine however, with super skilled blockers and some incredible jammers. My money is on Auld Reekie to take it, but I think it’ll be a hard hitting and action packed game. Players to watch out for: Auld Reekie old favourites, super blocker Crazylegs and Ciderella and fleet footed ninja jammer Admiral Atttackbar. I think Brighton’s Mighty Mighty Bash will give them a hard time though, both as a super agile blocker and a strong pushy jammer. Both teams play tight-walled dynamic defence and I really think it’ll be a close call between the two.” Magic 8-Brawl, Leeds Roller Dolls
RANKINGS: http://flattrackstats.com/rankings/ukrda
LEEDS: http://leedsrollerdolls.com/
GLASGOW: http://glasgowrollerderby.com
LRR: http://londonrockinrollers.co.uk/

DD photo by Laura MacDonald courtesy of http://www.arrg.co.uk
Enyo pic by Jason Nightall of http://www.leicesterskaters.co.uk