EDITED, DESIGNED AND WHATEVERED BY ADAM PETERS. PHOTOGRAPHS BY JOHN HESSE: FRONT COVER, PAGES 3 (SPEEDY), 8, 9 (TOP RIGHT), 10 & 14 // VINCIANE PIÉRART AKA NSP 189: PAGES 3 (SHAM, FINN), 4, 5, 6 (FINN) & BACK COVER // NADINE PONCIONI: PAGE 12 (COLLISION) // L3 PHOTO STUDIO: PAGE 13 // JULIE FAITH VIA CCL: PAGE 12 (BACKGROUND) // PETRA CREFFIELD: PAGE 6 (SHAM) // THANKS TO ALL OUR LOVELY INTERVIEWEES. PLEASE SUPPORT OUR AWESOME ADVERTISERS – THEY MAKE THIS MAG POSSIBLE!
We can’t remember a time when there have been more Rockers games between issues, certainly not in such a short time frame. There’s plenty to look back on and plenty to look forward to, with away trips to Portsmouth and Norwich on the horizon. This issue is dominated by what is probably the most in-depth and revealing interview we’ve ever carried. That starts right here on this page. *points right* Scratching your head at some things happening on track today? This is Brighton’s first game under a new incarnation of the roller derby rules. The Rockers’ Head Ref explains what’s changed on our centre pages. In total we have interviews with FOUR of those you voted for in our 2016 awards (Jammer, Icon, B-teamer, Official) in this magazine. At the back of the mag you’ll find previews of not just today’s games, but also the big clash in Havant later this month (hope to see you there)... GO ROCKERS!
It’s been a very mixed three months of big highs and lows for the Rockers since Issue 18. So here’s our longest interview ever...
Y A L P F O E T A ST
INN M F & C I L O AMB
RESULTS SINCE THE LAST ISSUE DECEMBER 3RD @ HAYWARDS HEATH Brighton A 195-159 Milan A Brighton B 186-182 Eastbourne B DECEMBER 10TH @ CORN EXCHANGE Team Blue 168-165 Team Black JANUARY 28TH & 29TH @ Caen 315-80 Amsterdam 354-66 Madrid 235-120
NORMANDY Brighton Brighton Brighton
“I MIGHT SOUND A BIT slurry when you listen back to the tape,” confesses Sham as she settles down for this interview, “as I’ve been drinking all afternoon.” It’s an early Sunday evening in the Greys on the slopes of Muesli Mountain (the Hanover area of Brighton). Cake Or Death and Farmergeddon are amongst a hungry group waiting across the road in the Geese. They can’t order their roasts until Sham and Finn join them, after recapping the last six games and previewing the next few for the ever demanding readers of Turn Left. Time to hit ‘record’...
about three games and every time they are better than the last. They really want to learn. They watch the A-team avidly and try to pick up on the things we do. As Sham says, they sometimes struggle with things in training, but then in a game they execute it really well without even thinking about it.
The AllStars last game here at the Dolphin was against Milan Harpies. What do you remember of it? Shambolic: I actually watched the video of that game back last night. I could see a few points where we were lacking. We did really well, but would have done even better if we could have kept the same momentum we had in the first half in the second. Finn McCruel: The Milan game was really good. We had a very strong start, everybody was really focused and things mostly went as we’d planned. Milan played the last few jams with only five players left after several foul outs. Strangely the five fared far better (matching you for points) than their starting squad of nine had! Yeah, they were great. Teams often seem to raise their game when they only have a handful of players left. Watching the game back
has given me loads of ideas for things we need to work on for the Vienna game, mainly to do with arms, holding and so on. That same day Brighton’s B-team took a narrow win over Eastbourne B. People say the Rockerbillies are one of the most exciting derby teams to watch these days as their games are all so close. I love watching them. Especially when there’s something I’ve taught them in training that never seems to work in training, yet when they get out there in a game somehow it does. I’m all “they did that thing, it worked and now they’re winning, wahey!” In some ways I’m more interested in the progression of the Bteam than what us AllStars are up to at present. They’re coming up hard and they seem to want it a lot more. It’s all happened in such a short time. They’ve only played
The following week saw a super close intraleague in the Corn Exchange. Playing in Brighton was a dream come true for all of us. It was a very different experience in all sorts of ways. The floor was so slippery for a start. I don’t know how it was as a spectator, but for me it was the best thing the league has ever done. The announcer asked who had seen roller derby before and it was 50/50, so it was good to be reaching so many new people. Because it was in central Brighton a lot of people went on the off chance. Folks were picking up flyers in Punktured, saying “oh that looks interesting, let’s take the kids”. It doesn’t take the whole day like going to an event at the Dolphin seems to. People can just give up two hours and then they’re in the middle of town and can go and do their shopping or whatever. That’s the kind of location we need to get those 300-400 sell out crowds like we did that day. Tenacious P and Bobarolla really shone as announcers at the Corn Exchange; explaining the rules, getting the crowd doing Mexican Waves, and so on. Watching the videos back – of games they’ve announced at the Dolphin too – I’m seeing how good they are at bringing the crowd into the game. We don’t really notice things like that on the day as we’re too busy playing, but they play such an important part. Moving on to 2017, in January you returned to Caen in France for the annual Slip It tournament. Any thoughts? <NERVOUS GIGGLES> <NERVOUS GIGGLES>
You’re just pulling faces now. The microphone can’t pick up facial expressions. I didn’t think it was the best idea to take part in Slip It again, because of the gap over Christmas and the fact that people have a lot of other things going on in their lives. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to get a well drilled team together by the end of January, but everyone voted to do it... and... yeah. It was hard. If we do this game by game, we played the hosts Caen first. They were a super nice team to play against. They used a tactic that we usually use – offence from the front – and it worked so effectively against us. One of their jammers (Dédé Froquée) just destroyed us, finding any gap. We could hold some of their other jammers, but it meant we couldn’t really play any sort of offence. That pretty much continued for the whole weekend. We didn’t have our strongest team out there. We only had twelve rather than a tournament squad of twenty, and some of those were from the B-team. It was a really nice group, but we were missing people like Cake Or Death, Dr Whooligan and Racey. I think that made a big difference. We were also the lowest ranked of the six teams taking part. Everyone we played was about 50 places above us in the rankings, so it was bound to be tough. Your second Slip It game (versus Amsterdam) was the Rockers’ biggest loss ever. I spent much of that game lying down wrapped in silver foil after taking a knock to the head. I knew I was OK but just needed to be somewhere quiet with no light, so they wrapped me in a space blanket and hid me behind the stands! They had such solid, physical walls and we didn’t have the mix of jammers out there that we usually have. It was a situation where we needed wrecking ball jammers who could power their way through, but we were largely reliant on
2016 BRATS AWARDS If you haven’t already seen the results online, here’s who our lovely readers voted for in the 2016 awards (plus two bonus categories)...
PLAYER: GIN ATOMIC JAMMER: SHAMBOLIC BLOCKER: HAIRY FAIRY B-TEAMER: CRUELTY SPREE ROOKIE: FARMERGEDDON ICON: FINN McCRUEL OFFICIAL: LASERHAMMER OTHER: TENACIOUS P MOST VOTED FOR: KAPOW! FRIEND OF BRATS: MISTRESS
small, nibble, juking jammers who found it tough against the Amsterdam walls. There were some big, brutal hits coming our way. After Sham got hurt we called a time out and I said to the team: “Let’s all just keep it safe so everybody can play tomorrow.” Part of the reason the score gap is so big is that we began to hold back a bit. We’d already played a really tough game a couple of hours earlier, we were now down to eleven players, and we had another game the next morning... So yeah, I took that decision. Sunday’s playoff game was against Madrid Roller Derby... From the pre-tournament seeding I knew we’d be playing Madrid. Rankings-wise it was our best hope of a result, so that was the one I really wanted to win. We started strongly and the scores were pretty level, then... I don’t know what happened as I don’t have the footage, but I feel we started to crumble and our walls started opening up in the middle. The Spanish jammers picked up on that, stopped trying to go round our walls and started going through them. Little by little that eats away at everyone.
INTERVIEW CONTINUES OVERLEAF
The attitude from the bench in every game was great. Mistress was fantastic, giving us actual coaching, which is not always something you get from bench crews. Overall, I think everybody had a good time. It was a weekend away in France and a chance for team bonding, but I think we were so disheartened by the results that it’s difficult to look beyond that.
IN THIS BRAND NEW COLUMN WE’LL BE CHATTING WITH FOLKS WHO KNEW ROCKERS STARS BEFORE THEY TOOK UP DERBY. HERE’S SHAM’S FORMER LANDLADY PETRA CREFFIELD... “I first met Sham when she and her partner moved into our shared house in Kemptown in 2008 and we hit it off right away. I always admired her strength and determination as well as her downright ballsy attitude to anything that life threw at her. I should warn people that she’s a killer poker player who often bankrupted me as well as drinking me under the table! I remember her getting her first pair of skates about a year after she moved in and then seeing her out skating around the city with a local roller skating club. She was a natural from the start. When I heard she was going to join a local roller derby team called the Brighton Rockers I knew she would be a star player. Her fearlessness and willingness to fight to the end were always going to make her a formidable force to be reckoned with, which indeed she has become!”
What are you expecting from today’s AllStars game against Vienna Roller Derby? I think we’re going into it with almost a full size squad. We do have a full fourteen for it. No way! That never happens. So we’re going in with a full roster and in theory, if we can do our magic, we can get all of our ranking back. We dropped about 25 places in the European table because of results in Caen, but a good win over Vienna will put us back up there. We need a win. I would not be happy if we lost again. We need a win or we’re going to start losing players, frankly. Today is the first time the Rockers will play A-team and B-team games against the same opponents. Are there advantages to that? It’s certainly a lot easier to organise. My only concern is that we fast tracked a lot of skaters to the A-team when we had a shortage of players; some of those are still primarily B-team skaters, but play a little with the As. I worry that Vienna might say “wait a minute, five of the players in your B-team just played for the A-team!” I think it’s quite normal to have up to six crossover players. Vienna have two themselves. I don’t see it being a problem, especially as we’re putting out a full fourteen for the B-team game too, so only around one in three are crossovers. Also, the Vienna B-team are ranked about sixty places higher than ours! Flattrackstats gives Vienna the advantage in both games, but by a very small margin. Is that what you’re expecting? No, I expect us to win. I want the A-team to win by a hundred points and get us our ranking back. We’ve now dropped so low in the placings that a win or two will slingshot us straight back up there. Yeah, we’re going to win. Three weeks later (March 25th) there’s another A/B
double header, this time away to Portsmouth. We’re previewing that elsewhere in the issue, so what does the rest of 2017 hold for the Rockers? Getting our old ranking back so we can start booking in more games is my goal. We’ve been talking to a couple of teams in Europe that were similarly ranked to us, but now that we’ve dropped so much they’re no longer as keen to play us. Teams that we’ve beaten before at A-team level have now started getting in touch to ask if our As want to play their B-team. That’s a bit of a kick in the teeth. We’ve got an away game in Norwich against the Norfolk Brawds coming up, but in terms of our next home game... We’re talking to a few teams in the South East, but nothing’s confirmed. I think we need to regroup, see how the next two games go, then see where we stand. The rankings are so important because they affect which teams are willing to play you. Let’s go and get some wins!
The rules of roller derby changed in more than 30 ways two weeks ago. We asked an expert to explain all the changes to us. But unfortunately Igor wasn’t available.
S S A L C G N I L U R EAD H S R E K C O ER (R
WE ARRIVE AT THE GREAT Eastern to find Laser sat at a table with half a dozen thick leather-bound books in front of him. These, he insists, are the new WFTDA rules documents. As we watch he works his way through a scenario in the casebook several times – aided by draughts, chess pieces and a pint of chilli porter – until he feels confident he understands at least 50% of its meaning... This is the first big overhaul of the rules in quite a while, right? Yeah, the last one was March 2014. There were a few routine revisions (as WFTDA called them) in 2015 and nothing much at all in 2016, so the last real overhaul was three years ago. One of the biggest changes then was reducing the length of penalty box visits from 60 to 30 seconds. The most widescale set of changes was the previous year. The January 2013 ruleset got rid of
minor penalties [four of which added up to a visit to penalty box] and the staggered jam starts [blockers used to start before jammers]. I saw several NSOs driven insane whilst trying to keep track of minors, so that change was probably well overdue. These were big alterations, but everyone got to grips with them pretty quickly. Are there any changes on that sort of scale this time? Most of the actual rule changes this year are fairly minor. The big difference this time is the structure of the rules. They’ve changed it from one overall rulebook to a set of different documents. Most notably there’s now a casebook which gives examples of situations, followed by what decision is made in that case and the rationale behind that decision. It’s to get rid of rules lawyering [teams using the letter rather than the spirit of the rules to gain advantage]. Personally, I’m not quite sure
how introducing a lawyer style casebook is going to get rid of lawyering, but it’s an interesting idea and I can’t wait to see how it works out. Er, so how many different documents are there now? Well, there’s the rules, which aren’t the rules but the outline of the rules. Then there’s the casebook, which has got the examples that imply what the actual rules are. Then there’s the officiating standards document and also the verbal cues document, which isn’t available yet [this interview is taking place mid February] and may or may not be by the time of today’s games. Hopefully the 2017 verbal cues document will be available at least in time for the 2017 World Cup, which is taking place in 2018. What rule changes are going to be most noticeable to spectators today? From a gameplay perspective, it’s going to look pretty much exactly the same. There are going to be a lot less track cut penalties called, which might be surprising to the crowd. If somebody is about to get a cutting call issued to them, they can avoid that by leaving the track immediately. So there are going to be times when spectators are surprised that somebody doesn’t get a penalty. I’m expecting lots of “oooh”s, “huh?”s and “what?”s from the crowd, but then that’s pretty common when I’m refereeing anyway. Skaters are going to be allowed to enter the penalty box from either direction now. That could get messy! It simplifies things a lot. Previously, a number of people – the penalised skater, the referees and the NSOs in the penalty area – all needed to be aware of where a penalty was issued, so that meant a lot of information being exchanged between them to keep things consistent. On top of that, of course, if a penalty is called just past the line, that skater then had to skate
all the way round (meaning a lot more time off track) before taking a seat, which isn’t particularly fair. I think the logic behind the previous rule was a worry about off-track collisions between skaters entering and exiting the penalty box, but the change has been beta-tested and worked OK, so hopefully we shouldn’t see that. I suppose having a full width ref lane lessens a lot of the potential issues, whereas a venue with a narrow nonregulation one (like at the Corn Exchange event) could get chaotic. That was chaotic enough as it was! The change could make things interesting for the OPRs [Outside Pack Refs] with skaters passing them at speed in both directions, but being aware of where all the skaters are is obviously a key element of refereeing anyway. My plan is to try and get the biggest, muscliest OPRs possible, so the skaters just safely bounce off them. Any other changes that we should look out for? Forgetting to field a jammer now results in a delay of game penalty, rather than just two minutes of everybody in the hall trying not to laugh. Tripping someone during a regular skating motion is now going to be called as a low block. You’re not allowed to stand over downed opponents to stop them getting up any more, which is a very sensible change. There’s
a tweak to the destruction of pack rules, but I’ve been doing it that way anyway – there were two possible interpretations of the previous rule and WFTDA may have settled a long running argument (in my favour) there! There are a couple of dozen other changes, but mostly quite minor. As I said earlier, the big change people will notice is re track cuts. I can see there being some arguments over that – how do you define the word ‘immediately’, for starters? Presumably there will be a few months where the new ruleset gets tweaked depending of how things work out? Yeah, WFTDA issue clarifications. Often it’s when skaters come up with some way to gain an advantage by exploiting a loophole. That’s what the introduction of the casebook is supposed to prevent, but we’ll see if in practice the new structure reduces (or actually increases) those grey areas. As referees chatting with each other, we’ll sometimes see something in a ruleset and think “hey, technically can’t they get round that by doing this...” In those cases we invoke the code of the zebra and agree not to mention it to any players. It wouldn’t surprise me if some of the loopholes that teams have exploited over the years were as a result of tip-offs from referees, though. Woe betide any ref I find doing something like that! So yeah, it takes a while for a consensus to develop over aspects that aren’t explicitly addressed in the rules. Lots of clarifications that WFTDA issue are things that most refereeing teams will have been doing anyway, but it just needs to be stated officially. Your overall take on the new rules then? The changes to the rules themselves make a lot of sense, by and large. The change to the structure of the rules, on the other hand... Well, we shall see.
I THOUGHT THE LAW LASER TALKS US THROUGH SOME OF THE LESSER KNOWN (ER, MADE UP) 2017 RULES CHANGES...
CONDUCT AT AFTER PARTY
“Offences committed at the after party are now going to be taken into account when calculating the final score of a game. Everything from bad singing to falling in a hedge will be duly assessed, with the scores gained on track adjusted by up to 40% (plus or minus) as a result. Please note any whiskies bought for the referee crew may been taken into account re after party assessment.”
BREXIT IMPACT ASSESSED
“Players must usually leave the play area upon fouling out of a game. In the case of UK teams playing in the EU (and vice versa) any visiting player who fouls out must immediately leave not only the venue but the country. An aircraft is to be kept on standby in the venue car park for any such deportations. This rule has been introduced by Theresa May and Angela Merkel (after talks) rather than WFTDA.”
“Similarly, protectionist policies in the USA mean the London Rollergirls must play all future away WFTDA games in Canada. Or Mexico.”
IF IN DOUBT... ASK IGOR
“All UK referees are to be issued with headsets they can use to contact Igor Maniac (wherever he is and whatever he’s doing) should they require any rules clarifications during games.”
ey om a k rds fr o s w ’ n e o m So ght of Bri am! e t member B ng exciti super
s B R E L L I K E H T CRUELTY
ERBILL K C O R ( E E SPR
Firstly, congratulations on being voted B-teamer of the year by our readers. Were you expecting it? Thank you. I was absolutely not expecting it at all! It was a complete (and lovely) surprise. The Rockerbillies are getting quite a reputation for close games. What do you recall of those narrow home wins over Basinghampton and Eastbourne B at the end of last year? It’s interesting, because in a way those really close games were actually part of us forming as a team. We didn’t know if we were going to be any good, and we didn’t know how we would perform together as we are a relatively new team. We really went in with an attitude of wanting to gain experience and learn. It helped to build our confidence and trust of one another that we are able to put forward a competitive side. It’s also massively exciting to play in nail-biter games. It’s a real test of keeping calm when everything around you is going crazy. Such a good atmosphere. Do you prefer to play in a really close game or one you win by loads? I prefer a really close bout. I’ve been in games where I’ve had my bum whooped, and also bouts where we did some bum whooping. I’m really competitive, so I’m in it to win it and that’s a great feeling. But I’ve learnt so much more from an evenly matched contest. It really tests my skills and pushes me.
Do the Rockerbillies know much about the Vienna Bteam you’re playing today? Want to predict the result/ score? Vienna Beasts are a side we don’t know at all. In terms of tactics we tend to mould and adapt on the day. Our coaches have been really helping us to have more than one plan at the start of a jam. We want to move
quickly to something else when things are not working. Equally we know that we need to mix things up, even when they are working well, as otherwise we’ll quickly become predicable to our opponents. Obviously I think we will take the win home – we’ve been training really hard! I would like to see another close call though. How about: Rockerbillies 134 – Vienna 130. Is it better playing against a team you know really well or against total strangers? Both have their advantages. With a team you know well you can prepare more specifically as you know what to expect (usually) which can make for a really hard-hitting game. You can also watch as other players progress and team dynamics change. The advantage of playing a team you don’t know is being totally tested. Everything is unknown and it’s really exciting! Each team has their own unique way of doing things, so you can see derby played in a new way. Any Rockerbillies jammers the crowd should look out for today...? Ooh, keep your eye out for Fellen E Assault. ...and how about blockers? Lauren SmackAll is solid! Final question. What are the Rockerbillies’ hopes and plans for the rest of 2017 and beyond? We want to play as much as possible and we’re hoping to play more internationally. We really want to develop as a team. The last intake of rookies was incredible and they have contributed no end to the Rockerbillies’ success. We want to continue building upon that success. We hope that all the hard work we are putting in shows off on bout days and helps to grab the attention of interesting leagues for future games. Watch this space... because the Rockerbillies are determined to build a reputation for ourselves!
RANKINGS AND PREDICTIONS FROM FLATTRACKSTATS.COM
IGHTON) R B ( E T A K PY S HIPPY HIP COLLISION (VIENNA) IE vs DR CALL What’s the biggest thing you Which TV series would you most like to bring back? Hippy Hippy Skate (Brighton): Clearly the only answer I can give is Firefly, and I think most readers don’t need an explanation for that! Dr Callie Collision (Vienna): For me it’s Roseanne – today I love the dry, super sarcastic humour (which I didn’t understand as a kid) and I always loved Darlene. Would you rather be hunted by an alligator-sized squirrel or a squirrel-sized alligator? The former’s oddly appealing (perhaps I could bribe it with peanuts to became my noble squirrel steed) but the latter’s the safer option. Even if it bit me, I could likely pick it up to put it in a terrarium. The big question here is whether the squirrel-sized alligator can climb? If it can’t then I prefer that option. If the mini alligator can climb I’d prefer the huge squirrel as maybe I could hide somewhere it can’t fit into. Have you ever fouled out of a game? I fouled out of a practise scrim once! Because we had rookies there we were trying to make it realistic. They did the whole thing – talking-to from the ref, skates off, walk of shame, etc – while the bench coaches explained what was happening and used me as the bad example. I’ve only fouled out once in a game, which was this year in the last ten seconds of a game in Caen. Yes, a few times, some years ago... oops!
can jump over on skates? I know I can jump over a couple of people. Lying down, that is – I think even Mighty Mouse is a little tall for me to jump over standing (though maybe Gin Atomic could have done it). Just in case anyone asks me to prove myself, I’m going to go conservative and say I’d be happy to jump over a large laundry basket. The width of those typical school gym mats. Which teammate has the strangest pre-game ritual? Not sure I have spotted any... Wait, the whole team goes to away games in themed costumes, does that count? I really don’t remember who it was, but that skater needs to eat a soft-boiled egg (or two) for breakfast on bout day. How many laps of a derby track can you do in five minutes? I think my best is 31. It was 30 last time I did it. Which building would you most like to play derby in? The Large Hadron Collider. Admittedly it would be an exhausting match, but the blockers from both teams could hang out and get to know each other while the jammers made their way around for the next pass. Does it have to be indoors? I’d love to play by the sea on a beach or in a Roman-style open air amphitheatre. Or both, eg the Minack Theatre near Penzance that also looks out onto the sea. A track would definitely not fit in there, though :)
BRIGHTON A: 115TH (536.2pts) VIENNA A: 85TH (565.5pts) VIENNA A 66% CHANCE OF WINNING PREDICTED DIFFERENTIAL OF 46:37 SUGGESTS CIRCA 184-148 AWAY WIN
BRIGHTON B: 316TH (449.5pts) VIENNA B: 261ST (469.2pts) VIENNA B 59% CHANCE OF WINNING PREDICTED DIFFERENTIAL OF 35:31 SUGGESTS CIRCA 175-155 AWAY WIN THESE STATS ARE CORRECT AS OF 22/02/17
1. Vienna is the only city in the Northern Hemisphere where water goes down the plughole clockwise. 2. Leonard Cohen wrote ‘Take This Waltz’ whilst watching VRD’s Fearleaders troupe. [Note to pedants: Garcia Lorca was sat next to him.] 3. Just 1.3% of people who live in Vienna can lick the end of their own nose. Only Vancouver, East Timor and Burgess Hill rate worse. 4. In 1986 over half of the pinball machines in Vienna were owned by Falco. 5. There’s a special desk at Vienna Airport for confused American surfers.
S TODAY’ TS N E N OPPO
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Hi there. Can you tell us a little about the history and achievements of Vienna Roller Derby? We started in 2011 as Vienna Rollergirls and played our first bout in 2012. Since then many things have changed. We’re now called Vienna Roller Derby, which emphasizes the sport rather than our gender. We generally see ourselves as skaters as opposed to ‘rollergirls’. One big achievement is re-starting and maintaining our B-Team, which is now called Vienna Beasts. As you will see they are a tough group of very ambitioned skaters who are going to take our league to another level. What’s the roller derby scene like in and around Austria? Do you mostly play against local teams or teams from further away in Europe and elsewhere? 2015-16 was a big year for roller derby in Austria. Vienna used to be the only league around, but networking and mutual support led to the rise of three more teams in Graz, Linz and Innsbruck. In 2017 the first ever national championships will be held in Austria, which we’re all very excited for. The teams we
usually play are from all over Europe. We travel to one or two tournaments per year and put a lot of effort into inviting teams to play us in Vienna. This is the first time Brighton have played A-team and B-team games against the same league on the same day. Is this something that Vienna have done much before? What difference does it make having both VRD teams at the same event? We’re never done this before, so today is a very exciting first for us as well. We’ve also never travelled with both our A- and B-teams, which does of course require a lot of logistic effort, but what better start to a season can one imagine than playing roller derby at the seaside, with almost all of your mates by your side? Watch out, I’m getting all teary-eyed now. Is this your first game under the new rules? Do you think the changes WFTDA have made will make a big difference? Yes, it’s our first game under the new rules and in my opinion some of the changes make a lot of sense. The new cutting rule, for example – as
long as you yield you don’t get a penalty. This will definitely provide better game flow, just like the new penalty box rule. I think it’s a lot more fair being able to go to the box from any direction, just like the way you’re allowed to exit it as long as you enter behind the pack. Would you like to predict the result of today’s games? What are you hoping for? For the sake of harmony I would hope that both leagues win one game each. But as bench coach I really hope that VRD wins both games! I leave the predicting to Flattrackstats [see box opposite] and whatever they say is not written in stone either. It’s roller derby, anything can happen :) Finally, do you have a message for any Vienna RD fans in the crowd today? Definitely! The cheer for our A-Team is “Vienna, Vienna! Gemma, gemma, gemma!” (‘Gemma’ is Austrian slang for ‘Let’s go!’) For our B-Team it’s “Vienna Beasts! Vienna Beasts! Vienna Beasts!” We’d definitely appreciate support from the crowd, which is always hard to get at away games!
A-TEAM OPEN DOOR GAMES
MA T @ HAVAN
25TH OCTOBER 2014 @ HAVANT PORTSMOUTH WENCHES: 159 BRIGHTON ROCKERS: 221
The Rockers are back in action in three weeks for an epic ‘best of three’ A-team decider and a first B-team clash.
IF YOU HAVE NEVER SEEN the Rockers away from home, get to Havant Leisure Centre for 3pm on the 25th. It’s the second closest derby venue to Brighton (after the Dolphin) at around an hour’s travel by car or rail. Point your Sat Nav at PO9 2AY or catch a train (no changes or engineering works!) from Brighton for £9 return with a railcard. With event tickets priced just £6 via http://www.brownpapertickets. com/event/2858244 the overall cost works out at around the same as a home game! We haven’t included full Flattrackstats predictions here as rankings are likely to change before the event takes place. However, the UKRDA rankings suggest a narrow Portsmouth win (around a dozen points) in the A-team game, whilst the Euro rankings suggest a more solid victory for their B-team. Brighton can take heart from the fact both previous A-team contests resulted in wins for the away side, and that a squad of seven Rockers AllStars beat their PRW counterparts in a Derby Sevens tournament the Wenches hosted in November.
11TH JULY 2015 @ HWDS HEATH BRIGHTON ROCKERS: 150 PORTSMOUTH WENCHES: 215
“We beat Brighton in British Champs in 2015 against the odds. Things have changed a lot for both teams, so we don’t know what to expect. It’s exciting as some will be playing their first A-team open door.” NINA NUNCHUCKS, PRW “I know PRW have lost a couple of top players (RIP McMurphy has moved to the States and Duchess is out injured) but we’re going into the game as if they still have those players. I expect a tough, close match.” SHAMBOLIC, BRRD “This will be my first full-length open bout with PRW. I’m excited and a little anxious at times. I’m not sure what to expect playing against Brighton, but I know I will always be proud to be part of an amazing team.” COSMIC GINGE, PRW “I’m expecting both games to be very close. Their B-team are much higher ranked than ours, but we have more crossovers now. We hope as many Brighton fans as possible make the short trip across to support us.” FINN McCRUEL, BRRD
OVERALL POINTS TO DATE PORTSMOUTH WENCHES: 374 BRIGHTON ROCKERS: 371
1. Portsmouth is nicknamed Pompeii because it spent around 1,500 years buried under volcanic ash. 2. Leonard Cohen wrote ‘Closing Time’ after being drunkenly turfed out of Southsea’s Wave Maiden bar. 3. The mast on top of the Spinnaker Tower is used to transmit Piers Morgan’s Twitter feed into space. In the hope that any watching aliens will leave us alone. 4. HMS Victory was initially called HMS Honourable Draw, before Admiral Nelson asked them to change the name. 5. The drink Port didn’t originate in Portsmouth. It actually comes from Gosport.