The people of EASTBOURNE are taking on TWO whole COUNTIES at ROLLER DERBY – eek!

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Derby starved peoples of Sussex, be starved no longer. Incredibly we embark upon three consecutive Saturdays of roller derby at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath, with all three of the leagues that call it home hosting double headers there. The Brighton Rockers will be taking on teams from Eindhoven and Southampton/Basingstoke in two weeks time (Nov 12th)… Croydon have two games against Dublin tomorrow week (Nov 5th)… but before all that, the mighty Eastbourne Roller Derby are dusting off their skates with women’s and men’s games TOMORROW (Sat 29th Oct). Yowsers!

The Bourne Bombshells women will be taking on Wiltshire Roller Derby at 1pm, with the Bomb S’Quad men (and guests) staging a rematch against Suffolk Roller Derby around 3pm. Doors open at 12.30pm with tickets priced at £5 for adults, free for under 16s. The Dolphin is seven minutes walk from Haywards Heath station – turn left on leaving the station and follow the signs stuck to lampposts, trees and small dogs. There’s no engineering work, so two direct trains an hour from Eastbourne. Car users should point their Sat Nav at RH16 1LY. There’s a cafe bar and vending machines at the leisure centre. The nearest cash machines are at the big Sainsbury’s halfway between the venue and station. For early arrivers, the pub opposite the train station (Burrell Arms) is a decent enough football and food place with a terrace – it’s also hosting the after party.

Are you one of those people that don’t like reading predictions prior to a game? Then skip past this paragraph. Flattrackstats rank the Bourne Bombshells 283rd in Europe on 457.3 ranking points, some way behind 198th placed Wiltshire (491.7 points). The visitors are given 69% chance of taking the win here, with an expected differential of 17:13 suggesting a pretty close scoreline, something like a 170-130 Wiltshire win. As for the men’s game, unfortunately neither team appears in any FTS ranking system (less than ten UK men’s sides do) so the only barometer we have here is the 190-129 win that Suffolk Men took against Bomb S’Quad here at the Dolphin in August 2015.

Enough maths and stuff, let’s hear from all four teams taking part…

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THE PHILOSOFEAR & ROCKAMILLIE – BOURNE BOMBSHELLS

Hi, several Bombshells teamed up with Brighton B-teamers at the Dolphin in September. How was that and what else have you been getting up to since Extreme?
It was good fun, and it was interesting to see how another team does things. For example, Brighton do their line ups very differently to how we do ours, and they often face away from the track whilst sitting on the bench so that skaters can’t watch the game (that was new to us!). Since Extreme, we’ve also had a closed door against Oxford Wheels of Gory. And we’ve been working on increasing our skater numbers and training new fresh meat – we’ve now got almost enough Bombshells for a B-team!

How important is hosting an event in one of the UK’s top derby venues (as used by Team England, Croydon, Brighton etc) to you and what are your experiences as a team or individuals on the floor of the Dolphin? Do you wish you had a venue closer to Ebo?
Personally I quite like The Dolphin floor – it’s not too sticky or too slippery. The Dolphin is a great venue, and it’s easy to drive to or get the train to. However, I think we suffer as a team for not having a venue in Eastbourne. If we could have games in Eastbourne it would be easier to build a local fan base and to recruit new members. We advertise our games locally but people often aren’t willing to travel to Haywards Heath to watch games when they’re not necessarily roller derby fans yet. If we could host games in Eastbourne we’d get more people popping along to see what it’s all about and hopefully enjoying it! Even though the Dolphin is a top derby venue, I think having a smaller local venue would be beneficial to us. We could still use The Dolphin for big events occasionally, but we could hold more regular open door games in Eastbourne. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere that fits the bill.

What do you know about your opponents Wiltshire? A new opponent? Do any Bombshells know of them? Any players or tactics that you will be looking out for from the away side?
We don’t really know much about Wiltshire to be honest. I’ve only encountered a few of their players before – Gemma has played against the Bombshells before when she played for Basingstoke, and I know from playing against her that she’s a strong, pushy jammer. The only other players I’ve encountered before are Shell, Ginger Fear and Snake Bite. I have heard that they are a team with strong jammers, but I don’t know anything about their blocking tactics so I don’t know what to expect! When we first starting talking to Wiltshire about playing them they were ranked quite near us. But since then they’ve moved up the rankings a fair bit, so it could be quite a challenging game for us.

Who and what should we look out for from the Bombshells ranks? Any new or returning players, etc? Care to predict the result?
In the Bombshells we’ve had a great recruitment drive recently, seeing many new female skaters join the ERD ranks. We currently have a few in our Fresh Meat who are consistently doing great each week; it won’t be long until they are ready to pop their cherries! As for A-team skaters, we’ve had Tiki Timebomb, T-Wrecks, Insterslam and Driller join the group, whilst welcoming back Elle Hound. Unfortunately, due to breaking her wrist at Extreme, Beast has semi-retired, mainly from the competitive side as she still attends training to have a little skate and impart her derby-wisdom. As for the game this Saturday, watch out for our new jammers Driller and Insterslam plus team members finding their jammer feet CalEmity and Lily Malicious. They are quick on their feet through the pack, blink and you’ll miss it! As for the blockers, they’re a solid bunch ready to put the drop on any jammer or offense. I wouldn’t care to predict the result, but I think it will be an awesome game to watch!

Do the Bombshells have any other (open or closed door) games coming up in 2016? What are your plans for next year and beyond?
In November the Bombshells have a closed door bout against Surrey’s B-team. That’s a double header, with the game between our respective co-ed sides. We’re looking forward to those games – Surrey are a good bunch and always fun to play against. Then in December we are holding a Christmas scrim for women, men and co-ed, which should be a lot of Christmassy fun! There’s plenty in the pipelines for 2017. Most importantly, we’re looking forward to our Fresh Meat passing their Minimum Skills and becoming game ready in the New Year… we may even have enough skaters for a B-team!

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WILTSHIRE ROLLER DERBY

For any Eastbourne fans reading this who might not know about Wiltshire Roller Derby, can you give us a quick summary of your history to date?
We were founded in 2012 and train in Swindon. We consist of a women’s travel team and a men’s team, and we’re also trying out a newly started co-ed team. We have competed in annual tournaments such as the Heartland Series and both years of British Champs. We are slowly growing and are keen to get our men’s team competing as soon as possible. After a tough bouting year last year, we trained hard and (as a result) have achieved a number of wins this year. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that we get promoted back to Tier 4 in Champs 2017 after only one loss in the tournament this year.

Do you know much about your opponents the Bourne Bombshells? Any particular Eastbourne players or tactics that you’ll be looking out for?
We are pretty much going in blind. Being so far away we don’t really know much about the team we are playing, but that adds to the fun and excitement. We’re excited to meet a new team!

Any particular players or tactics from Wiltshire that the crowd should look out for at the game?
We have a few who like to hit hard and also take hard hits. With a lot of changes happening in the team lately we don’t have our usual full travel team, so you might see some of our usual blockers having a go at jamming occasionally. If Bookworm’s Revenge gets that star, watch out for those apex jumps 🙂

What are you expecting from the game? Care to predict the result?
We have learnt never to be complacent or predict scores. If Flattrackstats is anything to go by it looks like it’ll be a close one. No matter what the result we always aim to be friendly and have the best time on track. We always try and crack smiles from our opponents on the start lines…

Finally, what do WRD have planned for the rest of the year?
We have our final game and home bout of the year in Swindon on Sunday 13th November. We are having a mixed men’s opener in a simple Black vs White, and then we take on Hereford Roller Girls B-team. Word on the street is that we may also have human Hungry Hippos as our half time entertainment… it’s worth coming over just for that, right?!

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PONT BLANK – BOMB S’QUAD

Hi, it’s been quite a while since you last derbyed (is that a word?) locally hasn’t it? What have Bomb S’Quad been getting up to since Eastbourne Extreme?
Yes, that’s right, we’ve been fairly quiet since Extreme having played only one closed door game in the meantime, which was a tough match against Oxford Mens Roller Derby. The team has gone through a few changes in the latter part of the year. SuiCider and Spank Me Sideways have both welcomed new additions to their families and are dedicating more time to their family lives, but still giving as much time to derby as they can. We suffered two more major losses; the first of which was Mercernary to a serious knee injury during the build up to Extreme, which left a big hole in the team. And since Extreme, Aladdin Sane has decided to take a break due to his partner Beast’s wrist injury. The team has really missed his arse on track! But we have had two recent Fresh Meat graduates – Nesta Vipers and Quick Deaf – joining our line ups. So although we’ve lost a few players, we are rebuilding and looking forward to things to come for the team in 2017.

What are your experiences as a team or individually on the floor of the Dolphin?
The Dolphin is a great venue, but the Bomb S’Quad have only played here as a team once before, which was the open door against Suffolk last year. It’s got plenty of space for spectators, and the extra hall on the side for getting kitted up, but it’s a real shame that it’s so far away from Eastbourne, which perhaps dissuades the more casual spectator when it comes to our open door games. The floor is a really good derby floor, not too sticky, and not too slippery, and it should suit everyone, making for a really exciting game.

What do you know about your opponents Suffolk?
We met Suffolk on track in August last year here at the Dolphin. They’ve come on leaps and bounds since then, having topped their tier in British Champs. They’ve got some heavy hitters in the likes of Guy Pie and Tubesock Shakur, plus some awesome jammers who we will be doing our best to hold down out there on the track.

Who and what should we look out for from the Bomb S’Quad ranks? Any new or returning players, etc? We understand you have some guest skaters – who/what should we look out for from them? Care to predict the result?
As mentioned previously, we’ve had a couple of recent Fresh Meat graduates. Nesta Vipers will definitely be one to watch out there, as he’s turning out to be quite the double threat. We’ve also been fortunate to have landed five awesome guests for this game; Amanta Harmyer, Pulp Friction and Studas Priest of the Surrey Jammerwockies, plus Weald Warriors’ Chandler Bang and BrutAl Deluxe, will be lining up with us. And as always, Tenacious P’s jamming will be worth watching, as well as Spank Me Sideways’ awesome blocking. I wouldn’t like to predict the result, but I’m hoping it’s as close, if not closer, as last year’s game.

Do Bomb S’Quad have any other (open or closed door) games coming up in 2016? What are your plans for next year and beyond?
We’ve got a few things in the pipeline as we prepare for next year. As seems to be the case with a lot of the local men’s teams at the moment, we’re struggling with consistent numbers. There have been talks of collaborations with other teams, but it’s very much up in the air at the moment and we hope to have some more details soon. Watch this space.

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SUFFOLK PUNCH – SUFFOLK MENS RD BENCH COACH

For anyone reading this who might not be aware of Suffolk Roller Derby, can you give us a quick summary of your history to date?
Suffolk RD started towards the end of 2012, so we’ve been around for three or four years now. We’re a co-ed league who train three times a week in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. Our women’s team joined the British Championships in 2015, and the men’s team joined this year. The men placed top of our regional division against Bristol, Nottingham Outlaws and Brawls of Steel, and at the playoffs in September took the win over the Brothers Grimm to achieve promotion to Tier 2 next year!

Suffolk Men took on Eastbourne’s Bomb S’Quad last year? What do you recall of that game? Any particular Bomb S’Quad players or tactics that you’ll be looking out for in this rematch?
Last year our men’s team took on the Bomb S’Quad and won, so we’ll be hoping for the same again. We never underestimate our opponents. We know Bomb S’Quad have been busy with the Southern Sevens tournament, so it will be great to see how the different experiences of each team face up to each other in this match.

Any particular Suffolk players or tactics that the crowd should look out for at the game?
We have lots of new up and coming skaters, as well as our experienced individuals, so there will be a great mix of talent on show.

What are you expecting from the game? Care to predict the result?
I’m not going to predict a scoreline, but obviously we are looking for the win – and to have an awesome fun game!

Finally, what do the SRD chaps have planned for the rest of the year?
This will be the last game for our men’s team this year, after a busy Champs season. However a few of them will be taking part in our co-ed game vs Team Essex next Sunday (6th Nov) in Ipswich, when our women’s B-team will also be making their first public appearance.

[Photos by John Hesse, except Wiltshire RD by Graeme Willetts]

LINKS
FB EVENT: https://www.facebook.com/events/474645542741842/
ERD ON FB: https://www.facebook.com/EBRollerDerby/

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Let’s Take This OUTSIDE! Eastbourne Extreme 2016 ROLLER DERBY Preview!

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It’s that time of year again. This weekend (Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th July) large swathes of the UK roller derby community – and many from elsewhere in Europe – will descend on Eastbourne seafront for a two day festival of outdoor derby action. The format for this event changes every year. For 2016, the Saturday features all four of Eastbourne Roller Derby’s teams taking on challengers. Then on Sunday there are five mixed games, featuring skaters from dozens of different leagues in men’s, women’s and co-ed games of varying skill levels. This preview contains a guide to Saturday and Sunday’s events (in chronological order) including some thoughts from folks who are taking part…

HOW TO GET THERE
The action takes place from 10am to around 6pm each day at the Fishermans Green Tennis Courts. That’s a mile along the coast (heading North East) from Eastbourne Pier – use the postcode BN22 7LH in maps apps. There’s car parking adjacent, it’s 25 minutes walk from Eastbourne train station and several local buses stop nearby. Admission is totally free. As well as the roller derby, Extreme has roller hockey, skateboard/scooter ramps and lots of other extreme sports to check out. There are public toilets right by the derby area (expect long queues for the ladies at times) and a few food outlets along the seafront, plus a large landscaped park with lake across the way. The nearest shop for booze and munchies is Spar on the corner of Beach Road and Seaside (about five mins walk). There are also after parties both evenings – a roller disco on the Saturday and pub takeover on the Sunday. Yay!

THE HISTORY OF DERBY AT EXTREME
The Philosofear (ERD):
“Roller derby first appeared at Eastbourne Extreme in 2011. There was an indoor scrimmage and a few jams outside as a demonstration (which I attempted to ref badly!). In 2012 the Bombshells ran a one-day tournament at Extreme. We didn’t take part as we weren’t bout-ready since most of the team hadn’t yet passed minimum skills. In 2013 we were ready to participate and so we had a tournament on the Saturday for newer teams like ourselves, plus one on the Sunday for more established leagues. From there it has grown every year. Now that we are Eastbourne Roller Derby, we like to use Extreme as an opportunity for all of our different teams to play, which means it’s the biggest event in the ERD calendar. But the mixed team games also give skaters from all over the country (and a few from the continent) an opportunity to skate at Extreme.”

WELCOME TO ERDBY
Regular readers might have noticed we’ve changed our identity. This website was formerly called the BBCD (Bourne Bombshells Cheer Division). When we first formed as an unofficial group for fans of roller derby in Eastbourne, the Bombshells were the town’s only derby team. In the past couple of years that has all changed. With the addition of the men’s team Bomb S’Quad, the co-ed A-Bombs and New Bournes juniors – all operating under the banner of Eastbourne Roller Derby – we thought we should change our name to fully reflect our support for all of these teams. So as of this week we are now ERDBY, which as well as being an anagram of ‘derby’ (clever, huh? – or maybe not) also stands for Eastbourne Roller Derby Big Yay! As well as this website, you can find us intermittently posting at facebook.com/erdbigyay and twitter.com/_erdby. Get in touch via erdby@yahoo.com if you like. But enough about us, let’s get stuck into the cavalcade of roller derby that this weekend holds…

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SATURDAY 16TH JULY SCHEDULE

10.00-12.00 MEN’S ROLLER DERBY SEVENS (THREE GAMES)
10.00 ERD BOMB S’QUAD V SCERD WEALD WARRIORS
10.50 ERD BOMB S’QUAD V MEDWAY MAYHEM
11.40 MEDWAY MAYHEM V SCERD WEALD WARRIORS

The day kicks off at a frighteningly early hour (hey, anything before 2pm at a weekend is early for us) with a three team men’s tournament. Derby Sevens is a special format of 21-minute long games with squads consisting of seven players rather than the usual fourteen. This format has proved very popular with men’s teams in the UK as many don’t yet have enough players for a full size squad. Eastbourne’s Bomb S’Quad are taking part, along with two teams from Kent. We caught up with all three sides to find out what to expect…

ERD BOMB S’QUAD
Tenacious P:
“The Bomb S’Quad were established in early 2015 and the past year has seen us have numerous closed door and open door games, most recently in the Roller Derby Sevens Southern Men’s Cup. Our first open door as a team was at Extreme last year where (with a few guest skaters) we took the win over Surrey. We’ve played some of Medway at Team England Sevens back in May and watched them in their games as part of the Southern Cup. They are a hard team to play; they have some great jammers and are as tough as nails. Weald Warriors were also a part of the Southern Cup and are another strong team. We like the Sevens format as it’s quick, tough and challenges you to the limits as you hardly ever come off. As a Jammer (which I am) you tend to do one on, one off – hit a few two minute jams and you soon feel it! I think we have the edge but you never know as both Kent teams have improved so much over the past six months.
    Playing outdoors is a real challenge. The hits hurt more, the sunburn is a killer and endurance is pushed to its limits. We usually have a small advantage as playing outdoors for us starts in June, or even May, but this year the weather has been so bad that we’ve only been outdoors twice. Look out for Pont Blank, our new captain, who is back from his travels with a renewed vigour. Also Animal, one of our newer skaters (and family member of Chasin’ Status), who is one of our most skilled skaters. Extreme is our showcase event. As we’re without a local home venue, this is the time of the year we get to show the people of Eastbourne what we can do!”

SCERD WEALD WARRIORS
BrutAl Deluxe:
“Based primarily in Rochester, Weald Warriors stemmed from Rochester Royal Rollers to become the men’s competitive arm of Southern Co Ed Roller Derby. The Warriors were introduced to the world this year at the inaugural Sevens Men’s Southern Cup. What can we say about Medway Mayhem? Light and shade. Yin and Yang. WW and MM. We have battled Mayhem before and this good-natured local derby derby is guaranteed to entertain. We cannot wait to show the boys next door how we do this on the street. Weald Warriors are yet to go to war with Bomb S’Quad – we look forward to showing these old men of the sea what this young team can do. As a new team building up its player base, the Sevens format has been essential in allowing us to compete with more established teams in a fast, fun and free-flowing format. This will be our first time competing at Eastbourne Extreme, and we’re looking forward to getting to grips with outdoor skating. Get ready for shades, sunshine, and funny pad tan! We will bring the war to Eastbourne Extreme as we look to secure our first win. Watch out for Chandler Bang and his deceptively laid back jamming style, and the double threat vision in pink that is PRO-LAPS.”

MEDWAY MAYHEM
Brute:
“Mayhem was Kent’s first men’s roller derby team when we formed in July 2015. We have played our local rivals Weald Warriors twice in the Sevens format and we currently hold a 2-0 win record. We haven’t faced the Bomb S’Quad but we can’t wait to test ourselves against them! Mayhem hosted both heats of the recent Men’s Sevens Southern Cup tournament. We ended up finishing joint fifth with Bomb S’Quad in that tournament. Eastbourne Extreme has been a calendar event for us. We’ve known of it for a couple of years and we’re honoured to be invited. A few of us play on challenge teams with Tenacious P of Bomb S’Quad and we know how good he is. Also watch out for Crash Mat from the Warriors. Mayhem players to look out for? Well, you’ll just have to wait and see…”

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12.30-14.00 WOMEN’S GAME
ERD BOURNE BOMBSHELLS V BRIGHTON ROCKERBILLIES

[PLEASE NOTE: THERE IS A MORE DETAILED PREVIEW OF THIS PARTICULAR GAME AT THE WEBSITE OF OUR CHUMS BRATS – CLICK HERE FOR THAT] Amazingly the two longest running Sussex derby leagues have yet to meet in an open door game. The Bombshells and Rockerbillies both took part in last year’s Eastbourne Extreme tournament, but didn’t end up playing each other. The two leagues have met a few times behind closed doors, so it will be interesting to see how they match up in front of an audience…

ERD BOURNE BOMBSHELLS
The Philosofear:
“Playing outdoors is something we’re used to as we train outside in good weather for a few months before Extreme. I’d also say we know the Brighton Rockers league pretty well (especially as I’m an ex-Brighton player). A lot of us attend their bouts regularly and quite a few of them have been to our scrimmages. Their B-team Rockerbillies have a few newer players on their roster, who we are not that familiar with, but also a lot of skaters who are well-known to us. I’d say that Lab Wrath and Van Hayley are Brighton skaters to watch out for. I’ve seen both of them play a few times and they’re strong. We’ve also heard that the Rockerbillies have a transfer skater from Helsinki who is a good jammer. For the Bombshells, Beast and Smash’er Fierce are both great blockers who are very hard to get past. Bullet Bomber is a brilliant all-rounder. And Crash’s jamming has been on fire lately. As for our tactics – I’m not telling!”

BRIGHTON ROCKERBILLIES
Van Hayley:
“Last year’s Eastbourne Extreme was crazy! Three games in one day, all in the blazing sunshine. It was really tough and very intense, but it was a great experience. There were a few casualties but we all learnt a lot, and there was lots to see when we weren’t playing. The tarmac is super grippy so it really favours fast, jukey jammers. It also chews through wheels and toe stops pretty quickly! Being outside in the sun by the sea sure beats being inside a leisure centre any day, even if we did all get a bit burnt last year. We love the Bombshells! We’ve played a lot of scrims and closed door games with them and it’s always great. They always give us a run for our money. They’re a really tough team but they’re so much fun to skate with – we’re really lucky to have them so close by! They’re also great to hang out with. We didn’t get to play them at Eastbourne Extreme last time because of the way the tournament format worked out, so we can’t wait for this year. Watch your backs Bombshells!”

14.30-16.00 JUNIOR ROLLER DERBY
ERD NEW BOURNES V EXTREME JUNIORS CHALLENGE TEAM

Eastbourne Roller Derby also has a junior league, the New Bournes. They will be taking on a team of skaters from various other junior derby leagues on Saturday afternoon. The New Bournes coaches have this to say…

ERD NEW BOURNES
Beachy Headcase & Drag N Fly:
“New Bournes have been going for 2.5 years and we now have around sixteen active members aged between 5-17. About half of our skaters are level 3 skaters, which mean they play full contact roller derby the same as adults. The other half are still working their way through minimum skills and play level 2 roller derby, which is more positional with less hitting. The nearest active junior league that we know about is based in Calais! Hopefully we are playing them soon. But we also have friends in Devon (DASH) and Hereford (The Poison Berries). Both those teams are represented during our mixed game at Extreme. There are other teams up and running but the distances are vast! More teams are popping up all the time though. We took a few players to a mixed game in May hosted by Hereford, and another mixed game in Neath last December. We jump at opportunities and are willing to travel! The challenge team we face on Saturday includes skaters who have travelled from Devon, Hereford, Sheffield and even Charleroi in Belgium.
    Derby outdoors is really good fun. It can be a bit slower and it’s rougher when you hit the ground because it’s tarmac not wood/vinyl, but the sea air is lovely and beats playing sports halls. Outdoors eats rubber and chews up pads but we still love it. Obviously we would love to win this weekend, but it’s just exciting for the junior league to finally be able to play in their purple team kit. We have played a few mixed games with the opposing team, but I can truly say that they are all awesome, and junior roller derby is really great to watch. Beyond this weekend, the New Bournes are planning to play our first game against a full team in the autumn, and hopefully we are going to participate in Europe’s first junior roller derby tournament in Copenhagen next Easter!”

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16.30-18.00 CO-ED GAME
ERD A-BOMBS V FULL METAL ROLLER DERBY

Saturday’s action finishes with a co-ed game, featuring Eastbourne’s A-Bombs (a mixture of Bourne Bombshells and Bomb S’Quadders) against Full Metal RD from Stevenage. What can people expect from this game?

ERD A-BOMBS
Tenacious P:
“The A-Bombs are Eastbourne Roller Derby’s newest team. A co-ed (male/female) league, we had our first game at Extreme 2015 where we took a hard fought loss to the much more experienced Portsmouth Scurvy Wenches. A year on and we’ve seen the hard work in practice begin to pay dividends with a win against My Mom (and Friends) and placing third at England Men’s Host Roller Derby Sevens back in June. We’ve not played Full Metal Roller Derby as a co-ed team but the Bombshells played them last year in British Champs and we played a few of them as part of the My Mom game earlier this year. Full Metal Roller Derby have heart and fight, never giving up. That makes them a tough team to play.
    Co-ed is very different to other types of derby. It takes the skill and precision of women’s derby and the power and strength of men’s derby and throws it in together. For me personally, I think it’s a much more fun game to play, where skill is tested against power, speed against force. It has the excitement of the men’s game and the precision of the women’s, with the best players from each league on the track. I think we have a small advantage but the weather has seen only limited opportunity to practice outdoors. The bigger advantage is that we have trained co-ed for over a year now. That’s massive. We know each other and test each other every session. Bullet Bomber is always a skater to look out for, but also keep an eye on Aladdin Sane and Beast who have taken their blocking to a new level this year.”

FULL METAL ROLLER DERBY
FMRD:
“Full Metal is a co-ed league based in Hertfordshire. We’ve been bouting as a co-ed team since the start of this year, but our women’s team has been playing since 2015. A few of us have played against the A-Bombs in a challenge team game. We know that they are a strong team with solid walls and good communication. Co-ed derby is harder hitting than women’s derby, but more tactical than men’s derby. It’s a perfect balance between the two, usually played at super quick speeds. Eastbourne Extreme is legendary in the derby world and we’re really honoured to have been invited to play. The biggest difference is the surface we play on. Skating outdoors on gravel is a whole different world to skating on a smooth wooden sports hall floor. Any bump could send you flying if you’re not prepared! But it’s something we’ve been training for and we’re excited for it. We’ve been working on how to beat the A-Bombs’ favourite cube wall recently, so we feel like it’ll be really evenly matched game and great fun to watch. Close points are inevitable!”

19.00-LATE AFTER PARTY @ MY SKATEWORLD
Saturday’s after party is a full on roller disco at My SkateWorld. This venue is located on an industrial estate a mile or so inland from where the day’s derby takes place – the postcode is BN23 6LY. There will be skating, a DJ, live music and £1 shots of Sourz. Admission is £5 for adults (including a voucher for a free drink) and £2 for youngsters. These can be bought online from ERD or on the door (subject to availability).

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SUNDAY 17TH JULY SCHEDULE

10.00-17.30 MIXED TEAM GAMES (FIVE GAMES)
10.00 ROOKIE WOMEN’S GAME
11.30 CO-ED INTER/ADVANCED GAME
13.00 MEN’S MIXED LEVEL GAME
14.30 WOMEN’S MIXED LEVEL GAME
16.00 CO-ED ADVANCED GAME

Sunday features a rapid succession of full games featuring skaters from various different leagues. Previewing each game individually seemed a bit tricky, so instead we asked a couple of ERD stalwarts to give us an overview of the whole day.

Will Sunday’s games feature many ERD players?
Tenacious P: We are returning to a format we used back in 2014 for the Sunday with mixed teams representing skaters from all over the UK (and a few from Europe). This means you get some of the best league skaters in the country working together on track with each other.
The Philosofear: We have 140 skaters playing in Sunday’s mixed games and 25 of those are from ERD. So it’s roughly 18% ERD and 82% from elsewhere.

What are some of the other leagues who have players taking part?
Croydon are well represented as are newer leagues like Medway and SCERD, but in truth we have people from all over – Portsmouth, London, Oxford, Norfolk… the list goes on.
There are a few leagues with a lot of participants. Southern Co-Ed Roller Derby are very well represented. We’ve also got a lot of skaters from Croydon taking part. CRD have been a huge part of Extreme since the beginning and Extreme wouldn’t be the same without them. Several other teams have quite a few players taking part; Seaside Sirens, Brighton Rockers, Medway Mayhem, Killa Hurtz and Portsmouth. Portsmouth are another team who have a history of involvement in Extreme and they’re one of our favourite leagues.

There are a mixture of men’s, women’s and co-ed games at various skill levels taking place. How are the games likely to differ in terms of pace/physicality/etc?

This year we have our usual rookie game, which is always fun to watch and features a number of players skating in their first ever game. The Intermediate and advanced co-ed games were both massively oversubscribed. We also have mixed level men’s and women’s games. This mix of games and levels makes for interesting viewing with both the women’s and co-ed advanced game being of a very high level. Expect those two to be fast paced whilst the men’s and the inter co-ed will be a bit more physical.
The co-ed advanced game will be the highlight of the Sunday. There are quite a few high level players and it’ll be great to watch. Expect lots of apex jumping, huge hits and fancy footwork! But my favourite game will be the rookie women’s game (which I’m benching). For a lot of the rookies this will be their first time skating outdoors and for some it’s also their cherry popper game. I love the support that rookies often get from friends and family (eg homemade signs and banners) which means a great crowd cheering during the game. And more experienced players often shout advice from the crowd, which makes it all rather loud and fun!

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Are there any particular players taking part on Sunday that the crowd should look out for?
We have Noise Tank and Gin Atomic skating again this year. Both are always excellent fun to watch, and of course look our for the Portsmouth players in the co-ed advanced game who work so well together.
In the advanced co-ed game there quite a few well-known players who are always fun to watch; Noise Tank, Kaizen, Mother Mercy and Hench are all crowd-pleasers. In the inter-advanced women’s game, Tori Bee and Gin Atomic are two of the top players. Both are very strong double threats. In the inter-advanced co-ed game, Tenacious P’s jamming is always amusing – he looks like he’s having so much fun. And I’m hoping to see some big hits from Clark…SMASH and Smash’er Fierce. In the rookie women’s game, expect some strong jamming from new Bombshells InnsterSlam and T-Wrecks. And in terms of blocking, Heisen Bird, Bettsy Bruis’er and Puschifer are ones to watch. In the men’s game, look out for ElderLee’s blocking. Chandler Bang’s jamming is also great to watch – he’s got some fancy footwork.

Is there anything else (other than roller derby) at Extreme that you recommend?
Battle Extreme will be good to check out. This is a slalom skating competition that’s been held at Extreme for many years now. It’s being held right next to the roller derby. It’s run by My SkateWorld who are also hosting our Saturday night after party.

What should spectators expect from the weekend in general?
With two massive days of skating, loads of side events (raffles etc), 50+ officials and two after parties, Extreme 2006 should be the best one yet. There’s also our first dedicated after party on Saturday night this year with skating, music, a DJ and more!
Spectators can expect lots of sun, cake and dogs! (As well as the roller derby of course). As the venue is right on the seafront, bring swimming/beach gear. Plus, if any spectators own skates, bring them! Eastbourne seafront has a skate lane and it’s always fun to grab an ice cream (I’d recommend Fusciardi’s Ice Cream Parlour, which is a short skate away from the Extreme venue – head towards the pier) and go for a gentle skate along the seafront. We have two after parties. On Saturday we have a party and roller disco, with bar, food, DJ and live music at My SkateWorld (which is where Eastbourne Roller Derby have our mid-week training). Then on the Sunday we’ll be heading to the best pub in Eastbourne, our fabulous team sponsor The Crown and Anchor. Their food is amazing!

11.30-12.30 MINI BLOCKING BOOT CAMP WITH GIN ATOMIC & NOISE TANK
Gin Atomic:
“There are twenty spaces available for this one hour mini boot camp aimed at rookie and intermediate skaters. Sign up at the admin desk on the day – first come first served! We’ll be covering three different blocking techniques, including backwards and lateral. Skating outdoors is a good way to practice using your edges, and these three different techniques will help blockers with being more adaptable to the various different types of floor you encounter when playing.”

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18.00-LATE AFTER PARTY @ THE CROWN & ANCHOR
The whole weekend comes to an end with an after party at The Crown & Anchor. This pub is a regular haunt for Eastbourne Roller Derby events. It’s located on the seafront just before (derby side) of the Pier – around 15 minutes walk. Pop along to toast the end of another great weekend of outdoor roller derby.

ALL WEEKEND – LIVE STREAMING ON FACEBOOK

If for any reason you can’t make it down to Eastbourne for this weekend’s action, you’ll be able to watch all of the games via a live online stream. See the links below for more info.

[Photos by John Hesse]

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS
FB LIVE STREAM: https://facebook.com/EastbourneextremeRD/
FB EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/480442415476756/
ERD ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/EBRollerDerby
ERD ON TWITTER: https://twitter.com/ebrollerderby

THE VENUES
FISHERMANS GREEN TENNIS COURTS: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/place/Fisherman’s+Green+Tennis+Courts/@50.7777313,0.3062278,15z/data=!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x6545daa5ced75dc7?sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjc_rOM3PPNAhVEAsAKHQzTANMQ_BIIbjAK
MY SKATEWORLD: http://www.myskateworld.co.uk/
CROWN & ANCHOR: http://crownandanchoreastbourne.co.uk/

British Champs T4 South East Day Four preview

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This weekend (Saturday 15th August) sees British Championships Roller Derby action in Haywards Heath, as Eastbourne Roller Derby’s Bourne Bombshells host two games in Tier 4 South East, together with a ‘bonus’ men’s game. We’ll be hearing from the Bombshells and their three Champs guests (Suffolk, Norfolk and Herts’ Full Metal) in a moment, but first here’s a quick summary of the Tier 4 South East season to date…

GAME DAY ONE: 9TH MAY @ STEVENAGE
Our story begins, like most stories do, in Stevenage one May afternoon. With pre-season favourites the Norfolk Brawds sitting out this first game day, it’s a chance for the other four sides to show us what they’re made of. One thing the day demonstrates is the disparity that exists even between teams in the same division. It’s interesting to ponder exactly how many Tiers the British Champs would need to ensure all the teams in each were of a fairly similar level. Ten? Fifteen? Certainly more than four, as the hosting Full Metal Roller derby’s 15-396 loss to Suffolk attests. The Herts Breakers put in a spirited performance, but the Suffolk packs prove too sturdy and the visiting jammers, such as Maltese Mayhem and Indi-Hannah Jones, too difficult to contain. With Suffolk the lowest ranked of the four teams Full Metal share a division with, this looks like being a tough season for the Stevenage side.
    Things get off to a bruising start for the Bombshells too. The predictor at Flattrackstats expects opponents Killa Hurtz to pick up seven points here for every four points the ‘shells get. In fact, Killa Hurtz pick up more than seven points for every *one* that Eastbourne manage. Ouch! We had suspected that the Essex side were ranked far lower than they should be; although new to bouting, they have several in their ranks who recently transferred from Southend’s well established Seaside Sirens, and surely have an eye on climbing the Champs pyramid. Bombshells breakout star Amazing Graze fares best out of the Sussex jammers, but a super tough Killas defence – including the likes of The Beckoning and legendary announcer Mother Mercy – keeps the Eastbourne side to a few points here and there. Essex starheads such as Snarley Quinn and Bonty Python outwit the best efforts of The PhilosoFear and co in the purple packs, and the Killa Hurtz run out runaway winners. The Bombshells keep them to below a 300 differential (just) at 43-342.

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GAME DAY TWO: 6TH JUNE @ NORWICH
Whilst Stevenage wins our praise for best located derby venue (being literally across the road from the station), the University of East Anglia sports hall, although a bus ride from civilisation (well, Norwich), wins it for pretty much everything else. The Norfolk Brawds’ home features probably the largest vendor village we’ve seen at derby. A good sixteen stalls here and room for sixteen more. Hundreds of fans on the bleachers with room for hundreds more. A separate bar/café room with seating, burgers (inc veggie) and three quid pints on stillage of the Brawds’ own golden ale. If that’s not enough, at what other derby venue can you visit an art gallery in the interval between games? The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts is a five minute yomp across campus. The BBCD’s Chief Art Critic reports: “There’s a nice curly blue thing, a big oil painting of London Bridge station by someone who has clearly never been there, the world’s tiniest Picasso sketch (8cm x 8cm) and some caveman type stuff. Outside are a few Henry Moore sculptures and an installation presumably called ‘six stoned students sitting in an empty paddling pool’. Thinking about it, the latter might be part of the neighbouring accommodation block rather than the gallery.”
    The day’s first game sees the two teams panned in Stevenage face off against each other. The result of this one is further proof of our ‘few close games in Champs’ adage. Indeed, it takes until the sixth jam for Full Metal to put their first points on the board, with the Bombshells 47-4 up. The amount of jammer penalties the Herts side are picking up isn’t helping, with one of their starheads accruing three in a single outing. Amazing Graze picks up 27 points in a jam, and she and Crash in particular are twisting the vice on Full Metal. A power jam sees Nitrous Bloxide pick up thirteen, but that’s as good as things get for FMRD, with a confused end to the period (with Herts lining up on track while the previous jam is still underway!) and a half time score of 161-28 to Eastbourne.
    As the second period gets underway, some great blocking from the ‘shells (here rocking a shiny new white kit) prevents Trixie Blitz from taking advantage of a PJ. Some great offence from defence from Crash, clearing a path for Graze, next as Eastbourne increase their lead. Full Metal are much less penalty heavy at present and start eking out points hither and thither. Double threat Hale Storm is proving a strong blocker for the Herts side, pegging Graze back well before taking a turn in the star herself. This leads to a little more confusion as she successfully calls off a jam she isn’t lead in. Personally we’d send the refs to the box in such a case, but as per the rules it’s Storm that’s penalised. The final whistle blows with the scores at 362-48. As the Bombshells congratulate the Breakers on surviving another tough Champs game, and local meatheads in the audience shout “hurry up” as they’re impatient for the next game, the announcer says that a member of Norfolk men’s team the East Anglo Smacksons is about to be waxed. There’s no mention of exactly how much of him is being waxed, but we play it safe by heading off to look at some art instead…

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The day’s second game sees the hosting Norfolk Brawds up against Killa Hurtz. Early indications are this could be the game that decides who will top the final divisional table, and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s clear from early on that this is going to be a fairly low scoring game. Both teams’ packs are super fierce, with the likes of Mother Mercy and Melef!cent throwing big hits for Killas, whilst Short Circuit, Political Vagenda and others do likewise for Norfolk. Things start out resolutely even, with both sides gaining lead status four times in the first ten jams of the game, but the visitors have a very strong final third of the period and take an 89-49 lead into the break. They increase that gap early in the second half (54-107 at the widest point) before a resurgence sees the Brawds begin to chip away at the lead. Killa Hurtz calling a team timeout.
    The Essex side are only 121-105 ahead now and Norfolk have the momentum with 7’49” left on the clock. Philthy Delphia claws it back to 114-126 as the crowd go wild. Khilleesi four and call. Star pass to Cruel Runnings, who looks at the scoreboard as she passes. There’s been a lead change! 135-130 to the Brawds. Crowd going wilder. Failed star pass from Zippy to Runnings. Snarley Quinn ties the game at 135 apiece, but is sent off as she tries to call. This final jam runs the full two minutes. The refs confer. The crowd wait for the scoreboard to update. 144-138. Norfolk win the game (and quite possibly, come October, the division) but heck it’s been a close one. We order multiple pints of Bonny’s Gold to calm our nerves. Yeah, most Champs game are foregone conclusions, but when they’re close… damn they’re close!

GAME DAY THREE: 11TH JULY @ IPSWICH
It’s business as usual on Day Three. Full Metal suffer their biggest pounding to date at the wheels of Killa Hurtz, with the Essex side rolling out 613-30 victors. Meanwhile the hosts Suffolk go down 63-243 to their Norfolk neighbours. The Bombshells sit out this day, which is just as well since they’re all super-busy preparing for the following weekend’s Eastbourne Extreme tournament. Killa Hurtz currently sit on top of the table, but have played one game more than Norfolk who will go four points clear if they beat Full Metal (fairly likely, we’d say) on Day Four. Meanwhile, the Bombshells will go third if they beat Suffolk. So when is Day Four then? It’s only TOMORROW!

GAME DAY FOUR: 15TH AUGUST @ HAYWARDS HEATH
Yep, the British Champs Tier 4 South East kicks back into action tomorrow (15th August) at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath. Doors are at midday, with the first game at 1pm. Tickets are £7 on the door. The venue is six minutes walk from Haywards Heath train station (turn left and follow the signs stuck to lampposts) which is around 45 minutes from London Victoria, with several trains an hour. There’s parking at the leisure centre and a large Sainsbury’s halfway between the station and the venue for any last minute supplies. The venue has vending machines in the foyer, as well as a café bar doing sarnies, salads, hot and cold drinks. Booze-wise, if they’ve remembered to stock up, there should be bottles of Magners, Peroni, London Pride, vinegary wine and maybe more. No formal after party has been announced, but the nearest pub is opposite the train station (the Burrell Arms). It’s an odd mix of rustic decor, football fans and flustered looking staff, but is friendly enough and has a large garden out back. Beware of the tables out front. They’re a haven for wasps – one nicked our pint here last weekend!

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GAME DAY FOUR: STATS AND PREDICTIONS

1PM: NORFOLK BRAWDS VS FULL METAL ROLLER DERBY
Anyone thinking the divisional system (teams places in Tiers according to rankings) used in British Champs might have resulted in a lot of close games has surely been disavowed of that notion by now. At every level the national tournament has seen only a handful of nail-biters and far more 200+ victory margins. Such is the nature of this sport that a team just a couple of ranking places above another is often 100 points stronger when it comes to a game. So things aren’t looking good here for Full Metal. With one team sitting out each game day of this five team division, this is Full Metal’s fourth and final game of the Champs season, and perhaps couldn’t come soon enough for them. The Stevenage side rank 365th in Europe (caveat: there are 365 teams in the table) with 348.7 rankings points. Norfolk place 101st on 539.9 points. Whilst that gap doesn’t look huge in terms of ranking points, the online predictor gives Norfolk (whether home, away or neutral) “more than 99%” chance of the win here, a figure we’ve never previously seen from the predictor. Norfolk are expected to score seven points for each one Full Metal get. This would equate to something like a 518-74 final score. The Brawds have three of the division’s Top Ten scoring jammers (Philthy Delphia 7th on 118, Khilleesi 9th on 86, Zippy 10th on 85). Full Metal’s top scorers are Revengineer (25th, 20) and Cleo Catch Ya (26th, 19).

3PM: BOURNE BOMBSHELLS V SUFFOLK ROLLER DERBY
Having said that there are very few close games in Champs, this could well be one to savour if it proves as evenly matched as the computers at Flattrackstats expect. Both sides are on one win and one loss in Champs so far, so the winner here will take third place in the table going into the final round of games on Oct 17th in Chelmsford. The Bombshells currently place 249th in Europe (470.7 points) with Suffolk 271st on 462.9. That’s pretty close on rankings points, and the predictor gives the Eastbourne side 67% chance of the win when the Bombshells are at home. If predicted as a neutral venue (the ‘shells have skated at the Dolphin before, but not often) that drops to 60%. Predicted score differential is 41:34 for the Bombshells (37:34 if neutral) which equates to something like a 205-170 Eastbourne win. Both sides are well represented in the performance tables. Suffolk’s highest scoring jammers are Miss Behave (5th with 128 points) and Maltese Mayhem (6th, 121). For Eastbourne, Amazing Graze (8th, 116) and Bullet Bomber (11th, 77) are the ones to watch. In terms of blockers, based on points scored by their own jammer when they were in the pack, Suffolk’s Driving Destructor places 7th and Absinthe Minded 10th in the division, with Eastbourne’s Smash’er Fierce (8th) and The PhilosoFear (9th) sandwiched inbetween.

5PM: BOMB S’QUAD V SUFFOLK RD (MEN’S, NON-CHAMPS)

With both the Eastbourne and Suffolk leagues including a men’s team in their set-up, the decision to add a bonus ‘third game’ to the day’s proceedings makes a lot of sense. Both of these teams are fairly new and both are unranked. This means no statistics or predictions are available, so we’ll have to make some up. Bomb S’Quad have 2.5pi squared chance of a 4-4-2 compared to Suffolk’s 73% swing vote in the lane two marginals. Tenacious P (8th in Geography) and Evil Quad-nevil (0b11110110101) are the ones to watch. If this game was a colour it would be viridian.

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THE PHILOSOFEAR – BOURNE BOMBSHELLS

Hi there. Your British Champs season so far has seen a huge loss and a huge win. Are these the results you were expecting?
We were expecting a very tough game against Killa Hurtz. They are a great team and I would expect them to move up to Tier 3 next year. I don’t think we expected quite that big a loss though. Their offence was especially good, and it made it really hard for us to keep our walls together. After that game, we really needed the win against Full Metal. It was great to see so many of our jammers and blockers on the Top Ten tables after that game.

After two games with huge points gaps, the game on the 15th looks like being a lot closer. Eastbourne and Suffolk look quite closely matched. What do you know of the SRD team?

A couple of months ago, the Flattrackstats score predictor was giving this is a 50/50 chance of each team winning this game. Now the predictor gives the Bombshells the edge, but only just. The players I’ll be watching out for are Suffolk Punch, Malicious Wishes and Yvonna Bone. Suffolk Punch is a great blocker and jammer, plus she has great track awareness and knowledge of the game. Malicious Wishes and Yvonna Bone are both strong jammers, and our walls will need to be tight to hold them back.

Any Bombshells players or tactics the crowd should look out for on the day? Would you like to predict the result?
Smash’er Fierce is always a good Bombshells player to watch, as she’s a big hitter and can send jammers flying. Some of our newer jammers like Amazing Graze and Von Stackit have been working hard and have become very important in our jammer rotation. I think the result will be very close! Which will make it a good game for fans to watch.

The day’s other Champs game sees the Norfolk Brawds take on Full Metal. How are you expecting that one to go?

I would expect Norfolk to take the win, although since starting Champs, the Full Metal Herts Breakers have learned a lot and are becoming stronger with every game. They’ve got some really good jammers – Hale Storm was the one who gave us the most trouble. Norfolk have so many great players to watch, but I would especially look out for Khilleesi jamming and Short Circuit blocking.

As well as the women’s match-up, the Eastbourne and Suffolk men’s teams will be meeting on track too. What should people expect from that game? Any players to look out for?
Both men’s teams are quite new, but have some very strong players. Pont Blank is definitely one to watch on Bomb S’Quad. He hasn’t been playing for long, but he has become very good, very quickly, and will be a strong double threat. Aladdin Sane’s blocking is also excellent. I don’t know many of the Suffolk men except for Tubesock Shakur and Evil Quad-nevil, so I’ll be keeping my eye on them! We would definitely like to get the Bomb S’Quad playing at as many future Eastbourne events as possible. It’s great to have the whole league involved in our open door games.

Finally, you’re hosting the action tomorrow. What can people expect from the venue and from the after party? And what else can you recommend to see or do in the local area?
The Dolphin is a great venue, with loads of parking and it’s close to the station. There’s a café and a bar. In terms of vendors we’ve got Hoodlum Fang and Kitty Bang Bang coming. We’ll also have the usual epic Bombshells cake stall! We haven’t planned much in terms of an after party – it’s likely that we’ll just all walk up to a Haywards Heath pub. There are some lovely places to see in the mid-Sussex area. So if people are travelling down and have some time before the games, I would recommend Wakehurst Place near Ardingly (beautiful gardens) and Nymans (gardens and ruins) which is north of Haywards Heath near Handcross. Of course, Brighton is also nearby and has lots to do, such as the Sea Life Centre, Brighton Eye and Pier, The Lanes and North Laine for shops and cafés, etc.

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SUFFOLK PUNCH – SUFFOLK ROLLER DERBY

Hi there. You’re on one win and one loss after your first two British Champs games. Is the season going the way you expected?
Hi! We are really enjoying our season so far. It’s great to have so many scheduled games and be an active part of the local derby community. We really didn’t know what to expect from our first game against Full Metal, as they were an untested team. We were obviously very pleased with our result, however, so this would probably be our highlight. We were disappointed with our last game against the Norfolk Brawds. I think the pressure of hosting got to us and we really missed a few of our key skaters. However we have channelled our frustration, upped our intensity at training, and we are planning to come back strong!

The rankings suggest yourselves and the Bombshells are fairly evenly matched. Do you know much about the Eastbourne women?
We’ve watched the Bombshells play a couple of times now, and one of our new skaters was in a rookie game at Eastbourne Extreme. The PhilosoFear has a lot of experience and tactical awareness, with Bullet Bomber and Hell Block H both very solid skaters. We have learnt a lot from our last game, and will be focusing on playing our own game as a team, rather than being distracted by individual skaters.

Who should people look out for from the Suffolk women’s team? What kind of a result are you expecting?
We are at full strength for this game with the return of our Yvonna Bone, making her debut in the British Championships series. We are hungry for the win in what should be an exciting game.

The day’s other Champs game sees the Brawds take on Full Metal. What are you expecting from that game?
The Brawds are an experienced team, and are on course to finish at the top of our division with their two wins so far. However Full Metal have been improving every game and have been out and about locally getting more game experience and some guest coaching. We still think the Brawds will take the game, but look forward to seeing the awesome Full Metal fighting spirit making it a bit more difficult.

As well as the women’s match-up, the Eastbourne and Suffolk men’s teams will be meeting on track too. Any players to look out for there? How does men’s derby differ from women’s?
Our men had their first game as a team in July against Team Top Gun, which included some of the Bomb S’Quad. It was a seriously exciting and hard hitting match with a few lead changes, and hopefully we will see more of the same! Men’s derby is generally a bit more brutal with brawn sometimes being used more than brains, but leads to an exhilarating spectacle. We will be watching out for Pont Blank and Tenacious P, who both proved their skills in July. We are also looking forward to seeing a few of the other skaters such as Electric Lee Charged, who has been reffing all the women’s games and finally gets a chance to skate himself! We have a few changes to our roster since the last game. We’re not going to give away any of our secrets, but this will definitely be a game to stick around and watch!

Finally, do you have any message for the Suffolk fans in the crowd at Haywards Heath?
Suffolk fans will have both our games to look forward to. The men and women have all been training both together and against each other, and we are looking to show Eastbourne Roller Derby what we are made of!

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PHILTHY DELPHIA – NORFOLK BRAWDS

Hi there. The Brawds have two wins from two games in British Champs so far. Is the season going as you expected?

We knew Killa Hurtz would be a tough bout, so we spent the off season training for them. We were lucky to have that one first and at home. It was such a close win, right at the end, and was definitely a highlight for us. This season is shaping up to be even better than expected.

You’ll be facing Full Metal Roller Derby tomorrow. Any particular players or tactics of theirs you’ll be looking out for?
We have seen both their Champs bouts so far, as well as having them out to Norfolk for some co-ed scrims. It’s obviously been a tough season for them, but we know they’ve been training up with Killa Hurtz and Suffolk, so we have seen and expect to continue to see some huge improvements in their game in a short period of time.

Similarly, are there any players or tactics from the Brawds that the crowd should look out for? Care to predict the scoreline?
You always want us to give away our secrets! We have some very specific tactics going into this game that we hope will work well for us. There are also going to be some new faces on the track, so keep an eye out for our up and coming stars. We would never deign to predict the outcome as the beauty of derby is anything can happen. We are just hoping to play a tight, clean game.

The day’s other Champs game sees the Bourne Bombshells take on Suffolk. How are you expecting that one to go?
I think this may be one of the closest bouts of the season (excluding ours against Killa Hurtz) so we are very excited for it. We have been long time supporters of Suffolk and know they have some great jammers and a strong defensive strategy. We’ve played Eastbourne before and they are one of our favourite teams as they always have fun. This will be a close one to call.

Finally, do you have any message for the Brawds fans in the crowd tomorrow?

Just a big thank you for supporting us this far. And we hope you’ll continue to support us straight through to finals! x

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CLEO CATCH YA – FULL METAL ROLLER DERBY

Hi there. Your first three games in British Champs have ended in quite heavy losses. Is that what you were expecting?
Hello again! Yeah it’s been a tough but educational few months for sure. We’ve lost a few players due to injuries or moving away and almost all of us were new skaters, so we knew from the off we’d probably not win our bouts. We’ve treated it as a baptism of fire and it’s been a HUGE learning experience. It’s been amazing really. Highlights have to be the fact that our girls just keep getting back up, keep trying their hardest and keep growing each game.

Do you know much about tomorrow’s opponents, the Norfolk Brawds?

We love the Brawds and have joined them a couple of times now for their co-ed scrims with the Smacksons. They’re such a friendly and very talented group of skaters. A lot of quick and agile players on their team. Strong walls, speedy jammers… we’re expecting a fast paced game.

Anything we should look out for from yourselves tomorrow? Are Flattrackstats right to predict a huge Norfolk win?
We are always surprising ourselves. Every game our skaters grow and develop as a team. Everyone on the team has spent Champs ‘becoming’ who they are as a skater; it’s really brought out the best and fiercest qualities in all of us. I think we can all be certain those online predictors are correct – it will be a very big Norfolk win – but it will also be a great and entertaining game I’m sure. The Herts Breakers will play their hardest and give it their all as usual for our last game of the Champs season. And as soon as possible after the final jam is called, we shall be celebrating the fact we all survived the Champs experience with a nice cold pint at the nearest pub! 🙂

The day’s other Champs game sees the Bourne Bombshells take on Suffolk. What are you expecting there?

We’ve become firm friends with Suffolk since our first game against them. We’ve gotten to see first hand what a generous, friendly and hardworking team they are. And how very tough their walls are to break! We’ve also played the Bombshells so we know that they are a really strong team too, with great players and very speedy jammers! I wouldn’t know where to start trying to guess the outcome of this one. It’ll be a fantastic game for sure.

Finally, do you have any message for the Full Metal fans in the crowd at Haywards Heath?
Thank you! We have some friends and family that have followed us through Champs and their support each game has been amazing. To them and to everyone in the crowd that has cheered for us, encouraged us during tough games, and celebrated our great moments with us – thank you so very much. The whole Champs experience has been out of this world. We’ve been knocked this way and that till we didn’t know which way was up, we’ve gotten to really throw ourselves into this sport, we’ve pushed ourselves and achieved more than we all could have thought possible. And most importantly, we’ve made some fantastic new friendships. Roller derby people are the best!

LINKS
FB EVENT PAGE:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1440314526295621/
TABLE & RESULTS: http://www.britishchamps.com/tables-and-fixtures-local-south-east/
SKATER CHARTS: http://www.britishchamps.com/performance-women-t4-south-east/
LIVE TWITTER FEED: https://twitter.com/britchampslive

[Photos by John Hesse]

Eastbourne Extreme 2015 Preview

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This Summer is a busy time for roller derby in Sussex with no fewer than three British Championships events at the Dolphin in Haywards Heath in a five week period. For many people the highlight of the Sussex derby year takes place not there, but outdoors on the tarmac just off Eastbourne seafront. This weekend (Saturday 18th & Sunday 19th July) sees the return of the annual event Eastbourne Extreme, which features two full days of roller derby once again.

Saturday sees a six team tournament featuring two A-teams, Surrey and the hosting Bourne Bombshells, plus the London Rockin’ Rollers B-team, Croydon B (a Croydon side has won the tournie every year so far), Wycombe’s Big Bucks B and Extreme debutants, Brighton Rockers B. Sunday features a variety of games, including women’s, men’s, co-ed and junior matches, with the highlight being a clash of the Bristol and Croydon A-teams. There are also mini boot camps, Chicks In Bowls sessions (quad skating on skate ramps), Fresh Meat sessions, after parties and more.

The event is open to spectators and is totally free of charge, with action from roughly 9.30am to 6.30pm both days. The venue is around 20 minutes walk from Eastbourne train station. The easiest route is to hit the seafront, turn left and walk for about a kilometre (post code BN22 7AA). There are seats, vendors, a nearby coffee hut and toilets, the occasional appearance of an ice cream van and more. The main Eastbourne Extreme drag is nearby and features various food and drink outlets. The nearest pubs, off licences etc are a few minutes away on Seaside Road.

Before we hear from some of those taking part, here’s an overview of the history of the event and what to expect this year…

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ROLLER DERBY AT EASTBOURNE EXTREME: A HISTORY
BY THE PHILOSOFEAR (EASTBOURNE ROLLER DERBY)

Eastbourne Extreme started out as a skating event and was run by our sponsor Tim Wheals from Eastbourne Sk8School. It later developed into an extreme sports event. In 2011 there was roller derby at Eastbourne Extreme for the first time, but there was only about half an hour of a game outside at The Cage before heavy rain stopped play. In 2012 the Bourne Bombshells decided to have a full day of roller derby at Extreme, but at the time the team was very new and no one had passed Minimum Skills. So the Bombshells didn’t play and just ran the event instead. The Seaside Sirens, Oxford Roller Derby, Croydon Roller Derby, Bristol Harbour Harlots, Big Bucks High Rollers and The Beasts of Bodmin all took part. The final between Big Bucks and Croydon was nail biting, with Croydon taking the win by just a few points.

By summer 2013 the Bombshells had enough skaters to compete in the tournament. The Saturday was for newer teams, with the Bombshells playing against Surrey, Basingstoke Bullets and Mean Valley B-team. The final was between Mean Valley and the Bombshells, and Mean Valley won. The Sunday was for more established teams; Croydon, Portsmouth, Kent and Big Bucks played, with Croydon taking the win for the second year in a row.

In 2014 the format was changed slightly. The Saturday remained as a tournament, with The Bombshells taking on Surrey, Croydon B-team and London Rockin’ Rollers B-team. Croydon won again! The Sunday became a day of mixed games – rookie women, juniors, intermediate women, advanced women, men and co-ed. This was very popular and the co-ed game was amazing to watch. However, the organisation of all this was immense, with Polka Dotty, who was doing the organising, spending ridiculous amounts of time organising teams and T-shirts.

For 2015, we’ve kept Saturday as tournament day. The Sunday still has a variety of different games, but rather than mixed team games our new co-ed team (the A-Bombs) will be playing, as will our men’s team Bomb S’Quad and many other sides.

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SATURDAY 18TH: THE TOURNAMENT (TRACK 1)

GROUP A
9.30 Surrey Rollergirls v LRR Rising Stars
11.30 Bourne Bombshells v Surrey Rollergirls
13.30 Bourne Bombshells v LRR Rising Stars

THE PHILOSOFEAR, BOURNE BOMBSHELLS: “The Bombshells are the lowest ranked of the six teams, but we’re very much looking forward to taking on our opponents in the group and whoever we meet in the playoffs. This year we decided to make it a B-team level tournament, as reflected by our rankings. It’s an opportunity for some higher ranked local teams to test out their B-teams in real gameplay. Of the leagues taking part in Saturday’s tournament, Brighton are the only ones who haven’t played at Extreme before – it seems that once a team plays at Extreme, they want to come back and do it again! As the new Brighton B-team haven’t played a ranked game yet, they are something of an unknown. [The old Brighton B-team, the Bruisers, are on Flattrackstats, but the new B-team, the Rockerbillies don’t contain any members of the old team.] Therefore, we are very unsure as to how they will place against the other teams. Having trained with the Brighton A-team, they are sure to have some strong players and great tactics. In terms of rankings, LRR’s B-team are the highest ranked, followed by Croydon’s B-team. Last year, these two teams made it to the final, with Croydon winning – they are starting out in separate groups this year, so could meet in the final once again. Surrey have played at Extreme for the last two years, but recently they have been moving up the rankings very quickly and doing well in their British Champs games, so it’ll be interesting to see how much they’ve progressed over the past year.”

CRAZY CAT LADY, SURREY ROLLERGIRLS: “Extreme is the highlight of my derby year. I get the chance to play the most amazing sport outside (hopefully) in the sun, with some of the best skaters and my favourite opposition. The Philosofear in particular is my outdoor nemesis, and I’ve always had the most fun skating against the Bombshells. LRR Rising Stars are an unknown quantity to me, which is exciting in itself. This is also the first year my son Short Round is competing too, in the junior expo game on Sunday morning, which makes this year even more exciting.”

DISORDERLEE, LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS RISING STARS: “While there are a few stalwarts of last year’s team, half the team is new and we are looking forward to seeing how we fare this year as we know that both Bourne and Surrey’s teams have changed significantly too. Also, this time around we get to sit and watch a bit more of whoever we might be up against later, so we are liking the new structure.”

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GROUP B

10.30 Brighton Rockerbillies v Croydon Vice Squad
12.30 Croydon Vice Squad v Big Bucks Rough Diamonds
14.30 Brighton Rockerbillies v Big Bucks Rough Diamonds


CHLOE COLOSSUS, BRIGHTON ROCKERBILLIES:
“We foolhardily decided to play our first ever B-team game against Croydon Vice Squad not long after we formed, and we got our butts kicked. So I’m aware of just how good (and terrifying) they are. We have pretty good links with the Bombshells; we’ve trained and scrimmed against/with them in the past. I don’t know much about the other teams in the tournament, but I look forward to getting to know them on the track. We’re a fledgling B-team with a broad range of skill levels and experience and only a few games under our belt, so anything could happen. Can we beat Croydon? Nope, but I might have a different answer for you in a year’s time!”

GOLD N MALICIOUS, BIG BUCKS HIGH ROLLERS: “With our A-team firmly focused on the British Championships, Eastbourne Extreme is the perfect opportunity for Big Bucks High Rollers B-team, the Rough Diamonds, to get stuck into some tournament roller derby. BBHR played Extreme for the first time in 2012, just a few weeks after celebrating our first year as a team. With torrential downpours the night before, we were sure the tournament would be cancelled, but the sun came out, the track dried up and we all got sunburnt! We came a close second behind Croydon and are looking forward to facing their B-team, the Vice Squad this year. We will be facing some tough opposition but we have been training hard (and obsessing over the weather of course!) and can’t wait to battle it out with our fellow B-teamers! WE CAN WE WILL! BBHR!”

AGENT COOPER, CROYDON ROLLER DERBY: “Eastbourne Extreme is a bit of a rite of passage for Croydon skaters now. Some of our new blood have never played an outdoor game before, so we’ve been ruthlessly practicing on concrete in preparation. We know the teams are really gunning for Croydon, because of our record in the tournament, and we are going to bring it.”

PLAYOFFS
15.30 3rd Place Group A v 3rd Place Group B
16.30 2nd Place Group A v 2nd Place Group B
17.30 1st Place Group A v 1st Place Group B (FINAL)
18.20 Tournament Awards

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SATURDAY 18TH: ULTRA RARE FRESH MEAT (TRACK 2)

Sessions at 9.30, 12.30 & 14.30

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “The Fresh Meat sessions are a chance for non-Minimum Skills passed skaters to have a go on an outdoor derby track. What will the sessions involve? Basically it’s derby without the hitting. Weaving through cones, skating forwards, skating backwards, can you skate a lap in 13 seconds, and so on.”

SATURDAY & SUNDAY: CHICKS IN BOWLS (SKATE RAMPS)

12.00 & 15.00 Saturday / 11.30 & 14.50 Sunday

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “This year we have exciting slots lined up on the ramps exclusively for the use of Chicks in Bowls crews. There are four 15 minute slots over the two days. I am reliably informed that the ramps are accessible all the time for general skating.”

FLAMMERS, CHICKS IN BOWLS:
“Skate parks are feeling the shock wave of roller derby skaters looking for a new challenge, fun, additional skate training, or in some cases just a pure love of skating parks. What you will see at the Eastbourne Extreme event are a bunch of CIB UK crew skaters showing you their favourite moves, skills and love of ramp skating. The tricks are adapted from skateboarding, inline skating and the pioneers of quad skating who are still shredding skate parks today. It’s not a new thing – men and women have been skating parks on quads for years – but what is new is the roller derby community shifting towards ramps. This is bringing a whole new style, level of ability and passion for the skate park. The Chicks in Bowls chapters are like an extended family. We all encourage and support one another, either in the park or via social media. There are over 100 chapters world wide; get involved, find a skate crew and have some fun. There is no right or wrong. Go have fun and create your own moves and tricks.”

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SUNDAY 19TH: A FULL DAY OF DERBY ACTION (TRACK 1)

9.30 SOUTHAMPTON CITY ROLLERS V EASTBOURNE EXTREME ROOKIES

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “The first game on the Sunday sees Southampton City Rollers in their first open game I believe. They will play a mixed team we have put together of new skaters from various leagues across the South, including Bourne Bombshells, Brighton Rockers Roller Derby, Basingstoke Bullets and Rochester Royal Rollers, amongst others.”

WHITE LIGHTNING, SOUTHAMPTON CITY ROLLERS: “Southampton City Rollers are pumped to be a part of Eastbourne Extreme this year. Not only is it our first outdoor event, it’s our first public game! Unfortunately in the past few months a number of our players have suffered non-derby related injuries so we’ve had to rope in skaters from other teams to pad our numbers out, but we’re excited for the opportunity to skate both with and against fellow rookie skaters. Our main aim for this game is to have fun and learn lots along the way. We all love roller derby, we love our team, and we love the atmosphere at all derby events! Bring it on!”

11.00 JUNIORS EXHIBITION (INC EASTBOURNE’S NEW BOURNES)

BEACHY HEADCASE, NEW BOURNES COACH: “We’re really excited for the kids game this year. So far 18 kids have signed up. We have been practising scrimmaging twice a week since March, as well as footwork and blocking skills. For the last four weeks we’ve been skating at the seafront once a week to get the hang of outside conditions. We’ve also practised a lot of entering and exiting the penalty box! I think all the kids will enjoy the experience of skating with a full ref crew. Junior derby is still relatively new to the UK, but our league has a regular hardcore of players who are learning and having fun. We plan to continue to grow our team and Extreme is a bit of a foundation for this. The New Bournes head coach deserves a special mention; Drag N Fly has coached virtually every session since the New Year, ensuring the kids are game ready. All the kids are stoked for Sunday and can’t wait for the experience.”

JEMOLISH, NEW BOURNES SKATER: ” New Bournes have been training outside in preparation for Extreme. We are really excited to play our game because we haven’t played properly since last year due to lack of other local junior leagues. Also we have improved so much as a team. We are very excited to have skaters from other teams joining us at Extreme.”

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12.00 MEN’S: BOMB S’QUAD V SURREY JAMMERWOCKIES

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “Eastbourne Roller Derby men’s team Bomb S’Quad are playing their first open roller derby game against a ‘mostly’ Surrey Rollerboys team (some skaters will be from other leagues). This is their first year bouting and the men have prepared for Extreme by playing a number of closed door games since the start of this year. I can’t wait to see how they fare on their first open outing. Watch out for Tenacious P’s trademark trot and players like Nut Basher and Chasin’ Status taking out their opposition in style.”

TENACIOUS P, BOMB S’QUAD: “So what’s better than playing roller derby for the first time at Eastbourne Extreme? Playing TWICE in the same day! I’ve been to the last two Eastbourne Extremes. The first one was as a spectator with little or no knowledge about derby. But it was fun enough to give me a desire to play and it wasn’t long before I’d gone from non-skater to Fresh Meat. The second Extreme I was still “in training” so I had to sit on the sidelines and watch my derby brothers in their mixed game (inbetween making cups of tea and selling cakes of course). It was a thrilling game and just made me want to play even more. This year I’m jamming in both the open door bouting debut of the Bomb S’Quad *and* for the newly created A-Bomb’s co-ed league. So to say that I’m more than a little proud and excited to be representing Eastbourne Roller Derby twice in one day is a touch of an understatement. Extreme is unlike any other roller derby tournament in the UK. Not only is it outdoors (somewhat of a rarity) but also it’s mostly being viewed by people with little or no knowledge of the sport. So we have to make sure we bring our A-game and make it as thrilling to watch for both derby and non-derby people. So no pressure then! As for our opposition, the mighty Surrey beat us in our first ever closed door bout, so we have a friendly score to settle there.”

SAMUEL L SMACKS’EM, SURREY ROLLERBOYS: “Eastbourne Extreme has become a bit of a ritual for myself and the other Jammerwockies. For the past two years, I’ve tagged along with the Surrey Rollergirls but this is the first year I’ve been playing and also happens to be my first outdoor game. Mega exciting! We’ve all been buzzing about it since we found out we were playing and a large part of that is down to our friendship with the Bomb S’Quad. They’ve been close friends of ours since SRB began and this is the second time we’ve had the pleasure of meeting them on track. Last time was so much fun that we couldn’t say no to another round! We took home the first win but both teams have been training hard since so we’re expecting a very exciting game and a weekend of great derby.”

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13.30 TEAM DRAGON RD v TEAM NO FUSS

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “All of Saturday’s games are notable. Team Dragon RD are coming down with their nurturing, and some say bloodthirsty, Mother of Dragons to take on the mighty Team No Fuss. Both these challenge teams are building quite a name for themselves, becoming the go-to method of getting in your roller derby fix for top players across the South of England. I can’t give away names yet, but I do know that both teams are pulling out the stops. They’ve been rattling their sabres at each other since Team No Fuss beat the Dragons at their inaugural game last November. The Dragons are coming into Extreme following a run of victories; they’ve bolstered their stable and are coming together as a team – I can’t wait to see what happens.”

MAMA, TEAM DRAGON BENCH COACH:
“Team Dragon was formed last year, just before the last Eastbourne Extreme. After meeting Polka Dotty at the event we talked about arranging a bout between us. So she formed a side, Team No Fuss, and last November we played a mini three team tournament with them and Team Crazy Legs. No Fuss narrowly beat us in the final (192-145) and this is the first revenge game since! Dragons have a real mix of skaters in the team. Some have been skating under a year, with several recreational skaters plus a few more experienced skaters, so I have no idea what the result will be! We’ll spin the wheel and give it our best shot.”

CHUNDER WOMAN, TEAM NO FUSS: “We’ve put together a really strong roster for Sunday, with a lot of experienced skaters. You’ll recognise some of us from previous Eastbourne Extreme tournaments. Some of the ones to watch will be Little Miss Mischevil, who put in a very strong performance in last year’s co-ed bout; Gin Atomic, who has taken part in Extreme every year since the beginning; and of course we’re reuniting the former dream team of The Philosofear and myself. Buffy Smothers’ bare belly is another Extreme tradition that we’ll be happy to see return this year. The Dragons are fielding an impressive roster, and we’re particularly looking out for Rusty Stiletto and I Eat, who gave us a lot of trouble last time. They’ve added some excellent skaters to their line-up since then, so we’re expecting a hard fought game. I’d say we have the advantage in terms of our experience of outdoor skating, but it’s anyone’s game!”

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15.00 CO-ED: A-BOMBS V PORTSMOUTH SCURVY WENCHES

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “We are rolling out the Eastbourne co-ed team for the first time. A-Bomb-iNations will be playing the Scurvy Wenches from Portsmouth. The Scurvy Wenches are going to provide some tough opposition in the form of ex-Southern Discomfort player Noise Tank, Portsmouth Roller Wenches team captain Dropkick Molly and founding member of the Wenches (and ex-LRG player) The Duchess of Crutches. Co-ed games are hard-hitting and great fun to watch.”

PONT BLANK, A-BOMBS: “As a relative newcomer to the Bomb S’Quad and now Eastbourne Roller Derby, I haven’t really known any difference when it comes to playing co-ed, as training has been co-ed for some time now. I gather, however, that this wasn’t always the case, and it has taken some time to get people on-side with it. Personally I think it’s great, as it’s a chance for us all to be involved as a league together, and in particular has allowed us newer members of the Bomb S’Quad to draw on the experience of the Bombshells, who have been around a lot longer. So when it was announced that we would be looking to make up a co-ed team drawing on members from the two teams, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved. Co-ed roller derby is definitely on the up and more and more Leagues are starting to combine their respective teams in order to form very strong co-ed rosters. We’re obviously aware of the challenge that awaits us in the form of Portsmouth Scurvy Wenches, as both the Roller Wenches and Scurvy Dogs are formidable opponents in their own rights. With skaters like Noise Tank, Danderson, Kaizen, RIP McMurphy and the Duchess of Crutches at their disposal, they’re going to be able to field a very impressive team. But that’s not to say that our team won’t be impressive as well.”

ROLLSCHACH, PORTSMOUTH SCURVY WENCHES:
“This is the first outdoor game the Scurvy Wenches have taken part in as a team, although some of our members played at Eastbourne Extreme last year; and being from a seaside town, our players often get experience skating outdoors. A smart and adaptive team, we are more than up to any challenge! Portsmouth have worked with Eastbourne players in previous mixed bouts, but never against one another as a full roster. We take part in co-ed training as often as possible which has solidified us as a very strong team. Co-ed derby is a perfect hybrid of two very different games. Original [women’s] roller derby is a very tactical sport with grace and agility, whereas men’s roller derby is based more upon big hits, although men’s derby is learning from the ladies’ game and making the plays a lot more intelligent. Co-ed derby is still in its infancy, but it’s quickly growing into its own sport. Watch this space derby fans!”

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16.30: CROYDON ROLLER DERBY V BRISTOL ROLLER DERBY

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “The highlight of the day is definitely the game between Croydon Riot Squad and Bristol Roller Derby. Both teams have history at Extreme. Croydon has won the tournament every year since it started, and some of the Bristol skaters played at the first year of the tournament in 2012 as the Harbour Harlots. This year we thought we’d add in an advanced game to round off the day. Croydon Riot Squad stand 19th in the UKRDA rankings, with Bristol’s A-team two places ahead in 17th. In the European rankings, however, Croydon have the upper hand in 22nd compared to 31st place Bristol. The prediction computer at Flattrackstats picks a different winner depending on which ranking you use! Add in the outdoors element and this really could go either way. I can’t wait to see how things play out on the track.”

BLACK THORN, BRISTOL ROLLER DERBY:
“Bristol have played at Eastbourne Extreme once before, back in 2012. Five of us who took part are still playing for Bristol, and have been sharing horror stories of sun and gravel burn. We haven’t played roller derby outdoors since, but Chicks in Bowls Bristol has a huge BRD contingent and we’ve been getting of plenty of outdoor practice on the ramps. We played and beat Croydon indoors in 2012 (207-138) but I am sure both teams have seen massive changes since then. Not least that we’ve stolen President Garfield from Croydon (she’s ours now!). They’re ranked quite a bit higher than us in the European table and we’ve climbed significantly since we started our British Champs campaign, but we’re hoping that this works in our favour as we’ve had some tough games against tough opponents this year. We’re hoping for a fun and physical game, away from the more pressured Champs environment. A couple of the usual suspects on our roster have had the audacity to go on holiday, so look out for a deeper jammer rotation than is typical for us, as well as two players new to the A-team in the form of Rip Tease and Hard N Sharpe.”

AGENT COOPER, CROYDON ROLLER DERBY:
“As far as Bristol are concerned, we have heard that they are seriously not to be messed with. Our plan is to give them one of the best games Eastbourne has ever seen.”

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SUNDAY 19TH: FREE MINI BOOT CAMPS (TRACK 2)

11.00 FOOTWORK WITH GIN ATOMIC & NOISE TANK

GIN ATOMIC: “Myself of the Brighton Rockers (ex-Croydon Roller Derby) and Noise Tank (Portsmouth Scurvy Dogs, ex-Southern Discomfort) are running a short footwork boot camp for intermediate skaters. It’ll consist of various drills to work on improving manoeuvrability. People won’t need to bring anything specific for the boot camp, but I would say to anyone playing outdoors to bring spare toe stops and don’t wear shorts. And of course bring your sun cream!”

12.00 BLOCKING WITH THE DUCHESS OF CRUTCHES

DUCHESS OF CRUTCHES: “I’m a coach and the A-team captain at Portsmouth Roller Wenches and I will be putting on a mini blocking boot camp focused around partner blocking and traversing the track. I was happy to be asked to help out and put something on at Eastbourne Extreme. I have a great love for blocking and look forward to sharing some of my joy, along with skills and drills that I hope skaters will find useful and take away with them.”

…AND THE AFTER PARTY (CROWN & ANCHOR)

BEACHY HEADCASE, EASTBOURNE EXTREME: “On the Saturday most of us Eastbourne Roller Derby types need to get an early night, but parties will be going on all along the seafront; live bands, beach BBQs and a roller disco at MySkateWorld, to name a few. On Sunday evening you can find us at the newly refurbished Crown & Anchor, our favourite pub, which is on the seafront a little way East of the pier (about ten minutes walk from the derby). The roller derby crew have been given exclusive use of the upstairs bar. Expect human pyramids.”

EASTBOURNE EXTREME ON FACEBOOK

https://www.facebook.com/EastbourneExtremeRollerDerby/
https://www.facebook.com/events/812866462140436/

[Photos by John Hesse]

Eastbourne Roller Derby Fresh Meat: Sunday 29th March

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*dusts off cowbwebs* *wipes screen* Well, it seems like 2014 was only yesterday. Or at least it does if you go by this website, which shamefully hasn’t updated for almost six months. Oops, sorry! We’re back though, and there’s so much to mention. The Bourne Bombshells themselves are debuting in the inaugural British Championships tournament on May 9th against Chelmsford’s Killa Hurtz in Stevenage, with at least three further games (including a home tussle with Suffolk in mid-August) to follow. Preparations for the UK’s leading – and probably only – outdoor derby tournie, Extreme Extreme, are also well underway, with a top drawer match-up between the Bristol and Croydon A-teams being part of the fun.

Meanwhile, the burgeoning Eastbourne men’s league Bomb S’Quad recently held their first ever official scrimmage [as far as we know a scrimmage is the same as a game, but scores aren’t officially released] at home to Surrey Jammerwockies. Meanwhile the New Bournes – a juniors league for those aged 11 to 17 – continues to build weekly, and has great ambitions going forward. We’ll be hearing from all three leagues in the next few weeks, but first of all we’re looking at today’s Fresh Meat intake.

YEP, TODAY (SUNDAY 29TH MARCH) ALL THREE EASTBOURNE DERBY LEAGUES WANT *YOU* TO JOIN THEM AT CAUSEWAY SCHOOL AT 2.30PM, WHETHER YOU ARE MALE, FEMALE OR CHILD-SIZED AND WHETHER YOU ARE INTERESTED IN DERBY FROM A SKATING OR NON-SKATING ROLE. HERE’S SOMEONE WITH A FOOT IN ALL THREE LEAGUES TO TELL US MORE…

DRAG ‘N’ FLY – BOMBSHELLS SKATER & NEW BOURNES COACH:

Hi there. We’re now twelve weeks into 2015. How has the year been for the Eastbourne derby leagues so far?
We have had a great start to 2015. We’ve combined our men’s and women’s training, which is working well. We have also moved to a new venue, which has enabled us to have the capacity to invite both men’s and women’s teams to come and scrimmage with us, as we can now fit in a full sized track! The New Bournes have also moved to the venue and are taking full advantage of the extra space.

This Sunday sees the year’s first intake of Fresh Meat. What exactly is that for those that don’t know, and what sort of people are you after?
Fresh Meat is the basic training programme set up to enable you to play roller derby, combining both skating skill and newly learnt derby knowledge. We are looking for anyone with an interest in skating or roller derby.

Are you looking for really good skaters, really competitive people or a mixture? What about non skaters?
We are looking for anyone of any age, whether they can skate or not. There are skating and non-skating positions in the leagues. We would encourage anyone to come along and have a look.

Is Sunday’s intake for all three of the leagues – the Bombshells, Bomb Squad and New Bournes?
Sunday is the intake for all three teams, although looking forward the junior league (New Bournes) will be training on Saturday afternoon, whereas the men and women’s adult sides train on Sundays and Thursdays.

What does a twelve week Fresh Meat programme for skaters generally consist of?
The three month FM programme takes people through a progressive journey to gain the skills to play roller derby; starting with the basics like stops and falls, then moving on to hitting, blocking and pack work nearer the end of the programme.

How long after completing FM might a player be participating in A-team games?
After completing Fresh Meat and passing the Minimum Skills tests required, we would encourage skaters to take part in some scrimmages – to build their gameplay knowledge and confidence to help support themselves on the track – after which they will be available for rostering for the team.

What do people need in terms of equipment, sporting background, etc?
In terms of equipment, people need the following: quad skates, helmet, wrist guards, elbow pads, knee pads and a mouthguard. The Bombshells have ten sets of Fresh Meat kit to loan out for the twelve week programme, which has been supplied by lottery funding from Sports England. So essentially you can start with no kit of your own and build it up over the twelve weeks. People do not necessary need any sporting background before they start. All the skills will be taught over the programme.

Where and when is Sunday’s session taking place? Should people get in touch with you beforehand or just turn up on the day?
This Sunday’s session is staking place at Causeway School in Eastbourne from 2.30pm – 5.30pm. People can get in touch with us beforehand via Facebook or they can just turn up on the day. The first session is free.

Finally, what plans do the Eastbourne leagues have for the rest of 2015?
We are planning for Eastbourne Extreme [the UK’s only outdoor roller derby tournament, July 18th-19th on Eastbourne seafront] at present, with the second day having as many of our skaters on the track as possible. There is a men’s game, a co-ed game and a juniors scrimmage. The Bombshells’ first game in British Championships [the 72 team nationwide women’s tournament that started this year] is on the 9th May in Stevenage, which we are currently working towards. We have some newer skaters on the roster along with some of the original members, so it should be a great mix. The Bomb Squad have had their first closed door game this month, with another planned for April, and their first open game will be at Eastbourne Extreme. With the New Bournes it has been a bit harder to secure any games as junior roller derby is such a new concept, but watch this space!

[Photos by John Hesse]

THINGS TO CLICK ON:
SUN 29TH MARCH FM DAY (FB PAGE)
BOURNE BOMBSHELLS WEBSITE
BOMB S’QUAD WEBSITE
NEW BOURNES WEBSITE

Eastbourne Extreme 2014 In Review

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Steven looks across as the woman from the council checks her balls and tubes, dials and gauges, whilst tapping a sequence of figures into her notepad. The roof of the Arndale Centre is a regular haunt of Steven’s. For the lady from Health & Environment, it’s merely the scene of a brief but daily 9am (10am in summer) chore. One with an important purpose, though, particularly today. For this ‘climate centre’ perched above Boots Opticians is where the town of Eastbourne forges its annual claim to have more hours of sunshine than anywhere else in the UK. Though this doesn’t go down well with other south coast towns – both Bognor and Hastings have made rival claims in recent years – it’s a reassuring factor when it comes to putting on an outdoor roller derby tournament. Skating in the rain is something of a no-no, so derby (a scary enough proposition on dry surfaces) simply ain’t gonna happen under a crying sky.

Which is precisely why each year members of the local Bourne Bombshells league spend much of late June and early July checking conflicting online weather forecasts – trusting whichever is the most favourable at any given time – crossing fingers, sacrificing chickens and chicken-flavoured pieces of Quorn, and dedicating prayers to the Gods of Outdoor Derby and that title-claiming weather station on the roof of Boots. The lady from the council looks happy enough with today’s readings, and Steven makes his way down to The Cage, the concrete corral off the Eastern prom that will host this weekend’s war on wheels. Joining his friends Nodding Bob and Mewan atop an outhouse, Steven looks across at an orange-rimmed oval. Enough of the town’s 1,962 annual hours of sunshine (or at least hours of ‘non-rain’) will land today and tomorrow for the tournament to go ahead as scheduled. Yay!

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First up, it’s the London Rockin’ Rollers B-team Rising Stars (known as the Badasses to their friends) in the red kit. Up against them in sky grey is Croydon Roller Derby, whose A-team have won this tournament in its two previous years. It’s their B-team Vice Squad taking part in 2014, although we notice at least one person from last year’s Extreme squad in there. [Memo to self: Don’t use the phrase ‘A-team ringer’ here or you’ll get an ear-bashing from CRD’s PR crew.] When the participants for this tournament were selected at the start of the year, all four competitors were closely matched in the rankings. These two B-teams have both powered up the table in the intervening months, however, and if the statistics are to be believed this opener will be a dress rehearsal for the final. Scoring is slow to begin with, as players get used to the surface and the ungodliness of the hour, but London soon start putting clear distance between themselves and CRD, taking a 54-13 lead into half time.

LRR might have over four times Croydon’s score, but a 39-point gap is easily bridgeable, even when periods are only 20 rather than 30 minutes. (40 minute stoppage-free games with 5-10 minute half-times are the only way to cram all seven of today’s matches into the event’s allocated time slot.) Miss N Link and Claudia Shove’er take the star for London early in the second half. Von Bitch hollers instructions from the bench as LRR keep their lead going. Charging fightback in the final few jams from Croydon gives them a scare, with Fackelman racking up five point passes as the game draws to a close, but the red army have enough of a lead to weather that storm. London hold out for a 79-71 win. It’s the Bourne Bombshells v Surrey Rollergirls next. With both teams expected to struggle against Croydon and London, this could well be the play-off for third place. It’s not just about taking the win, though. The final table is being decided on points for and against, rather than wins/losses, so sides need to make the margins of their victories as big as possible, whilst keeping the gap small in losing games.

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Early exchanges are nip and tuck. A few points one way, a few the other. Buffy Smothers the strongest of the Surrey jammers, with Evil Badger and Hunter Stompson amongst the black-clad Guildfordians’ biggest blocking threats. A couple of five point passes from Bullet Bomber sees the Bombshells start to pull away. Penalty box jammer switcheroo between Smash’er Fierce and Crazy Cat Lady follows, with Smash’er adding to Eastbourne’s lead. Chunder Woman, Crash and Dreaded Shortcake regularly starring up for the ‘shells. We’re seeing packs starting on the pivot line a lot more than usual today – something to do with the slower pace of skating on an outdoor surface, perhaps? The open air environment is also affecting communication between the penalty box and incoming line-ups, with almost every jam preceded by one team or other screaming at a player to get off or lose their pivot panty seconds before the whistle. A referee’s wheel goes for a solo wander around the track. It’s 63-11 to the Sussex side as we take a brief half-time break.

A large complement of announcers taking turns to call today’s games. People passing by on the prom who stop to watch through the fencing are being beckoned in, siren-like. Or would be if they could find the entrance gate, awkwardly located on the opposite side of the cage to the tide of human traffic. Midday. The sun is over the yardarm. People in the crowd start cracking open the first of many cans of cider and beer. PM stands for pissed meridiem, yeah? Queues forming at the loos. Steven, Bob and Mewan do their business on the beach instead. Tracklines re-oranged for the second half. Smashlyn on the mic, kit checking the ref with the runaway wheel. The bits that meet the ground – wheels and toe-stops – are taking a pounding on this concrete, and more detachments will follow. Game back on now. The likes of Kerosene and Anne Grenade battling with tough purple walls. The Philosofear and Smash’er are keeping them and other Surrey starheads pegged back. Some good shifts in the star from Elle Hound, a recent addition to the Bourne rotation and supplier of today’s water bottles, then it’s down to Shortcake to seal the win with a triple pass power jam. Final score is 101-40 to the hometown heroes.

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There’s no rest for the wicked good and the Bombshells are back on track in the next match. It’s around now that the weather forecasts predicted a few showers, but the Arndale rooftop juju has kept them at bay. Bullet and Chunder take the first two leads against Croydon, but are quickly chased down with minimal scoring. Agent Cooper, who made her open door (and open air) debut in last year’s tournament, gets CRD’s first lead in the third as an Inara Terror-filled grey wall holds Drag N Fly back. Vice Squad starting to put up the points now – Terror donning the star and drawing the game’s first PJ – but they’re not running away with it yet. Chunder, who is joining Croydon after this tournament, is off for a turn two track cut. Philosofear laying down a tough one-wall in front of Cooper, but she breaks through and goes on a scoring spree. CRD pack too tough for the returning Chunder, forcing a star pass, and six laps of the pack from Cooper puts Croydon 50-12 up. OK, now they’re running away with it. Further power jams for both sides, and a spectacular – if somewhat ill-advised on unyielding concrete – apex jump from Fackelman sees the half closed out at 61-23.

Bombshells still in touch, with some pacy jamming from Bullet at the start of the second half, but Croydon start turning the screw as the period progresses. Inara Terror, Blazing Nympherno and Angel DDelight taking successive leads for the South Londoners now, as someone turns up the brightness on the sun. Occasional welcome breezes are few and far between, and it’s starting to get a bit “only dogs and Englishmen” now, even for those of us just watching. On track, the water, from both bottles and sweat glands, flows freely. Sussex jammers tiring as they end up embroiled and boiled in lengthy discussions with Dot Cottonmouth’s shoulders. Attempted star pass between DNF and ‘fear couldn’t have gone more wrong if they’d both ended up with Union Jack boxer shorts on their helmets. The final whistle is something of a relief all round. Vice Squad take the game with triple Eastbourne’s score (135-45) and everyone joins the queue at the ice cream stand. The next contest sees Surrey matching LRR point for point in the early exchanges, before the red army shifts up a gear and the Cockneys take it 124-48. Nodding Bob celebrates by stealing a small child’s chips.

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This isn’t what we were expecting at all. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s a hangover from the tough battle they just had with Surrey. Either way, LRR begin their game with Eastbourne a little on the back foot. After an epic opening jam that runs the full two minutes and ends 16-15 to the Bombshells, the hosts start edging out into the lead. Chunder takes full advantage of a power jam, dancing through the LRR pack on her toe-stops, and it’s 29-15. The typically rowdy Rockin’ Rollers support urge their team on, but the Bombshells are matching them point for point now in what has begun as one of the cleanest matches in this penalty heavy tournament. The sin bin visits are on the way though, with Bullet taking a star seat twice in one jam, as Mimika Mayhem restores the natural order of things. 55-40 to London. Almost everyone on track wearing shades now, as the beating sun intensifies with the Rockin’ Rollers dazzling play. 67-40 at half time, and Eastbourne will need Skate Protection Factor 30 to avoid being burned further by LRR in the second period.

As Steven and Mewan take turns annoying a small dog, the game resumes. The Bombshells make a brief resurgence, but it lasts about as long as the dog baiting. Claudia Shove’er and Hunter doing the damage for London now, as the home side succumb to a series of penalty calls, track cuts – so easy to make when there’s no wire on the perimeter – and bungled star passes. LRR take it 171-71. The Sussex side managed the same number of points against London that Croydon did, but the differential here is the day’s biggest. Will this century gap see the Bombshells finish fourth rather than third? Unfortunately for Surrey, no it won’t. Badger puts in some big hits for them against Croydon, with Buffy and Kerosene jamming in the points. It’s a battling performance, but the girls in grey are too strong. Psycho Sis in particular is proving a tough obstacle for the SRG starheads, with DDelight, Cooper and Cardinal Sim rolling out a 129-68 victory for Vice Squad – the same 61 point margin of victory the Bombshells managed over Surrey.

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The official table may have been calculated differently, but by our reckoning LRR are top with +184 points, Croydon second on +143, followed by the Bombshells (-129) and SRG (-198). A spread that seems to back up the pre-tournament expectations of a ‘two-division division’. It’s not over, though, as the table topping pair must play off for the title. LRR Rising Stars go into the game as favourites, having already edged past Vice Squad at the start of the day, but we have a feeling CRD could surprise them here. We place a one pint bet on a Croydon victory with the person we’re sitting next to. Both sides are well supported here, with the front row dominated by equal clusters of chanting, sign waving Rockin’ Rollers and CRD A-teamers. Nikki Blocker Glory kicks things off with a five pass power jam. Fackelman follows up with a power jam of her own. Barely three minutes gone and Croydon have a 39-0 lead. The person sitting next to us looks very angry and is muttering something about being “hustled”. There’s certainly some hustling happening on track. Also some bustling. Both packs working hard to keep the jammers at bay. Sis, Terror and Cottonmouth amongst the defensive standouts for Croydon; Fonda Kaos, DisorderLee and Demolition Darcy for London.

LRR are getting over their slow start. Their packs have more of a handle on Croydon’s starclads now, and their own jammers – notably Hunter, Link, Mimika and Claudia – have started getting their hips past. A scoreless final jam sees half-time tallied at 72-28. The person next to us is still scowling. Meanwhile, Steven looks unimpressed as Mewan and Bob turn an empty crisp packet into a tug-of-war rope. Whatever rocket Von Bitch puts up the troops with her mid-game team talk, it seems to do the trick, as the LRR Rising Stars come out battling for the second period. OK, Croydon’s Cooper is outscoring Hunter, who she is usually paired with, and putting up regular multi-pass jams, but elsewhere the Badass jammers are largely besting their Vice Squad counterparts… Link, in particular, helps pull them back into contention… Dirty DC deals well with a mid-jam toe-stop malfunction… Nympherno takes Croydon into triple figures, before a track cut call on Cooper sees Hunter take a two pass PJ… With three minutes left on the clock it’s 104-87 to CRD and there’s still time for our neighbour to win that pint after all, grrr… “Come on Croydon!”… Terror and DC are battling for lead, but a double track cut call on the latter sees Vice Squad mop up fourteen points in the final jam. It’s a 118-87 win for Croydon, a 568ml of Guinness win for us, and Nodding Bob takes victory in the tug-of-war.

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As if winning the Extreme tournament for the third year in a row isn’t enough, Croydon also pick up all three of the player awards, with Psycho Sis taking best blocker, Agent Cooper best jammer, and Nikki Blocker Glory as MVP. There’s little time for anyone to bask in the results, though, as most of the skaters, officials and spectators hightail it to a roller disco in a Napoleonic fort. Not to skate – they’ve had quite enough of that – nor to ask why we call them ‘Napoleonic forts’ when they’re actually anti-Napoleon forts. Instead, it’s to watch a stream of the day’s other main derby action, as New York’s Gotham Girls meet London Brawling on track and take them to school. Steven pops by for a look, but ends up getting shooed off by angry derbyers for getting in the way of the (pretty sketchy to begin with) screen. There’s an after after party party until the wee small hours, but a lot of people will be getting a fairly early night. We have a whole second day of derby action to come tomorrow, starting with a mixed women’s rookie game at 9.30. Nine thirty in the morning? Is playing derby at such an hour even legal?

Steven, Mewan, Bob and friends helpfully provide an alarm call for many of those in the Eastbourne area, and the Sunday action gets started more or less on time. Today was thought to be at greater risk from the weather than yesterday – an indoor venue has been sourced “just in case” – but the ground has mostly de-damped from an earlier shizzle of drizzle, and events are only slight delayed. The Hula-gans take on the Tiki Terrors in this rookie opener, as a bleary hungover crowd try to find out whose idea it was to give the day’s first teams such garish kit colours. Eye-scorching orange and head-thumping purple? Yeah, thanks for that. With Bombshells bench and line-upping both teams, there are also Eastbourne rookies taking part, along with folk from more than a dozen other leagues. Although most of today’s skaters are based in the South East, a handful are from further afield. The junior derby exhibition which follows the rookie game also has long travelled competitors. Helmed by Eastbourne’s New Bournes junior league, the demo includes a few skaters from Cardiff’s Tiger Bay Cubs. The Welsh side put on the UK’s first ever junior derby event 18 months ago, and now get to take part in the first ever outdoor junior derby event, although today’s strictly enforced ‘no contact’ rule will result in these more experienced players picking up a lot of penalty calls.

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The kit colours are getting more restrained as the day progresses, and whilst the intermediate women’s game features more purple – it’s Eastbourne, of course there’s purple – a soothing teal (whatever the hell that is) takes the place of nuclear orange. It’s no secret that the scheduling of last night’s New York v London game, and its accompanying Leeds-based boot camp, has caused a fair few withdrawals from today’s mixed teams. With advanced skaters plugging co-ed gaps, intermediates stepping up to advanced and general doubling up, there’s a marginal quality shift over what the original rosters offered, but of course everyone’s still giving it their all. That’s certainly true of the men’s game, where local Bomb S’Quadders are teamed up with skaters from Portsmouth, London, South Wales and beyond. Although there are some experienced derbyers involved, many of these players are in teams that have yet to begin playing regular games, and this – combined with the challenges of the outdoor environment – means the action is scrappy at times. It’s a fitting public showcase for the unfairer sex’s version of the sport nonetheless. Bob and Mewan look on with bemused detachment. Steven, meanwhile, has an upset tummy and will spend much of the afternoon decorating nearby cars.

Bombshells defectors Swann and Chunder Woman line up against each other in the advanced women’s game. Croydon’s A-teamers, audience members for yesterday’s tournament, are liberally scattered amongst many of today’s squads. The crowd itself bears an even broader range of league tops than yesterday, such is the effect of having more than twenty teams provide players. Tannoy music remains of a resolutely riot grrrl disposition and the Jellied Wheels (in white) are behind at half-time, but battling hard as the second half gets underway. Seaside Siren Killer Bite is amongst the red topped Rampaging Badgers’ biggest jamming threats, along with CRD’s Polly Filla and Cooper – the presence of another 808 in today’s games sees the latter donning TW4T as her number. Kent’s Boot’Em Khamun plays a starring role for the Jellies, racking up a string of passes as Swann recycles Pompey Badger Halcyon Daze. One of the Jellies fouls out. Chunder collides with teammate Cooper. Someone in red jumps through the white pack. The dog from yesterday returns with a friend and starts shouting at Steven, Bob and Mewan. The announcer mistakes this for canine cheering. Swann dons the star for the Jellies, but the clock is running down and the Badgers take the win by the sharp end of 50 points.

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Many expect this final game of the weekend, the co-ed match, to be its highlight. The presence of a large number of refs in the teams’ male contingent is going to see some tricks tried and loopholes explored. That much is obvious even from the opening jam, where both teams recycle simultaneously and their jammers end up having to retrace almost an entire track’s length before returning to play. Standout jammers for the black-clad Team Footloose are The Mechanic, zigzagging all over the track like there are alligators after him, and Noise Tank, who somewhat confuses the announcers by wearing the absent Omar Gherd’s top. With Finch of Fury and CRD bench coach Herbielicious also donning the star for Footloose, the team in black – who wore Kevin Bacon face masks for their skate out – are using a fairly male dominated rotation here. Their opponents Danger Zone, bedecked in grey, are primarily putting tough and experienced female skaters in the star; Boot’Em, Dropkick Molly, Peggy Peril, Mosquito and more. It’s an approach that sees more showboating from the Footloose starheads (backwards skating and so forth), but doesn’t always go according to plan; such as when Tank hangs back from a scoring pass to throw everything at rival jammer Mosquito, only for the latter to shake it off as if she was brushing off, well, a mosquito. She passes, grinning, and Tank has to call.

A hefty points haul from Khamun near the end of the half has brought DZ back into touch. It’s 58-45 to Footloose as the second period gets underway. Herbie relishing going up against some of his own CRD troops, but he’ll have bruises to show for it, with the likes of Smashasaurus Bex and Mosquito throwing hits at him from all angles. The latter is often blocking here alongside teammates – eg Mat Lovin, one of several South Wales Silures on display, and Disasteroid – and rival jammers who are twice her height, but it doesn’t show. A power jam from Peggy Peril, with Belgian opponent Decat sin binned, sees DZ clawing it back. A lead change soon follows. 70-68 to the guys and gals in grey. Noise Tank responds with a huge scoring jam, gliding in and around the opposing pack time and again, whilst Peril struggles against the Footloose wall. “Is Noise Gherd wearing an invisibility cloak?” the announcers wonder. It’s now 102-70 to the bods in black, and that margin is growing with every jam. Blitzkrieg throwing huge hits on Disasteroid, forcing the DZer to pass the star to Boot’Em. Force Ten Gail racing around for Footloose next. Suffolk Punch and Mother Mercy staying solid in the black packs. Danger Zone run out of time. Footloose win by some amount of points (we lost count, to be honest).

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It’s off to the Crown and Anchor, the Bombshells favoured seafront pub, for part one of today’s after party. With all the skating out of the way, now’s the time everyone can really let their hair down. People split off and annex various parts of the building. For some it’s the main bar. For others the function room, where the World Cup Final of some strange sport involving a ball is on the big screen. Many of the Bombshells and Croydon attendees shun both options, opting instead to sit in the gutter outside. Steven and Mewan are equally classy. They try to steal the skaters’ food when they’re not looking, but it’s all in vain. Steven heads back to the roof of Boots. The climate station will continue to gather sunshine in globes, rain in tubes, pressure in gauges, and whatever else it is that weather stations do. For the Eastbourne skaters, meanwhile, tomorrow marks the start of 365 more days of fretting about what the weather is going to be like on a certain weekend next July. We can answer that now. The Paris roller derby league has the slogan “Paris… brings the passion!” The Extreme tournament should adopt “Derby… brings the sunshine!” Because it does. No matter what council Health & Environment officials or the Michael Fishes of the world might think.

[Photos by John Hesse]

COMING UP
The Bombshells are back in action this Saturday (16th August) in Hemel Hempstead. Their Heartland Series game against the Norfolk Brawds – who they currently place higher than on points differential – starts at 1.30pm and a full preview will appear on theBBCD.com very soon. Croydon are holding rookie and referee tryouts this Sunday (17th) from 3pm-5pm. Contact recruitment@croydonrollerderby.co.uk for more details. Surrey Rollergirls have a double header in Guildford on August 30th, with their women’s team taking on Windsor B and the sibling men’s team playing Portsmouth. London Rockin’ Rollers take on the highly rated German league Ruhrpott in East London on September 13th. The next open door derby event here in Sussex, meanwhile, is on September 20th in Haywards Heath, where the Brighton Rockers take on Bristol Roller Derby, the only lower ranked league to have ever beaten them. (Brighton haven’t officially confirmed this match-up, incidentally, but it’s on the Bristol side’s own website.) In the meantime, enjoy the rest of those 1,962 hours of sunshine, yeah.

LINKS
BOURNE BOMBSHELLS: http://bournebombshells.wix.com/bombshells
CROYDON ROLLER DERBY: http://croydonrollerderby.co.uk/
LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS: http://londonrockinrollers.co.uk/
SURREY ROLLERGIRLS: http://www.surreyrollergirls.com/
SAT 16TH AUG IN HEMEL: https://www.facebook.com/events/1428289724127454/
SAT 20TH SEPT IN HHEATH: https://www.facebook.com/events/260828327459718/

Eastbourne Extreme Roller Derby Tournament Preview

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This weekend sees the mighty Bourne Bombshells hosting the much anticipated third annual Eastbourne Extreme outdoor roller derby tournament. Saturday 12th features a four-team, seven-game tournament (matches consisting of two 20-minute halves). Sunday features five full length mixed games of varied genders and levels, plus a junior derby showcase. The event is bigger than ever this year. For the first time, there will be a second track, for team warm-ups – named ‘Track 66’ in tribute to the derby number of much loved, recently lost Nottingham Roller Girl Louisey Rider – and several internationally capped players will be appearing on the Sunday. In a moment we’ll hear from the tournament organiser, along with members of Saturday’s four competing leagues, but we’ll kick things off with details of the venue and the weekend’s timetable…

THE VENUE: ROYAL PARADE
The roller derby will be taking place in a caged off (basketball courts style) area by Eastbourne seafront, a little under a mile North East of the Pier, or roughly 23.7 minutes walk from the train station – zoom in on Google maps and look out for the ‘SK8school’ indicator. Various other extreme sports will be taking place on the seafront, in the sky and out to sea across the weekend. There are a few bars and cafes dotted around the front, although these (and the ladies’ loos nearest the derby) tend to get quite busy. The nearest alternative for pubs, takeaways and convenience stores is around five minutes inland on Seaside Road. All the after party venues are quite close to the derby, being a few minutes walk back into town. There’s also a really nice park, with a large pond, just across the road, should you be of the picnicking persuasion.

SATURDAY 12TH JULY – TOURNAMENT DAY
10:30 LRR RISING STARS v CROYDON VICE SQUAD
11:30 BOURNE BOMBSHELLS v SURREY ROLLERGIRLS
12:30 CROYDON VICE SQUAD v BOURNE BOMBSHELLS
13:30 SURREY ROLLERGIRLS v LRR RISING STARS
14:30 BOURNE BOMBSHELLS v LRR RISING STARS
15:30 CROYDON VICE SQUAD v SURREY ROLLERGIRLS
16:30 TOURNAMENT FINAL
17:30 AWARDS CEREMONY
18:30 AFTER PARTY @ REDOUBT ROLLER DISCO inc
19:00 STREAM: LONDON BRAWLING v GOTHAM GIRLS
LATE AFTER AFTER PARTY PARTY @ BUSKERS

SUNDAY 13TH JULY – MIXED TEAMS DAY
09:30 ROOKIE WOMEN’S GAME
11:00 NEW BOURNES JUNIOR DERBY EXHIBITION
12:00 INTERMEDIATE WOMEN’S GAME
13:30 MEN’S GAME
15:00 ADVANCED WOMEN’S GAME
16:30 CO-ED GAME
18:00 AWARDS CEREMONY
18:30 AFTER PARTY @ CROWN AND ANCHOR PUB
LATE AFTER AFTER PARTY PARTY @ BUSKERS

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SASSY McAWESOME – TOURNAMENT ORGANISER

The roller derby element of Eastbourne Extreme changes format each year, from a single dayer in 2012 to two one-day tournaments in 2013, to a tournament plus a day of exhibition games this year. What excites you most about the 2014 schedule, and what do you expect to be the highlights?
Each year we aim to get more roller derby to more people, so this year we had to think big. We really loved the tournament format last year. All the games were super close, so the plan for Saturday was a no brainer. But we now have three roller derby teams in Eastbourne; the well established Bourne Bombshells women’s team, the Bomb S’Quad men’s team and the New Bournes junior team, so we wanted to showcase all the varieties of derby. Suddenly we found ourselves with six games, featuring four different types of roller derby, on the Sunday!
    My highlights will be Croydon Roller Derby Vice Squad vs London Rockin’ Rollers Rising Stars (aka Badasses), which sees two highly ranked B-teams who haven’t come face to face before. Also the Sunday co-ed game, which finishes the exhibition day with the most advanced skaters. We imagine the general public will find this a controversial match-up, as there are no other games where boys and girls hit each other!

Is there a lot of organisation that goes into putting on Extreme? When did the planning for it begin, and who has been involved? Has the scheduling of a certain other game and boot camp [LRG v Gotham in Leeds] on the same weekend caused any problems?
It’s a Bombshells team effort, but I have headed up a small Extreme Organisation Chiefs committee with Beachy Headcase and Phoenix. We started the planning in January so we’re super prepared now! We’re lucky to have a talented and diverse team who are able and willing to offer their skills and talent to different aspects of the weekend. We read some controversial opinions about LRG putting on such a big event at the same time as Extreme, but let’s be honest – if Gotham say “we can play you in England this summer if you can find a venue”, you’ll find a venue and make it happen!
    Having one of the most highly anticipated WFTDA games on English soil is great for the UK roller derby scene, and we can’t wait to watch the stream of the game. We’re really lucky to have a large and loyal Extreme following. We were well into our planning when the LRG v Gotham game was announced, and whilst we lost a few advanced skaters, the vast majority remained dedicated to the tournament. Leeds is quite far away if you’re as Southern as we are, so we expect that helped us retain numbers. That and our vegan Oreo cake. 🙂

What are you expecting from Saturday’s tournament? Who are most looking forward to seeing of the visiting sides (Surrey, Croydon B and Rockin’ Rollers B) and how do you think the Bombshells will do?
We’re old friends with Surrey and Croydon B, so it’s always fun to play people you know, then catch up with them over a beer after. We had a steep learning curve after our last Croydon game where I think we averaged about 435 penalties (give or take), so we’re keen to come back fighting when we meet them. LRR B is definitely the unknown quantity of the day. They’re highest placed in the rankings, but as we all know, the rankings rarely accurately portray the difference between teams. As the organiser, I want every game to be a four point game, right down to the last whistle. As the Bombshells’ bench coach however, I want us to win by 200 points every time!

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Moving on to Sunday’s exhibition games, there’s a varied pool of skaters involved of all kinds of abilities, genders and ages. Any particular games that you’re looking forward to? Any players you think the crowd should particularly keep an eye out for?
The rookie women’s game is the first event in the whole of Extreme on Sunday, so we’re expecting to draw quite a non-derby crowd! Rookies are always relentlessly enthusiastic, so that guarantees it will be a great game. The juniors are scrimmaging in public for the first time, and the only thing cuter will be if someone invents roller derby for baby bunnies. The co-ed game is full of international superstars, so that’s the game to watch for the complex strategies. I’m really excited to see The Mechanic of SWS and Team Wales, as I’ve heard “he’s not a tank. He’s THE tank!” We also have a handful of players from France and Belgium, our first international participants, and it will be great to see their style of derby. And on a personal note, I’m excited to bench the advanced women’s game, which will not only be my last bench coaching game, but will unite Swann, Chunder Woman and myself for the last time!

For those coming down to Eastbourne from elsewhere, what other parts of the Extreme weekend, the seafront and the town itself can you recommend?
Extreme is a massive extreme sports fest, with all sorts of awesome sea, land and air action going on. If you can tear yourself away from the roller derby, we recommend checking out our friends at Eastbourne Skating Club, who have a couple of the top five slalom skaters exhibiting. But if you want to get away from the wheeled sports, the kite surfers are where the tricks and stunts will really wow you! But most importantly, you’re on the Sunshine Coast. Get some chips or an ice cream, wander down the pier, paddle in the sea, and avoid having your chips or ice cream stolen by the mutant-sized seagulls!

Finally, what can we expect from the after parties – there seem to be loads – and other social aspects of the weekend. Is the early start on Sunday going to curtail some people’s partying?
I’d like to think that the Bombshells involved in setting up on Sunday morning will curtail their partying, but I expect it’ll be me shouting “just one more” at 2am, so I don’t have high hopes… After the massive success of the Redoubt roller disco last year, we’ll be partying on and off skates in the fort again on Saturday, but this time we’ll be starting the night with an open air live showing of the LRG v Gotham game. We’ll be ending up in our favourite watering hole, Buskers, which promises copious drinks and a slightly sticky floor.
    Sunday will be the big night though. Three Bombshells (myself, All Seeing Ivy and Chunder Woman) will be saying their goodbyes after Sunday’s games, and the tournament will be ending, which means the officials and athletes can stop being official and athletic. Lots of folk are staying in Eastbourne for a long weekend, so we expect to eat too much good food at the Crown and Anchor, then return to Buskers to bring in the sunrise. It’s going to be epic!

EEP4

THE PHILOSOFEAR – BOURNE BOMBSHELLS

This will be the Bombshells’ second Extreme as competitors, having hosted but not competed in 2012 and lost the Saturday final last year by a single point. There are also a number of Bombshells (and Bomb S’Quaders and New Bournes) taking part as skaters and bench crew in Sunday’s mixed games. What are your hopes for the weekend?
Saturday’s tournament is going to be tougher for us than last year’s. We are the lowest ranked team of the four, so we are going to have to fight really hard. Having just lost our strongest player Swann (aka Toxic Block Syndrome) to Brighton, we’ve had to rework our line-ups. We’ve also made sure that all of our rookies are playing in at least two games on the Saturday. On the Sunday most of the Bombshells aren’t playing, so we can concentrate on running the day’s proceedings – with all the mixed teams it will take more organisation than a normal tournament does. We’re very much looking forward to the men’s game, so that we can cheer on the Bomb S’Quaders.

How does outdoor derby differ from indoor derby? How have you been preparing for the event – have you had many outdoor training sessions? Do you think experience of the venue/conditions will give you an advantage?
Outdoor derby doesn’t differ very much from indoor derby – the only real differences are the change of wheels, the lack of a rope boundary for the track, and the weather! Last year we found that a lot of the teams played a bit safer at the start of the tournament as they were getting used to playing outside (so we may have had an advantage), but by the end of the day everyone was playing like they would indoors, and so any advantage we had was lost.
    Our outdoor track is very smooth, but despite that there is a risk of losing a bit of skin if you slide along the track, so we advise players to dress sensibly; leggings, rather than hotpants, are wise if players wish to keep all the skin on their thighs. We’ve been practising outdoors to get ready for the tournament, but only for a few weeks. Still, even that gives us some confidence that the other teams won’t necessarily have at the start of the day. Our main concern about outdoor derby is the weather. But don’t worry, it WILL be sunny! One year it was quite windy, so that can have an impact too.

What do you know of your opponents, the Croydon Vice Squad, Surrey Rollergirls and LRR Rising Stars? Have you played many of them before, and how did that go? Any particular players or tactics you’ll be keeping any eye out for?
Surrey are ranked two places above us on flattrackstats.com, and last year we beat them at Extreme by a single point, so we’re expecting that to be a very close game. When I’m jamming – which hopefully won’t be too often! – I’ll be watching out for Evil Badger. She’s worked hard over the last year, and is a great blocker and big hitter. In terms of jammers, I’ll be watching out for Buffy Smothers. She’s very agile and nippy.
    We played against Croydon Vice Squad last August, and they beat us by quite a lot. Since then we’ve improved a great deal, so hopefully we’ll have a much closer game this time around. I remember their offence being very strong, so we’ll have to counter that – Inara Terra and Angel DDelight are both strong players to watch out for. LRR Rising Stars/Badasses are going to be a very tough team to play. We haven’t met them on track before so we’re not quite sure what to expect, but we think it’ll be our toughest game of the day.

Finally, any Bombshells players or tactics people attending Extreme should keep an eye out for? And any message for the Bombshells fans in the crowd?
Eastbourne Extreme is the last Bombshells game for a few of the team. Chunder Woman is transferring to another league, and our line-up manager All Seeing Ivy and bench coach Sassy McAwesome are leaving us. So Bombshells fans in the crowd will need to try to ignore all the crying as there’ll be a lot of tears, especially on the Sunday night. A newer Bombshell to watch out for is Seoul Destroyer. Her jamming is amazing, and I think that by our August Heartland Series game she’ll be a regular on the jammer rotation.

EEP5

FACKELMAN – CROYDON ROLLER DERBY

CRD won the previous two Eastbourne Extreme tournaments. Are you hoping to make it three in a row? It’s your Vice Squad B-team, rather than Riot Squad, taking part this year – do many of them have experience of previous Extremes?
Croydon will be well represented all weekend as we have Vice Squad competing on Saturday and many of our A-team girls will be skating on Sunday. Eastbourne Extreme is a favourite of CRD and we look forward to it all year. The event is always exciting and challenging. Some of our B-team skaters competed in Extreme last year with Riot Squad and are gearing up for this weekend. Agent Cooper bouted with Croydon Roller Derby for the first time at Eastbourne Extreme last year, so when you see her this weekend you can wish her a happy one year boutaversary – talk about baptism by fire!

What is it that CRD like about Extreme weekend that keeps you coming back? How have Vice Squad prepared for this year’s tournament?
I think it’s safe to say that Croydon Roller Derby doesn’t shy away from hard work and Extreme is a great opportunity for us to be pushed to our limits. The sun and heat in previous years have made the long day even more exhausting and these are the conditions where we learn what we’re really made of as a league. This determination has paid off for us in years prior and we believe that Vice Squad has what it takes to stand up to the challenge.
    Vice have been training hard and recently had an epic game against Belfast’s B-team, where we had a chance to try some of our new tactics and see where we need work. Most recently our A- and B-teams have been working together to develop, as both teams have big games on the horizon! We’re very lucky to have the Riot Squad’s experience to draw from in our training and I think it will show this weekend.

What do you know of your opponents, the Bombshells, Surrey and LRR Rising Stars? Have you played them before, and how did it go?
Vice Squad’s first ever game was against the Bombshells last August. We have a lot of love for those ladies and a whole lot of respect. They’re going to be tough competition and we expect that both teams will have developed a lot in the past year. We haven’t yet had the chance to play Surrey or LRR previously, but we know that we will not be let off easy, and we’re looking forward to playing some really tough teams on Saturday.

Finally, any CRD players or tactics people attending Extreme should keep an eye out for? Any message for the Croydon fans in the crowd?
One of the many amazing characteristics of Vice Squad is that we do not have any particular skaters that you need to look out for on the track. You’ll find some incredible teamwork and standouts will vary from jam to jam. It would be a mistake to focus too much on any one skater because her teammates will exploit the opportunity to surprise you!
    There is so much excitement and derby love in the CRD camp this week and we thank our fans and gracious hosts for the opportunity to play our shapely derby bums off this weekend!

EEP6

DEMOLITION DARCY – LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS

This will be the London Rockin’ Rollers’ first appearance at Eastbourne Extreme. What do you know about the tournament?
We know it’s Extreme! A few of us have been to the tournament to watch before. It’s a great way to showcase the sport of roller derby to an audience who might not know anything about it, and we can’t wait to be a part of it.

Do the Rockin’ Rollers get much opportunity to skate outdoors? Have the Rising Stars done any special preparation for Extreme?
You might have seen us in London’s Pride parade at the end of June where we scrimmaged on Oxford Circus and down Bond Street, in running water! In fact, if you listen closely you might hear some squeaking, as some of our skates are still a bit rusty…

What do you know of your opponents, the Bombshells, Croydon Vice Squad and Surrey Rollergirls?
We played Croydon’s Riot Squad [A-team] over a year ago when our current B-team was in its first bouting season. Let’s just say it was a learning experience! There might be some familiar faces in the Vice Squad, but essentially we’re looking forward to playing three completely new opponents this weekend.

Finally, do you have any tactics people attending Extreme should keep an eye out for? And any message for the Rockin’ Rollers fans in the crowd at Eastbourne?
Yes. In honour of it being an outdoor tournament, all of our tactics are temporarily named after types of fruit you might find in a Pimms. And for our fans in the crowd, you know the chant: “LRR LRR LRR…!”

EEP7

EVIL BADGER – SURREY ROLLERGIRLS

This will be SRG’s second appearance at Eastbourne Extreme. How did you find it last year, and what are your hopes for 2014?
Last year’s tournament was certainly an experience! Nothing like three derby matches in the sweltering heat to challenge you as skaters. We had melted wheels, skater numbers ‘tanned’ on to people’s arms and gravel graze, but above all we had great fun. This year we’re hoping to win (of course we’d say that), but more than that, to gain experience facing up against teams we’ve not played before – and have fun in the sun!

What is it that you like about Extreme weekend? Do you get much opportunity to skate outdoors elsewhere? How does it differ from playing derby indoors, and how have you prepared for this year’s tournament?
Extreme is a brilliant free event, and spreads the derby PR far and wide! We have much respect for the Bourne Bombshells for putting it on for the third year in a row (and for inviting us back for a second). In terms of outdoor skating, Crazy Cat Lady is the outdoor queen. She’s always rounding us up to go for an outdoor skate and we’re lucky to have some pretty great areas around us to go practice. Brooklands have an old go-kart track (complete with road markings and signs) which is perfect for skating, with lovely smooth tarmac and ramps if you’re feeling brave.
    Derby outdoors is definitely different, being aware that if you do fall you’re not going to get the ‘slide’ that you usually do indoors, and thus have a far greater risk of gravel rash. It also involves changing your skating style up a bit; plough stops tend to be a lot tougher, so derby stops and hockey honey shuffle win out on the day. The heat and sun definitely adds an element of difficulty as well. Last year most of us bouted in sunglasses!

What do you know of your opponents, the Bombshells, Croydon Vice Squad and Rockin’ Rollers Rising Stars?
Of our opponents this year, we’ve only met the Bombshells on the track before. That was at last year’s Extreme, and it was a pretty nail-biting match with the Bombshells taking it by one point in the final jam. We’ve never met Croydon or LRR on track before, though we’re familiar with Croydon’s skaters – Lady Painelope was one of the original Surrey Rollergirls. We’re not taking any of the teams lightly, as I feel all will prove a challenge, but we’ll give it our best and enjoy ourselves doing so.

Finally, any Surrey players or tactics people attending Extreme should keep an eye out for? And any message for the SRG fans in the crowd?
I think Surrey have formed into a well-rounded group of skaters, all with different strengths that work together well. We’re challenging everyone to jam at the moment, so you may see a relatively fluid jammer line-up at Extreme throughout the three bouts. We’ve also had a bit of a line-up change since last year’s Extreme, with a lot of newer skaters coming out of our Fresh Meat programme last autumn. Watch out for Ada Shovelace, Bake ‘n’ Destroy, Impaler Swift and Luna Tonic especially. For fans of Surrey, cheer loud and we’ll bring the tea and scones… and I promise not to eat them all!

[Photos by John Hesse]

LINKS
FACEBOOK PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/EastbourneExtremeRollerDerby
GOOGLE MAP: https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@50.7776598,0.3052472,17z
EASTBOURNE EXTREME: http://www.visiteastbourne.com/extreme/
BOURNE BOMBSHELLS: http://bournebombshells.wix.com/bombshells
CROYDON ROLLER DERBY: http://croydonrollerderby.co.uk/
LONDON ROCKIN’ ROLLERS: http://londonrockinrollers.co.uk/
SURREY ROLLERGIRLS: http://www.surreyrollergirls.com/