BRATS Review Of 2016: PART THREE – The Road From ROCKCITY To The CENTRE of BRIGHTON!

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If you haven’t caught the previous instalments in our Review of the mighty Brighton Rockers in 2016, check out PART ONE (Jan-June) here and PART TWO (July-Oct) here. This third episode covers the absolute frenzy of events – virtually one every weekend – that marked the end of the year in Rockersland… Early NOVEMBER and it’s another double header in Haywards Heath for the hard-working Rockers. The A-team AllStars face Eindhoven’s Rockcity Rollers in a rematch, the Dutch side having beaten Brighton 167-140 in the playoffs of February’s Slip It tournament in Normandy. The visitors get off to a flying start, with jammers Dolly Deathstar and Marcie B helping to put them 22-0 up after four jams. Gin Atomic gets Brighton on the scoreboard in the fifth, but it’s not until a feisty 15-point power jam from Shambolic halfway through the period that the Rockers start closing the gap. Rockcity calling a team timeout when 46-36 up. The visitors have a small but very loud travelling support here, who cheer them on to a strong finish to the half (90-45) with Sham the only Brighton jammer to have really got the better of the Dutch defence.

The second half starts out the same as the first with Rockcity taking a couple of dozen points without reply, before Gin steps up to the plate. Brighton pack keeping Cat Galore back well as Gin puts almost 30 on the board. Cut track call on Dolly sees Kapow close the gap a bit more. The visitors only have eleven players here. Side effects of a small roster include not just increased tiredness in the later stages of the game, but also an increased risk of fouling out. Sure enough, Rockcity lose a player to the seven penalties rule. The slight disruption to their line-ups caused sees the Rockers clawing it back to 131-159. It’s a question of Brighton’s persistence v Eindhoven’s stamina now. Cake Or Death and Finn McCruel super tough in the black packs, Gogozilla and The Brickster likewise in the purple. The visitors have enough Dutch courage to keep their wheels in front and roll out 185-151 victors.

The Rockcity match is Gin Atomic’s last before being exiled to Japan, whilst today’s B-team game is a final Rockers showing for Lab Wrath who is moving to another league. The Rockerbillies’ opponents are a mixture of Southampton City Rollers and Basingstoke Bullets, with the two Hampshire teams having recently decided to join forces for scrims and games. We’ll call them Basinghampton and they prove sterling opposition for the Rockers Bs. It’s one of the closest games we’ve seen with the scoreline bouncing around the level (67-67, 84-85, 89-89) before some great jamming from Slap Dash edges Brighton into a 101-97 half time lead. The likes of Toil N Trouble, Evil Kin Evil and Billy Horroday throwing down hard in the white packs, with Noonz, Dolores Diablo and others hitting back for Brighton.

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Farmergeddon putting in the sort of performance that will result in an invitation to join A-team training before the year is out. Jager BombHer proving solid in the star for the visitors, reacting to a thirty point Brighton lead by taking the next jam 19-0. Jager will star up against Lab Wrath in the final jam of the game. Lab’s final game for the Rockers ends in the penalty box, but were enough Hampshire hips passed before the foul was called? Everyone nervously eyes the scoreboard as it updates with the official final score… the ‘billies have taken it 195-194 and the crowd goes super wilds. SQUEE! It’s an awesome end to a busy fortnight for roller derby at the Dolphin (Croydon staged a double header here last Saturday and Eastbourne the week before). For the Rockers AllStars, next weekend offers a small expeditionary force an intriguing trip to Basinghampton’s part of the world…

BRATS couldn’t make it to this next event, so Emma The Condemner has kindly supplied us with a report: “Avast! Mutiny On The Bouty! A derby sevens tournament hosted by Portsmouth Roller Wenches in Andover, Hampshire. True to Rockers style, our septet arrive slightly panicked (due to tremendous traffic diversions) without much of a clue of the format. It turns out there are two separate four team knockout tournaments – independent and advanced – with the Rockers seven taking part in the latter. With six games today in total, each will consist of just one 30-minute period. We get to watch two former Rockers, Bionic Betty and Feisty McGee, up against each other in the opening intermediate match, before we take to the track against the A-team of hosting PRW. We’ve come up against the Wenches on a fair number of occasions and are relieved at the absence of RIP McMurphy (now playing in the States), although we still have to contend with the likes of Nina Nunchucks, who is as terrifying and brilliant as ever. I can’t remember the score (sorry) but we take the victory. I win MVP and don’t know who else won anything because I’m massively self obsessed… and forgetful.

“The other advanced semi-final sees Team Spektacular – who only feature players wearing glasses and have the best team name we’ve ever come across – defeated by the co-ed team Hoodlum Fang Advanced. We’re becoming increasingly nervous at facing a co-ed side for the first time ever. In our favour is the fact that they’ll be coming straight off the back of a hard-hitting game against Spektacular, whereas we’re a little rested but full of lunch. The prospect of playing against a team of massive boys (and two equally scary girls) makes it very obvious to us that we have to go in for the kill from the very first second. It brings out the best in us and we play a really strong game. We know we have to keep the inside line locked down because we saw Hoodlum’s Tenacious P (the lovely announcer at Rockers home games) nip through on numerous occasion in the previous match.

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“We have Finn in lane one who really does lock it down, with one amazing hip check sending an apex jumping Savage Hun crashing to the ground. Hairy Fairy gets weirdly protective of us all and starts smashing the poop out of the opposition – which is great! Hairy later takes a much deserved MVP award for this game. Our defensive walls are working really hard all game. We know we have to battle together and keep everything as slow and controlled as possible if we’re going to be in with a chance. The nice grippy floor makes this easier. Again, I can’t remember the exact score but – while we lose – it’s by a tiny handful of points. They may have taken the win but we made them work super hard to get it!”

Thanks Emma. BRATS pick up this write-up in early DECEMBER as Haywards Heath plays host to another Rockers double header (a mere three weeks since the last one). The A-team AllStars face Milan Harpies in the first game. The crowd is fairly small today, which is to be expected since the SUPER EXCITING THING HAPPENING NEXT WEEK has meant the Rockers cannibalising their own attendance. One factor when hosting teams from overseas is that they’ll often bring a squad of fewer than fourteen – numbers reduced due to issues of travel costs, time off work, etc – especially now that Brighton are WFTDA apprentices and players must presumably come from each team’s official international roster? Rockcity had it tough (despite their victory) last month when they arrived with eleven skaters, but Milan are here with… NINE! This could get messy.

The Rockers get off to a flying start and are 76-35 up halfway through the half, as the referees tell announcer Tenacious P to be a bit quieter (the skaters can’t hear the penalty calls). Kapow v the visitors’ most effective jammer Electric Lemon next. Milan are getting plenty of lead jammer statutes here, but they’re almost always picking up a track cut straight after. Early in the second period, with Brighton 130-62 up, those penalties are making their mark. The Harpies are down to seven players now, with two fouled out and sat in the crowd. They’re not going down without a fight though, and battle their way back to 149-108 with some great jamming from Martattack. Electric is next to foul out for the Italians with Martattack following soon after. Not only have Milan lost their two biggest jamming threats but they now have only FIVE players left. The remaining Harpies must play out every jam – and the cleanest games of their lives – for the ten minutes left of this match. It’s a fantastically resilient performance from them, slightly aided by a little touchline advice from the foulees, which head ref LaserHammer tells them off for. Somehow the Fantastic Five match the Rockers point for point in the final jams, with a great apex jumping call off from Baby Razor closing out the game. Brighton take a surprisingly narrow 195-159 victory. Great work from the five Harpies.

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The day’s second game sees the Rockerbillies facing Eastbourne Roller Derby’s brand spanking new women’s B-team, the Cherry Bombs. Scorewise this is similar to the ‘billies outing against Basinghampton, with lead changes aplenty in a first half that ends with the Brighton team 91-90 in front. Crikey! Mistress is bench coaching both the A- and B-teams for the Rockers today. Eastbourne’s CalEmity fouls out early in the second period, with Obliviator (the ‘billies most dangerous jammer today) racking up a number of 10-0 jams. InnsterSlam and Elle Hound are amongst the Bombs starheads keeping things close here. Great jamming from the unyielding Chloe Colossus – back from a litany of shoulder injuries – sees Brighton establishing a 25-point lead as another Cherry (Newmatic Drill) is plucked from the penalty seats to the crowd for a foul out.

Jumping Jack Smash and T-Wrecks battling hard in the purple packs, Cruelty Spree and Jackie Jerkheart likewise in the Brighton black, as some great jamming from the likes of Yorkshire Brew-ser and Elle Hound sees the visitors claw back the lead and build one of their own. It’s 172-182 to ERD as we start the final jam. Obliviator v Brew-ser. Brighton defence super tough. Two full passes for the home starhead ties things up at 182-182. As the seconds tick down is there time for a final Rockerbillies pass? There is as the B-team ‘billies take the win by a tiny margin (186-182) for the second game in a row. Wow!

One week later and the Rockers A- and B-teams are back in action. This time they’re playing against themselves as the league splits into two factions – Team Blue and Team Black – for an exhibition game at the Corn Exchange. This is the first time roller derby has ever taken place in front of a crowd in Brighton itself… and what a crowd it is! This event is a sell-out and the packed seats cheer, scream and Mexican Wave along to the events on track as first the B-team, and then (in the second half) the A-team AllStars, battle it out in a slightly cut down – due to the size of the venue – version of derby. We won’t go into detail here as we’ve written a full report for our friends at Brighton SOURCE (click here for that) but suffice so say it’s a crazy exciting event with a super narrow victory to Team Blue, who claw back a 37-point half time deficit to win by three. This epic event might mark the end of the calendar year’s Rockers games, but it’s not the end of our Review of 2016. Keep an eye out for the final instalment (Part Four) where we’ll be cracking open the ballot box and revealing who YOU voted for as your Brighton Players of the Year…

[Photos by John Hesse]

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Turn Left Issues 17 & 18 Now Online

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Did you miss our fanzine for last weekend’s epic Rockers exhibition game at Brighton Corn Exchange? Issue 18 covered both that event and the previous weekend’s double header against Milan Harpies and Eastbourne Cherry Bombs in Haywards Heath. Click the cover image directly above this text or HERE to go that issue. The previous issue (Issue 17) for November’s games against Eindhoven’s Rockcity Rollers and a Basington Southampton hybrid is also online. Click HERE or on the cover image at the top of this piece for that one.

A few physical copies of both should be knocking around on the flyers shelf in the Evening Star pub near Brighton station. Special thanks as ever to all our lovely interviewees, photographers and awesome advertisers including Brighton’s Black Horse (Church Street) and JW Lennons (Edward Street) pubs, http://www.meadowyurts.co.uk/ and http://www.purenuffstuff.co.uk/ Cheerses!

ROCKCITY REMATCH: This SATURDAY the BRIGHTON ROCKERS take on EINDHOVEN and most of HAMPSHIRE!

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There’s a whole bunch of Brighton Rockers action coming up in Sussex (and neighbouring Hampshire) over the next few weeks. Things kick off this Saturday (12th Nov) as the A-team AllStars take on Rockcity Rollers from the Dutch city of Eindhoven. This is a rematch of a game that took place in February in Normandy, with Brighton looking to reverse a narrow 167-140 loss this time out. The day also features the Brighton B-team Rockerbillies taking on an ungodly hybrid of the Basingstoke Bullets and Southampton City Rollers. Five or six Class of 2016 Fresh Meat graduates will be making their debuts in the B-team game, while the AllStars match is the final game (for a while at least) for Rockers stars Gin Atomic and Lab Wrath. Go buy all the tickets now, yeah?

WHAT AND WHERE?
Saturday’s action takes place in the Rockers regular open door venue, the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath. Doors are at 2pm, with the derby kicking off around 2.30 – we presume the A-team game is first up (they usually are). Tickets priced £10 adults, £8 students and free for under 12s are available from the link below. There’s a special 4-for-3 deal on adult tickets. The venue is around seven minutes walk from Haywards Heath station (turn left and follow the signs) at postcode RH16 1LY. There’s a cafe, bar and vending machines there, and the nearest cashpoint is at the big Sainsbury’s halfway between the station and venue. The pub opposite the station (Burrell Arms) is OK for a pre-game pint, but beer geeks might want to know that Haywards now has a Dark Star pub – the Lockhart Tavern opened on Broadway last Wednesday. Don’t forget to pick up a free copy of our fanzine Turn Left at the games. Issue 17 includes a super geeky feature on all the UK roller derby magazines ever.

PREDICTIONS AND THAT
If you don’t like reading predictions before a game, jump right on past this here paragraph. A week or so back (Sun 30th Oct) the Rockers lost an away game to Luton’s Rebellion Roller Derby by a single point: 237-236. If Flattrackstats is to be believed, this Saturday’s action could well be just as close. The Brighton AllStars place 77th in Europe on 578.3 points, with Rockcity 81st on 568.5. FTS gives Brighton 63% chance of taking the win here with an expected differential of 44:37 suggesting a fairly narrow 176-148 margin. Moving onto the B-team game the Rockerbillies place 306th on 449.5 points. Usually we wouldn’t be able to predict a game involving a mixed team, but the opponents are so similarly ranked – Basingstoke 288th (455.1), Southampton 289th (454.4) – that the prediction comes out more or less the same whichever we use. Brighton are given a 51% chance of victory with a differential of 52:51 suggesting something like a 156-153 home win. Wowsers!

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“In many ways it’s going to be a very different team we’re putting up against Rockcity this weekend, compared to the tournament in February. We had a few new players making their A-team debuts in Normandy. They’ve now had eight months to bed in, and we’ve got some great new transfers from overseas in our ranks now too. We also know more about what to expect from Rockcity. They’re a lovely bunch and we’re looking forward to it, both as a game and a fun experience.”
HAIRY FAIRY – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“It was a very hard game in February. We were very well matched. I expect it could go either way this weekend. We are prepared for the awesomeness that Brighton will bring!”
DOLLY DEATHSTAR – ROCKCITY ROLLERS

“A debut game is hugely important. For the rookies taking part on Saturday, it’s recognising that it’s been pretty much exactly a year since their first Fresh Meat taster session, and that’s been a year of building up to this day. They’ve played in intraleague games in training, but today’s when they finally put into practice everything they’ve learned this past year in front of a cheering crowd. It’s kind of like a showcase.”
KAPOW! – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“We always aim to bring the best of our training to track. Tight teamwork is a focus on the day – as is fun. We’re looking forward to the challenge that the Rockerbillies present. We’re also anticipating an evenly-matched game, which will be as fun to watch as it will be to play!”
BILLIE HORRORDAY – BASINGSTOKE BULLETS

[Photos by Vinciane Piérart aka NSP 189]

LINKS
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1787334024885888/
TICKETS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/shop

Brighton Rockerbillies v Switchblade Roller Grrrls Preview (inc B-team round-up)

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If you do all of your roller derby watching in Haywards Heath you’ll have only seen Brighton’s new B-team the Rockerbillies in action once before. That was back in May when they took on mixed opposition as part of a double header. Since then, the Bs have been buzzing away from home, with a fledgling side taking on a tough outdoor tournament in Eastbourne in July. (There’s a report on that on Page 9 of THIS.) Other away excursions have included providing the opposition for the home debut of the new Southampton league, together with an epic excursion to the edge of the Arctic Circle to take on a whole country! This Saturday (28th November) sees what could be their toughest challenge yet, a home game against Switchblade from Lille. We’ll preview that contest in a moment, but first a recap of the team’s last two open door outings…

SAT 5TH AUGUST – SOUTHAMPTON CITY ROLLERS V BRIGHTON ROCKERBILLIES
There’s a certain twisted genius to the Hythe Ferry. Instead of a ticket counter at the Southampton terminal there’s an ancient machine. This requires you to (a) work out how much you think the fare is going to be, then (b) insert the exact right money for a tiny till roll style receipt that gets you on the boat. Fair enough, except the ‘exact money’ caveat requires the ferry firm to hire two full-time staff who sit at a desk a few yards away solely to (c) give you the change you need. Just a minute, why not get rid of the machine and get those dudes to sell the tickets? We’ve forgotten about this weird arrangement by the time a super cute pier railway deposits us in a beer garden on the other side of the water. It’s still a 25-minute hike to the venue and we arrive right on first whistle. This event feels more like a warehouse party than a sports event. Not because it’s so busy – although there is an impressive crowd for this, SCR’s first home open door – but because the PA is set to an ear-bleeding volume. Particularly if you arrive as late as we did and the only seats left are right by the speakers on Turn 3. The music level is proving a problem for those on track too, with players unable to hear calls from the referees or benches. The intervention of an NSO after four very confused jams results in a more conducive volume.
    It’s 19-8 to Brighton at this stage and that gap is just going to increase as the noticeably more bout-fit Rockerbillies tire out their Hampshire opponents. The likes of Hippy Hippy Skate, Polly Dartin’ and Van Hayley provide tough blocking for the Sussex side, with Lab Wrath and Obliviator amongst those chalking up big hauls in the Brighton star. White Lightning puts in some great blocking shifts for SCR, but the ‘billies go into half-time 119-66 up. A mammoth 35-0 eight pass jam from Irish Mist early in the second period sets the tone for how the game will play out. The impressive Speedy Gonzalex, one of the newest skaters in Brighton’s ranks, adds a 25-0 jam of her own (after Southampton take lead jammer status, no less) and the home support are pretty subdued now, with almost all the noise coming from the small Sussex contingent. The hosts go several jams without scoring before Ja Cruel puts five on the board. Foul outs are coming thick and fast for SCR now. The Brighton bench crew of Gin Atomic and Swann – suitably bedecked for this Ru Paul’s Drag Race themed event – call a time out to force one final jam and the Rockerbillies roll out 365-106 victors.

SAT 7TH NOVEMBER – ROLLER DERBY ICELAND V BRIGHTON ROCKERBILLIES
Unfortunately, BRATS can’t make it out to sunny Reykjavik for this one, largely as it’s on the same weekend as the Iceland Airwaves music festival. Having attended this a few years ago, we know what it does to the price of flights/hotels (triples them, basically) so the trip is sadly too spendy for the current state of our wallets. Indeed, only nine Rockerbillies are able to make the journey out there. At 2,000 kilometres each way it’s more than three times further than any Brighton team has previously travelled for a game! Those that do make it out there, together with a bench duo of Rose Bleed and Racey, put up a good showing against what is essentially the Iceland national team. (Officially called Ragnarök, this is the only derby side in the entire country.) Things are pretty close for much of the game, but the difference in squad size see the hosts impose themselves on the tiring ‘billies late on. Iceland takes the win 171-129. Unfortunately, the game also sees Chloe Colossus re-dislocate the shoulder that popped out at Eastbourne Extreme. Get mended soon Chloe!

SAT 28TH NOVEMBER – BRIGHTON ROCKERBILLIES v SWITCHBLADE ROLLER GRRRLS
On to this Saturday’s action then, and it’s true to say that this is going to be a really tough challenge for the Brighton B-team. A few Rockers folk were unsure as to whether it’s the A- or B-team Roller Derby Lille are sending over, but the French league have confirmed to BRATS that it will be their first team, the super strong Switchblade Roller Grrrls. A mixed level Brighton side went down 171-136 to Switchblade in France last summer and a similar result will be good going for the Rockerbillies. Flattrackstats.com ranks the visitors 108th in Europe on 535.3 points. The Brighton B-team are finally ranked themselves (as a result of the game in Iceland) and place 312th on 446.2. The prediction computer at FTS reckons the Lille side have 94% chance of taking the win. An expected score differential of 59:27 would equate to something like a 236-108 away win.
    In the face of such imposing odds, the Rockerbillies could do with as many fans as possible cheering them on this Saturday. The venue is the Dolphin leisure centre in Haywards Heath. Tickets priced at £10 adults, £8 students and free for Under 12s are available on the door, or you can buy online (up until 4pm Friday) to take advantage of a 4-for-3 offer. Doors are at 2pm, with the A-team facing Gent GO-GO first at 2.35pm, before the ‘billies take on Switchblade at around 4.40. You can find more details plus a preview of the A-team match HERE. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of our new look (very orangey) fanzine on the door – this issue includes a big interview with Rockerbillies captain Irish Mist about the B-team’s adventures in 2015. Cheers!

LINKS
FACEBOOK EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/631236823683581/
BUY TICKETS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/#!shop/cttr
ROCKERBILLIES: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
SWITCHBLADE: http://www.rollerderbylille.fr/

Southampton City Rollers v Brighton Rockerbillies Preview

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Tomorrow (5th September) sees Brighton’s B-team Rockerbillies return to open door action. Following on from their home debut at May’s Fringe double header – and a battling day at the Eastbourne Extreme outdoor derby tournament in July – the second team will be heading west to meet Southampton City Rollers. This will be SCR’s first open door home event and the Hampshire side have chosen a RuPaul’s Drag Race theme for the day. The action takes place at Applemore Leisure Centre in Dibden, Hythe with first whistle at 2pm. Tickets are available from the online link at the bottom of this preview, priced at £5 (+97p fee) for adults and free for under-16s (rather than just under-12s as is more usual in derby). Online sales finish this evening (Friday), but tickets will be available for £7 on the door.
    The postcode for you car types to point your vehicle towards is SO45 5ON, with AA Route Finder suggesting around two hours journey time for the 75-ish miles from Brighton. (NB set your SatNavs for Hythe in Hampshire rather than Hythe in Kent, yeah.) For us public transport folks, don’t be fooled by the train line running through Hythe (Hampshire) on Google maps. Although the town did have a station, this entire branch line was closed in the 1960s and remains shut, despite regular rumours of a possible re-opening. This makes the venue a bit of a mission to get to. The nearest station is Southampton Central, which is a little under two hours from Brighton for £15.30 return (£10.10 with railcard). From there you have two options. There’s the number 8 bus (04 and 34 past from the station) which drops very close to the leisure centre in 40 mins. More excitingly, from the quayside there’s a Southampton-Hythe ferry, which also includes a ride on a pier railway. Although this leaves you 25 mins walk from the venue, Hythe’s pubs are all located close to the ferry pier – we’re assuming there’s no bar on the ferry!
    Shockingly there’s no bar in the venue either. In fact, alcohol is banned altogether. This is only the second derby venue we’ve encountered with such a rule (Bristol’s being the other). Naturally we disapprove very strongly, but at least it’s only a single header; with the right hypnosis tapes, we’re sure we can last ninety minutes without a drink. The after party is in a busy cabaret pub in central Southampton (close to the quayside). Now normally at this point in a preview we include reams of statistics about expected victory margins and win percentages etc. Maths fans will be disappointed to learn that this preview is an exception; since neither team has yet played a game that grants ranking points, the computer at Flattrackstats just shrugs when we ask it to pick a winner and so forth. Anything could happen then. For a taster of what to expect, let’s hear from the Hampshire hosts and the Rockerbillies captain…

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VARIOUS FOLK – SOUTHAMPTON CITY ROLLERS

Hi there. Can you tell us a bit about SCR’s history to date… In February 2013 Laura Streets, our founder, was bitten by the roller derby bug and decided to make a Facebook page, gauging interest in local team for Southampton. She went to Mo Roller, the only roller skating hangout in the area, to see if she could find some like-minded people. It was there that she met Blitz, who jumped on board with the idea. They started skating with the Dorset Roller Girls, as well as taking lessons at Mo’s, in order to learn as much about the sport as they possibly could. They met White Lightning a month later, and the three of them joined forces, creating the Southampton City Rollers. The second half of 2013 saw our first ever training sessions, the initial team structure being put in place, and our first official Fresh Meat starting up. We played our first closed door scrim against Bath in December 2014. This year has seen our second Fresh Meat Intake, our first outdoor bout (at Eastbourne Extreme) and – tomorrow – our first ever home bout… ROLLPOCALYPSE!

What do you know about your opponents, the Brighton Rockerbillies? We know they are worthy opponents and we look forward to seeing them on track. We recognise a couple of players from having played in mixed games with them previously, so we’ll be keeping a keen eye out for them. They seem to be a team of fearless and exciting skaters, we’re hoping it’ll be a good game to watch and a fun game to play.

Any SCR players the crowd should look out for, and what kind of a game are you expecting? It’s our first ever home game, and we’re so excited to have made it to this point – we’re hoping that will really come across to everyone involved. This game is an opportunity for both teams to showcase the skills they’ve been working on over the past few months, and a chance to enjoy roller derby as the fun sport it is. We can’t predict a score as we haven’t played the Rockerbillies before, but we’re not too focused on the scoreline, more on all the awesome things we can learn from playing as a team.

What can we expect from the venue and from the after party? Applemore Leisure was a great find in terms of a venue for our first bout. There is plenty of seating and areas around the edge of the track (but within a safe distance) for the public to watch from. I would expect to see a lot of people dressing in drag and really pulling out all the stops at the event, getting totally on board with the theme of RuPaul’s Drag Race. We do love a bit of glitter and glitz! The theme itself was the brainchild of BAMbi, our Head of Bout Production, and we’ve been looking forward to it for months. The after party is at the London Hotel in Oxford Street, Southampton, which is a traditional pub for all walks of life. It’s attitude free, welcoming to all kinds of people and generally with a superb atmosphere. The London often has drag acts, so it fits perfectly with our theme. We can’t wait!

Finally, what are SCR’s derby ambitions going forward?
It is fantastic that, after two years of hard work, we’ve come this far and will have completed our first bout on home turf. Going forward, we hope the team with continue to grow in strength and size. Our skaters will continue to enjoy being coached by a variety of people within the derby community, from the many different teams we have built bonds with, gaining a wealth of experience on and off the track. We are re-opening the Fresh Meat programme in January, where I’m sure we will have another massive influx of passionate derby skaters, NSO’s and refs. We’ve had a lot of interest in skating from male participants, too, so there may even be a men’s team in the next couple of years. “The Southampton City Brollers” are definitely in the pipeline, so watch out, MRDA! We also have a webshop opening in the next few months, which will allow people to purchase merchandise. Our logo and team colours (the awesome pink and turquoise!) have attracted a lot of attention, simply because it looks so good. I’m sure a lot of people will be rocking our tops in 2016 if not already!

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IRISH MIST – BRIGHTON ROCKERBILLIES

We’ve seen new Brighton B-team the Rockerbillies in action twice so far – against a mixed team at the Dolphin in May and in an outdoor tournament in Eastbourne in July. Tell us about those events… They were two completely different days for us as a team. We played at the Dolphin on a floor we knew, in a format we knew and as a team that had played together before. However, we totally mixed it up for Eastbourne Extreme, which was our first experience of both a tournament and playing outside. We had some amazing Fresh Meat move into main training that month and figured we’d give them a baptism of fire – we even made them jam! Boy, did they do us proud. We couldn’t be happier with how they performed. And we had all the fun!

Whilst those were your only open door events, have the Rockerbillies been getting any other games in? We have had a few closed door games this year which were a lot of fun. The team is going through a lot of changes at the moment as we mix things up and bring new skaters in. We’re looking to build on all our experiences and develop a great bouting B-team.

What do you know about your opponents, the Southampton City Rollers? Any of their players you’ll be looking out for? Our Lovely Bionic Betty has been spending some time with Southampton this year as they prepared to debut their team – not as a spy, I promise! She tells us that White Lightning (the skater not the cider) is pretty awesome. We can’t wait to meet a new team, hopefully this can be the first of many more games.

Any particular Rockerbillies players or tactics the crowd should look out for? What kind of a game (and result) are you expecting? We’re not giving away any tactics. People used to seeing the Rockers A-team All Stars in action will recognise a few of the plays, but we have Dream Team moves of our own. I never predict results, but I know we will have one hell of a fun game. An Extravaganza!

Finally, what are the Rockerbillies’ plans and ambitions going forward? We had an amazing group of Fresh Meat graduate this year and we plan on making them killers. Coaching are moving new skaters up to main training every week, so I wouldn’t be surprised if in our next game we have a very different team once again. We want the Brighton Rockerbillies to be a force to be reckoned with in the UK derby scene.

[Photos by John Hesse]

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