Shut The DORSET, Don’t Let NORFOLK In – The BRIGHTON ROCKERS Host Epic Roller Derby THIS SATURDAY Yay!

The mighty Brighton Rockers are in action this Saturday 25th November in Haywards Heath. The A-team will be taking on the Norfolk Brawds from Norwich, whilst the Rockerbillies face the Bournemouth-based Dorset B-Side. Both games look like cracking match-ups. (As we understand it, both pairings have met behind closed doors in secret but epic clashes recently!)
And for extra spice, the Rockers A-team beat Cambridge away 162-145 in a game they were expected to draw or lose on Saturday just gone, so will be super fired-up for Brighton’s first time ever playing public games on two Saturdays in a row! Meanwhile, five players will make their debut for Brighton B against a Dorset side who are playing their first ever open door away match… Wowsers! How can so much awesomes possibly be contained in a single event?
Saturday’s action takes places at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath. Doors are at 2pm, with the B-team game around 2.30 and the A-teams at 4.55. Tickets (£10 adults, £8 students, free for under 12s) are available from the link at the bottom of this preview and most likely on the door too. Car types should point their SatNav at RH16 1LY. For train folks the venue is seven minutes walk from Haywards Heath (turn left and follow the signs stuck to lampposts etc). There’s no engineering work on the trains for once, yay!
The pub opposite the station (the Burrell Arms) isn’t sure if it’s a sports bar or a food pub, but it’s OK for a pint and a few dozen Jägers and has a huge garden. There’s a big Sainsbury’s halfway between the station and venue, which is useful for specialist snacks and ATMs (no ATM at the leisure centre). The venue has a booze table in the hall, a café in the lobby, and many vending machines. The after party is back in Brighton in the Western, slap bang in the centre of town; five mins walk from the station, the beach, etc.
Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our tawdry Rockers fanzine TURN LEFT on the door. In this issue Cake Or Death predicts today’s A-team score, we talk to the five B-team debutants, get the inside line from the visiting teams, and much more. As it’s the last game of the year it also includes a voting form for our Annual Awards. And if you want to be eligible for such an award yourself next year, please note that Brighton have their 2018 Fresh Meat taster sessions on Monday (27th Nov) and Sunday (3rd Dec) so drop a message to info@brightonrockers.com asap. You know you want to.

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[NB Skip this section if you don’t like to hear predictions ahead of games.] As far as the A-team Rockers v Brawds game goes, the UKRDA and European rankings on Flattrackstats offer widely differing predictions. The Rockers place 25th in UKRDA on 595.0 points with Norfolk 36th on 549.5. Throw in home advantage and FTS gives Brighton 83% chance of the win here, with a predicted differential of 17:10 working out as something like a 221-130 comfortable home win. It’s worth bearing in mind that UKRDA rankings are only updated every three months, and Brighton (in particular) tend to play against more European than UKRDA sides these days, so you’re probably not getting that up-to-date or accurate a picture with this prediction.
Switching to our favoured European table, Brighton are 67th on 598.8 points, while Norfolk are a few places higher in 63rd on 604.2. Home advantage nudges this Brighton’s way on the predictor, but only just. The Rockers are given a 52% victory chance with a 47:46 differential equating to a squeaky close 188-184 Brighton win. The caveat here is that Brighton’s game away to Cambridge last Saturday has yet to be added to the website, and the result (a 17 point Brighton win with an impossible-in-derby draw predicted) means that the Rockers should actually be on a tiny bit higher ranking and win/score figure. So somewhere inbetween the disparate UKRDA and Euro predictions seems most likely if (and that’s a big if) the prediction computers can be trusted…
Moving on to the B-team game, the Brighton Rockerbillies are ranked 320th in Europe on 453.5 points, whilst the visiting Dorset B-Side are a good deal higher in 216th on 486.9. FTS reckons the visitors have 69% chance of the win here, with a predicted differential of 57:44 suggesting something like a 171-132 Dorset win. Since we are giving out caveats, it should be pointed out that the visitors have only played one open door game before today (home to Southampton earlier this month) so their ranking is based on just that single game – hence this prediction is even more random/volatile than usual FTS predictions! Still, enough of the numbers, here are some words from the teams…

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“I think it will be a low scoring game v Norfolk. Their jammers are good and they have super strong walls. This is going to be classic Brighton. Either come from behind, then lots of toing and froing; or start really well, then lots of toing and froing. But I’m going to predict the exact score… in the fanzine that you can pick up on the door.”
CAKE OR DEATH, BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“We’ve been doing our research and are quite perturbed to have discovered that Brighton will be intending to stand in front of our jammers and try to stop them getting past. Jolly unsporting if you ask us! NRD actually stands for team NeRD because our real strength lies in stats. We will spreadsheet Brighton into submission!”
WHIPLEY & PHILTHY, NORFOLK ROLLER DERBY

“We have five debutants taking part against Dorset. We held our Halloween intraleague recently and one of our rookies is a really great jammer (a former ice skater) who sneaks through those tiny gaps, whilst others are really solid blockers and so on. They’re a really good bunch and I think they’ll smash it!”
FARMERGEDDON, BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“We played the Rockerbillies quite recently in one of Dorset B-Side’s first closed doors so we know a little about each other. I didn’t play in that, but I have it on good authority that they have strong walls and are a lovely bunch. We’ll be doing our best not to be lulled into a false sense of security by their seemingly gentle natures off track!”
REIGNBOW BRIGHT, DORSET ROLLER GIRLS

[Photos by John Hesse]

BUY TICKETS
https://www.brightonrockers.com/shop-cttr

FACEBOOK EVENT PAGE
https://www.facebook.com/events/148099769125027/

BRIGHTON ROCKERS

https://www.brightonrockers.com/

NORFOLK ROLLER DERBY
http://norfolkrollerderby.co.uk/

DORSET ROLLER GIRLS
http://www.dorsetrollergirls.com/

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Time For A ROLLER DERBY Education? – It’s CAMBRIDGE v BRIGHTON Today!

Oh my giddy goodness, the Brighton Rockers A-team are playing on two consecutive Saturdays. Today (18th Nov) sees a trip up to Cambridge, whilst next week (25th) they are at home in Haywards Heath to Norfolk at an event which also sees the B-team play Dorset B. We’ll have a preview of the home games in the next couple of days, but here’s a last minute look ahead to today’s Cambridge trip….
    The action is taking place at the Kelsey Kerridge which, unlike most British leisure centres, is pretty much right in the centre of town. Doors are at 1pm and the Brighton game is scheduled to be first up at 1.30 with the Cambridge B-team hosting LRR B at 3.30. Tickets are available on the door, priced £8 adults and free for Under 16s.

GETTING THERE AND STUFF
Car users should point their Sat Navs at CB1 1ND which is a car park (Queen Anne Terrace) next to the venue. Four hours parking is a fiver. Train folks should be aware that there are very few fast/Victoria trains from Brighton today. Journey planners suggest routes with several changes and a tube journey. The wise owls at BRATS say get the Bedford Thameslink train to St Pancras, then just stroll next door to Kings Cross. The journey should take around 2.5 hours each way by road or rail.
    The station is a little way from the town itself. This is deliberate. As with Oxford, the University overlords demanded the railway be built away from the colleges/town so students weren’t tempted by the sinful delights of London or, er, Ipswich. Luckily the leisure centre is on the station side of town, around ten minutes walk away.
    The venue joins those at Bristol and Glasgow for getting boos for allowing no booze. At least there are a few pubs within a couple of minutes walk. The Grain & Hop Store (cut a corner across the park) is probably the closest and is where the after party was five years ago. This year’s is a little north east of the venue in the Tram Depot. What we will be pondering over our pints is: Why the hell is it pronounced ‘Came-bridge’ when the river is pronounced ‘Cam’? Mind you, don’t get us started on the way they pronounce ‘Magdalene’ round these parts…

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PREDICTIONS AND THAT
Skip this bit if you don’t like to hear predictions ahead of a game (although we do share an interesting one in the interviews below)… As far as the A-team game goes, these teams have met twice before, but a derby lifetime ago. The Rockers sneaked a 141-132 win at home in 2011 before thumping Cambridge (or Romsey Town, as they then were) 304-60 away the following year. Cambridge have bounced up the rankings in recent years and currently place 22nd in UKRDA with 598.5 ranking points. Brighton are a little way behind in 25th with 595.0. Flattrackstats gives the hosts 58% chance of the win here, with a predicted differential of 48:43 mathsing out as something like a 192-172 Cambridge win.
    We tend to put more stock in the European rankings as they cover a broader range of games, including the UK ones. (Around 60% of Brighton’s games in the past two years have been against Euro not UK sides, for example.) Using these, Flattrackstats comes up with something we’ve never seen before. It predicts that Cambridge (75th, 951.0 points) at home to Brighton (68th, 598.8) has 50% chance of a Cambridge win and 50% chance of a Brighton win, with the teams expected to finish exactly equal on points. Obviously that can’t actually happen (in derby you keep playing until there’s a winner) but it suggests this one really is too close to call!
    In the day’s other game, using the Euro rankings (as only A-teams are UKRDA ranked) Cambridge’s Punt Rockers B-team place 160th on 513.4 points, whilst the visiting London Rockin’ Rollers B-team Badasses are 173rd on 507.3. Add home advantage to the mix and the Punts are given 60% chance of victory. Predicted differential of 55:48 mathses out to something like a 220-192 win for the Cambridge Bs. Which makes both games super close anything can happen match-ups…

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CAKE OR DEATH – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

Cambridge and Brighton have met open door twice before. That was way back in 2011/12, which is ages ago in derby terms. Presumably both teams have changed a lot since then? Absolutely! Derby is evolving so quickly and luckily we have resources such as online videos and high level coaches to help us keep up. However, each team finds their own way to keep up with changes, so it’s always interesting to see how each team is playing now.

Any particular Cambridge players or tactics that you will be looking out for? I don’t know much about their current roster. I’ve heard they have a fearsome reputation for excellent walls though!

Which Brighton players or tactics should the crowd look out for? Finn McCruel is my absolute hero. She won’t be out there doing the biggest hits, so she’s not always noticed, but by the end of the game opposing blockers and jammers alike will be hating her! She’s all over the track at once and forms impenetrable walls. Having jammed against her in practice I know she makes you want to cry. The crowd should expect a more dynamic Brighton team today.

Flattrackstats calls this (using Euro rankings) as a genuine 50-50 game, which we’ve never seen before! Are you expecting it to be that close? 50% win chance each? That’s so cool. How exciting is that, I love it! As always I will make my own prediction of the result. I think it will be a thrilling 245-213 win. To the Rockers, obvs.

Any thoughts re the day’s other game, Cambridge B v LRR B? Ooh, that’s exciting! I imagine they’re pretty evenly matched. LRR are such sweethearts. Well, off the track they are – they’re pretty brutal on the track. I’m looking forward to watching that game.

Brighton then take on Norfolk (A-team) and Dorset (B-team) at Haywards Heath next Saturday. This must be the first time you’ve played open doors two Saturdays running. What are the pluses or minuses of doing that? I didn’t even think of this, so maybe it’s not too big of a deal. I think we approach each game individually, but it’s awesome to have more games to play.

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JANEGEROUS – CAMBRIDGE ROLLERBILLIES

Cambridge and Brighton met in open door games in 2011 and 2012. Presumably things have changed a lot since then? Cambridge pride themselves on never changing. Since the CloneMaster3000 came online in early 2008, the Romsey Town Rollerbillies have been growing replacements for each of their skaters. These are useful for spare organs, or sometimes even just for someone to sit with when no-one else will because your pads SMELL, for the love of…. Jeez.

Any Cambridge tactics the crowd should look out for? We have been EXCESSIVELY practicing leg whips. Today is the day. Watch with your eyes, but sense it with your ganglions.

Any particular Brighton players or tactics that you’ll be looking out for? I don’t really know… but if they do that thing where they get in the way of our jammer, or protect their point, then I dunno…. I might just pop.

Flattrackstats predicts 50/50. Are you expecting it to be that close? Yes and no. I imagine it will be closer in terms of body contact than score per se. If we can find a way of merging the two and creating a super powerful all-seeing all-winning team of point-scoring closeness and glory, then I imagine that would be preferable. But failing that… We’ll do the thing and then that thing’ll happen.

What about the day’s other game, Cambridge Punts (B-team) v LRR B? Punting is a popular pastime for plenty of people while perusing the plains of East Anglia. The punts are prolific in persistence in playing to perfect their roller profession. Prepare to party Punt style as these pugnacious punts take to the track.

What can you tell us about your derby venue and Cambridge itself? Kelsey Kerridge was the initial breeding point for the Romsean Rollaerians from Alpha Smasha Roller Badger 7. They first integrated the humans of the local area by leaving DNA in hair strands around the hall. These were slowly collected in the rolling of the wheels on the floor. When concentrated in a hot knotty mess around an axle and in proximity to the bearings, then strange things started to happen. Cambridge, as a result, has grown an outdoor ice rink outside Kelsey Kerridge as the perpetual cold seems to slow the shedding.

LINKS
FB EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/715136265277741/
CAMBRIDGE ROLLERBILLIES: http://rollerbillies.com/
BRIGHTON ROCKERS: https://www.brightonrockers.com/
LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS: https://londonrockinrollers.co.uk/

OMG They Made Roller Derby EXTRA CHAOTIC! Get To ROCKERS SEVENS This Sunday!

Roller derby rolls back into Haywards Heath this Sunday (27th August) as the mighty Brighton Rockers host their first ever Derby Sevens tournament. Here’s everything you need to know about this awesomes and extra hardcore derby event…

SEVEN FACTS ABOUT ROCKERS SEVENS

1. WHERE AND WHEN
It’s taking place this Sunday, the 27th (a date that ends in the number SEVEN) of August at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath, with doors from midday and a roughly 6pm finish time.

2. GETTING IN
Tickets are priced (in keeping with the theme) at SEVEN pounds for adults, free for under 12s. Get yours from the link at the bottom of this piece. They should be available on the door too.

3. GETTING TO
The venue is almost exactly SEVEN minutes walk from Haywards Heath train station – turn left and head on in that direction, following roller derby signage attached to lampposts, dogs and passers by.

4. ON THE WAY
There’s a decent enough pub (The Burrell, which is SEVEN letters) opposite the station, and a big Sainsbury’s roughly halfway between the station and venue (it shuts at 4pm on Sundays but has an ATM outside – there’s no ATM at the venue).

5. BAR BOOZE
There are bar facilities in the venue and bringing in booze from elsewhere is very much frowned upon. There will probably only be SEVEN bottles of London Pride in the fridge though, and we’ve bagsied five of them. Just saying.

6. PARTY TIME
The official after party is at the East Street Tap in Brighton. Whose address is 72 East Street. Which is a number that starts with SEVEN, yeah?

7. MAGAMAZINE
We only produce our fanzine Turn Left for traditional Rockers home games, but we made a late decision to do a one-off mini-mag for this event. Pick it up on the door. It’s exactly SEVEN pages long (if you don’t include the cover).

SEVEN QUOTES ABOUT ROCKERS SEVENS

1. EMMA THE CONDEMNER, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“There just isn’t the time to ‘find your feet’ and if you start to give away points there isn’t the time to recoup them later!”

2. TORI BEE, FOR 7s SAKE

“It’s like those scrimmages where hardly anyone shows up and you have to play every jam! It’s a test of endurance for sure, but you play a whole lotta derby, the fun keeps going and you can stay in your groove.”

3. BULLET BOMBER, BOURNE BOMBSHELLS

“Depending on how the line-ups work, you could be doing one on then one off as a jammer, or be blocking three or four jams in a row before sitting one out.”

4. CAZ VEGAS, JACKALS
“The games are shorter, but you need to remember that it’s not just an hour’s game with two halves and that your opponents change!”

5. FELLEN E ASSAULT, 7 DEADLY SINS
“It takes less penalties before a foul out, but that absolutely definitely never happens to any of us, so I’m sure that wont be a problem, yeah?”

6. AMPERSAND WHAT, WE ARE ALL LOVE
“There are no timeouts nor any extra players if you need one, so there’s no time to get a moment’s rest. It’s good for upping your endurance and seeing all the amazing things your body can do under pressure.”

7. EMMA THE CONDEMNER, BRIGHTON ROCKERS
“A player will foul out after four penalties instead of the normal seven and there are no timeouts. Basically it’s going to be a really fast-paced day packed full of derby!”

[Photos by John Hesse]

LINKS

FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1378515305601263/
TICKETS: https://www.brightonrockers.com/shop-cttr

ROCKERS vs BELLES and BEES – Looking Ahead To This Sunday’s Derby Action!

The mighty Brighton Rockers are back in action in Haywards Heath this Sunday (14th May). The A-team recovered from their heavy loss at home to Vienna in March, thumping Portsmouth away a few weeks later to get back most of the ranking points they’d shed since the start of the year. They will be taking on the Hell’s Belles from Hertfordshire at 2.35pm on Sunday, with the B-team Rockerbillies facing Suffolk Bees (the Suffolk Roller Derby B-team, obvs) at 4.55pm. Doors are at 2pm and tickets are available online from the link at the bottom of this piece, priced £10 adults, £8 students, free for under 12s. There will be tickets available on the door, but the special 4-for-the-price-of-3 deal is online only.

The venue is the Dolphin Leisure Centre. Car users should point their Sat Navs at RH16 1LY, while it’s only five minutes walk west from the train station. This being a Sunday, engineering work means there are fewer trains to Haywards Heath than usual, just two an hour from Brighton (and a couple more via Hove). The pub outside the station, the Burrell Arms, is OK for a pint or two, and the nearest ATM is at the big Sainsbury’s halfway between the venue and station. Whilst the cashpoint is outside, should you need anything from the supermarket itself, bear in mind that it shuts at 4pm (ie before the end of the first game) on Sunday. Enough blather, have some stats…

FLATTRACKSTATS.COM PREDICTS
Skip these two paragraphs if you don’t like to know predictions ahead of a game. Having reclaimed most of their lost ranking, the Rockers A-team currently place 99th in Europe on 554.4 points. Hell’s Belles are not far behind in 102nd (553.9 points). FTS give Brighton 56% chance of victory here, with a 13:12 predicted differential suggesting something like a 195-180 home win. Switch to the UKRDA ranking system – which doesn’t factor in Brighton’s recent big losses to European sides – and the Rockers (24th) are given a whopping 86% chance of beating the Belles (38th). Predicted differential here is 29:16 which is a 232-128 type victory margin.

Moving on to the second game, the B-team Rockerbillies place 307th in Europe (454.9 ranking points), below the Suffolk Bees who are 279th (463.7). Home advantage almost bridges that gap, but not quite! FTS reckons this is going to be a close one, with the visitors given 51% chance of victory and the closest predicted differential we’ve ever seen: 78-77. That suggests something like a 234-231 away win. Yowsers! Now let’s hear from the teams…

“I used to know a bit about Hell’s Belles back in my days with the Milton Keynes Concrete Cows, but that was many years ago and a lot has no doubt changed. I’ve had the customary check on Flattrackstats and see that they’ve recently played against Rebellion. Now we lost to Rebellion by one point, whereas Hell’s Belles played them and lost by 204 points. Make of that what you will, I ain’t sayin’ nuffin’. The crowd should look out for Fellen E Assault and Cruelty Spree on track – this will be their first open door A-team game.”
KAPOW – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“I know the Rockers are a driven and dedicated team. I’ll be watching out for all their players and tactics. I played one of my cherry poppers at Brighton when they played Hot Wheel, so it will be awesome to see how their game has changed in the last two years. The audience should look out for Candy CaneHer in the Hell’s Belles ranks – she’s a crowd pleaser!”
STINGS LIKE ABBIE – HELL’S BELLES

“The Rockerbillies face the Suffolk Bees. Predictions? Let’s just see what happens. Playing regular games for B-teams is super important for all areas of game development, from learning the rules to putting your skating skills into practice under high pressure situations.”
KAPOW – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

“Brighton are something of an unknown quantity. We’re really just looking forward to a fun day out, a new challenge and extending some Suffolk love out into Sussex (which is where I’m from originally).”
ASTERISK – SUFFOLK BEES

Don’t forget to pick up your free copy of our magazine Turn Left on the door – this one’s a special issue in which we talk to twenty former Rockers stars!

[Photo by John Hesse]

LINKS
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/1257070474390968/
TICKETS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/shop
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
HELL’S BELLES: http://www.hertsrd.co.uk/
SUFFOLK: http://www.suffolkrollerderby.com/

THE SOUTH COAST DECIDER – Portsmouth Roller Wenches v Brighton Rockers Preview

This Saturday 25th March (ie tomorrow) sees the final instalment in what has become an almost three years long best of three series between south coast roller derby titans Brighton and Portsmouth. The action takes place at Havant Leisure Centre from 3.25pm (doors at 3) with the epic A-team decider up first, followed by a first ever open door meeting between the two leagues’ B-teams. Tickets are £7 (including booking fee) from the link at the bottom of this piece. Online sales close at midnight or you can pay £8 on the door tomorrow.

Havant is on the Brighton side of Portsmouth, so it’s a short trip of around an hour by road or rail. Car users should point their Sat Navs at PO9 2AY, whilst direct trains from Brighton are at 12 and 42 past the hour. A day return to Havant costs less than £9 with a railcard. Please note that the after party is at the Wave Maiden craft beer bar in Osborne Road, Southsea, around 20 minutes walk from Portsmouth & Southsea station. Anyone travelling by train who is thinking of hitting the after party would be well advised to spend an extra quid or so to get their ticket to Portsmouth & Southsea rather than Havant (breaking your journey is allowed).

Havant Leisure Centre (NB Google may try to trick you into going to the Horizon Leisure Centre in Waterlooville instead) is around seven minutes walk north of Havant station, set amidst various civic buildings as the name Civic Centre Road might suggest. Pubs in the area are generally a bit rough and ready – the best is probably the Parchment Makers (Wetherspoons) five minutes walk south west from the station, nine from the venue. Although it’s an away game this is actually the second closest roller derby venue to Brighton (after Haywards Heath), so we hope as many Rockers fans as possible can travel across for tomorrow’s games.

PREDICTIONS & PAST RESULTS
[Skip the next two paragraphs if you don’t like reading predictions before a game.] Portsmouth’s A-team currently place 22nd in the UKRDA on 597.3 points, with the Rockers a smidgeon behind in 24th (595.0). The prediction machine at flattrackstats.com gives the Wenches 57% chance of victory here, with an expected differential of 32:29 working out at something like a 192-174 home win. FTS also offers a prediction based on the Euro rankings, but given how spangled Brighton’s placing is after recent games against continental sides we don’t dare press the button for that!

We have to use Euro rankings for the B-team game though, and these suggest the Rockerbillies are in for a challenge. Portsmouth’s B-team place 157th on 516.1 points, with the Brighton Bs 362nd on 436.4. The hosts are given a 93% chance of victory here, with an expected differential of 55:23 working out at something like a 275-115 win for Pompey B. It’s worth noting that these B-team rankings are based on a small number of games – the home side’s last ranked match was around a year ago – so they’re probably not that great an indicator re tomorrow’s second string game.

We don’t just have the FTS computer for guidance when it comes to the A-team match-up. Do past results hold an indication of what to expect? The first public game between the two leagues was exactly two years and five months ago on 25th October 2014 in Havant. The final score then was Portsmouth 159 – Brighton 221. The two sides didn’t have long to wait for a rematch. This was a British Champs game in Haywards Heath on 11th July 2015 which saw the Wenches upset the odds to effectively relegate the Rockers from Tier 2 South. Final score: Brighton 150 – Portsmouth 215.

It’s notable just how similar the scores from those two games are. A lot of time has passed since the most recent match-up, but if past scores are anything to go by both leagues have reason to be confident. Brighton can point to the fact that they are the away team – both previous games saw away wins. The Wenches meanwhile have the upper hand overall, albeit by a tiny amount. The current aggregate score is Portsmouth 374 – Brighton 371. So how is tomorrow’s decider going to play out? Head on over to Havant Leisure Centre to find out. In the meantime, let’s hear what members of both leagues are expecting…

THE DUCHESS OF CRUTCHES – PORTSMOUTH ROLLER WENCHES

On the off-chance someone reading this doesn’t know of the Portsmouth Roller Wenches, can you give us a quick summary of your history and achievements to date?
We are a six year old UKRDA league and came up alongside Brighton as “south coast sisters”. We count our growing comprehensive Fresh Meat program as one of our recent achievements, alongside spreading the word of roller derby in our local area through promotion of the league. We played two seasons in Tier 2 of British Champs but left the format to travel and play more European games. We are ranked in the top 12% of the European table and we’re big in Japan.

What are you expecting from Saturday’s A-team game against the Rockers? Care to predict the result?
I don’t think past Wench/Rocker results will be any indicator of what’s to come tomorrow. Both teams have evolved and changed so much since they last met. I can predict that both teams will want it and both teams will fight for it.

Being an hour apart on the coast the two leagues presumably know each other fairly well. Any particular Brighton players or tactics you’ll be looking out for tomorrow?
We don’t have a tendency to give too much thought to individual players, just the big picture. We are familiar with the Rockers’ most recent game play as we were able to watch them play against Vienna earlier this month.

Similarly, any particular players or tactics the audience should look out for from the Wenches A-team?
Um, I obviously won’t be divulging anything specific tactically, only to say that what we have been working on is looking tight and right. I’m sure the audience will clock the marvellous new talent we have making their A-team home debuts in this game.

The day’s second game sees a first ever meeting of the Portsmouth and Brighton B-teams. How are you expecting that one to go?
I hope this will be a fun and fulfilling game for both B-teams. Our leagues have a lot of history and these skaters are the future of both the Rockers and Wenches, so I hope they carry on the tradition. Look out for some of our Bs who are also making their Wench home debuts.

Finally, for those Rockers fans travelling across to Havant on Saturday, what can we expect from your venue? And from the after party?
There will be fabulous merch stalls including Hoodlum Fang, Skate Station and more, along with great raffle prizes and baked goods. There will be a bar and food available upstairs at the sports hall, and if we’re all lucky our sponsor Nando’s Gunwarf will be sending the Nando’s Chicken along to cheer us on! The after party takes place in the best bar in Southsea, which is of course The Wave Maiden. We really hope everyone can join us after the games for some refreshing craft beer and delicious homemade food in this skater owned and operated pub. Chances are there will also be dancing and whisky slaps. Yes, this also happens to be my bar! 🙂



SKATE BUSH – BRIGHTON ROCKERS

Care to predict the result of Saturday’s A-team game against the Wenches?
We always enjoy playing Portsmouth – they are an amazing team with super strong players – but we’re gunning for the big win. We are working on getting our rankings back this year and this is a good place for us to start.

Being south coast neighbours you presumable know the Portsmouth league quite well? Any particular players or tactics of theirs that you’ll be looking out for?
We do know each other really well. We even trade players occasionally, eg Little Miss Demeanor :o) If they’re playing we’ll be looking out for people like Nina Nunchucks, Dropkick Molly and Valkyrie Pain – she’s a brutal blocker and jammer – but we’ve been practicing taking the big hits so we are ready for them all.

Any players or tactics to look out for from the Rockers in the A-team game?
We’ve been working really hard on our walls (nothing new there) but recently we’ve taken to being really flexible in the way we form them. We’ve always been an adaptive team but that’s really improved recently. Having Finn McCruel join us last year has really upped our blocking and offensive work – so watch out for some super strong walls and some killer offense.

Any thoughts on the first ever meeting of the Portsmouth and Brighton B-teams?
Our B-team is really strong at the moment. We’ve got some amazing new players coming up through the ranks and our crossovers are a force to be reckoned with. Watch out for Farmergeddon – she’s been teaching us some of Brawling’s tricks of the trade recently.

Hopefully as many Rockers fans as possible will make the short trip along the coast on Saturday. Any message for them?
We love you. It makes such a difference having our fans cheering us on and our fans are obviously the best – plus they help us smash the after party.

Finally, any other games/events (that you can tell us about) on the horizon for the Rockers in 2017?
Our next game is away to Norfolk Brawds in April and then we’ve got a few exciting games in the pipeline but nothing confirmed yet. We’ll announce the games when they’re confirmed on our website and Facebook page, so keep an eye out.

THERE’S ANOTHER PREVIEW OF TOMORROW’S GAMES (INCLUDING THE VIEWS OF OTHER BRIGHTON AND PORTSMOUTH SKATERS) ON PAGE 14 OF OUR LATEST FANZINE. CLICK HERE FOR THE ONLINE VERSION.

[Photos by John Hesse]

LINKS
TICKETS: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2858244
FB EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1228722217209474/
FB AFTER PARTY: https://www.facebook.com/events/1368304253189741/
ROCKERS: http://www.brightonrockers.com/
WENCHES: http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/

BRATS Review Of 2016: PART FOUR – You VOTED, We COUNTED, They WON… the 2016 AWARDS!

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If you’ve missed the previous instalments, we’ve been summarising all the events (eleven A-team, five B-team and three special games) from an action packed 2016 in the world of the Brighton Rockers. Check out our recap of the year at these links: PART ONE (Jan-June) / PART TWO (July-Oct) / PART THREE (Nov-Dec). This fourth and final part of our Annual Review is a little different as we crack open the ballot box from the BRATS/Turn Left end of year award voting. Last year’s box only appeared at one event (and no e-mail votes were cast), whereas this year it was gobbling up voting forms at three different locations – the games v Milan and Eastbourne in Haywards Heath on Dec 3rd, the Rockers exhibition match at Brighton Corn Exchange on Dec 10th, and that evening’s Christmas after party – as well as a flurry of votes by e-mail.

There’s a shiny badge and an equally shiny certificate for each winner, so please get in touch with us to arrange delivery if you’ve won one of this year’s awards. We’ve also listed the names of past winners for each category in this rundown. Bear in mind that while the 2015 vote was conducted in the same way (voting forms in the fanzine) as the 2016 one, the 2014 awards – which also had some different categories – were selected by half a dozen drunken BRATS folks in a pub. Many thanks to the gabillions (well, going on for a hundred) of you that voted this year. Without further ado, here’s who YOU chose as your top Rockers of 2016…

OTHER OF THE YEAR – TENACIOUS P
This one’s for all those folks whose roles aren’t covered by the other award categories, ie everybody except the players, refs and NSOs. A dozen different names picked up votes here, including some surprising choices – we’re not sure exactly what impact wrestler Stone Cold Steve Austin had on the Rockers’ year. Our voting form mentioned bench crew, photographers and announcers as the sort of people this category covers, and this year saw a three-way race between one of each for the gong. Tied in second place were bench coach extraordinaire Mistress and top snapper John Hesse, whilst mic wielding loudmouth (ie awesomes announcer) Tenacious P took the prize by just half a vote! And if you’re wondering how we got a half-vote, someone put “the announcers” so we split that point between Phil and co-host Charlie.
Past winners: Mass Janeycide (2015)

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OFFICIAL OF THE YEAR – LASERHAMMER
Seven names picked up nods in this award for referees and NSOs. Curiously, last year’s winner Noise Tank didn’t garner a single vote (in this category at least) this time around – serves him right for moving to Japan, yeah? There was a strong showing from K-Tea, but in the end it was a two-way tussle between NSO (and A-team skater) Hippy Hippy Skate and Rockers Head Ref LaserHammer, with the latter edging ahead by a handful of votes to reclaim his crown from Noise.
Past winners: Noise Tank (2015), LaserHammer (2014)

ICON OF THE YEAR – FINN McCRUEL

The voting form lists this category as being for “the most inspiring Brighton Rocker on or off track” and fifteen different names were put forward, including players, announcers, bench crew and a ref (you got a vote here Noise!). This award largely favoured people involved in the league’s coaching set-up. Fresh Meat tenderisers Hairy Fairy and Kapow both picked up a load of support, as did last year’s winner Shambolic, but in the end it was the transfer from Finland, Finn McCruel, clinching the prize here by a single vote over Gin Atomic.
Past winners: Shambolic (2015)

ROOKIE OF THE YEAR – FARMERGEDDON
There were eight skaters put forward for this category, but the result was never in doubt. Farmergeddon’s rise through the Rockers ranks has been meteoric. Having only taken up the sport as part of the 2016 Fresh Meat intake, ‘geddon will be in the A-team squad the league send to a tournament in Normandy later this month. Fellen E Assault takes second place in this category, but with over 70% of the total votes cast, Farmergeddon rolls out the most convincing victor across the entire 2016 Awards… and will be looking to follow last year’s winner in becoming an established A-team AllStar.
Past winners: Speedy Gonzalex (2015)

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B-TEAMER OF THE YEAR – CRUELTY SPREE
The electorate selected a dozen names in this Best Rockerbillies Player category, with almost all of those picking up multiple votes. There were strong showings from Lab Wrath, Polly Dartin’, Fellen E Assault and Chloe Colossus, amongst others. Rookie award winner Farmergeddon finished second here, but Cruelty Spree took the win by a comfortable margin.
Past winners: Bionic Betty (2015)

BLOCKER OF THE YEAR – HAIRY FAIRY
Ten names picked up nods in the poll for Brighton’s best defensive player of the year. Hairy Fairy took the win by a handful over Finn McCruel, becoming the first player to retain their 2015 award. Cake Or Death and Irish Mist were amongst those picking up sizable voting tallies here, but the result was never really in doubt.
Past winners: Hairy Fairy (2015), Emma The Condemner (2014)

JAMMER OF THE YEAR – SHAMBOLIC
Despite being one of the main awards, this category actually saw the fewest different players voted for in the entire ballot, with just six names written in for this jamming prize and some very surprising omissions. Dr Whooligan, Mighty Mouse, Gin Atomic and Emma The Condemner picked up a few votes, but in the end around 75% of the ballot cast was split between just two people. 2014 winner Kapow has to settle for the runners-up slot here, with Shambolic taking a narrow (three votes) win.
Past winners: Skate Bush (2015), Kapow (2014)

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PLAYER OF THE YEAR – GIN ATOMIC
Moving to Japan may have reduced Noise Tank to just one vote in the entire ballot, but it doesn’t seem to have done Gin Atomic any harm. Gin joins Hairy Fairy as the only person to retain their 2015 award. It was a fairly close run thing in what (with sixteen names in the running) was the most heavily contested category of all. Cake Or Death, Finn McCruel and B-teamer Cruelty Spree picked up a fair few votes here, but in the end it was former housemate Shambolic who Gin edged out by a couple of votes to triumph.
Past winners: Gin Atomic (2015), Dr Whooligan (2014)

That rounds up the eight categories on the voting form, but (as happened last year) the fact that the company who make our winners’ badges have a minimum order of ten means we’ve rustled up a couple of bonus gongs. The first is our MOST VOTED FOR award, which goes to the person who picked up the most votes across all of the categories without actually winning any of them. Lab Wrath took this one last year, but here it’s a three-way race, with the bronze going to Cake Or Death, silver to Hippy Hippy Skate and the WINNER – KAPOW taking the gold. Where gold means a tacky badge and certificate.

Finally we have our new FRIEND OF BRATS award. Although it says 2016 on the badge and certificate, this is more a Hall Of Fame type thing for someone who has really helped BRATS out over the years. There are loads of potential names in the frame here – heck, our website and fanzine have featured interviews with well over a hundred skaters (from the Rockers and elsewhere) so far, on top of all the awesome advertisers and photographers who have contributed. Special shout outs to the amazeballs John Hesse – recently voted best photographer in a national derby poll – and our ever reliable if confused advertiser Mr Séamus (yes, he really does pay us full price for his fanzine ads, even after moving to Devon). In the end this inaugural award has to go to the person who appeared on the cover of the very first Turn Left, providing us with inordinate help re interview wrangling etc over the years, most recently sourcing tributes to Gin for Issue 17 and being the main interview in Issue 18. We’re referring of course to the well deserved WINNER – MISTRESS.

So ends our BRATS Review of 2016 (somewhat later than planned, due to that lurgy wot’s going around). The Rockers kickstart their 2017 season on the 28th & 29th of this month, when they face Caen, Amsterdam and one from Madrid, Hellfire (Nottingham) and Kallio B (Helsinki) in Normandy’s Slip It tournament. Here’s hoping they can improve on last year’s last place! If you can’t make it out to Caen for that one, the next event at Haywards Heath Dolphin sees the AllStars take on Vienna on Saturday 4th March. If 2017’s even half as action-packed as 2016 it’s gonna be a belter. Laters, yeah…

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]