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This is a jam-packed (no pun intended, well maybe...) Turn Left. We don’t think we could have crammed another word in. The reason for this explosion of text is the recent World Cup, which pretty much everyone associated with the Rockers set sail to Manchester for. You’ll find interviews and photos from the tournament scattered throughout the issue, along with full previews of both of today’s games and more. This is the first issue of Turn Left that doesn’t feature an actual Brighton Rocker on the cover. A controversial move perhaps, but we think it’s fitting since Bobarolla (a regular on the mic at Brighton games) was also one of the official World Cup announcers. Ten days ago the Rockers celebrated their eighth birthday. They head into their ninth year as recently qualified full WFTDA members, chasing a first WFTDA ranking, knocking on the door of the European Top 50, and schooling another huge Fresh Meat intake.... GO ROCKERS!

This edition of Turn Left comes to you from the bright lights of the Roller Derby World Cup in Manchester. Step one: prise the Rockers Fresh Meat coaches away from selfies with the Team USA bench for a chat about today’s home games...



RESULTS SINCE THE LAST ISSUE NOVEMBER 18TH @ CAMBRIDGE Cambridge A 145-162 Brighton A NOVEMBER 25TH @ HAYWARDS HEATH Brighton A 198-116 Norfolk A Brighton B 211-191 Dorset B

THE UK HAS NEVER SEEN anything like this. 38 teams (more if you include the exhibition matches) from around the globe playing just shy of 100 games over four days. Up to four games taking place at the same time in a building the size of a giant aircraft hangar. Audience uproar from one track or other sends fans scurrying across the hall every few minutes. It’s a cauldron of noise and spectacle, and virtually the entire Brighton Rockers league are here to watch it. We find a semi-quiet spot near the door to start our interviews...

What do you reckon to this World Cup malarkey then? Kapow: It’s awesome! We’re starstruck with all the great players wandering around. Most of the Brighton Rockers have come up here to watch it. I think only a couple of the A-team aren’t here, and we also have most of the B-team, including folk making their debuts this month. Hairy Fairy: I think there are only three Brighton players who aren’t up here. It’s much easier to count the people who aren’t here, rather than those who are! Although no Rockers skaters are taking part, there must be a lot of people out on track who you’ve played against? Absolutely. For instance, we just watched USA v Wales, and the first Welsh jammer to get any points on the board against USA was Boris from Bedford’s Rebellion, who we played in a closed door less than a week ago. Then there are people like Gaz from Team England, who we played against back when she was on the London Rollergirls C-team. Also, since players move between leagues, there are other links too. Ex-Rocker Speedy Gonzalex is now with Copenhagen and half of the Denmark squad are her teammates, so we’ve been cheering them on with her. It feels like there’s lots of connections to the skaters on track. We’ve just been watching Denmark v New Zealand. The Rockers founding head coach The Mighty Mighty Bash lives back in NZ now; she was in Brighton over Christmas though, and told us which of their skaters we should look out for. So many World Cup players are friends of friends in that respect. How does it benefit English leagues that the RDWC is here? We can get here to watch without spending a fortune, for starters! I think it’s great that so many people from English leagues are here and getting a chance to watch high-end der-


...SAY KAPOW & HAIRY FAIRY “Four Rockerbillies debuts are expected against Dragons. Cold Crush has just joined us from Copenhagen Roller Derby (who we lost Speedy Gonzalex to) and we’ve been really impressed with her jamming. Go Go Gozer, Goldiblocks and Miley Virus are great at blocking in a wall. They have quick and nimble footwork and never give up. They’ve all been out at the World Cup with us, so they are raring to go, full of inspiration from the best players in the world and ready to put their hard work into practice. We should also have four playing their second B-team open door. Mills & BOOM and Alien Queen have such good derby brains; they can see where they need to be on track and when. Eiffel Power is so bendy and surprisingly strong! If she’s jamming you won’t believe her toe stop work along the lines. Kit ‘N’ Run is so passionate at training. She never gives up and is always striving to improve. We wouldn’t want to cross any of them!”

by. It’s going to have a knock on effect of improving English teams. The RDWC is a showcase for all the new tactics and ways of playing, and the people here get a chance to see it in situ rather than on a stream, and that’s hugely beneficial. Also, from the perspective of referees and NSOs, the pool of refs is much smaller than the pool of skaters, so lots of the people officiating here ref at Rockers games. It must be such great experience for them to be reffing all these different teams from around the world. There’s a whole spread of Rockers here, from super experienced A-teamers to those who have yet to play an open door. Does what you can learn from watching the RDWC differ a lot depending on your level? I went to the very first RDWC in Toronto in

2011. I’d only been skating for a year or so. I remember thinking I’ll never be able to do anything that these skaters can. Six and a bit years on, I can look at skaters here and see things they’re doing that I can adapt to improve my own play. I think the fact that there are 38 teams here compared to 13 at the first one will make it easier for rookies to spot things that can help them. There’s such a range of skill levels across the different national sides. Some lower level games will feature things that rookies can learn from right away, but then you also have the aspirational aspect of watching the very top level of teams and matches. I think a lot of the benefit comes from identifying players of similar build and play style to yourself. There’s a huge range of sizes and body shapes here, so if you’re a small nippy jammer you should watch so-andso, or if you’ re a 5’11” blocker then Team Whatever has a

2017 BRATS AWARDS The first issue of the year means it’s time to run down who our readers voted for in the 2017 Awards (in case you haven’t seen this online). Big yays to all the winners!


couple of players to check out. There’s such a difference to what you can do on track based on your size. Having nearly a thousand skaters from around the globe playing means everyone can find someone to watch of a shape, level and playing style they can learn from. Moving on to the action in Haywards Heath, what are your thoughts about the Rockers A v Toulouse B game? Well, France are having a good World Cup. I’m not sure how many of their squad are from the Toulouse A-team. More than half of them (11/20) including five of the six jammers! Gosh! Obviously we’re playing their B-team, but they are going to get their coaching from those internationals. Toulouse are one of the very top leagues in Europe, so we’re expecting a tough game. I wouldn’t like to predict anything. I always go into games expecting to lose whilst hoping to be pleasantly surprised! Brighton have several Bteam debuts against Team Dragon? Yes. Last year’s Fresh Meat intake was an interesting one in that it’s resulted in a lot of fairly unique players. Rather than having a pool of similar blockers, there’s a real variety of sizes, shapes and styles there. They’ve scrimmed with us a lot. I don’t think it’s going to look like any of them are playing their first game. The A-team play Barcelona away on March 17th, before an A/B double against Roller Derby Paris at the Dolphin on May 5th. I’m guessing these are the sort of opponents you’ll face now you’re full WFTDA members? Absolutely. It’s a case of finding teams of a similar European ranking to ourselves who are up for a game. They’re both WFTDA ranked, so the games will also help towards us getting our own first WFTDA ranking. Exciting times ahead!

“Walking into the arena on the first day I was blown away by the atmosphere. It’s the biggest roller derby event I’ve ever been to by far and it felt incredible to be there. England’s Rogue Runner was my favourite player. She absolutely smashed it. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her. She didn’t stop and persevered through every wall she came up against.” CRUELTY SPREE

Almost the entire Brighton Rockers crew decamped to Manchester from the 1st to 4th February. Here are some World Cup memories from them (and others)...

“The event put hosts Rainy City on the worldwide derby map and they did a great job. I know how much hard work is involved in organising Eastbourne Extreme every summer, so god knows how much hassle it must be to put on a World Cup! Congratulations to Rainy, winners Team USA, and everybody who made it out without catching the Manchester Flu!” JOHN HESSE

Here’s just a happy fraction of the Rockers World Cup Tour Party

I loved watching Team Argentina in general as they gave such a good fight, and they’re my neighbours; I’m from Uruguay. My favourite game was probably the final. Australia’s Tui Lyons blew my mind with her offence and blocking. Her hits were always perfectly timed and with the right amount of energy. A pleasure to watch!” DOLORES DIABLO “I loved the third place game between England and Canada. It was super close and the atmosphere was amazing. Both teams played their hearts out. Sweden’s Lil’ Slinky was my favourite player of the tournament. I saw her play at Anarchy last year and thought she was brilliant then, so I was looking forward to watching her again. She didn’t disappoint. She’s such an exciting player to watch and a super talented unique jammer.” FELLEN E ASSAULT

“My favourite player was Sista Amaws from Mexico. Small and brutal, and how I’d like to play! I also loved watching France’s Dédée Froquée. It made me feel better about losing to Caen when I saw how awesome a jammer she is. Seeing players there that I’ve skated against has given me a kick up the bum to work harder on improving. The game is getting tougher so you need to be smarter. I’ve picked up a few jamming tactics and I’m going to try and nail them.” SHAMBOLIC “There were so many amazing moments. The first things that spring to mind are hearing Team Indigenous’ speeches and watching them play; the Fearleaders half-time show; the Rockers field trip to Inflata Nation (a bouncy castle style theme park) and the buffet breakfast at our hotel.” RACEY

Sham is suitably restrained on meeting Team Australia’s Scarlet Love

“My favourite moment was Team Australia giving Team USA a run for their money in the final. The USA has won every game that they’ve ever played by a massive (100+ to 800+) point margin, so to see that this is starting to change is great for the sport. Australia really pushed them for that 187-146 final score. The game was amazing to watch as the level of play was mind-blowing. Australia’s Tui Lyon, who skates for Angel City in LA, is my player of the tournament. She was fantastic throughout. Her offence is fierce.” FINN McCRUEL

Destination: Inflata Nation

“My favourite moment of the trip was Kapow’s almost lethal slide jump on our visit to Inflata Nation. She almost snapped in half. I’m still laughing.” RACEY “The weekend was so packed with excitement and fun, but I have to say the Fearleaders performing at half-time in the final was my favourite moment. I took up roller derby in Vienna, before moving to Brighton, so I’ve known the Fearleaders since the beginning of my derby journey. The entire arena stood up and cheered them. It was very emotional for me!” DOLORES DIABLO “I was official photographer for Team West Indies again. They had far more options than in Dallas in 2014, so they were a harder team to beat. They came away with two wins and two losses. My only disappointment regarding their WC was they didn’t get an opportunity to play on Track 1, which seemed to be reserved for huge blowout games during the first couple of days of the event.” JOHN HESSE “I love that Scotland played Wales twice, first thing on Saturday and Sunday. Wales were predicted to win quite big, but the Scots pushed them hard: 250-235, 191-162. The Scottish fans were loud and rowdy even at that ungodly hour, and probably second only to the French fans across the tournament.” MISTER ADAM

“The WC has inspired me to train harder and improve my off-track training and general fitness. I was watching out for smaller, nippy jammers and saw how important strength still is, along with timing and using the opposition to your advantage. The event has also motivated me to get more involved with my league. Though huge, the WC was still very much a DIY event, ie something not possible without hours of labour spawned from love.” CRUELTY SPREE “My favourite game was Finland v France for fifth place. It was really even with both teams having chances to win. Finland kept their cool and took home the victory. Half of the Team Finland players are my old teammates and it was great to cheer them on, watch amazing play and celebrate a win. The tournament gave me new ideas for coaching and goals to reach as a player.” FINN McCRUEL “I really enjoyed Mexico vs NZ, though I’m not sure why! Team Australia are a great side to learn from as their tactics are so clear and super well executed, whether they’re winning 200-0 or it’s neck and neck.” SHAMBOLIC “We made posters to support Kira Hesse and the other New Bournes in the junior game and Slap Dash was (of course) in charge of glitter. There was a slight spillage incident. Watching her try and pick glitter out of a hotel room carpet with her hands will forever be one of my favourite memories!” FELLEN E ASSAULT It’s a sign!

“I loved watching France beat Sweden. It was an unexpected win and seeing the total joy of the French team and fans was incredible. They do know how to celebrate! Player-wise, Lil’ Slinky from Sweden has been a favourite for a while. I also really enjoyed watching England’s Gaz – amazing offence!” SLAP DASH “The minute’s silence for Team Indigenous was really moving and the speech made people aware of an important issue. Seeing everyone stand and be supportive was heart-warming. I’ve also learned a lot strategywise – it was a great chance to see the styles that different teams play, as well as the advantages of different tactics.” GLITTERBALL “Game-wise, I’m going to be predictable and say the final. It was truly epic with some amazing skills on show. I also really enjoyed England v France and USA v Argentina. I loved watching Australia’s Gomez jam and was totally fangirling over Skate The Muss and Nina Brava of Team Indigenous.” RACEY

“England finishing fourth after being second in Dallas was disappointing. Maybe derby in the UK is stagnating, whilst across Scandinavia, Australia, North & South America it continues to move forward? I think it’s more down to England just not pulling it off at the business end of the tournament. Australia’s confidence was there for all to see during the semi and Canada were super determined in the third place playoff.” JOHN HESSE

“Many of my favourite moments, oddly, were wandering through The Trafford Centre. It’s one of the world’s biggest shopping centres (it has Europe’s largest food court) and it was great to see this Temple of Mammon invaded by punky derby hordes. A full half of the people inside were wearing the shirt of some roller derby team or other from around the globe; most of them striding purposefully through the mall, ignoring the trappings of rampant commercialism around them, as they headed for the World Cup venue next door. We’re here, we’re queer (across every definition of that word) and we’re not going shopping.” MISTER ADAM At the Juniors Game...

“The funniest bit was when somebody made a Venn diagram with all the Rockers’ names but with the categories hidden. We had to guess them, which was very tricky and bizarre. I’m not saying what they were! It was a perfect trip, and I’m forever grateful that I got to share it with almost the entire team. Not only will the experience make the Rockers better as a league, but they’re also a very fun bunch to be around. And a big shout out to my wonderful husband who got me the ticket for Xmas!” DOLORES DIABLO “There were too many games to choose a favourite. I loved the close ones where you saw top-level players having to fight for the win. This was one of the best and most inspirational experiences of my life.” SLAP DASH


TAIN) P A C S R E H ge) (KINGFIS covera


BBC lenty nd the with p Day (a e m a . g tion rack.. of F exhibi t on t light u h y o g b i r s h e r d a A sex st junior of Sus was a How many of Eastbourne’s New Bournes took part in the juniors game at the World Cup? Jemolish, Jammie Dodger, Rollersaurus Wrecks, Moleficent, May Cause Mayhem and me, so six of us! It was great to be on a team with so many awesome players and friends that I know so well, and I’m really proud of all of us. You captained Kingfishers. Which other leagues had players on that team? We had players from all over. We had skaters from Devon and Lincolnshire (all of which I’ve played either against or with before) and some from further afield. The Copenhagen Trouble Makers fielded five skaters, and I know most of them quite well. There was also a skater from Rose City Rose Buds who I’d never met before! During the run-up to our game, we tried to make sure everyone got to know each other. We got lunch as a team and tested the floors together. We were only able to all train together on the day of the game. We had about 30 minutes of offskates time and 30 on skates, plus an extra ten on Track 1 to get used to the floor.

What was the game like to play in? How did it compare to the other big events you’ve skated at? The game was amazing fun. Although I was a little nervous, it was awesome to have so much support behind the whole team. Someone even made me a sign! (Thank you to Slap Dash and all the other Rockers for your support!) Even though we lost, we all ended up having a fantastic time – we played our hardest and had fun at the same time. Does a big crowd like that make you more nervous or is it something that you can block out (or feed off the energy from)? The Roller Derby World Cup was like nothing I’ve ever skated in before! The crowds were louder than any other event I’ve played in, and I was a lot more nervous this time around. Even though I’d previously captained the junior game at Anarchy 6 and the Team England junior expo, this felt like a lot more pressure. Although my team lost in the end, the overall experience was amazing! As for my teammates – a lot of them handled the pressure really well, but a few seemed very nervous.


As well as the crowd in the venue, you were also playing in front of a worldwide and BBC audience. Had any feedback from that? I was very surprised at the amount of people who watched the stream: a few of my teachers, two aunts, an uncle, some cousins and my grandparents all watched my game, and it was great to hear feedback from them – even though none of them really understood the rules! My history teacher wants me to help him start a roller derby club at school now! What did you enjoy most in the game? It was amazing to use the skills that I learnt in the Men’s Team England boot camp successfully – especially on some players that I wouldn’t have been able to stop if I didn’t know those techniques. Who were your favourites from the whole World Cup? My favourite team was IRN. I watched all of their games. The whole team had such personality and their jammers were phenomenal. My faves were Sadri and Mithra, and I also loved their blocker Neon, who had awesome style and strength! At the start it was clear they hadn’t had the chance to practice together much, but one of the best parts of watching them was seeing them progress as a team as the weekend went on. As each game passed, they became stronger and played better together. What are your roller derby ambitions now? My main ambition is to improve my skills. My knowledge of the game is pretty good and I’m told I have a good track awareness, but I often feel like my skills let me down. LRG are starting their junior training sessions again. I can’t wait to try and get to as many as I can for high level training from awesome players. Last year we had sessions from Kristen Lee and Raw Heidi!

Finally, if anyone reading this is (or owns) a child in Sussex who wants to take up derby, what should they do? Come along! We are always on the look out for new recruits at the New Bournes. At the moment, our training sessions are on a Tuesday night in Hastings, though we are on the lookout to start another training session in Eastbourne (more details to follow...). If you can’t make it to derby sessions at the moment, get your skates on and practice some skills. Whilst you can join derby with little or even no previous skating experience, it always helps to be prepared and able to skate already!

#1 USA (1713.0) #2 AUSTRALIA (2044.7) #3 CANADA (616.5) #4 ENGLAND (552.2) #5 FINLAND (314.8) #6 FRANCE (286.0) #7 SWEDEN (394.7) #8 ARGENTINA (351.1) #9 SPAIN (92.4) #10 AOTEAROA (NZ) (96.6) #11 WALES (87.6) #12 SCOTLAND (82.6) #13 GERMANY (80.5) #14 IRELAND (57.1) #15 MEXICO (47.8) #16 BELGIUM (46.6) #17 PHILIPPINES (36.7) #18 DENMARK (35.8) #19 BRASIL (32.5) #20 NORWAY (31.0) #21 NETHERLANDS (30.4) #22 KOREA (29.8) #23 ITALY (29.3) #24 IRN (IRAN) (24.2) #25 WEST INDIES (23.6) #26 PORTUGAL (23.5) #27 INDIGENOUS (23.3) #28 SWITZERLAND (21.4) #29 POLAND (14.0) #30 JAPAN (13.9) #31 CZECH (10.3) #32 AUSTRIA (8.1) #33 GREECE (6.7) #34 RUSSIA (4.3) #35 SOUTH AFRICA (3.5) #36 ICELAND (2.4) #37 ROMANIA (2.3) #38 COSTA RICA (1.0)



LETTERS It’s random questions challenge time with answers from members of all three leagues playing here today... What was the hardest part of Minimum Skills to pass? Dolores Diablo (Brighton Rockers): Definitely the 27 laps in five minutes. I already knew how to skate before starting derby, so I wasn’t particularly concerned about the skills, but for the 27-in-5 you have to be confident in your stamina. The psychological part can be the hardest. I can also get quite dizzy when skating too fast! Mycrose (Toulouse Blocka Nostra): The hardest for me was the 27 laps, as I was so slow, and every time my back was paining me so much. Yet today we do at least 50 laps at every training and it’s OK! Flash Gorgon (Team Dragon): The grapevines! It was too much like doing a dance move and made my brain hurt. Of course the answer was to get lower and stop thinking about it too much. Always works.

Ever been in a helicopter? Dolores: No, but I have paraglided in Ecuador! Mycrose: Yeah once. I was dreaming of me and my friends visiting the Niagara Falls in a helicopter. Last year I visited Niagara Falls with friends, but no helicopter. Flash: No, but if I was going to go somewhere in a helicopter, I’d like to go to the place in Hawaii where you can see volcanoes and waterfalls. VOLCANOES AND WATERFALLS! How many pairs of quad skates have you owned? I’m on my third pair, but only because I burnt my second trying to heat mould them. I got Bont Quadstar boots and decided to put them in my faulty oven to make them perfect... a few minutes later my whole flat started to smell of burnt plastic and the boots totally melted. It was very sad at the time, but in retrospect it’s quite hilarious. After ‘the incident’ I got a pair of Bont Hybrids that I absolutely love. I’ll never heat mould boots again! Only one pair, which I’ve had for five years now. I’m an old school person! Three. I started on Riedell R3s and I’m currently on Blue Streaks with Pilot plates. Plus I found some skates in lost property a few years ago (only the third strangest thing I’ve found in there) that were from a circus act. Really slippy really wide wheels and no toe stops. My fave is absolutely my current derby set-up.

skate wheels, the right durometer or an awesome colour? I’m so out of the wheels loop. I know nothing about them. Right now I have Bont FX1 wheels that came with my skates. I think they’re 87A duro, but really who knows? They’re white, so I’m not into flashy colours either. As long as they roll they’re good for me. I do need new wheels, but I’m avoiding going down that rabbit hole as much as possible. Definitely the right durometer. Otherwise we fall all the time, can’t stop and look like Bambi on wheels. Awkward. Right duro every time. Well, unless they light up and then that overrules everything. What’s the worst penalty you’ve picked up? The most embarrassing was when we played at Brighton Dome. I was sent to the box for my sixth penalty and entered illegally (thank goodness that’s not a rule any more). As soon as I sat down, they told me I had two penalties instead of one, so I’d fouled out. I was really confused and it felt quite horrible, but I became the first skater to ever foul out at the Dome, so I kinda made history! Me? Sent to the penalty box? Never! Accidently yelling a swear at a ref. It really was accidental. I was doing a very silly fall that took me by surprise, whilst trying to figure out if they’d just given me a penalty. They hadn’t, but they did pretty swiftly after that.


A Treatise by Dr Walter Beauchamp, Emeritus Professor of Dragonology at the University of Derby “I’m often asked why there are no actual dragons in roller derby. With the sport’s inclusive nature, one would expect them to feature in teams due to the tactical advantage they would bring. However, due to their sheer size this is clearly a farcical suggestion that could only be made by a nincompoop. But WAIT! Let us imagine that a dragon was in fact the size of an average human, what then? In terms of equipment, they would need skates (obviously) but their hard skin and bony skull would make safety gear, such as pads and a helmet, redundant.

What’s the biggest bruise you’ve received in derby and did you name it? I did my Fresh Meat in Vienna. In the second training I fell on my own wheel, resulting in the biggest bruise I’ve ever seen on my bum. I literally couldn’t sit for days. I didn’t give it a name but it looked like a galaxy. I had one right on the breastbone. It was huge and I was so proud of it. It was ‘my sweet’ bruise. Weird, right? I pulled my hamstring and the whole thing bruised all the way from bum to calf. It didn’t get named, but it got prodded a lot which made me yell ouch... so Ouch. Ouch the bruise. Too literal? So how many stickers are there on your derby helmet? Only one. It’s a Brighton Rockers sticker, because they’re the best league in the world. Plus I got my helmet from our awesome retired skater El Radgio, and I think she put it there. It’s not really my helmet. Mine were way too big for me and one of my teammates lent me their old one. So it’s not one of my stickers either, but there is one which is a skull/rainbow. It was the very first logo of our very first team. I’ve got six. My favourite is the Black Rock City Roller Derby one. Skating with them guys is the best; we do an exhibition bout in the desert at each Burning Man with skaters from all over the world. It’s mental and super fun.

So which position would they suit? You certainly wouldn’t place one BY ROCKERS HEAD REF wings, LASERHAMMER as a blocker. Their whilst “Eastbourne Roller Derby’s making an effective wall, A-Bombs are too have of a game coming for up in November much a nuisance teammates. against Surrey’s co-ed propensity team. Then Let’s not forget their in what for December breathing we’re fire – hosting a hefty back will be a very fun game against block could elicit a belch of SCERD’s Apex Warriors amalsuch magnitude it would (an literally gamation the of their destroy pack. Apex Not Predators an ideal and Weald Their Warriors). SkaterhowAt scenario. wings would, Birth, Teamapex Unicorn Derby ever, make jumpsRoller a breeze as and Team Crazy Legs. You might their roar scares opponents out even spot one of our super duper of the way. Thus they would excel


skaters, Hissing Hellcat, doing a fantastic job of Head NSOing one of the games here today! s seems to be the case with a lot of the local men’s teams at the moment, we are struggling with consistent numbers. There have been talks of collaborations with. s seems to be the case with a lot of the local men’s teams at the moment, we are struggling with consistent num ave collaborations with.”


as jammers.”

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Rocke n n the betwee betwee h match c e t r . a . m a . e s r t d i a a e u t sq sees – alb n e n r o e g f a f Today i am Dr gely d and Te two hu What have the Dragons been up to since you last played the Rockerbillies at the Dolphin (Sept 2016)? Loads of stuff. We’ve had games in Europe against Madrid B and Aarhus Derby Danes, played the LRG Golden Girls (another challenge team formed around ex-LRG alumni) and had some public bouts against B-teams. So we’ve kept ourselves busy. Rockerbillies’ squad is very different from the previous game (where they used a lot of Eastbourne skaters to fill the numbers). Presumably your squad will be quite different too? Team Dragon is an ever revolving door. We’ll have a lot of new skaters for this one, many of whom are looking for big game experience, which is always exciting. Being a challenge team, presumably your squad changes a lot every game (depending on who has games with their home league, etc). What are the advantages and the disadvantages of that, and of challenge teams in general? The disadvantages are we don’t get to train regularly or have regular line-ups to pull out for games, but that’s always been our way – it can take us a few jams to get warmed up. But the

big advantage is that of having a lot of hungry players who want track time. So you’ve always got a good energy on the bench and lots of enthusiasm. Two great things to have. Any particular Team Dragon players or tactics that we should look out for? None. So if you see anything going particularly well, please holla. All feedback is appreciated. Any particular Rockerbillies players or tactics that you will be looking out for? We know they’ll be well drilled and strong. We’ll be hitting up Eastbourne Roller Derby for some gossip prior to the game. Since Flattrackstats doesn’t do predictions for challenge team games, we don’t know how this one will go. Brighton won 200-118 in the previous match-up. What are you expecting? Care to predict the result/score? It’s a coin flick really. Let’s be cocky and say we’ll edge it by ten points! What’s your favourite dragon and why? Smaug is a classic. Can’t mess with him. Any message for the Team Dragon fans in the crowd? Thanks for coming Mum.





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Can you tell us about RDT? Roller Derby Toulouse is eight years old this year. We have three female teams (Nothing Toulouse, Blocka Nostra and Rainbow Furies) and two male teams (Quad Guards and Barons Cathares). We’re affiliated to the FFRS (French Federation of Roller Sports) and we have more than a hundred members across skaters, officials and volunteers. RDT had a pretty good season last year as Nothing Toulouse won French Elite Champs for the first time, Quad Guards placed fifth at MRDA Champs, and Blocka Nostra topped N1 Champs. What’s the derby scene like in your area? Many leagues are growing and gaining level. These are teams Blocka Nostra play regularly, and it challenges us to keep getting better and work on new strategies. We’re lucky as roller derby in France is pretty developed. You saw all the supporters that travelled to support Team France at the World Cup? It was amazing to see so many people from so many French leagues there – we really like this sport! Any of your players or tactics that we should look out for? We always try to play as a team and work together on the track. That’s going to be a main focus for this game, like for any game we play.

Do you know much about the Brighton Rockers team? I personally don’t, although we have a couple of skaters who do. I believe Chunder Woman started Fresh Meat with the Rockers many years ago, before transferring to Eastbourne.


FTS are predicting quite a close game today. What are you expecting? A good win is always appreciated, but we’re all just going to play our game and put everything we have on track. We’re not expecting it to be easy and we can’t wait to play in this challenging game. Many of your A-team played in the recent World Cup? Yes. I went along to support Team France and was very proud to have so many skaters from my league on the national team. I loved the RDWC. I thought Team France brought a very strong game and played some really good and impressive roller derby. It was amazing to see them facing teams like the USA, Australia and Canada. Do you have any other plans for your trip over here? I don’t think we’ll have a lot of time to explore Brighton, but I’d really like to see the Pier. Do you have any message for the Toulouse fans in the hall today? Thanks for being here and supporting us!

1. Toulouse is home to a slaughterhouse in a former art gallery. Or something. 2. The Leonard Cohen & Elton John duet ‘Born Toulouse’ is (ironically) about Bordeaux. 3. After dark the Canal du Midi is renamed the Canal du Minuit and becomes home to vampires and poltergeese. 4. Toulouse is known as The Pink City because all of its residents are fans of the ‘So What’ pop singer. 5. The Airbus Factory isn’t on a bus route, but has air.


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