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 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.

EER5

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.

EER6

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.

EER7

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.

EER8

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.

EER9

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).

EER10

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

EEP1

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

EEP2

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!

EEP3

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/