On Saturday 17th August, Fierce Valley Roller Girls will be hosting a Fresh Meat taster session in Grangemouth Sports Complex to recruit new skaters into their roller derby league.
The taster session is designed to let you try roller derby - with no commitment - to see if this is the sport for you. You will be buddied up with an experienced skater to learn the basics. They will also loan you their equipment for the taster, so no need to buy any equipment just yet!
If you’re hooked after this first session, FVRG will welcome you into a dedicated training program for beginners. Once you progress through your training, regular assessments will be held to give you the opportunity to climb the ranks into the Intermediate, then Advanced training sessions.
If you are interested in joining Fierce Valley Roller Girls and are aged 18 or over, please complete their Registration Form to reserve your place in this Fresh Meat intake.
Scotland has seen some co-ed action over the last couple of years involving the likes of Dundee Roller Girls, The Jakey Bites, Fierce Valley, Granite city, Mean City, New Town and Bairn City Rollers. On Sunday the 20th of July Capital City Roller Derby joined those leagues after putting together a co-ed team to take on Bairn City Rollers co-ed team the Belter Skelpies.
This was Capital City’s first foray on a flat track since the league formed, with their team comprised of their own skaters as well as skaters other halfs and friends to form Capital Chums on the day. Whilst Capital City already have some recognisable men’s skaters in their ranks, they also have a few fresh new faces in the world of Scottish Men’s Derby. On the day they had Buyer’s remorse, Bish bash Josh, Critical Hit and Niko Blocker Gorey all popping their bout cherry.
The game itself was a very close fought battle with the lead changing every couple of jams till the last whistle, but it was the Belter Skelpies who took the win by five points in an epically loud and dramatic last jam.
Now that the dust has finally settled since their first bout, I took a moment to catch up with some of the Capital City guys and ask them about how they prepared for their first bout and how it went on the day.
Niko Blocker Gorey #31 (NBG) Critical Hit #2d6 (CH)
How did you find out about Derby and CCRD?
(CH): I was at a comic convention in Inverness where ICRD (or the Nasty Nessies back then) were promoting themselves. They told me about ARRG so I dragged a pal of mine along to see what it was about. We watched in complete confusion until someone explained how the game worked. After that I kept going back to the games, and in January 2013 the announcer mentioned there was a men's league starting up. A couple of weeks later I was starting down the long road to mins.
(NBG): I went along to an ARRG bout in 2009, went to a few bouts at Meadowbank thereafter, and then got season tickets for the home seasons they put on. In 2012 the Edinburgh International Film Festival screened a roller derby documentary called "Leave It On The Track", and for the next six months I remember saying to my wife wistfully (and repeatedly) 'gosh, it'd be great to try out roller derby. I wonder if a men's team is likely. I'd like to give that a go'.
In December 2012 I spotted CCRD's facebook page, and my wife noted that I would be the ultimate hypocrite to not get in touch after 6 months of wittering about my interest. So, I did, got in touch with a founder member of CCRD, and in January 2013 came to my first training session!
Having not skated previously how did you find working towards and passing your mins?
(CH): It was harder than I thought on only two hours of skate time per week. Looking back on it, I should have gone out to as many other training opportunities as I could have.
(NBG): I literally had never been on skates before. We had the old Fisher-Price 'strap on over your shoes' kids skates which I really didn't use (my brother did); I tried a friend's inline skates for 5 minutes once before deciding it wasn't for me, and may have gone ice skating 20 times in my life.
My mins pace was very much a snail's crawl. I know from other sports I have played (more than 15 years ago), that I am very much interested in the technicalities of doing something, and I will drill them to the point where people think I am insane. CCRD were great at giving me the time and space to pass my minimum skills at my own pace, there was no pressure and it really felt like an environment that supported people who wanted to race up, pass quickly and get scrimming experience, versus people like me who plodded along passing things slowly but (hopefully!) competently.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement so far in derby?
(CH): It's early days yet, so not much apart from not breaking myself!
(NBG): It has to be my first bout. I did the best I could, which by an absolute measure was very poor - but, with only one scrim prior to it, my experience is relative. And by that measure I was happy: I scored some points, got to try all positions out, only committed two penalties and adjusted to stop them recurring. Now I'm just looking forward to more training, more scrims and more game time, just logging the hours and getting more and more skill and game experience.
Did you get any pre first bout nerves?
(CH): Just a bit nervous was all. Having scrimmed a fair bit I knew some of what I was getting into.
(NBG): Honestly, no. But, I have always believed you can only train for so long, and just try to execute what you've learned as well as you can in the middle. Once you get on track, so much is going on, that you don't have time for nerves. I think you just have to be true to your training, and stay calm, and undoubtedly with more experience it'll become second nature.
What sticks in your memory most from your first bout?
(CH): I got lead and points!
(NBG): I think it'll be the jam where I was pivoting: it was early doors and I hadn't jammed, and got passed the star, at which point I absolutely went for it. I burst through the pack made at least one pass, which may be the only score I got all bout.
Did you get any good advice that helped you on track or prepare for the bout?
(CH): Zen...just be zen...
(NBG): The bench manager for my first bout is our league's captain and chair, who has absolutely moved heaven and earth to keep the league running and training well, so I have a mountain of respect for him, and his advice was simply 'remember your training' and 'stay calm'.
Is there any advice you could give others who still have their first bout to come?
(CH): Scrim, scrim and scrim some more.
(NBG): I would say don't pass up an opportunity to scrim as much as you can before the bout, to gain that game-like experience. I didn't do this: I don't drive, so further afield scrims weren't really viable, plus I have the white picket fence life so trying to carve out time for derby can be a tricky balancing act. So, if you hear 'scrims' mentioned, get to it.
Are there any skaters (Male or Female) who inspire you?
(CH): So, so many. If I start naming people I'll be here all day. All the folk who do the training at CCRD, and all the people I see regularly at scrims who give me advice, you're all great.
(NBG): I think the catalyst from going from 'this is fun to watch' to 'I'd like to give this a try' was Teenie Bash (208) from ARRG. I'm a Cherry Bombers fan (4 lyfe!) and she was absolutely excellent for them in the 2012 home season. I'm on the short side for a guy, and when I saw Teenie jamming and blocking against women considerably taller and broader than her, I realised the sport isn't predicated on size, and I guess I saw the opportunity for everyone in roller derby which makes the sport so great and progressive. So in the meantime I hope she isn't too embarrassed by me letting her know this way!
Skaters generally set goals for themselves, now that you have played in your first bout what goal's are you now looking to achieve/work towards?
(CH): Get through those darn walls! I seem to be able to get past three blockers but I don't have the acceleration to break free of the last one.
(NBG): I think that from now on I'll adopt the default position where I'll go to every scrim I can manage to and rack up some on track game-like experience. Beyond that, I've realised I'm not turning my back on the sport soon, so have shelled out for some good skates, so it's going to be more training, more scrims, more bouts.
I think my primary goal is that I'd like to get lead jammer in my next bout: I didn't get it once at my first, so that's the next life experience to check off!
Images courtesy of Laura MacDonald
Glasgow is bracing itself for a close encounter of the ‘thrilled’ kind as some of the grooviest skaters in Scotland and England clash as part of a unique sporting double-header.
The city’s first men’s roller derby team – Mean City – will host the special event on August 23 at the ARC sports centre.
Mean City will be playing Teeside’s Skate Invaders – the first time the two teams have clashed – in an all-male, action-packed contest.
Space will be a premium as the Invaders beam into Glasgow – hoping they can blast their way to victory against the MCRD troopers.
The double bill will also see Glasgow Roller Derby’s Cannie Gingers compete against Fierce Valley Roller Girls’ Parma Violents in an all-female thrill-fest.
Jim Whyte, Chairman of Mean City Roller Derby (MCRD), said: “We can’t wait for this very special double-header. The skating will be out of this world with four great roller derby leagues going toestop to toestop.
“Mean City is Glasgow’s first and only men’s roller derby league and has been going from strength to strength since it was formed in 2012. We’re genuinely thrilled to be welcoming three amazing squads to Glasgow.
“The Skate Invaders are a great team and a terrific bunch of lads – we can’t wait to line up against them. Mean City features some of the best skaters in Scotland and we will be giving our all to ensure the super summer of sport continues in Glasgow.”
Glasgow Roller Derby (GRD) – Mean City’s all-female sister league – is renowned throughout the roller derby world. Its A team – the Irn Bruisers – recently stormed America, while its B team – the Maiden Grrders – are also a force to be reckoned with.
Such is the strength in depth at GRD that a third travel team has been formed – the Cannie Gingers – who made their competitive debut against Fierce Valley in February.
Jim added: “Fierce Valley had the edge in the first encounter, but Glasgow will be keen to win on home soil. It’s going to be another cracking encounter between two brilliant teams.
“Get your tickets now – just £5 in advance for two amazing full games of roller derby starring four interstellar teams.
“It’s going to be a great showcase of all that roller derby has to offer – an action-packed afternoon of skating, scoring, skills, thrills and spills.”
Mean City Roller Derby has been developing as a league since its formation in 2012. Men’s roller derby is a fledgling off-shoot of the modern day all-female sport of roller derby – with the game rising in popularity with people of all genders.
Mean City train regularly in the Glasgow area and new members are always welcome to give the sport a go in a supportive environment. Equipment can be provided – just get in touch in advance.
Visit www.facebook.com/MeanCityRollerDerby to buy tickets for the event and to find out more about joining the revolution.
The Voodoo Roller Dollies will make their home-game debut on Saturday July 26th in the Jake Kane Centre in Edinburgh.
Voodoo played their first game in March against The Flaming Noras in Furness - and won with 205 pints to 155! The team are hoping to continue with their success and have been working hard in preparation for their first game at home where they will take on Preston Roller Girls.
The day itself is guaranteed to be fun-filled, with a Rocky Horror Picture Show theme. Fancy dress is actively encouraged and prizes will be awarded for best costume.
Doors open at 12:30. Join the Facebook Event for more details.
There were a lot of first last weekend, from Gotham coming to the UK, through Dundee's debut of their B-team... but perhaps the most important event for the future of Scottish Derby occurred at Grangemouth Sports Centre on Saturday.
After considerable hard work, from both the coaches and organisers, the skaters themselves (and encouragement from parents), Scotland's only Junior Roller Derby league, Fierce Valley Roller Cubs, held their first ever public bout.The Cubs, and Friends (Photo: Laura MacDonald)
After a hard-fought game, with Team White taking and holding an early lead through to the end, despite continual resistance from Team Black, the bout ended White 219:168 Black.
We asked the Captains of both teams (Bon Jodie for Team White, and Purple Punisher for Team Black) to give us their own words about the bout experience.
Bon Jodie: I'm 'Bon Jodie' and I had the honour of captaining one team in Fierce Valley Roller Cubs' first public intraleague bout. To captain was an exhilarating experience and to bout for the first time was phenomenal. I was more nervous about bouting for the first time than captaining my team, but I did feel a responsibility from the start to make sure that everyone's spirits were high and they weren't too nervous and were enjoying themselves. Even though in the upcoming days I was extremely conflicted about my feelings towards my bout the second the first whistle blew the nerves were replaced by what I can only describe as determination and adrenaline rush combined. I was very proud of my team, and the other team as we all did so well, afterwards I won MVP during the awards and I was completely overjoyed, overall it was an amazing day I hope to experience again.
Purple Punisher: The bout was meant to be fun and it was just that! Being involved and being captain for the first junior roller derby bout in Scotland was extremely nerve wracking because there was nothing to live up to, we were setting the example. We learnt so much from the bout and the crowd really helped settle the nerves. We made history and being captain was amazing!
The bout awards were:
Best Jammer: Arch Enemy (Team White), Haylstone (Team Black)
Best Blocker: Teeny Bash (Team White), Crimson Crusader (Team Black)
MVP: Bon Jodie (Team White), Stunaimi (Team Black)
While this Saturday is very exciting for Scottish derby in itself, Sunday is equally exciting as it holds the debut bout for not one, but two teams: Dundee Roller Girls' new B-team, the Rising Stars, and Durham Roller Derby (the second roller derby league to hail from that city). They'll be playing each other in the second of two bouts held by Dundee (the first seeing the Silvery Tayzers face off against Roller Derby Leicester).
Given how rare it is to see a double debut, we caught up with both teams to see how they were feeling. For Dundee, we interviewed Rising Stars Captain: LowBlow Baggins (recently featured as one of their Skaters of the Month). Durham's responses are from Claire.
(To Dundee): How does it feel to be Captaining Dundee's new B team for their inaugural bout? LBB: It feels great knowing my team mates trust me enough to vote for me as captain. The Rising stars team is such an exciting thing for DRG and I'm just really happy to be a part of it.
(Dundee): I'm told that you had a long path getting here, injury postponing your initally planned appearance on track. Has this experience influenced your approach and feelings about debuting on Sunday?
LBB: I did unfortunately break my ankle at scrims, right before my first bout. After surgery I was off skates for about 4 or 5 months before returning which felt like a lifetime away from derby. When I first came back I spent a lot of time relearning basic skills and building up my confidence again. It gave me a chance to do other things such as Bench and Line Up so it was a great time to expand my knowledge of the sport. I actually popped my bout cherry two weeks ago as part of the Jutes of Hazzard in the second DRG Home Team game. It was scary and fantastic all at once. This Sunday I'm just looking forward to playing the best I can and enjoying my time on track.
(To Durham) Normally we’d ask how you’re feeling leading up to your first bout, but you’ve played in a bout before, with Durham City Rolling Angels (DCRA). How did that cherry popper experience compare to the anticipation of your first bout as a new league?
C: Our first cherry popper against Middlesbrough Milk Rollers' Rising Rollers was amazing. We were so privileged to have that experience of playing with DCRA after only a short time on skates (most of us who now skate with Durham Roller Derby (DRD) who skated with DCRA at the time, had only joined in the March previously, so had 6 months skating experience). To do a win was incredible, but we would never have had the skills or knowledge to pull it off if it wasn't for the hard work that Jonny and Bronia put in with all of us. They gave us not only their time and effort, but they planted a seed in us to make us become so completely absorbed by roller derby and skating that it has taken over our lives and created a bit of a Roller Derby monster in us all.
Now as a new league we have felt some pressure, to prove ourselves as a team. Not only from our phoenix-like beginnings but also due to the fact that there are two WFTDA affiliated leagues within about a 40 minute radius of us and amongst them are two Team England skaters [Terri Sudron and Ella Storey from MMR] and three Team Wales skaters [Newcastle Roller Girls' Gin and Sonic, Marie Bayonet and Hit One Purl One].
When we began with DCRA roller derby was still evolving, and it will be for years to come. It has changed significantly since our initial outing into the derby world from the effect of recent rules changes to new tactics and skater ability.
Now as DRD we feel stronger as a unit, and more driven. So although yes we’re nervous for our first public outing as a team we’re more excited just to see what we can actually do on the day.
(Durham) Of course, there are less experienced skaters than you in Durham Roller Derby; how have you been preparing the team as a whole for the bout against Dundee Rising Stars? (Dundee) As a B-team, how have you been preparing for the bout (have the Tayzers passed on any tips)?
C: We have very intensive, but fun training. Introducing stronger walls and integrating more dynamic blocking techniques have been our core area of focus.
We have made full use of all the resources available to us from utilising our new found derby links by attending various mixed scrims and cherry poppers, to simply engrossing ourselves in the MRDWC (we adore Spectral, he’s our idol here at DRD) and the WFTDA archives.
By simply watching our local leagues we also learn a thing or two, and can only thank them for their support so far. We are incredibly lucky to have such talent so close to home, and to have Moose [of MMR] benching us is on a Sunday is amazing.
We live by the theory that as a team you are only as strong as your weakest player - luckily due to the small numbers even if someone is struggling with one area, they get practically one on one coaching, and time, to get them up to the level we require.
Encouraging everyone to attend as many scrims, bootcamps and skate related activities we feel has also helped to enhance our team and if nothing else allowed our newer skaters to develop their skills and find their place within the team.
LBB: To prepare for the bout we have been working hard on our drills and scrimming as much as possible. We train with the Tayzers every week and they have given myself and all the other guys great advice. It will be a really awesome game and I hope everyone has fun watching us. :-)
(Both) With both teams new and unranked, it’s hard to predict a winner, let alone a score. What are your aims for this bout?
C: As corny as it sounds our aim is to go out and have fun - yeah a win would be awesome, but we have no idea how things are going to pan out. We could predict all we like but this is our first time figuring out if we’re going in the right direction as a team.
As long as we do ourselves proud and come away smiling we know we’ve had a good day, oh and obviously get some awesome photographs - we all love a good roller derby photo!
LBB: I think it's going to be such a fun game. We would of course love to win but I mainly want to make sure everyone on track has a great time. We have been training really hard, it's amazing watching everyone improve each week. I hope our team work shines through and that we make our Tayzers proud.
(Durham) Newcastle Roller Girls and, on the other coast Furness Firecrackers, have been visiting Scottish leagues a lot recently; Durham not being that much further away, are you planning any further bouts in scotland after this one?
C: After this we’re going to be focusing our attention on an intake. With only 11 members (9 bouting) we need extra bodies, as every league does. We hope to double our numbers, but we're also aware that Durham is a small city for two leagues. So we’ll be spending a lot of time focusing on that and getting our cubs [newbies] up and passed mins and beyond. (As part of this, Durham have made a video to promote themselves for tryouts)
Scotland is a relatively handy location for us Northern England based teams, and although we hope to fit some closed doors bouts or mixed scrims in before the years out we’ll probably use the intake period as an opportunity to assess how we did against the rising stars and what areas we need to develop as skaters - to take stock and then continue to push forward - but we’ll definitely be back up North of the Border soon!
This Saturday, Glasgow will witness the first ever public bout for the 2014 roster of Scotland's national women's Roller Derby team, Team Scotland. They'll be playing a hybrid team, the Euro Stars, featuring some of Scotland's best other skaters, and members of the Netherlands, Irish and Welsh and Swiss national teams!
Suffra Jett, one of the skaters joining the Team Scotland roster for 2014, told us, "I'm really stoked about my first game with Team Scotland. I feel really proud to be able to represent my country with a bunch of totally powerful and inspiring women and am looking forward to playing against such fierce opponents! Team Scotland have been working hard on gelling as a team, and hopefully on Saturday our hard work will pay off. Bring it!"
Speaking for the Euro Stars, Fierce Valley Roller Girls' FunGhoul said "Being asked to play for the Euro Stars is a huge honour. All the skaters are amazing players in their own right, and I can't wait to share a track with them. I'm also incredibly excited to get to be in the first team to play against our new national squad. I've skated with most of the Team Scotland ladies before, and I know how formidable they'll be as opponents!"
Team Scotland v Euro Stars will be the second bout of a double header, starting at 12 noon with Men's national team, Power of Scotland in a demonstration bout playing against themselves. This will also be your first opportunity to buy merchandise with the new Team Scotland logo on it, amongst the other fantastic stalls that will be present.
So, get along to the ARC Health and Fitness Centre in Glasgow Caledonian University on Saturday, to see what Scotland will be sending to Dallas this winter!
The event page is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/585745674873560/?ref=5 and tickets can still be booked online.
Announcing the 1st home game in the run up to the 2014 roller derby world cup in Dallas!!
Come and see not just one National team game, but two:
We will also be launching our new line of merch with our brand new logo, and there will of course be cake.
Each ticket bought in advance online will be entered into a prize draw to win some Team Scotland goodies!
Hope to see you there! x
Date(s) - 05/07/2014 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
On the Door: £8.
Bairn City Rollers are holding a Roller Derby taster Session. If you fancy going along to see what all the fuss is around one of the fastest growing sports in the world, then contact BCR at the email address on the Facebook event page. The event takes place at The Mariner Centre, Falkirk on Thursday the 26th of June at 8:30pm. Cost is £5 and kit is available to try. Please ensure you email BCR to register your interest in advance.
On Saturday 28th June, Fierce Valley Roller Girls' travel team, Parma Violents, will be playing host to Manchester Roller Derby's B-Team, Furies. The roller derby game will be played in Grangemouth Sports Complex: doors open at 3:30pm for a 4pm start.
This event will mark the Parma Violents' third home game of the year, but it will be first time that these two teams have met. The Parma Violents won against Glasgow's Cannie Gingers, but lost to Newcastle's Whippin' Hinnie - so it's all to play for!
There will a selection of team merchandise, crafts and home-baking for sale.
Tickets are £5 in advance when purchased from Brown Paper Tickets online, or £7 on the door. Under 14s gain free entry with a paying adult.
Please join FVRG's Facebook Event for more details.