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/

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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]

British Champs Tier 4 South East Day Two Preview

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The first day of British Champs Tier 4 South East took place at the start of May in Stevenage. Those two games ended in what are known as “blowouts” with one of the sides in each amassing hundreds of points more than their opponents. Killa Hurtz triumphed 342-43 over the Bombshells, while hosts Full Metal went down by an even bigger margin (396-15) at the hands of Suffolk Roller Derby. Naturally enough Suffolk (who sit out Day 2) top the division on points scored over Killa Hurtz, with the Bombshells and Full Metal occupying the bottom spots.

Mid-table by dint of being the team that sat out day one are the Norfolk Brawds, who are hosting the second divisional game day this Saturday (6th June). The event is taking place at the University of East Anglia’s Sportspark on the Western edge of Norwich. Doors are at noon, with tickets available online at £7.50 each (including booking fee) from the link at the bottom of this piece. The afterparty takes place midway between the University and City Centre at the Eagle on Newmarket Road (the A11) in the Golden Triangle area, which is supposedly even more of a Green Party heartland than Brighton’s Hanover (more than two thirds of the vote in some wards).

TRAVEL INFO

With the greatest of respect to some of the other towns represented in Champs, Norwich is one destination we would particularly recommend making a weekend of if you can. Not only is it one of the best real ale towns in the UK (around Dereham Road in particular), with a castle, cathedral and twice as many board game shops as the whole of Sussex – yeah we’re geeks – there’s also the messing about on boats to be had. Er, though you could end up trapped, like our boating mates who should be in the South of France now. Seems the lock that joins the Broads to the North Sea has been broken (non-navigable) for months. Cannes, Loddon, quelle difference?

Car types from Sussex should point their vehicles North East for around 3.5 hours – there’s parking at the venue, plus overflow parking nearby if that gets full. The train takes around the same time and costs as little as £21 each way. Thankfully the rail strike either side of the weekend (you just know it’d mess up the trains in between too) has been called off. Hotel wise, our usual recommendations – the Maid’s Head or Stracey – get a bit spendy this close to the day. The plethora of Premier Inn and Travelodge type places dotted around the centre are probably the best bet now. Enough travel stuffs, on to the statistics…

PREDICTIONS

Flattrackstats calls the Bombshells v Herts Breakers game quite strongly in favour of Eastbourne. The Sussex league currently rank 306th in Europe on 450.0 points with the Full Metal women 357th on 373.0. While that doesn’t look a huge positional gap, splitting the difference between home and away predictions (since there’s no neutral option) calls this as 94% likely to be an Eastbourne win, with an anticipated 42:19 differential working out as something like a 252-114 Bombshells victory margin.

The website calls the other game as much closer. Killa Hurtz currently place 105th in Europe on 539.6 points. Although the Brawds have home advantage, they rank lower at 141st on 518.3. The magic maths machine that lives inside the FTS website reckons this works out as 60% likelihood of the visitors from Chelmsford taking the win. A predicted differential of 10:9 is not only very easy for us to translate into a possible scoreline – 180-162, say – but also demonstrates how close this one is expected to be. Eek! Let’s see what the teams themselves have to make of all this…

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COUNTESS VON STACKIT – BOURNE BOMBSHELLS

What did you learn from your first Champs game against Killa Hurtz? We guess it wasn’t quite what you were expecting?
I’d say that’s a mild understatement! Killa Hurtz had really solid walls and gave out some hard hits. We knew it would be tough but even some of our strongest players struggled. They managed to wear us down early on and break apart our walls. From a jamming perspective it was exhausting – by the time we’d got to the last blocker we were easily hit off. On a positive note, we did learn a few things that we will be putting into practice for our forthcoming games. In particular, responding to offence and working on our own offence. We need to work on keeping our walls tight and reforming faster. As a team we have really been working on our overall fitness and, although it was a crushing defeat, our stamina has improved. Getting more points in the second half shows we can dig deep when it matters!

Your next opponents, Full Metal RD’s Herts Breakers, also had a heavy loss on that first game day. What do you know about them?
We know Full Metal are new to bouting, so I’m sure they’ll want to do their best and make their mark. They will have learnt a lot from their game against Suffolk and I’m sure if there were any first game nerves to be had, they will have dissipated and they’ll be hungry for the next one. Herts will be used to hard hits and pushing against solid players as, like us, they are used to training co-ed.

Any Eastbourne players or tactics people should look out for in the game? Are Flattrackstats right to predict a big Bombshells win?
Amazing Graze has been doing some great jamming (I’m refraining from saying Amaaazing!). She’s been working hard at training and has been taking part in mixed scrims; most recently as part of Roll Britannia against the Brighton Rockerbillies, where she was awarded MVP. Jumpin’ Jack Smash has also gone from strength to strength and is knocking out some devastating hits. Naturally, we’ll be aiming to win because there is no other way, but we would never like to predict what can happen. We need to play our game, put in to practice the offence we’ve worked on, but not forget the basics. We’ll need to be focused as a team if we want to improve that points differential.

Finally, the day’s other game sees hosts Norfolk Brawds take on Killa Hurtz. How do you expect that one to go, and are there any standout players on those teams to look out for?
We came up against the Brawds in last year’s Heartland Series and their jammers aren’t afraid to go in hard. Philthy Delphia is a strong jammer who will test the Killa Hurtz walls. I’d expect a Killa Hurtz win, but for the Brawds to get a decent score against them. It’ll be an exciting one to watch. It may be Killa Hurtz’ toughest game of this Champs season. Mother Mercy, Clark Smash and Melef!cent are all going to give the Brawds jammers a hard time. The Beckoning just will not move out of the way!

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CLEO CATCHYA – FULL METAL ROLLER DERBY

Was the result of your first British Champs game what you were hoping for? Is there anything you learned from that game that you’ll be taking forward to the rest of your Champs season?
We were just hoping for double figures in all honesty. We knew we weren’t going to win, but we wanted to have some fun and host a successful first bout, and we are so proud of ourselves for that. Also eleven of us popped our bouting cherries that game and it was awesome to do it all together as a team. We have a bout’s experience under our belts now and a bit of a fire in our bellies. Gotta start somewhere.

Your next opponents, Eastbourne Roller Derby’s Bourne Bombshells, also had a heavy loss on that first game day. What do you know about the Sussex side?
We’ve seen that the Bombshells have heart, strength and determination, and we’re looking forward to our game with them. I’ve a feeling they’ll have a fire in them too.

Any Herts Breakers players or tactics people should look out for in the game? Flattrackstats gives 90-95% chance of an Eastbourne win. What are you expecting?
Results wise we are just hoping to improve on our points. We got 15 last time, this time we’ll go for 30 and so on. Winning really isn’t what it’s about for us; we’re just starting as a bouting team so the whole experience is amazing. As for players to look out for, all of us I guess. We’re learning and growing as a team with each bout and scrim. It’s exciting to watch us all develop as skaters together.

Finally, the day’s other game sees hosts Norfolk Brawds take on Killa Hurtz. How do you expect that one to go?
We are both excited and terrified to watch this game! Both teams are fantastic. I’ve personally seen more of the Killa Hurtz, so I know for certain the strength and skill they possess. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess at the outcome, but it’s going to be a blinding bout that’s for sure. As for standout players, Mother Mercy from Killas has a pretty fearsome rep; she’s an awesome player and definitely one to watch out for (and avoid) on track.

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PHILTHY DELPHIA – THE NORFOLK BRAWDS

You’re the only side in Tier 4 South East that sat out Game Day 1. What do you know of the other four teams in the division?
We actually had a “Brawds Day Out” to the first game day to check things out, but also to support all the teams. We’ve been watching Suffolk since they started and it was great to see how strong they’ve gotten. The first contact we really had with Killa Hurtz was at our Eastern Sur5al event last year and they sent a few girls again this year – so we were excited to see them skate as a team. Eastbourne were in our division of the Heartland Series last year but this was our first time (like many) seeing Full Metal on the track. Definitely a lot of new faces, but quite a few familiar ones too!

You’ll be taking on Killa Hurtz in your first game. Any particular players or tactics of theirs you’ll be looking out for?
Killa Hurtz definitely have some strong, experienced players on their side so we know it’s going to be a tough game, but they are also a lovely group of ladies so we’re sure it’s going to be a fun one too.

Any Brawds players or tactics people should look out for in the game? Flattrackstats narrowly gives Killa Hurtz the edge in this match-up. What are you expecting?
Well, we can’t give away too many of our secrets! We’re going to be relying on our experience skating together as a team. Most of our All Stars have been skating together for years.

The day’s other game sees Eastbourne take on Full Metal’s Herts Breakers. How do you expect that game to go?
This should actually be a really interesting match-up. We’ve played Bourne so we know they have a lot of fight in them and bout experience. Full Metal are a bit of a dark horse. Neither had a great first game day, but this could turn out to be a close, exciting bout.

Finally, the Brawds are hosting the action on Saturday 6th. What can you tell us about your venue? What can people expect from the afterparty?
We are *so* lucky to have one of the largest and most successful sports centres in the UK, the Sportspark at the University of East Anglia, as our home open venue. Technically we can seat more than 500 people in our bleacher seating and we usually have 300-400 spectators at our home events. The Sportspark offers free parking, a full bar which sells our own ale Bonny’s Gold (brewed by Golden Triangle Brewery), two different cafes, a large vendor area, free face painting, and an awesome raffle. We are also fundraising for our own venue and will be taking donations to ‘wax a Smackson (our affiliated men’s team)’ during half time. The afterparty will consist of a massive BBQ and drinks in the big beer garden at The Eagle Pub and possibly dancing at the Waterfront after!

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CLARK… SMASH! – KILLA HURTZ ROLLER GIRLS

Killa Hurtz have rocketed up the European rankings, rising from 270th to 105th in less than a year of bouting, and took a big win over Eastbourne in your first Champs game. As the division’s highest ranked team who do you think will be your biggest challengers?
We came into Champs not knowing what to expect, and with the ethos of taking every game as it comes and not taking anything for granted. We had no idea what to expect from Eastbourne. It was a good game and they did not make it an easy win for us. We would love to win the division. I would say in the short term our biggest challengers would be the Brawds. However, in October we face Suffolk. We have played them twice in the past year and it’s one apiece… Both of us are training new skaters at the moment, so it is highly likely by the time October rolls around both teams will be fielding players neither team has met before, which always makes for a challenge!

You’re up against the Norfolk Brawds on Saturday. Any particular Brawds you’ll be looking out for?
We are indeed. Norfolk have obviously been in Heartland Series before Champs and we’ve seen some of their games. With Damage having left, it will be interesting who will be in her spot on the roster. We shall be keeping an eye on Philthy and Short Circuit… We’ve also heard rumblings about Penny Slain as someone to watch out for.

Any Killa Hurtz players or tactics that people in the crowd should look out for?
We wouldn’t want to give away any of our secrets! Our lips are sealed. I think this is going to be a really good game to watch whatever the result.

Finally, the day’s other game sees Eastbourne take on Full Metal RD. Any particular players the crowd should look out for there?
Eastbourne are definitely the favourites. The Philosofear caused our jammers a lot of problems when we played them. Definitely the skater to contain!

[Photos by John Hesse and Pete Florey/MDP Images]

LINKS
BUY TICKETS: http://www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk/events/the-norfolk-brawds-roller-derby-presents–british-champs—uea-sportspark–6-6-15-.aspx
FB EVENT PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/events/1527400340869495/
BRITISH CHAMPS: http://www.britishchamps.com/
BRAWDS: http://www.norfolkbrawds.com/
KILLAS: http://killahurtzrollergirls.co.uk/
SHELLS: http://bournebombshells.wix.com/bombshells
BREAKERS: http://fullmetalrollerderby.com/

British Champs Tier 4 South East Day One preview

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This Saturday (May 9th) sees the mighty Bourne Bombshells kick off their British Champs campaign in Stevenage. Champs has evolved from a small South Midlands tournament, via a couple of incarnations of the Heartland Series – Bombshells took part in 2014’s – into this year’s huge 72 team thirteen division truly national tournament. The ‘shells, now rebranded under the umbrella name Eastbourne Roller Derby, are part of the Tier 4 South East Division, which kicks off on Saturday at the Arts & Leisure Centre in Stevenage, Herts.

Things get underway at a frighteningly early 11.30am (first whistle) with the Bombshells taking on Chelmsford’s Killa Hurtz and hosts the Herts Breakers – part of the Full Metal Roller Derby league – facing Suffolk. Tickets are available on the door at £10 for adults or £5 kids. This is the most handily placed derby venue we know of for train travellers, being literally across the road from Stevenage station, which is one stop from London King’s Cross on the East Coast Main Line (slower Great Northern services are more regular).

Splitting the home and away predictions at Flattrackstats, as there is no neutral option, gives Eastbourne (ranked 248th in Europe) roughly an 18% chance of beating the 137th placed Killa Hurtz. The predicted score differential is around 7:4 in the Essex side’s favour, equivalent to something like a 245-140 scoreline in Killa Hurtz’ favour. The website is unable to predict anything for the day’s other game, since the hosting Herts Breakers are so new they’re totally unranked. Now let’s hear from some of those taking part…

BULLET BOMBER – BOURNE BOMBSHELLS CAPTAIN

Hi there. Can you sum up the Bombshells’ 2014 Heartland Series for us?
As a team we were happy with where we finished in the tournament. We came fourth in the division which was a place above where we thought me may come. It was our first year being part of the series and I think we learnt a lot last year about our strengths and weaknesses as a team.

Heartland has grown into the British Champs in 2015, featuring 72 women’s teams across 13 divisions. You currently sit on top of the T4 South East table, albeit through alphabetical order. Is holding onto that position your aim for the season?
Of course holding the top position will always be our aim. We are looking forward to playing some new opposition, but are also interested to see how we fare this year against opponents we played last year. With more teams being involved in the Champs, it means that our group is going to be near to us in ranking, which should mean we have some interesting games with closer scores.

Your opponents in Stevenage on Saturday are Chelmsford’s Killa Hurtz. What do you know of them? Any particular Killa Hurtz players you’ll be looking out for?
We will be watching out for Killa Hurtz’ small nippy jammers, Snarley Quinn and Rakey Breaky Face, as they sneak through the smallest of gaps; as well as keeping an eye on Killa Hurtz stronger pushyer jammer Mother Mercy. Blockers who may cause us trouble are The Beckoning, Mother Mercy and Clark Smash. They are big hitters, so our jammers will be looking to stay quick on their feet around them.

Any particular Eastbourne players people should be looking out for in this game, and throughout the Champs season in general?
This season the Bombshells to watch out for are Von Stack It and Jumping Jack Smash. They have both become formidable blockers, and are also both shaping up to be fast nippy jammers. With our training now co-ed with men’s side Bomb Squad, it has toughened the whole team up, hopefully giving us an edge.

Saturday’s other game sees hosts FMRD’s Herts Breakers take on Suffolk Roller Derby. How do you expect that one to go?
Full Metal are a total unknown as they are not yet ranked on Flattrackstats and no one has seen them play (not sure if they’ve had a bout yet either). Suffolk have some good jammers, particularly Yvonna Bone, Malicious Wishes and Minnie Minx. Suffolk Punch is a double threat to watch – when blocking she holds the walls together and keeps control, and when jamming she can always fight her way through.

Finally, what else do the Eastbourne leagues have planned for this year?
We are launching ourselves as Eastbourne Roller Derby this year, with our four teams; Bourne Bombshells ladies team, Bomb Squad men’s team, New Bournes junior team and our new co-ed Team A-bominations. All four teams will be playing at Eastbourne Extreme on 18th & 19th July. We are really excited that our first open door men’s game and co-ed game will be on home turf (tarmac). The Men’s team will be facing Surrey Jammerwockies and the co-ed team will be playing Portsmouth Scurvy Wenches. The Men’s team have had a few close door games this year in preparation for Extreme and we are currently arranging co-ed closed doors. Our junior team will this year be playing at Level 2, which is a great progress from last year. The team’s numbers are slowly growing and another training session has been added. So this year is looking like it’s shaping up to be a fun year for all four teams.

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CLARK SMASH – KILLA HURTZ ROLLER DERBY

For anyone that might not know of the Killa Hurtz can you tell us a little of your league’s history and achievements to date?
The team started in October 2011 and has gone from strength to strength with a solid foundation of skaters who live and die by the skate! In 2013 we took our only five skaters to Rookie Sur5al at Windsor, where we finished in the Top 5. We have a vivid memory of walking around the sports hall overhearing other skaters saying “who the hell are the Killa Hurtz and where did they come from?” That was pretty memorable! We have since taken part in many tournaments and now have a full bouting team. Last year we were lucky enough to have our coach, SDRD’s Blitzkrieg, fall into our laps (not literally, thankfully, he’s big guy and partial to wearing leggings) when he moved to Essex and was looking for a team to coach. Together we have gained skating momentum. Last year saw us become a bouting team with our first game in June against our derby sisters from another mister, Suffolk Roller Derby, who took the win at home. Since then, the purple train have been getting around, taking a very close win over Grid City away, hosting and beating Suffolk (making it one apiece), then taking on the mighty Portsmouth B who took the win towards the end of 2014. This year we’ve had a couple of blinding bouts including a nail biter against LRR B in the capital and a tough and physical game against Rebellion at home. We won both those games which brings us to this, our first British Champs game.

As a fairly new to bouting team, what are your expectations going into the 2015 British Champs season?
We are very new to bouting. We have been bouting less than a year but what a year it has been! We will take each game as it comes. Regardless of stats or predictions, you can never take another team’s track record or an expected win for granted. So we shall focus on being the best we can be as team and see where that gets us. Obviously we would like to ride in on our purple machine of awesome, win every game and be promoted to Tier 3 at the end of the year, so we’ll strive for that! The tournament itself we think is a great opportunity for British roller derby, and we hope that having the Championships in place will shine more light onto the sport in terms of community involvement and funding. It’s also brill that teams will know where they stand in terms of league tables etc. Our ambitions as a league are to keep growing and eventually get to the point where we can have an A- and B-team, even a C-team eventually; have inter-team and intrateam games; and find a suitable venue to rent, to enable us to train as and when we like rather than having to fit around badminton and their shuttlecocks. For the time being, what is most important to us is enjoying ourselves, skating as much as we can get away with, and nurturing all the derby love we have in our team.

Your first Champs game is this Saturday against Eastbourne? Any particular Bombshells players/tactics you’ll be looking out for?
Our game against the Bombshells is going to be tough, but we can’t wait. We have not yet encountered the team or seen them play, but we know of the lovely Philosofear, as she quite often comes and takes pictures at games/tournaments we are playing in. She admitted to spying on us at our last home game v Rebellion, so touché my darlings! Let’s see what happens on Saturday.

Any particular Killa Hurtz players/tactics people should look out for in the game? Care to predict the result?
We can’t tell you all our secrets! We like the element of surprise. We wouldn’t like to predict a score or result, but we most certainly will guarantee some awesome roller derby.

Saturday’s other game sees hosts Full Metal Roller Derby’s Herts Breakers take on Suffolk. How do you expect that one to go?
We haven’t seen the Herts Breakers play but we know Suffolk very well. Players to watch out for include Suffolk Punch, who is a very versatile player and has no problems blocking or jamming, a real double threat. Malicious Wishes is another one to watch out for; a former banked track skater, her booty is a weapon! One of their new skaters, Driving Destructor is another to keep an eye on. They also have their coach back, who was away on tour when we last played them, which can only mean good things for them.

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HOUND – FULL METAL RD BENCH MANAGER

Hi there, for anyone who might not know of FMRD can you tell us a little about your league’s history and achievements to date?
FMRD formed around three years ago with a dream to promote roller derby in Hertfordshire. Our main objective was to create a co-ed league with a core ethos of co-gender roller derby. To date we have been building our ranks and branching out into the local community.

What are your ambitions for this inaugural British Champs season? What are you expecting of the other sides in the T4 South East division?
We aim to have as much fun as physically possible! FMRD can’t wait to stake our claim and get out there into the UK derby community. Our fellow T4 teams should give us a good run for our money and were expecting to both practice and expand our skills. By the end of the Championship we hope to be an infinitely stronger team ready for the next challenge.

Your first game is this Saturday at home to Suffolk Roller Derby. What do you know about them?
Truth be told we don’t know a great deal about SRD. They must be kickass awesome folk though. We’ve done a little research but have focussed more on our own tactics and hosting our first ever game.

Any particular Herts Breakers players people in the crowd should look out for? Care to predict the result?
We have a very mixed bag of players ranging from both graceful and bruiser jammers to brutal or sneaky blockers. This game will be a trial by fire for us but we hope to come out swinging. I couldn’t predict the result but we feel that playing the game is enough of a “result” for us. We are truly proud to be a part of Champs 2015.

Saturday’s other game sees Bourne Bombshells take on Killa Hurtz. How do you expect that one to go?
Again we haven’t spent much time researching our T4 comrades. This will be our girls’ very first game together, so we’ve invested in focusing on our girls. FMRD are looking forward to seeing what Blitzkrieg has been up to with the lovely Killa Hurtz

Finally, you’re hosting the action on Saturday. What can you tell us about your venue, the after party and Stevenage in general?
Our venue boasts tiered seating and an onsite café and licensed bar. We also have several local businesses selling their wares as well as derby owned vendors setting up shop. Our venue is located a stone’s throw from all of Stevenage’s transport links; access via train, bus and road is easy as pie.
Our after party is another story all together. We’ve secured one of our favourite watering holes the Tom Tiddlers Tavern (Or 3T if you’re down with the kids) We’ve landed a kickass band in “Fallowfields”. We may not win the game but we’ll damn sure win the after party! Our venue is moments from Stevenage Town centre which offers more shopping opportunities than you can shake a stick at. One of our lovely friends (Limited Edition Comics) will be open for all you Marvel/D.C. addicts out there. Why not pop over before the games and say hello?

SUFFOLK PUNCH – SUFFOLK ROLLER DERBY

Can you tell us a little about Suffolk’s history and achievements to date, and your ambitions going forward?
We started as a co-ed (men and women mixed) league in Bury St Edmunds in 2012, becoming Suffolk Roller Derby at the end of 2013. Our women’s team won their first game in June last year against the Killa Hurtz (their first game too!) at home. We then went on to play the Cambridge B-team Blockabillies in August with a narrow defeat in the last jam, and the return game against the Killa Hurtz in November, in which they took the win. We train completely co-ed; both our men’s and co-ed teams will hopefully have their first games this summer. We’ve been building our team over the winter, and we now train three nights a week in Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich. So we have some great new recruits coming up through fresh meat to join our more experienced skaters on the team this year.

What are your ambitions for this inaugural British Champs season?
We are very excited to be part of the British Championships. It’s the first tournament we’ve been involved in. Its great to have a season and scheduled games with potential progression to aim for, and has really motivated us to up our game. We know a fair amount about most of the teams in our division, and often scrim with the Killa Hurtz and Norfolk Brawds, so there’s bound to be some local rivalry in our division for fans to look forward to! I think it’s a very interesting mix of teams. The Norfolk Brawds are obviously the most experienced, but the Bombshells have been re-building their team and the Killa Hurtz are looking stronger all the time, beating Rebellion a few weeks ago. I think anything can happen, and there will be upsets!

Your first game is this Saturday away to Full Metal’s Herts Breakers. What do you know of the Stevenage side?
Full Metal is the team we know the least about, so we’re not really sure what to think going into our first game against them. We are just planning to focus, play our game and do the best we can. I know all the other teams in the division are also keen to see what they pull out of the bag on their public debut, and will be scrutinising and taking notes for future games. The one thing we have in common is that we are both fully co-ed, so we’re looking forward to flying the flag for co-ed with them.

Any particular Suffolk players or tactics people in the crowd should look out for? Care to predict the result of the match?
Well, we don’t want to give too much away. Anyone who has seen our team or any of our players skate can make up their own mind. We have been training hard and I can say both our jammers and blockers are strong and we are confident in our teamwork. Listen out for the American accents; we have strong links to the US Airforce bases in Suffolk, with several of our members either active duty or dependants.

Saturday’s other game sees Eastbourne take on Killa Hurtz. How do you expect that one to go?
The Killa Hurtz are like a sister team to us, so there is a lot of love there. They have some strong skaters – The Beckoning, Clark SMASH, Mother Mercy and Snarley Quinn, to name a few – and together they are formidable. We also think the Bombshells are awesome. Several of us skated in the mixed games at Eastbourne Extreme last year and had the best time, and we can’t wait to see their renewed team on track.

[Photos by John Hesse]