Eastbourne Roller Derby’s awesome Bourne Bombshells are in action today/tomorrow… Saturday 2nd December. They’re away to the Apex Predators of Southern CoEd Roller Derby. The game takes place at the Medway Park sports complex in Gillingham, Kent at 1pm (doors open 12.30) with tickets £15 on the door. Point your SatNav at ME7 1HF or stroll ten minutes from Gillingham (Kent not Dorset) station. There’s a mixed teams co-ed game and a cheerleading display too! Flattrackstats gives Eastbourne (228th in Europe on 479.4 points) 52% chance of beating Apex (256th on 469.6). Expected differential of 44:43 means something like a 220-215 away win. But what do the teams expect? We asked some of them…
VARIOUS FOLK – APEX PREDATORS
For anyone who doesn’t know about SCERD/Predators, could you give us a brief summary of your history?
Heisenbird: SCERD started out life in May 2013 under the name of Rochester Royal Rollers Recreational Roller Derby. That’s right, RRRRRD – no problem to pronounce if you’re Spanish. Initially formed purely due to the lack of recreational teams in Kent, eventually many members expressed a desire to be more competitive… And so in 2015 the umbrella league of Southern CoEd Roller Derby was conceived. Apex Predators & Weald Warriors provided “women’s” and “men’s” teams (both teams are open to non-binary skaters) to offer competitive opportunities for those who wanted them. RRR remained until this year when the league felt that there was no need to have a separate rec team. Skaters can train as training partners even if they do not wish to compete. 2017 also saw the inception of the first junior team in Kent – the Artful Dodgers – who are open to 6-17 year old skaters.
We believe some of your players are ex-Eastbourne folk. Who and what should ERD fans look out for from Apex Predators?
The PhilosoFear: Both myself and Swann are ex-Eastbourne players. I transferred to the league in June, after taking a break from roller derby to complete my degree. But I’ve been hanging around SCERD for a few years, as previously I was the Apex Predators bench coach. The Predators and Bourne Bombshells are quite different teams. The Bombshells have some more experienced players than we do (quite a few of Apex are newer skaters) and so they have the advantage of superior skating skills. The only way we can try to counter that is for Apex Predators to have strong default strategies. We have a particular style of play that we’ve been working on. In terms of who to look out for: Sk’Aly Wag’s jamming has come on in leaps and bounds over the past few months. She’s the kind of jammer that I like to call ‘slippery’ as it’s very hard to shut her down. Knit One Hurl One is always one to watch – our little Shetland pony is small but very sturdy. She’ll be jamming and blocking, and is equally strong at both.
Any particular Eastbourne players or tactics that the Predators will be looking out for?
The PhilosoFear: My old blocking buddy Smash’er Fierce is always one to watch. I always loved playing with her and we worked well together, so playing against her will be tough! She’s sure to send a few jammers flying. Bullet Bomber is an all-round excellent player and tough to get past, whilst Hell Block H’s tornado blocking will be difficult for jammers to deal with. But we have the advantage of knowing how the Bombshells play, so we can adjust to work against that – although I haven’t been with Eastbourne for nearly a year now, so I’m sure they’ll have a few surprises for us!
Flattrackstats calls Predators v Bombshells as super close. Maybe a 220-215 away win. What do you expect?
The PhilosoFear: Flattrackstats’ predictions are skewed to favour the home team, which edges the prediction towards an almost even split with the Bombshells given a 52% chance of winning. However, we don’t actually train in our home venue. In fact, we’ve only skated there on one more occasion than the Bombshells have! So averaging out the home and away predictions (Bombshells are given a 63% chance of winning at home) for a neutral venue suggests Eastbourne have a 57.5% chance of winning. Therefore, I think we’d expect the Bombshells to win… but for it to be very close. We won’t go down without a fight, so it’s anyone’s game!
The day’s other action sees a cheerleading display and a mixed game. Any highlights to look out from those?
The PhilosoFear: The MCDA Allstars cheerleaders have been a great support to us, by putting on pre-game and half-time shows at all of our home games. Expect to see some daring moves and people flying through the air! The mixed game is Team Tumbleweed v Gents in Pink. Tumbleweed have some Predators playing, along with some of SCERD’s Weald Warriors, Eastbourne’s Bomb S’Quad and some other friends. Ex-Weald Warrior (now with Wirral Pack Animals) Chandler Bang will be playing under his Tumbleweed name Brusst and he’s one to watch. He always jammed for Weald Warriors, but since moving to the Pack Animals he’s been a blocker and his blocking skills are crazy good! Weald Warriors captain Crush of Blood (Tumbleweed name: Maintenance) is another one to watch – he’s a strong double threat. I don’t know much about Gents in Pink, but I know they have a few from Surrey Roller Derby playing for them. Two of my Surrey favourites, Crazy Cat Lady and Hunter Stompson are playing, so they’ll be ones to watch there.
What can you tell us about your venue and the after party?
The PhilosoFear: Our venue is Medway Park. It has plenty of parking, a café upstairs and we’re lucky to have bleacher seating. It’s an easy walk 10 minute from Gillingham station. As for stalls, we have the wonderful Mockbeggar Farm Shop coming to feed us with their hot Caribbean food. I recommend the vegan curry, it’s excellent! There’ll also be merch stalls. On the Predators stall you can buy some fantastic new stuff, including APs bobble hats, temporary tattoos, greetings cards, shark Christmas decorations (with 50p from every decoration sale going to The Shark Trust) and you can paint your own shark money box. Of course there will also be an epic cake stall. Medway Food Bank will have a collection point at the game – so please bring any food you wish to donate. Check out https://medway.foodbank.org.uk/give-help/donate-food/ to see what items they are desperately in need of and what they have enough of.
Puschifer: The after party is at The Cargo Bar, which is a 2 minute drive from Medway Park or a 15 minute walk. It’s from 5pm-7.30pm (with food available until 7pm) because at 7.30 SCERD are having a sit-down Christmas meal. This is followed by the SCERD Xmas Disco.
What is the Apex Predators’ Christmas Wish?
HeisenBird: Peaceful nations and clean oceans. And a Sport England grant.
Sew Solid Sue: To have our own venue.
Crushin’ Doll: That more women and girls get involved in sport next year, peace on earth and goodwill to all genders.
You’ll be facing some ex-Eastbourne skaters this weekend?
Yes, there are a couple of players – Swann and The PhilosoFear – who are ex-ERD on the Apex roster. We always look forward to skating with them, regardless of whether we are on the same or opposing side. We have skated with a few other Apex Predators as part of Eastbourne Extreme and midweek scrims.
Who and what are the Bombshells looking out for in terms of players/tactics from Apex?
Obviously we are going to be wary about ex-ERD players as they will know some of our tactics and strategies, along with having a lot of track experience. Other players like Puschifer and Knit One are double threats who are really strong whether blocking or jamming. And of course, Ballistic Whistle [former England and London bench coach] brings a wealth of derby/benching experience. Whilst he’s not on track as such, his presence can sometimes unnerve players!
Any particular Eastbourne players or tactics that fans should be looking out for in this game?
Without giving too much away, let’s just say we’ve been inspired by the recent Champs games and may well be trying some new wall formations. In terms of players, we have a mix of newer and more seasoned players, so it will be good to see how they all work together. Watch out for Hell Block H, Smash’er Fierce and Bullet providing the usual wall of death, along with the likes of Crash and Calemity as double threats.
How different is an away game to a home match?
An away game psychologically puts players on the back foot, especially if the home team pulls in a good crowd. In addition, adjusting to a different floor can take a couple of jams for players to find their feet – or should I say skates! That said, it keeps us on our toes and helps players keep their wits about them.
Flattrackstats call this as a super narrow (three or four point) Eastbourne win. What are you expecting?
It’s hard to predict a score as a lot of factors will come into play on the day. But if FTS are predicting a close game, that means lots of excitement and lead changes. We are going in with an open mind, although we expect it will be a tough game. We just want to have some derby fun.
The day’s other action sees a cheerleading display and a mixed game…
The Gents In Pink v Team Tumbleweed game should be fun. A cheerleading display sounds great – that will be the highlight for me. Are they doing it on skates?
What is Eastbourne Roller Derby’s Christmas Wish?
Apart from world peace? Lots of cake, plus that ERD continues to grow as a team, and we get lots and lots of new players!
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