Although the Norwegian team is a year younger than FVRG, they have lots of bouting experience, and were accepted into the WFTDA Apprentice Program in January this year. The teams are within touching distance of each in the European Rankings - so this promises to be a nail-biter of a bout!
Doors open at 2pm, with the first whistle being blown at 2:30pm. There will be a selection of craft stalls to keep you occupied while you wait, or if you fancy a half-time treat.
Tickets are available at £5 (+ admin fee) online from Brown Paper Tickets, or £7 on the door. Kids aged 14 and under are invited along for free with a paying adult.
Keep up to date with the latest bout details by 'joining' the Facebook Event.
First in a series of interviews with those outside the track that help make Roller Derby what it is, an interview with an announcer familiar to many. Helliverance
How did you get started announcing in Roller derby?
I started in Roller Derby the way most people do, as a fan. Everyone knows someone who is involved in the sport and it was just a matter of time before my curiosity got the better of me. So yeah, first a loudmouthed fan cheering on my local team and then a loudmouthed announcer introducing them - it's the natural progression.
Announcers all have different styles, how would you describe your style and how has it evolved since you started?
That's actually a good question, every announcer I've worked with has their own thing they bring to the mix. Me, I'm there to enjoy myself, have fun with the crowd an keep the energy up.
I wasn't aware of 'announcing styles' when I started out but I reckon I was closer to being a colour announcer, filling in between the action with a little insight and some facts (not all were genuine - but that's what I bring). I stepped up my game by becoming certified by the Association of Flat Track Derby Announcers (AFTDA) and can now turn my hand to a little play by play (commentating on the action as it happens), supplied with a little side-dish of rules knowledge when needed. At the end of the day though I just want to have fun and for the crowd to enjoy themselves.
How do you prepare for bouts and how much work do you have to do on the fly?
My pre-bout preparation consists of (1) Find flannel shirt (2) Find Jeans (3) Find Bout. Other than that everything else is done on the day. The thing I've really taken away from working with other announcers is to use the teams warm up track time to learn the skaters names. Really hone in on what distinguishing features (crazy leggings, custom helmets etc.) they have so's in the midst of a high energy jam I know exactly who's doing what. Once I've nailed that the rest of the bout is as easy as shootin fish in a barrel.
Skaters have skate heroes, do you have any announcer heroes?
Do I have any announcer heroes? Hell, we're all heroes, out there on the front line talking to about 200 people at once. I've seen many folks try to do what we do and crumble under the pressure - announcing's a super power - you know what, I might just go and get myself a Superman styled t-shirt except with an 'H' on it for my next bout... Still, if I had to pick one announcer who stands out it would be Bulldog; the guy's a dang machine on the mic and he's also the one I saw using the skaters warm up time to learn them by sight. Heck, last time I worked with him I dam near had to wrestle him for some mic time :)
When you watch sports in your free time, do you find yourself doing your own commentary?
Oh man, I really do. I try an keep it quiet but before I know it, I'm making the calls as they happen. I tell you what's worse though, about 1 day before and 2 days after a bout I'm in some kind of announcer trance, where I'm 'on', providing commentary on life as it happens and cracking jokes about it as I go. It's fine for me, but if you're around ole Helliverance during that period, you might wanna invest in some quality earplugs.
Which has been your favourite bout to call and what are you looking forward to calling in the future?
Sheesh, there's been so many great bouts. Me & "Sven.Will.I.Be.Famous" co-announced an entire two day tournament one time (Highland Fling) when no other announcers showed. By the mid point of the second day I thought I was a butterfly and Sven was throwing in his day job to live a life training seals to spin balls on their noses! But probably my best so far would be calling the final of the Mens European Roller Derby Championship (MERDC) this year, between Toulouse Quad Guards and London's Southern Discomfort. That crowd were ELECTRIC and I was plugged into their power grid! An that's not even where it ends, this coming March, back in Birmingham, will be the Mens Roller Derby World Cup - Now THAT'S a spicy meatball. You can bet the farm that I've got my application in & am looking forward to calling that bad boy!
Thanks for your time, I've got some 'shine and a old guitar to tend to. Helliverance
[Editor's Note: GCRG's own Chris 'sMACDaddy' McDonald has been kind enough to contribute this extensive bout report for the first ever Quad Nations tournament held in Swansea. Some post-hoc formatting has been applied to his original text, and links have been added for those teams who don't have a flash-only website. The remaining words in this report are entirely his own.]
The tournament...Quad Nations!
The battleground...the Cwrt Herbet Sports centre in Swansea!
4 amazing teams, 10 bouts, 2 days and a whole load of emotion!
This was the first 2 day tournament ever to be held in Wales and my goodness did the Swansea league put on a show! They invited the cream of the crop from all corners of the UK to their home to compete for the coveted Golden Skate.
The first day would see all the teams face off against each other in 30 minute bouts to determine the seedings for the second day. From the minute you set foot in the hall, you could feel the excitement in the air. The track was being laid by the amazing crew of helpers and NSO's. Stall holders were setting up, the VIP seating was being blown up (they were inflatable, not explosive) and the skaters were trying to get themselves into the right frame of mind for what was sure to be an epic weekend of derby action.
Unfortunately, there were some issues for one team early on. The Belfast Banshees (who undoubtedly had the farthest to travel for this tournament) had experienced an issue with their ferry and still hadn't arrived! But they were on their way and after a quick restructuring of the arranged bouts, it was time to get the action underway.
The first bout would see the Swansea Slayers take on Severn. these two had bouted against each other once already this year in March and Severn had come out on top. Would the Slayers be out for revenge? Being that it was only
a 30 minute bout, there were some tentative steps from both teams in the early going. Neither wanted to give anything away, but both realised they would need to conserve energy for the long weekend ahead. Power jams were fairly limited but Scarlett Shadow of Severn and The Mortician of Swansea were sometimes jamming like there was no-one else on track! Both put in a strong opening bout showing. Hope fully the other teams were taking notes. As the 30 minutes ran out, Severn came away victorious in this first bout, scoring 81 points to Swansea's 41.
Next up, it was the Granite City Roller Girls' Northern Fights, against the hosts Swansea. These teams had never before met on track, but judging by the giggles and smiles they all shared, there was clearly some common Celtic love going around! The Slayers were on fire from the first whistle in this one. Clearly feeding off the adrenaline from the previous bout, they racked up an impressive tally. 107 points to the Fights' 51. A few mistakes from jammers had cost the Fights dearly in this one. Silly fouls!
Bout number 3 was Severn versus the Fights. The Aberdonian side are often known as a second half side and considering they had just played 30 minutes against Swansea, they went into this next bout with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Would Severn be able to hold them back? Unfortunately not. Both teams defenses were working so hard in this one, but again, little fouls cost them dearly. Final scores for bout 3 were Severn 24 : 108 Northern Fights. The first "bonus point" of the tournament earned by the gals from up north.
Just in the nick of time, the crew from Belfast arrived! Unfortunately for them, due to the delay, they would have to play all 3 of their opening day bouts back to back! But not once did the girls complain, they just got on with the day! Their first opponents, Severn Roller Torrent! How would the Banshees cope after having spent so long travelling? How would Severn respond to their loss to the Fights? The opening few jams were very tentative with neither teaming scoring. Clearly they were sizing each other up! Both teams were limiting their jammer rotation too. A tactic to preserve the skaters for the rest of the tournamentperhaps? Severn emerged victorious from this one, scoring 119 points. The Banshees, 23. Considering the issues, the Belfast girls had, this was a damn good showing.
Next on track to take on the Irish was the Northern Fights. These teams last met on track last year over in Belfast. The Banshees scored an impressive victory there, could they do it again? As it turns out...yes. Yes they could! They did it in spectacular fashion too. Final scores were 104 to the Banshees, 61 to the Northern Fights. Go Belfast!
The 6th bout of the 1st day of a 2 day tournament (the announcers had fun with that one!) would see the hosts, Swansea, take on the now extremely tired and long travelled Belfast. This was an exciting bout to watch. Both teams jammers were so quick on their feet it was like watching poetry in motion at times! The final scores, Swansea 98 : 45 Belfast.
So, at the end of day one, the rankings were as follows...
1st - Severn Roller Torrent
2nd - Swansea City Slayers
3rd - Northern Fights
4th - Belfast Banshees
Day 2 would see 1st (Severn) play 4th (Belfast), then 2nd (Swansea) play 3rd (Fights) in hour long bouts. The losers of those would then play each other to contest 3rd and 4th place for the tournament before the winners faced off to determine who would skate away with the coveted...Golden Skate! oooooooh!
The first hour long bout of the day would see Severn Roller Torrent take on the (now rested) Belfast Banshees to determine the first finalist!
Both teams were determined to make the most of the opportunity and attacked hard from the first whistle. Ra-Ra-Rasputina for Belfast was on fire in the early going. Eventually, the pace of the game slowed as both teams found their rhythm and tried to contain each other. In the end, Severn came away with the win and booked their place in the final with a winning score of 139 to 103. A close fought bout which left both teams drained! This one literally could’ve gone either way right up until the last couple of jams.
In the 2nd bout of the day, the hosts Swansea would take on the Northern Fights. In the ranking bouts the previous day, the Slayers had picked up the win. But this…was a full hour long bout. Could the Fights avenge the defeat and book their place in the final? Yes. Yes they could. But they would have to work hard for it. The Slayers lead 126 to 59 at the end of the first half. But the Fights came out fighting in the second half. With 5 minutes left on the clock, the girls from Aberdeen had managed to get themselves into a 30 point lead. A few power jams later and the final score ended at Swansea 173 : 239 Northern Fights. There were tears from The Swansea team, most notably from Team Captain Pixie of Pain. She may have been one of the smallest skaters on track, but no-one has a bigger heart! She was consoled by her team-mates, but there was no time to rest as they would be back on track very soon!
The Slayers faced off against the Belfast Banshees next to determine the 3rd and 4th place positions for the tournament. Once again, Ra-Ra-Rasputina was jamming like a woman possessed for Belfast. They lead at the halfway mark 129 to 66. But the Slayers would not be denied. Determined to go out on a high, they staged an amazing fight back in the 2nd half. The Mortician and Pixie Of pain were immense and the final scores for this bout were Swansea 238 : 173 Belfast meaning that the Slayers would finish Quad Nations in 3rd place and the Banshees would take 4th. Considering the turmoil they had to go through just to make it to Swansea, the Belfast side could finish the weekend with their heads held high after an amazingly gutsy performance. The Slayers were dancing…their announcer was in tears, emotion was spilling out alllll over the place!
And so, we came to the final. This is what the whole weekend was about. Who would take home the coveted Golden Skate? We were about to find out. The atmosphere was electric and after the kit check, we were ready to get underway! Scarlett Shadow of Severn had been one of the most consistent jammers of the tournament so far and she was determined to fire her team into 1st place. But Clinically Wasted (the team captain) was in a similar frame of mind for the Northern Fights. The Fights were in the lead at half time, but only just. Severn 76 : 98 Fights. The 2nd half was frantic. Fast packs, confusion over ref calls (the noise was drowning them out!) and skaters flying everywhere! In the end, the Fights were able to extend their lead. The final scores were Severn Roller Torrent 126 : The Northern Fights 162! They had done it. After an 11 hour drive from Aberdeen, the Granite Girls had claimed the Golden Skate as their own! Now it was the turn of THEIR announcer to break down in tears!!
Once they dust had settled, it was time for the presentation of the awards to each team…
4th place – The Belfast Banshees
Best Blocker – #8 Mo Mawlem
Best Jammer - #28 (team captain) Hannahbolic Steroids
MVP - #1337 Ra-Ra-Rasputina
3rd place – The Swansea City Slayers
Best Blocker – #22 Fearne Rotten
Best Jammer - #7 The Mortician
MVP – #17 SallyMangle Her
2nd place – Severn Roller Torrent
Best Blocker - #4ce Jedi Mistress
Best Jammer - #11 Scarlett Shadow
MVP - #10 Helen Fury
1st place – The Northern Fights
Best Blocker - #42 Pert Hits
Best Jammer - #111 (team captain) Clinically Wasted
MVP - #09 (vice-captain) Rock ‘n’ Riot
A huge congratulations to all the skaters who took part, a thank you to Swansea for hosting an amazing weekend of derby action. Also, a shout out to all the ref’s and NSO’s for being all kinds of brilliant!
A squad of Fights, officials, and some dedicated supporters will be flying to the volcanic isle to take on the ladies of Tenerife Roller Derby. The teams will be facing off on the 28th September in Santa Cruz at 6pm (GMT). To keep up with the action, make sure to follow our Twitter feed @GCRG where we will keep you up to date with all the news and scores as the game unfolds.
After game day the team will be taking some R&R time to enjoy the island, sample the local refreshments and catch some much needed Vit D on it’s black sand “goth” beaches. (Apart from the ginger members of the team, who will be seeking out shady spots and presumably wearing a lot of hats)
Adios amigos, hasta luego!
Date(s) - 28/09/2013 All Day
Continuing New Town Roller Girls' Monthly insights, here's Bump-Her-Stick-Her... coming to a track near you, soon!
What first attracted you to Roller Derby? My awesome bestie used to play for ARRG (Bobscene Behaviour) and that was my introduction to the game. I watched her in her first bout and left wishing I could give it a try. Fast forwards a few years later and I was a new mum looking for an outlet, some exercise and something that I could do just for me - I saw an advert for New Town Roller Girls and pounced!
Most skaters have inspirations in their own or other leagues. Who are your derby heroes? Bobscene Behavior for introducing me to roller derby (and blocking like a boss). Duke Box is amazing, agile and hits like a wall! Also Lois Maim is all round awesome and so patient when helping me learn hits and blocks.
Derby names are an important aspect of the sport, especially when you're starting out. How did you choose your name (and number), and does it reflect your personality on track? It came to me at work. I'm generally known for being shy and uncertain (unless you really know me well) . I wanted to channel a tougher side so I wanted an aggressive name. Bump-Her Stick-Her is a mantra i can use on track. My number is my daughter Roslyn's birthday 195.
What's your favourite position and technique? I like jamming, I am still learning a lot but I hope I can be a useful jammer some day.
Lots of roller girls find it hard not to spread the word about their new sport. How have you been spreading the word? Facebook :) work, rambling on to hairdressers and by wearing my teams t-shirt whilst running or working out.
What’s the most important thing you've learnt/ done this month Practicing with the boys and girls for our upcoming bout (my cherry popper)
And the most difficult and the best things? The most difficult is the frustration of not picking up a technique. The best is the first time you get it right. You may not always get it but you realise it's possible.
What's new for the New Town this month? First bout. I'm simultaneously excited and terrified. Also the next wave of minimum skills skaters
It’s been a long time coming, but Fierce Valley Roller Cubs is finally up and rolling! The idea of forming Scotland’s first junior roller derby league was born in November 2011 with the intention of starting by summer 2012 at the latest. It’s no secret that we’ve encountered several obstacles along the way, chief among them funding. Every league will have encountered this at some point, but none of us were quite prepared for how much it would cost for insurance to cover a hall full of little people on skates. Another issue was venues, with lots of discussion on where we could hold our sessions. We were worried about finding a venue that would allow us to skate, but the recent increase in popularity of roller derby has helped us out here, and we’re lucky enough to have a venue which is also used by Fierce Valley Roller Girls and Bairn City Rollers.
While trying to work out the funding problem we raised our profile by attending FVRG bouts and events, selling merchandise, spreading the word and signing up potential Cubs. A major factor in pushing us towards our goal was introducing a more formal board structure and the addition of several new committee members with valuable experience of youth work and teaching children. By summer 2013 we decided it was time to stop talking and start doing so we booked our trial dates - there’s nothing like pressure to spur you on! Our big fundraising event was a roller disco, with assistance from Dai Ola Roller Discos, which not only gave us an opportunity to raise money but also to see what a hall full of kids on skates would be like. The disco was a success and finally we were able to pay for our insurance, just in time for our first trial session on the 1st of September.
Once our trial sessions were booked, we had lots of work to do to organise them: how many kids would we allow in each session? How would we split them up? Who would run training? What ratio of children to adults would we need? Would it run like Fresh Meat? How would we adapt it for kids? We had always intended the age range to be five to seventeen, but this presents its own problems. We decided to run two trial sessions, the first for five to ten year olds and the second for the older group, eleven to seventeen. The training plan is based on the Junior Roller Derby Association skillset along with some information from the FVRG Fresh Meat training plan. The kids on our mailing list were given first chance to book their places, which we decided to limit to fifteen, and spaces filled up very quickly. It was reassuring to know that people were still interested after all that time. A large number of the Cubs are the children or siblings of skaters (from FVRG, BCR. ARRG and the Jakey Bites, as far as we know!) so come armed with lots of derby knowledge already, but for others, their experience is limited to skating in the street or at roller discos.
Despite all of our planning, we had no real idea of how the first session would go, so, after roping in some helpers from FVRG and BCR, it was time to go. The first session went better than any of us could have hoped: the new Cubs were fearless and enthusiastic, not to mention well-behaved and quick to pick up skills. By the end of the session, many of them were confidently doing stops, falls and crossovers and we were beyond impressed. We approached the second trial session with more confidence after the success of the first, and our older Cubs did not disappoint.
It has taken a lot of hard work to get to this point, but I’m sure everyone would agree that seeing the kids on skates made it worthwhile. There’s still a long way to go and we know there will be challenges, but we can’t wait to train the next generation of Scotland’s derby skaters!
Photographs courtesy of Claire Brunton of Zenspirations Photography
It's not "the end of the world as we know it", but you'll feel more than fine if you come down to Grangemouth Sports Complex this Saturday as another piece of Bairn City Rollers history is made when the co-ed Belter Skelpers have their first ever bout against an all-star cast comprised of skaters from New Town Roller Girls, Lothian Derby Dolls, Fierce Valley Roller Girls and Mean City Roller Derby!
The atmosphere at previous Grangemouth bouts has been out of this world, with the audience practically on top of the action cheering on the skaters and supporting their teams. The wonderful stylistic and tactical clashes that only co-ed roller derby can bring will be on display from 3:30pm, come on down and take part in a little piece of history. You might say it's fate!
On Sunday, 15 September at 1:30pm, Team Nitemare will be hosting a double-header bout in Grangemouth Sports Complex. The first bout of the day will see Team Nitemare take on The Jakey Tayzers, then Hades Roller Boys will come up against Men Behaving Derby.
Hades Roller Boys appeared on the circuit in July this year as a male-only travel team. Similar to Team Nitemare, the skaters in this team originate from all over the UK and have been selected by the team founders.
Men Behaving Roller Derby are another 'exhibition' team - but their skaters hail from Ireland. Since their inception in February this year, MBRD have been busy recruiting new skaters; this bout will be their first public outing.
Tickets for the double-header bout are available online from EventBrite, priced at £7. Since the Grangemouth Sports Complex is a small venue, they will be sold on a first-come, first-served basis online.
Please see Team Nitemare's Facebook Event for further details on this double-header bout, or if you have any questions for the organisers.
The only place where you can watch a never before seen line up of Dolls vs. Dolls.
The only 2 leagues in the UK to have Derby Dolls in their name.
Doors open at 1:30 pm for a 2pm start. With plenty of opportunity to get some yummy home baked goods, along with special limited merchandise on offer and never forgetting the amazing raffle.
Come on to Jack Kane Sport Centre, Edinburgh. Tickets are available at £5 (+ admin fee) online from Brown Paper Tickets, or £7 on the door. Kids aged 14 and under are invited along for free with a paying adult. There is limited seating at this venue, it is recommended that you buy your tickets (or get the free kids passes) in advance.
After some murmurs over the past few weeks on the gossip vine, Aberdeen has become the latest city in Scotland to have both Men's and Women's Roller Derby, with the launch of the all male Granite City Brawlermen last night via Facebook. As yet they have no logo, but I am sure an appropriately manly and fishing-related artpiece can be only days away...
Getting things off to a flying start, the Brawlermen will be hosting a "Learn about Derby" session at The Garage, 17 Windmill Brae, on the 11th of October. This is intended for people new to derby who want to find out what it's all about, and will apparently feature some bout footage from previous mens derby bouts.
Then, to collect all their new recruits, the first fresh meat session will be on the 9th of November, appropriately at Aberdeen Lads Club in Tillydrone.
If you're interested, please like the Brawlermen's Facebook page.