The mighty Brighton Rockers have had packed weekends of roller derby before – a couple of two-day tournaments in Caen and one in London spring to mind – but we’re pretty certain this is the first time the A-team have taken part in two different open door events over a single weekend. The action takes place in the Netherlands. This Saturday (13th April) they face the Rockcity Rollers A-team in Eindhoven. The game is taking place at the RC de Lichtstad with admission €5 (under 12s free). Brighton’s game is at 1.30pm and is followed by Rockcity’s B-team against Belgium’s Blackland Rockin’ K-Rollers.
The following day (Sunday 14th) sees a three team tournament in Rotterdam. This takes place at Sportcentrum West with admission at €8 (under 12s €4). Brighton face the hosts in the first game, which kicks of at a super early (to us) midday. This is followed by Rotterdam vs GO-GO Gent (from Ghent/Gent, Belgium) at 2.30pm. The day’s final game sees Brighton taking on GO-GO at 5pm. The overall winner gets to raise the RRD Harbour Cup. As spelling nerds BRATS would like to thank Rotterdam Roller Derby for not using the American ‘harbor’ there. (Don’t get us started on Hamburg’s Harbor Girls, grrr!)
Since it seems the UK isn’t crashing out of the EU today, you can still get yourselves out there visa-free to catch all this awesomeness. Various methods will get you across the water (eg Stansted-Eindhoven, Gatwick-Amsterdam, Eurostar, Eurotunnel, ferry companies with ferries, etc) with plenty of travel and hotel options within the Netherlands. It’s shaping up to be one of the Rockers’ epicest away trips ever. Let’s check out the predictions…
THE FLATTRACKSTATS.COM COMPUTER SAYS…
[NB Skip this section if you don’t like to read predictions before games.] Eindhoven’s Rockcity Rollers have the upper hand over the Brighton Rockers in actual games, beating the Sussex side 167-140 at a tournament in Caen and 185-151 in Haywards Heath, those games bookending 2016. Flattrackstats thinks Saturday’s game will go the other way. Brighton are ranked 295th in the WFTDA world rankings* on 521.3 points, whilst Rockcity are 366th on 468.5. (*Well, Flattrackstats’ version of the WFTDA rankings which their prediction machine uses. These are not quite the same as the official rankings and include WFTDA teams such as Rotterdam who aren’t yet officially ranked.)
The prediction computer gives the Rockers 83% chance of victory here with an expected 38:25 differential suggesting something like a 228-150 Brighton win. In Saturday’s other match, Rockcity’s B-team High Voltage (176th in Europe) are given a whopping 92% chance of defeating Charleroi’s Blackland Rockin’ K-Rollers (320th in Europe). Predicted differential of 9:4 suggests something like a 225-100 High Voltage victory.
In Sunday’s tournament, hosts Rotterdam Roller Derby are the strongest of the three teams, placing 267th in the Flatttrackstats WFTDA rankings on 536.4 points. They are given 73% chance of defeating Brighton in the day’s opening game, a differential of 48:37 mathsing out to around a 196-148 Rotterdam win. GO-GO Gent place 302nd in FTS WFTDA (518.7 points) and Rotterdam have 75% chance of beating them in the second game. A differential of 4:3 means something like a 200-150 victory for the hosts.
See how similar the predictions for those two games are? Kind of suggests that the day’s final game between Brighton and Gent is going to be a close one. Indeed, if either team was at home, FTS would give that team around 60% chance of victory. Splitting the difference for a neutral venue sees the Rockers given 52% chance of the win here with a 25:24 differential suggesting a super close 175-168 win for the Brightonians. These teams are currently one for one (Brighton won 169-140 in Ghent in 2012, GO-GO winning 258-112 in Sussex in 2015) so this best-of-three decider spread across nearly a decade could go right to the wire!
Now let’s hear from a Rocker as well as from the weekend’s opponents…
SKATE BUSH – BRIGHTON ROCKERS A-TEAM CAPTAIN
The Rockers AllStars’ last game was a super exciting one point home defeat against Dundee. You recently dropped two places in the WFTDA rankings having gone up eight the previous month. Do you pay much attention to the rankings?
We’re a competitive team and as such we do pay attention to rankings, but they aren’t the be all and end all of our games. We pick games that will be challenging and fun for us as skaters, and exciting to watch for our fans. As captain all I want is for every skater to have a good game, enjoy it and not get broken. We are currently in the process of building up our A-team charter and finding our feet in the WFTDA rankings. Once we have that sorted we’ll probably be aiming for global domination.
You have a pretty busy schedule this weekend with three WFTDA sanctioned games in the Netherlands, yeah?
It’s going to be tough for sure. It’s a lot of derby for one weekend and playing games when you’re already sore or tired from previous games is always hard. But we’ve been training for that – lots of cardio and big hits training to toughen us up. Mentally that many games can also be tricky, especially on our newer skaters, but we skate as a team and we are all in it together.
What kind of a squad are you taking out there? Any particular players or tactics for fans to look out for?
We have a full roster going to the Netherlands and we have a mix of our most experienced skaters and a few new rosters. We are strong as a team but we have some awesome individual weapons. Finn McCruel is nailing her new role as jammer and Fellen E Assault continues to be an incredible blocker – she’s someone we all want on track with us every jam. We’ve obviously got new tactics but those are top secret.
You’re facing Eindhoven’s Rockcity Rollers at their place on Saturday, then GO-GO Gent and Rotterdam in Rotterdam on Sunday. Any thoughts re your opponents?
We’ve played against Rockcity Rollers and GO-GO Gent before and they were brilliant to skate against, so we are looking forward to playing against them again. As for Rotterdam, we don’t really know much about them or how they play, but that’s not really an issue as we always try to play our own game and focus on what works best for us.
Any off track plans for the weekend?
Yeah – it’s an official Rockers On Tour event, so we will definitely be experiencing everything the Netherlands has to offer. We also have a load of fans travelling with us this time. It’s brilliant to have support in the stands, plus it means we’ll be bringing the party wherever we go!
Finally, you take on Glasgow Roller Derby on 1st June in Haywards Heath. Any thoughts re that game and beyond?
Absolutely. We are really looking forward to our games against Glasgow A and B – we’ve heard they are awesome on and off track – so we’re expecting an exciting and tough game and some excellent after party antics afterwards. The game is also part of Brighton Fringe which always brings a good crowd of people. We’ve worked hard to make our games a good afternoon out for everyone, so expect tough and exciting bouts, loads of party games for kids (and adults), cakes and a fully stocked bar. We have most of our games and dates lined up for this year now. We’ve got some brilliant opponents lined up, so check us out on our website, Facebook and Instagram for more info.
VARIOUS FOLKS – ROCKCITY ROLLERS
Hi Rockcity, in case anyone reading this doesn’t know about your league can you give us a quick summary of your history so far?
In July 2010 a handful of women in Eindhoven (including one of the co-founders of the Texas Rollergirls) got together to form what would become the Rockcity Rollers. We started out skating in the city park. Soon after we secured our practice space at RC de Lichtstad which has been our home ever since. In 2015 we won the Dutch Roller Derby Championships, but that’s already quite some time ago. We like to play roller derby to good rock music and have great after parties!
Any memories from your two previous games against the Brighton Rockers?
Last times we played Brighton we had a completely different team. A lot of people from that roster are now retired, have started their own families or moved to other cities. Those were some good times but we are excited to tell you that we have had a chance to train some new, amazing people and our team is still great. We are very excited to play the Rockers again!
Any particular Brighton Rockers players or tactics that you’ll be looking out for?
We remember the Rockers having a strong offence. We have something prepared for that! We are also very excited to see everyone again and just catch up.
Any Rockcity players/tactics the crowd should look out for?
Look out for Dee Dee Dominator – she is strong, small and tough, and she has a fierce offence move with her legs. Also, watch out for Lotta Havoc who is a strong blocker and jammer.
You won both your previous games against Brighton. Are you expecting to make it a hattrick of wins?
We are very competitive and always play to win. However, in the end, for us it is more about playing a good game and having fun. We will try to live up to the hattrick of wins for sure!
Any thoughts re the day’s other game which sees Rockcity’s B-team against Blackland Rockin’ K-Rollers?
Rockcity High Voltage is a mixed team of experienced and inexperienced players because we want to give everyone a chance to taste the real feeling of the derby. It is a good learning experience for everybody. For some players, this game will be their first or second game ever! We are very excited to show off our new talents and we hope they do great.
What should people expect from your venue/event?
Our venue is super awesome! A little roller rink near the city centre of Eindhoven. We have a concrete floor which we adore. Dressing rooms and showers are not luxurious but do the job and are next to the rink. We have a canteen with a bar for beer and other drinks and snacks. We will also provide a big buffet a la Rockcity for all the teams and officials. Supermarket, ice cream parlour and Dutch fried snacks are within a two minute walking distance. The city centre is a 15 minute walk away, although here in the Netherlands everyone uses bikes all the time.
And from Eindhoven in general?
The after party will be at the best rock and metal bar in Eindhoven, The Jack at Stratumseind 55. Don’t get scared by the metal. During party hours they play a wide selection of music, especially some great classics that will get your dancing moves out! They also have a large choice in special beers and other beverages. Eindhoven is known for Phillips and DAF trucks. When you are here visit the old Phillips area and the DAF museum. For art fans, you should visit the Van Abbe Museum. The city is vibrant and fun so you will not be bored while you are here.
HANNIBAL LECTURER – ROTTERDAM ROLLER DERBY A-TEAM CAPTAIN
In case anyone reading this doesn’t know about Rotterdam Roller Derby can you give us a quick summary of your history so far?
RRD was founded in 2010 and is Rotterdam’s only roller derby league. The Rockers are playing our A-team, the Death Row Honeys. We also have a B team, the Killer Bees. Our officials are known as Rofficials, our fresh meat are called the Juvies. We also cooperated in the past with a men’s team called the Classy Cockroaches. The Honeys play teams from all over Europe. In the last two years we’ve played teams from NL, Belgium, Germany, UK, Sweden, Finland, France and Italy.
What are your expectations for Sunday’s tournament?
To have an awesome time! This is our second home tournament so we have high expectations for fun and awesome derby.
Any particular Rotterdam players or tactics to look out for?
You want us to give away our secret weapons? No way! You’ll just have to wait and see.
What do you know of your tournament opponents, the Brighton Rockers and GO-GO Gent?
I used to play for Kent Roller Girls and actually got into derby because I heard about it from a former Brighton Rocker! I lived halfway between Herne Bay and Brighton, so I could just have easily become a Rocker and I’ve seen then play quite a few times. The first ever game our president Van Minkelen watched, back when she was a rookie, was Brighton playing Ghent. So, although we haven’t played the Rockers before, we’re really excited to meet them on track. Ghent are another team that we’ve admired from afar for a long time. They’ve been such a force in European derby for a long time so we can’t wait to have a go-go at them on track.
Finally, any words on what to expect from your venue/event?
The venue? Well, for teams from the UK the floor is a bit of a shock, so be ready! Dutch sports floors are squishy so get your hardest wheels ready. It really helps the leg muscles but they’re not the best for trying to get your 27 in 5. We have a cafe in the venue which serves food (sandwiches and chips, that kind of thing) and drinks (booze and non-booze).
And from the Rotterdam area in general?
As it’s Sunday we don’t have an after party planned but maybe we’ll have a spontaneous do somewhere! Rotterdam is an awesome city. If you’re looking for things to do at night head to Witte de Witstraat and Nieuwe Binnenweg (near Eendrachtsplein metro). If you have time to walk along the river, see the Cube Houses, and the Markthal then they are all worth a visit. To get the best views head up the Euromast and if you want the best (biggest!) breakfast in town get a water taxi across to the Hotel New York.
FEVER – GO-GO GENT
GO-GO Gent’s a hugely established derby league. Can you give us a quick summary of your history?
We’ve been around since 2009. We were the first league in Belgium and have been WFTDA members since 2012. We are well known for hosting SKOD (Skate Odyssey), a WFTDA sanctioned tournament for five years. Everyone loves our kitty.
You’ve played Brighton a couple of times before, once in Ghent and once at Brighton’s venue. Any thoughts re those games?
That game in Gent was such an awesome one! It was back in…. 2012? It was a fundraiser for breast cancer research since one of our members had been affected by that. We played in pink jerseys for that one. Brighton won both the game AND the afterparty and stole our hearts. Three players who’ve played both those previous games will also play on Sunday: Fever, Sandra Buttblock and Vermasvsacre
What are your expectations re Brighton this time? So far it’s one win each, so best of three yeah?
Best of three sounds great! Hard to know what to expect… There’s always been a fair amount of time between each game. The second one was in 2015 I believe? We won pretty big that time, but our team has changed completely since. We might get a really close game this time… It will be hard-fought for sure!