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/

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British Champs UKRDA National South Day Four preview

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This Saturday (May 9th) sees the action resume in the Tier 2 UKRDA National South division of British Champs. The more astute amongst you might have noticed that we haven’t actually posted our report on the previous game day in Southend yet. Er, we’re saving it up to post as a double report alongside our write-up of this weekend’s awesomes in Bristol, yeah? (We will put it up soon, promise.) Suffice to say Royal Windsor continued their inexorable haulage of points to cement their place at the top of the division, whilst Brighton went down to regular tournament nemesis Bristol by the tiniest of margins.
    Saturday’s action takes place on the University of the West of England campus close to Bristol’s Parkway station in the far North of the City. Doors open at 1.30pm, with the hosts taking on Portsmouth Roller Wenches at 2.30 followed by Brighton v Royal Windsor Roller Girls. Tickets are available online until midnight today (Friday) priced £8 adults and £4 kids. They should be available on the door too. It’s probably too late to offer public transport tips now. Suffice to say Bristol is in a Westerly direction and if you bought train tickets early enough you could do it for about £12 each way. There are at least three ways to get there by train from Sussex; into London and out from Paddington, via the Gatwick-Reading corridor, or along the coast changing somewhere in Hampshire.
    Portsmouth have only played one Champs game so far, but place above bottom due to the Seaside Sirens’ heavy points against column. Bristol are just above in fourth place after their win over the Rockers. The Wenches could actually leapfrog the Westerners if they win by 28 or more points. Royal Windsor have taken full points so far and sit on top of the table with just shy of a +500 points differential, so this will be a tough game for the third place Rockers. Unfortunately we can’t give you the usual prediction percentages for these games from Flattrackstats as their online predictor isn’t working right now. Gah! So let’s hear from some of the teams instead…

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BLACK THORN – BRISTOL ROLLER DERBY CAPTAIN

Hi. You currently lie mid-table in the National South with one win and one loss. Has your Champs campaign gone the way you were expecting?
We felt strong against LRR and knew we had a good chance against Brighton. We made it hard on ourselves and our supporters in the crowd by reducing a 20 point lead to four points in the last jam, but are delighted to have a win on the board. We came into this group ranked the lowest of the six teams after a poor run of results through 2014, so one of our aims was to prove we were stronger than our ranking suggested and that we deserved to be in this tier. We think we have achieved this.

You’re taking on Portsmouth Roller Wenches, who are currently without a win. Have you met them before? What do you know of them?
You know that poor run of results in 2014 I was just talking about? The Portsmouth game came smack in the middle of this, and remains a low point in my personal derby career. We were in a massive transitional period. We had some great new players, but hadn’t quite worked out their roles in the team, and I gave what is perhaps the worst half time speech in history. Needless to say, Portsmouth won! The actual game is a bit of a blur, but we are aware that they have some big names and great players that we have come across on the mixed scrim/bootcamp circuit, and we are looking forward to pitting our strongest selves against them.

Any particular Bristol players or tactics people should keep an eye out for? Would you care to predict the result?
I’d like to give some love to our bench team of Shi No Kamo and Haley Flammable. If you’re interested in tactics in roller derby, then keep an eye on them and how they control the run of the game with their decision making and responsiveness. The importance of an astute and consistent bench team is very underrated in roller derby, but our ability to turn a game around (or more recently to not completely squander a lead!) is in a large part down to this pairing. And no, I wouldn’t care to predict the result!

The day’s other game sees Brighton take on table toppers Royal Windsor. How do you expect that one to go?
This will be a fascinating match up and we’re all looking forward to relaxing and enjoying our birthday whilst watching. Windsor dominated over Seaside in Southend in the most convincing of fashions, and we are very familiar with Brighton’s strengths. It’s hard to ignore a performance like Windsor’s versus Seaside, but for our prospects in the future of this tier we’re hoping for a Brighton win!

You’re hosting Saturday’s event, which we understand is also your fifth birthday bash. What can you tell us about the venue? Anything special planned for the day?
The venue is the University of the West of England’s Centre for Sport. It’s a return to an old venue for us, having played most of our open games recently across the dual carriageway at the Wise campus. UWE lacks a few of the benefits of Wise (for example no tiered seating), but we have some creative chair layout plans to make up for this, and the venue has the benefits of a larger car park and a hall big enough to fit the merch stalls (which are relegated to the foyer at Wise). The hall itself is unlicensed, but an attached shop sells booze – you’ll just have to drink it on the grass outside. As for special plans, if you thought we were loud with thirty people in London, then wait to see the level of noise we can generate on our home turf.

What can we expect from the after party? Is Stokes Croft really as full of hipsters as people think?
Absolutely. Feared by franchises and chain stores and adored by hipsters, Stokes Croft is Bristol values in a nutshell. Just down the road from the after party you can put your head around the door at the Art for Africa Auction (https://www.facebook.com/events/1556780017924664/) and witness some of Bristol’s graffiti writers and artists in action. Banksy will be there. Probably.

NO REPLY RECEIVED – PORTSMOUTH ROLLER WENCHES

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SWANN, GIN ATOMIC & DERBY McGEE – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

The Rockers currently sit in mid table in National South with a win and a (very narrow) loss? Has your Champs campaign gone the way you expected so far?
We’ve had a lot of player movement this season, with some usual suspects taking breaks and some new faces popping up, so it’s been a bit of an experimental year so far. As such we’ve not really had any expectations re our performance in the tournament. One highlight was definitely the last few minutes of the Bristol game – two final jams, a handful of power line ups and a mega close score!

You’re taking on the divisional leaders Royal Windsor on Saturday? Any particular RWRG players or tactics you’ll be looking out for?
We played Windsor when we first started as a closed door game. We were very green and it was a fantastic game. A lot has changed since then. Windsor are an experienced, well trained and cohesive team. They played in the States recently and that shows them to be an ambitious and successful league. We have been studying their players and have our eyes on a few, but really it is their teamwork that people will notice.

Any particular Brighton players people should keep an eye out for on Saturday?
We’ve got a few newer faces on the roster this time, so I’d definitely say it’s worth looking out for them. They’ve all worked really hard and have been doing a lot of training outside of regular practice, so I’m sure they’ll impress!

The day’s other game sees hosts Bristol take on Portsmouth Roller Wenches. How do you expect that one to go?
I think that’ll be a great game to watch. Both teams have some really solid blockers and really agile jammers. Whatever happens both teams are real fighters, so will be giving everything they’ve got right up until the last whistle.

Finally, what are your hopes for the rest of the 2015 Champs campaign?
Obviously we want to score all the points and do all the winning. Isn’t that what all teams want?! We’re also looking at working with our new team dynamic over the next few games and really cementing our teamwork.

ROLLIN STONE R – ROYAL WINDSOR ROLLER GIRLS COACH

Windsor currently top the divisional table, having scored a whopping 760 points in two games. Things going the way you expected?
We didn’t expect that! But we’re really pleased with how it’s gone so far.

What do you know of Saturday’s opponents, the Brighton Rockers?
Brighton played our B-team once. We know that they’re awesome. We will be watching out for Bash!

Any particular Windsor players or tactics people should keep an eye out for?
Our main tactic is teamwork so we hope that all of our players will be a threat. Our goal is to take the victory, but we know that Brighton could end our winning run.

Any thoughts on the Bristol v Portsmouth game?
Both are really strong teams and it’s anyone’s game. Blizzard is deadly and RIP McMurphy is a double threat.

Finally, what are your hopes for the rest of your Champs campaign?
We hope to keep winning but we’ve got tough games to come. We never count our chickens!

[Photos by John Hesse]

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 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/