New Town Roller Girls - Round up of 2014

Posted: by oneknownashaze
Tags:  interviews new town roller girls ntrg review of the year

This year one of our newly mins passed skaters interviews one of our long time skaters who is on the clutch of finishing off her own mins.

Introductions! Who are you? I’m Alison aka Woolly Thumper and I’ll have been with NTRG for 2 years in February.

What made you join roller derby and how long have you been playing? I was introduced to derby by my boss whose girlfriend was going through fresh meat with ARRG. He showed me some videos; I went to watch a couple of bouts and was hooked. I had a taster session with ARRG but their training venues and times didn’t work for me so derby went on the back burner until about a year later when I found out about NTRG. I met the team at a getting-to-know you night in the pub and strapped on a pair of skates the next day.

What has NTRG been up to so far this year?

This year we have been working on running our fresh meat program in a more formal, organised way which has been very effective and the impact can be seen in the amazing progress our freshies have made. Although we haven't really bouted as a league, our skaters have been bouting as guests for other leagues, in charity bouts and mixed teams and the whole league has benefited from what they have learned. We also took part in the Sur5ors tournament in October which was an amazing experience. We really enjoyed skating against some much more experienced skaters and I think we represented ourselves well. We have had a lot of support from skaters from other leagues, Mean City and Dundee especially, giving up their time to help coach us. We have learned loads and are so grateful, hopefully next year we will be able to pay it forward to other leagues.

What have been the highlights for the team & your own personal highlights? Highlights for the team would probably have to be Sur5ors and the great crop of new skaters we have coming through. I am making my way slowly through my mins so every extra lap on my 27/5 and every new skill nailed or fear faced is a highlight for me.

How are this year's fresh meat shaping up? AWESOME, lots of talent, determination and a lovely bunch too.

What's next for NTRG? 2015 is shaping up to be a pretty exciting year for us; in February we are taking part in Voodoo's Highland Rampage tournament which features 8 teams from across Scotland. We are also taking part in Tier 4 of the British Roller Derby Championships which will keep us busy throughout the year. We are not big enough to have our own home season (yet) so we are working to arrange some more bouts with other leagues both local and further afield.

Any final words? I'm really looking forward to 2015. Next year should see me popping my bouting cherry and skating out alongside my fantastic NTRG teammates. I consider myself very lucky to be part of such a lovely bunch of folk and I'm very proud to call myself a New Town Roller Girl.

Photo Courtesy of Rudi PateluchCourtesy of Rudi Pateluch

Fierce Valley Roller Cubs - Round-up of 2014

Posted: by camelondiaz
Tags:  articles fierce valley roller cubs interviews junior roller derby review of the year

After becoming Scotland’s only junior roller derby league on its launch in September 2013, 2014 has been another year of firsts for Fierce Valley Roller Cubs.


The year began with an intake of skaters in January, and the interest in junior derby has remained high enough to hold a further three intakes throughout the year. As of the end of 2014, FVRC currently has around forty skaters from across Central Scotland regularly attending at least one of our three sessions per week.

2014 was also a year of learning and adapting, not only for the young skaters but for the coaches too. When we found that a number of Cubs were passing their level one and level two assessments (taken from the JRDA), it became clear that two sessions on a Sunday would not be enough so a third session, for skaters aiming to pass level three, and focussing more on derby skills and gameplay, was added on a Friday evening. We also took the decision to have all skaters at the same level train together regardless of age rather than splitting them into two groups of 5-10 and 11-17 year olds. This has worked very well to this point and has helped kids of all ages to progress.

The first major milestone of 2014 came at the end of May, when Fierce Valley Roller Cubs were invited by ARRG to stage a demonstration at half time in one of their games. Despite some initial nerves, the Cubs were thrilled to have the opportunity to show off their skills in front of a large crowd at Meadowbank, and it was a proud moment for the coaches too.

Following this, July saw a week-long derby summer school held, which started with a taster session and included sessions from guest coaches from Power of Scotland and FVRG. The summer school was well-attended and popular with the Cubs, and is something we will look to repeat in summer 2015.

The culmination of the summer school, not to mention the months of hard work beforehand, was FVRC hosting the first ever public junior derby game in Scotland. Two teams of advanced Cubs skaters faced off in front of a large crowd in Grangemouth, and it was great to see the level of support from the wider derby community for our event.


As word of the Cubs spreads, we have been asked to visit schools and other groups to demonstrate what junior roller derby involves. Another demonstration scrimmage at half time in Capital City’s debut bout followed and brought us to the attention of a wider audience still.

2014 was rounded off with another game, this time as part of a Harry Potter-themed double-header with Fierce Valley Roller Girls. With more skaters involved, a number of whom who have now passed their level three assessments, the progression in skills, tactics and derby knowledge was apparent in a closely fought game.

Away from the track, we set up a Parents’ Committee which has been a great help to us in organising events including a family fun day, Halloween party and Christmas roller disco. In this way, we’ve seen that roller derby is something that whole families can become involved in.

All in all, 2014 has been hugely successful for Fierce Valley Roller Cubs – 2015 has a lot to live up to!

The last word on 2014 goes to Teeny Bash, who has taken part in every event this year and captained Team Ravenclaw in the second Cubs game.

20cubsrev214 was a busy year for FVRC, what will you remember most about it?

I will remember my first bout because it was the most exciting day ever. I couldn't sleep the night before and all I could think about was how it would feel to do the skate out that I have watched the roller girls do. My mum took me to watch a FVRG bout and I just wanted it to be me out there skating. I said one day I am going to make that team. That's my goal but I have to wait a whole 7 years, boo. :-(

FVRC made their public debut at an ARRG bout back in May, how did that feel?

Major butterflies!!! It felt amazing to be out there skating in front of the crowd cheering for the cubs. I felt so proud of being a roller cub that day. I think we showed them what us kids can do.

And how did it feel to play in the first junior roller derby bout in Scotland?

There will never be a first one again and I was there taking part in it. We made roller derby history that day and I was there, yey! I won't ever forget that day.

What did you learn this year, and what do you think was your biggest achievement?

To be good enough to do a double game with the big girls. My biggest achievement was passing my level 3 skills test which means I can now go out and play another team. I can't wait to play another team, and show how good we are getting.

I love love love roller derby!!! I tell everyone I know about roller derby and how great it is. I didn't want to do dancing like all the other girls my age did so was stuck, now I have something I love doing. I can skate and keep fit and enjoy myself. I made a lot of new friends at derby and we all get on with each other. I will never stop skating, ever.

Photos courtesy of Laura MacDonald.

Mean City Roller Derby - Round-up of 2014

Posted: by muir74
Tags:  articles mean city roller derby review of the year

If you think a week is a long time in politics – then you should try Mean City Roller Derby.

Twelve months packed full of arrivals, departures, dramas, delights – not to mention changes, challenges and rule tweaks to keep everyone on their toe-stops.

Over the course of a year, skaters fall in and out of love with the sport, teams10665957_10204310510036958_302354271905941179_n fragment, others solidify, new techniques are introduced, heroes rise and dynasties fall.

Mean City Roller Derby (MCRD) can look back with pride, joy and determination on an action-packed 2014 which saw them win two public games, become the first co-ed league in the West of Scotland and come together as an unbreakable unit.

Pride in the way the members have trained, played and been ambassadors for their sport.

Joy in the vast improvements made throughout the league on and off track.

Determination to keep improving on all fronts – playing more games, encouraging more women and men to join, and getting better and stronger as a team, as a league and as friends.

It’s been an astonishing 52 weeks for a league which took its first breath in 2012 – breaking new ground for men’s roller derby in Scotland - and has never looked back.

On 25 January 2014, Mean City joined with Bairn City Rollers to contest the very first public all-Scottish men’s roller derby league bout. The Skelpies took the scalps that day, but an unquenchable spirit was growing within Mean City, fostered by a new influx of skaters, trainers, supporters and officials.1544391_10202472724133459_526197638_n

It’s that spirit that has driven Mean City forward to make changes both on and off track during a momentous 2014.

May 10 saw Mean City travel down to the wonderful Barrow-in-Furness to play the equally-wonderful Infernos. The English lads lived up to their name as they gave Mean City a roasting hot reception – providing the Glasgow skaters with a lesson in walls, recycling and sizzling skills.

Despite the defeat, spirits remained high within Mean City, with a number of encouraging signs – more dedication at training, a willingness to learn and practise, and changes off the track to ensure the league was continuing to grow.

Next up for the ‘purple hearts’ was the Men’s Sur5al Tournament - hosted back down in Barrow by the Furness Firecrackers. A crack squad of skaters was assembled to take to the track against teams including Southern Discomfort, The Skateful Dead, The Inhuman League and Lincolnshire Rolling Thunder.

No-one really gave the Mean machine much of a sniff – so it was all the more amazing and satisfying when the City squad beat Southern Discomfort.

That’s right – Glasgow beat the best men’s derby team rolling in the UK. Okay it was one jam and under Sur5al conditions, but that matters not a jot – it’s not just the result, it’s the implication and the promise held therein.

Mean City Roller Derby was flying the flag for Scottish roller derby.

And they were doing it in style … by working, training and playing together.

Next up was an ambitious step for Mean City – on and off the track – a double header which would see MCRD host the mighty Teesside Skate Invaders in Glasgow.

The 8-Bit Brawl also involved Glasgow Roller Derby’s newest travel team, the Cannie Gingers, who took on Fierce Valley Roller Girls – with FRVG claiming the bragging rights.

That double header was history in the making - the first time a double header had been organised to include teams from both Glasgow leagues.

Onlookers might have expected a modest improvement from MCRD – perhaps a close game and a typically-Scottish narrow defeat. But the onlookers didn’t realise that Mean City had been working harder than the Italian Stallion when he hit the Russian hills in Rocky IV.

There was nothing rocky about the solid walls employed agains10649861_10100265501092704_2057552521662314684_nt Teesside and there was nowt ropey about the juking jammers who spun, ghosted and muscled their way through a tough team.

In the end, MCRD nabbed an historic 188-185 victory – their first public win – gloriously celebrated with Bench Manager Sara ‘Five Star Sylk’ McCann and their fans.

But the thrills and spills didn’t stop there – next up on 4 October 2014 was another double-header – this time featuring MCRD vs the Wirral Pack Animals and the Cannie Gingers against the Central Belters (from Bairn City Rollers).

If the onlookers didn’t fancy Mean City’s chances against the Skate Invaders then they gave them even less of a sniff against the fearsome Pack Animals – with their ferocious jammers and unyielding walls.

Said onlookers were soon left picking their jaws up at the floor (and portions of humble pie at the door) as Mean City bossed the game – skating out 163-136 winners.

That score doesn’t begin to tell the story of a team and a league who fought for every inch of track and for every one of their team-mates. It was an awesome performance and marked a real sea-change for Mean City.

But another sea change was about to take place behind the scenes. 10253967_10204310520997232_7704960216960451892_nThere had been a growing feeling within the league that it was time to take a brave step into new territory.

Responding to demand – both from within and outwith the league – it was decided that Mean City Roller Derby would become co-ed. Members felt Mean City should help lead the way into a new future for the sport – a future involving people of all genders and all backgrounds.

The move was not done on the spur of the moment – it was a logical and heartfelt conclusion to months of thought, discussion and soul-searching.

So 2014 ends with a new dawn – as Mean City Roller Derby takes its first steps towards a future packed with promise, fresh challenges and enough thrills and spills to keep Glasgow – and our sport – rolling for a long time to come.

MCRD Chair Alan Muir said, “This has been an unforgettable and unprecedented year for Mean City – it’s amazing how far you can travel in just 12 months. We’ve organised two double-headers – winning both of our games – and taken the scalp of the mighty Southern Discomfort.

“Allied to that we took the momentous decision to offer a roller derby home to people of all genders and from all backgrounds. We believe as a co-ed league we offer people the chance to play derby in a fun, committed and competitive environment – helping the sport we love to thrive.

“We would be now1622202_10202472783574945_823268585_nhere without the support of everyone involved with Mean City –skating, supporting, officiating, refereeing or cheering us on – and our brothers and sisters on and off skates around Scotland and beyond.

“On behalf of MCRD I would like to extend a special thanks to all the referees and NSOs – and all the volunteers - who have helped to keep us within the boundaries and on track during 2014.”

What will 2015 hold and where will it take Mean City? In the absence of a TARDIS we’re all just gonna have to find out one game, one jam and one practice session at a time.

There’s an old saying that it’s the journey that’s important – not the destination.

Mean City would just make one amendment:

It’s also about the people who walk (or skate) with you and the awesome folks you meet along the way.

Blood & Thunder World Cup - the Wrap Up.

Posted: by aoanla
Tags:  articles roller derby world cup 2014 team scotland tournament

So, as you read this, you'll all know that, while Team USA once again took 1st Place in a roller derby tournament, they were forced to work hard for it by both 2nd place England and 3rd place Australia (Australia's record low score differential against USA only being beaten by England's own score differential against the Americans hours later).

Unlike many of the commentators, we at the blog were elated but unsurprised by England and Australia's performance. England had previously beaten Canada this year (at Super Brawl of Roller Derby ) rather convincingly, and there was no particular reason to believe they couldn't repeat the performance a second time. Australia's team this year was looking exceptionally strong as well, with much more participation from Victorian Roller Derby, who are by far the strongest of the Australian leagues, with impressive performances in the USA this year.

We've done some post-facto analysis of the scores across the World Cup, and we've convinced ourselves that the available evidence supports the result of the tournament in placing England in 2nd (although we'd love to see Australia play England just to eliminate any doubt).

The full technical description of the process we adopted is over here on the author's occasional personal Wordpress to save space here. Associated with this is another essay explaining just why the Group+Single-elimination tournament structure chosen by the Cup has these ranking problems, and why, in particular, Germany is so horribly done by in the official B&T rankings.

After our extensive statistical analysis, however, we are happy to pronounce our Global Power ranking as:

  1. USA
  2. England
  3. Australia
  4. Canada
  5. Finland
  6. Sweden
  7. Scotland
  8. Argentina
  9. NewZealand
  10. Belgium
  11. Ireland
  12. France
  13. Colombia
  14. Germany
  15. Denmark
  16. Greece
  17. Brazil
  18. Norway
  19. WestIndies
  20. Wales
  21. Chile
  22. Netherlands
  23. Italy
  24. Spain
  25. Portugal
  26. Mexico
  27. SouthAfrica
  28. Switzerland
  29. PuertoRico
  30. Japan

(Note that this is not to say that the Blood & Thunder World Cup rankings are wrong - they are simply the rankings of how teams performed in the World Cup. Our ranking is an attempt to rank the National Teams in terms of how relatively good they are globally, which is not the same thing.)

The Future of Derby: Junior Roller Derby, Part Two

Posted: by camelondiaz
Tags:  articles doonhame derby dolls future derby interviews junior roller derby

In the second of our interviews on the current and future state of junior roller derby in the UK, we spoke to Debz "Dread Alert" McDowall of the Doonhame Derby Dolls, currently in the process of setting up a junior league.

What was behind your decision to set up a junior league?

As a Youth & Community worker I could see the massive benefit that derby could bring to the life of young women, in terms of self esteem, empowerment, health and wellbeing.

This is the actually the original reason I got involved in helping establish the Doonhame Derby Dolls.

Who is your league aimed at? Gender, age group etc?

League is still in its embryonic stages - we have been delivering in one of our local high schools (Maxwelltown High School) since August 2014 as part of their curriculum, targetted at the Senior Girls PE sessions which are 16-17yrs old. We aim to kick start our generic (out of school) juniors in the new year and we will be working with mainly young women / girls aged 11-17 (split into Under 13s, and then 13-17yrs). We will keep our minds open to co-ed but our focus will be on young women.

What obstacles have you faced in setting up your league?

Our biggest obstacle has been getting insurance, it is super expensive given that they see Derby as an extreme sport and add to that the fact we are working with under 18s, and it makes it an expensive insurance quote, even if you can actually get someone to consider insuring it. Given that we are all volunteers and need insurance as individuals it makes it costly for us as coaches / youth workers to cover this personally, as although we are working hand in hand with the Doonhame Derby Dolls the juniors side of things is being run separately so doesnt fall under their insurance.

Have you received much support from your local community and the derby community?

We have received tonnes of support from our local community (especially from the derby community ie local derby mums who are loving getting the chance to share some physical activity and an obsession with their daughters), we have sooo many people desperate to send their kids along once we get launched, we have had amazing support from the local Community Sport Hub Development Officer, and Active Schools Co-ordinators, and indeed from Maxwelltown High School who were eager and willing to pilot our project, and other schools are lining up locally for us to roll it out across their Senior Girls aswell now that they have seen the success of it for working with young women who dont normally participate in physical activities.

Did you do any research into interest in junior derby?

Yes, I researched the physical and mental health and the generic wellbeing outcomes for derby, and applied that to a youth work setting.

I also researched what other leagues were out there, and the way that other junior derby clubs run with regards to health and safety etc.

We posted out via our social media, and consulted with young women we knew to gauge interest.

Are you affiliated to any groups/organisations, either derby related or otherwise?

We are affiliated with our league (Doonhame Derby Dolls) who are in the process of being affiliated with UKRDA. And the local Sports Hub.

What is your overall aim for your league?

To increase the health and wellbeing, self esteem / confidence, empowerment and sense of community/belonging for local young women.

Provide a supportive and safe space for these young women as they develop into adulthood.

Where would you like to be in a year, and in 5 years?

In One Year: We would like to be running a weekly out of school session for 10-13year olds, another weekly session for 13-18 year olds, and running at least one session per week as part of one of our local schools' curriculum.

Be well established, well attended, have well informed adult volunteers who are skilled and confident in their youth work as well as their derby, and be having a great time with our juniors.

In 5 years time: all of the above plus I would like our juniors to be a strong team who are regularly bouting, travelling the country and having a blast! :D

What do you see as being important in the future of junior Derby in the UK?

To have a regulated body (something via UKRDA maybe?) which ensures all junior teams / leagues have robust policies and guidelines in place to ensure the safety of the juniors.

A strong network of junior leagues across the country, and some way of ensuring Insurance is easy and accessible and doesnt create the barrier that it currently is.

Do you think it's important to have a junior Derby infrastructure in the UK, i.e. For setting up tournaments etc.?

See my previous answer, yes I do!

The Future of Derby: Junior Roller Derby, Part One

Posted: by camelondiaz
Tags:  articles future derby interviews junior derby junior roller derby

Continuing on the theme of the future of roller derby, we turn our attention to the rapidly expanding world of junior derby. As the junior expo game at the World Cup showed, there is a wealth of talent coming through, ready to make the transition to the adult leagues. Closer to home, more leagues throughout the UK are setting up their own juniors sessions. Tiger Bay Cubs have been skating since January 2012 and hosted the landmark first public junior derby bout in the UK. We spoke to coach Pretty Grimm about the trials of setting up and developing a junior league, and their future vision for the Cubs.

What was behind your decision to set up a junior league?

Our junior league was founded by two skaters in the adults league that had a real passion and drive for making roller derby available to juniors. One skater is a high school teacher and really believes in what roller derby can do for young adults' confidence and development. We felt as a group of individuals that roller derby helps you grow on and off the track, not only do you get to learn an awesome sport and all the physical skills within that but it also gives the opportunity for young people to develop really essential life skills such as communication, working as a team and being comfortable discussing ideas and giving feedback to peers and authority figures.

Who is your league aimed at? Gender, age group etc?

Our league is aimed at any young adult between the age of 11-17. We want to be as inclusive as possible and are happy to teach people to skate safely and pass their skating minimum skills whether they progress to blocking minimum skills and eventually playing roller derby. If they decide that roller derby is not for them and they just want to skate we encourage them to still come to skate to work on their skills and have fun skating and maybe try out reffing or NSOing.

What obstacles did you face in setting up your league?

There are a lot of things to consider when setting up a junior league. Firstly we needed to make sure that we were following government guidelines and our coaches all have the required safety checks to work with children and young adults. We are very fortunate that we have support from our local government which includes us in a programme for young adults to try out different sports. This programme helped us ensure that we adhered to all the guidelines set out for us and gave us a regular training spot.

Ensuring that the Tiger Bay Cubs was an affordable, approachable and available league was also a struggle at first. We wanted to make sure that people could join no matter what their circumstances. We therefore offer kit hire for free and the skating sessions for free however fundraising and helping the league financially is often difficult.

Recruiting new members and having people be aware of us is and has always been a struggle. Coaches who have full time jobs as well as adult league training on top of being a junior league coach can struggle to make time in the day to get out to schools to promote the junior league. However we have goals set in place for a recruitment drive in early 2015 which will hopefully battle some of these issues.

Have you received much support from your local community and the derby community?

Our junior derby community although very small is very supportive. Parents of the junior league members have always been very supportive. Some of the parents of our members have actually started playing roller derby themselves as a result. Other parents travel over an hour to get their kids to practice and we have a committee which is partly made up of parents too. The roller derby community is always supportive of other roller derby leagues (big or small quite literally) without the support of adult roller derby players we wouldn't have such a strong league now. We have been going almost 3 years now which is incredible.

Did you do any research into interest in junior derby?

This is something we are currently trying to work on with our local government support officer. We want to get out and see how many local schools know about us and if we can offer taster sessions during school hours to get us to increase interest and skater numbers.

On a wider scale we have a great relationship with our UKRDA reps especially Judge Redd who is the Junior Derby Director on the board of directors for the UKRDA. We work to get our juniors bouting and playing other leagues around the UK. We are currently discussing more bouting opportunities around the country so stay tuned for more information.

Are you affiliated to any groups/organisations, either derby related or otherwise?

As mentioned above we have a great amount of support from our local government. They are a pivotal part in the running on the junior league.

What have biggest challenges been in becoming a bouting team?

Numbers, money and finding teams to play!

Skater numbers can always be an issue especially when you have young adults reaching adulthood and have other commitments such as school work, part time jobs and socialising outside of school. We are very fortunate to have some very dedicated skaters in our league both old and new who have stuck with us and have helped us reach a point where we are able to start bouting publically again. We also recently had a group of players who turned 18 which meant that they were unable to skate for the junior league any longer which left a big gap in our team.

As we are a community supported league we struggle with being able to fund a lot of things that we need in order to run as a league and thing such as hall hire for a bout is just too far out of our reach at the moment. We are however working very hard with our government support officer to increase numbers, training time, awareness of the sport and hopefully that will mean that our numbers will grow and we will be able to organise another home game.

We also try to apply for a lot of community grants to help support the league however these are in high demand from sports clubs all over South Wales. We have previously had grant funding and put that into kit to enable skaters to come to try out the sport without the financial burden of buying equipment.

We are currently in discussions with the UKRDA and other junior leagues about more regular junior games and hopefully working towards a junior weekend tournament which would be super exciting. So watch this space!

How much difficulty have you faced in finding opponents?

Finding a full team of 14 to play at the moment is extremely difficult however we do not have a full team of 14 ourselves! Bouting with a full roster of a junior league is just not feasible at the moment. However as we mentioned above we are looking into how we can play other leagues with reduced numbers, logistics of travel etc and how we can bring help advance the current state of junior roller derby at this time. Hopefully early 2015 will bring some exciting new things for junior roller derby.

What is your overall aim for your league?

We want to be inclusive to all those who want to skate. We are happy to develop all female, all male and co-ed teams to have a strong bouting junior roller derby league. Our juniors currently train as a co-ed team and we hope with more members we can build a strong team for all three types of bouting derby.

We want to be able to play across the UK and Europe and maybe even one day play internationally.

Where would you like to be in a year, and in 5 years?

As a league in a year's time we would like to have more bouting experience under our belt and of course work towards getting a full roster of skaters to bouting level.

In 5 year's time we would like to be bouting regularly and have a few tournaments under our belt maybe even one in the US.

What do you see as being important in the future of junior derby in the UK?

Support and nourishment of junior teams. Junior roller derby helps pave the future for our adult leagues in years to come. We need support from our adult leagues, the community, parents and our local authorities.

It's also important to give young adults the opportunity to learn and grow at an early age. It's very exciting to think what that could mean for not only junior derby in itself but also adult derby when junior skaters turn 18.

Watching our junior skaters over the past three years has been awesome. Not just for their ability to skate but also to see what type of people they are becoming. Roller derby doesn't just become exercise for these skaters, similarly to the adults league it becomes part of who you are. Many of our skaters who have been with us for the three years have become amazing individuals and we need more of that.

Do you think it's important to have a junior Derby infrastructure in the UK, i.e. for setting up tournaments etc.?

In my opinion yes. Everyone involved in roller derby can agree that it is a sport that takes up a lot of time and when you are a volunteer to your adult league, junior league, your job and your family as well as trying to raise funds, awareness and find time to skate it can be very difficult to work towards the bigger picture.

Having an infrastructure and support on a wider scale would help advance junior derby further than where we are at, at this point.

Also from a skater's perspective it is that driving force of something to work towards. If we were able to have tournaments or even more regular games it would help grow the sport and keep the current skaters we have.

New faces at the Capital City Vice Quad Bout

A few months back, Capital City introduced a few new faces into the world of Scottish roller derby when we took part in a co-ed bout with Bairn City Rollers. Forward on a few months and we are at it again. This time it's our very first home bout and our first bout as Capital City’s Mighty Unicorns. Our opponents were Bristol Roller Derby’s Vice Quads, a team which may have been around for a similar length of time as ourselves but had already bouted the likes of Quads of War, SWS b, The Crash Test Brummies and a few more to boot.

The bout itself kept all who were watching on the edge of their seats from the first whistle to the last jam. Bristol may have took an early lead but we worked hard to pull the score line back into our favor during the first half. The scores remained close throughout the game right up to the final whistle, when it ended 173 - 164 in our favor (only a 9 point difference).

Those of you who were there will have recognized a few familiar faces from the last couple of years in our ranks along with our newer bouters from our co-ed game along with some brand new faces. This time we had the pleasure of introducing you all to Bruise Campbell, JAKILL3, Sassenick and Wrighteous. I managed to catch up with three of our new faces after the bout for a quick interview.

Bruise Campbell Bruise Campbell picture by Capital City

JAKILL3 JAKILL3 picture by Capital City

Sassenick Sassenick picture by Capital City

Wrighteous Wrighteous picture by Capital City

JAKILL3 #317 (JK) Sassenick #149 (SN) Wrighteous #626 ( W)

How did you find out about Derby and CCRD?

(W): Found out about derby through a friend, derby name Hazzard, who skates with NTRG. She took me to a few of the AARG bouts and i was hooked, and after I was given a link for mens derby bout i knew i had to get involved.

Unfortunately I missed the fresh meat intake, but luckily NTRG allowed myself to train with them where i passed my mins. luckily got to join CCRD at the next fresh meat where i was asked if i would like to join the team.

(SN): Originally found out about derby through a university friend (Jess E. Ska from GRD), but then my girlfriend got involved in ARRG and dragged me along to an open skating event. I loved it, and as soon as she told me about CCRD, I decided to give it a shot.

Having not skated previously how did you find working towards and passing your mins?

(JK): I found learning to skate with ccrd very easy and the guys at the club are great to get on with, teaching you with a lot of patience and good humor and breaking each lesson down into a skill block at a time.

(SN): Because we're quite a small league, the first six months or so that I was skating I was thrown in the deep end. There were 4 of us who were new to Derby, but the rest of the regular attendees ended up representing Power of Scotland at the World Cup. It was hard not to compare myself to them at first, but as more new people arrived I realised just how much I'd come on, and that gave me a huge confidence boost and it became a lot easier.

Picture courtesy of Scott Carroll Photography Picture courtesy of Scott Carroll Photography

What would you say has been your biggest achievement so far in derby?

(W): It would have to be receiving the award for best jammer at the CCRD bout against Bristol.

I honestly thought HaJuken or Dafty would have won that award and was completely stunned when my name was called. Plus having my family and friends there to see it made it that much more memorable.

(JK): Passing my mins and be able to play against bristol vice squad, where our team played well together and I got awarded best blocker from the bristol vice squad guys.

(SN): In Derby generally, I was an NSO for the final of the 2014 Men's European Cup, which was an amazing experience.

As a skater, it has to be the first time we played together as a team. We had a closed scrim against Mean City who are much more experienced at skating together, and I felt like I knew what was happening, and that I was being useful. It was a great feeling.

Did you get any pre first bout nerves?

(JK): A little, didnt want to let the team down. But with great organisation and guidance from the more advanced players it made the day a lot more enjoyable.

(SN): Oh yes. I was having a major panic, and I had to go and sit on my own in the changing room with my headphones in to calm down. As soon as the warm up started though, all that disappeared and I was fine.

(W): I was nervous all the way until bout day arrived, where i found myself really relaxed and just pumped up. I could not wait to get on track and just have fun on the day. If you had asked me before bout day i honestly thought i would be so nervous i would have thrown up on the track.

Picture courtesy of Scott Carroll Photography Picture courtesy of Scott Carroll Photography

Playing in and winning your first ever bout must be a dream come true, how did you feel after the final whistle and the official score went up on the scoreboard?

(JK): Well it was touch and go at the end, but when the final decision came to our advantage I was over the moon a bit emotional. I feel I worked hard to get there and with the team it made it not only my proudest day but the happiest.

(W): Ecstatic, I had a great time, the team played amazingly and it was a great and very competitive bout. I was all over the place wondering if we had won or not, but when the score became official i was just ecstatic. My first ever bout with a team i had only just joined a few weeks ago and we won against Bristol Vice Quads, could not ask for anything better.

What sticks in your memory most from your first bout?

(SN): At one point I managed to force a track cut. Not a huge thing in the scheme of things, but I did it without thinking, and it was the first time that I can point to that I was playing smart.

(W): There was a point when I was trying to get through the pack as a jammer, when I got hit back slightly. HaJuken was behind me and caught me just before I started to fall, pushed me back up and through the side of the pack to get lead jammer. It was just a fantastic bit of team work by HaJuken and watching it back on video and in pictures shows how good a player he is.

(JK): Just how much work and time and effort goes into getting the bout ready for the day.

Did you get any good advice that helped you on track or prepare for the bout?

(W): I think the best bit of advice was just what we had been given as a team which was to keep our heads, keep calm and have fun. Let them make mistakes, don't get riled up when hit just do what we do best.

(JK): Ginge ..advised us to stay calm all the time which I need, I am easily distracted and get over competitive and can get stuck in the moment.

(SN): "Don't worry about it. You know what you're doing, so stop freaking out. Push yourself in your warm up, and you'll be fine."

Is there any advice you could give others who have their first bout still to come?

(W): Keep calm and have fun.

(JK):  Stick in, train hard and If your not falling your not trying hard enough. As you have to push yourself to learn quicker. Also remember theres a team to support you. and as my second name sake bobby mcferrin sings "dont worry... be happy" and try and relax

Picture by Chris Renton Picture by Chris Renton

Are there any skaters (Male or Female) who inspire you?

(SN): Far too many. I'm still pretty much in awe of Rose City Wheels of Justice blockers after watching them in the WFTDA champs.

(JK): Well the list is so long I’d love to be as fast as craig (Tequila) and as tough as gregg (Dafty) and but as calm as hannah (Ginge) and as calming as marco (Despicable V). I find that most of the team are great mix of all of the above. Also admiral attackbar from arrg.

(W): Hazzard from NTRG, she puts a lot of hard work into her team and is a fantastic skater. Can not wait till she is skating for team Scotland. Optimus Grime from Mean City and now part of Power of Scotland. He is just a great all round player and have been lucky enough to have trained with and scrimmed against him on a couple of occasions.

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?

(S): The biggest thing I learned about my skating was that I really need to work on the basics - ploughing especially. In almost all the pictures of me, I'm t-stopping which is really ineffective in a game situation!

(JK): Better bridging, walls, stopping faster also building my stamina and strength and not forgetting my dark side over competitiveness.

(W): To build on my skills and look to improve my all round game, and hopefully one day maybe even try out for Power of Scotland.

Picture courtesy of Scott Carroll Photography Picture courtesy of Scott Carroll Photography

Roller Derby World Cup - Day 3 Review

Day 3 of the second ever Blood & Thunder Roller Derby World Cup was devoted to the first stage of the Elimination round, along with the completion of the Consolation bouts for those teams not finishing in the top of their group.

Overall, due to the pairing of Group #1 seeds against Group #2 seeds in the Elimination bracket, it has to be said that the closest and most exciting bouts of the day were mostly in the Consolation round.

While they seemed less certain in the first period, Team Japan pulled out easily the best performance of their tournament in the second period of their Consolation bout against Mexico, really showing how much they've developed as a team over the past few days (even if both teams had an overflowing penalty board by the end of the game...).  Switzerland v Italy was a very close to-and-fro game, especially in the first period. Once again, accumulated penalties told on both teams, and Italy pulled ahead for the win in Period 2. And Denmark v Portugal once again repeated the same story - a close first period, with Denmark turning on the gas in the second to secure a convincing win.

Over in the Elimination bouts, Norway, West Indies and Brasil all had predictably crushing bouts against the probable top three in the tournament; USA, England and Canada. Brasil managed to score an impressive 75 points against Canada, however, showing what a great team they've become since the 2011 Cup!

Sweden, New Zealand, Finland and Argentina had less easy groups to win, but triumphed over Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, France in the end. Of these, the Argentina v France bout was the only truly close bout of the Top 16 playoffs, with the result completely unpredictable during the first period.

With the rankings going into the Final 8 being determined by score difference in the previous single bout, this close Argentina win rather sealed their fate, as the #8 Seed must play #1, the dominant USA.

Over to Scotland, however, where our team was unlucky enough to be drawn against Australia, #4 placed team from 2011, and probable #3 or #4 place contestors in this tournament. It was a difficult first period for Scotland, with some incredible displays of blocking and jamming on track; however, Australia managed to control the lead jammer position for the entire first period, preventing Scotland's excellence from doing anything other than limiting Aussie scoring. In the very last jam of the period, a star pass to Kerr during a leadless jam, allowed a literal last-second score, putting a single point on the board for Scotland!

Rejuvenated by breaking their duck, Scotland returned to the 2nd Period determined to mix it up. Liston, jamming for the first time in the game (tournament?), picked up the first lead jammer call for Scotland during the opening (power) jam and the first grand slam pass seconds later. This was the start of a much more confident play by Scotland, with Gow taking a natural lead jammer call soon after, although being forced to call after a single scoring pass after a block knocked her face first into the concrete floor (this also put her out of action in the line-up while she was checked out by the medics). A few power jams for both teams (including a couple of jams where both Scotland and Australia's jammers headed to the box simultaneously), and the Australian blocking mostly told, despite sterling blocking by Maclean, Davis, Liston, Parry (until she fouled out), Cider, Kerr, Simpson and Skinner in particular on the Scottish team.

In the end, a scrappy final jam featuring more alternating jammer penalties, brought the score to 464-35 for a deserved Australia win, but a hard fought one against Scotland's resilience.

At the quarter final, then, the drawing of high seeds against low continued to produce some predictable blowouts, with USA destroying Argentina just like they destroyed everyone else in the tournament, and England taking a very convincing win over Sweden. Being closer to the middle of the seeds, the Canada - Finland and Australia - New Zealand bouts were slightly less one sided, with Finland standing up pretty well to the #3 seed and taking home 145 pts to Canada's 290.

USA will play #4 seed Australia today, before number #2 and #3 seeds England and Canada duke it out. The winners will go through to the Final, while the losers will play for 3rd place in a last minute change to the schedule (check our UK timetable for the accurate timings).

Now, a brief digression for a slightly controversial statement.

Blood and Thunder's official "Knockout standings" (which are based on the score differentials only for the Group of 16 bouts, as far as we can tell) are [taken from their Facebook page]: OFFICIAL KNOCKOUT ROUND STANDINGS:

  1. Team USA Roller Derby
  2. Team England Roller Derby
  3. Team Canada B&T World Cup
  4. Team Australia
  5. Team New Zealand Roller Derby
  6. Team Finland (Roller Derby)
  7. Team Sweden Rollerderby
  8. Selección Argentina de Roller Derby
  9. Team France Roller Derby
  10. Team Ireland Roller Derby
  11. Team Belgium Roller Derby
  12. Team Netherlands - Women's Roller Derby
  13. Team Scotland Roller Derby
  14. Roller Derby Brasil
  15. Team West Indies - Roller Derby World Cup.
  16. Team Norway Roller Derby

Needless to say, the Top 8 rankings may change based on the games still to play (although we at the Blog believe that England does have a strong chance to beat Canada to 2nd place).

What's more problematic is that the placements in the bottom 8, including Scotland, are apparently based only on a single score differential, so teams like Norway, Scotland, West Indies and Brasil are penalised by taking on the eventual number 1-4 seeds in their only rank-contributing bout. We at the Blog disagree strongly with this ranking approach, as it can be shown to underrank those 4 teams - the highest rank Scotland could expect would be 12, under this approach, which they have been assigned. In the particular case of Scotland, it rankles more, however, as, if we compare the results of Scotland v Finland in the group stage (126-78 for Finland, a 2/3 length bout), and the results of Belgium v Finland in the Elimination stage (383:124 for Finland), it is very clear that Scotland should be ranked above Belgium. Based on other pairwise score-comparison considerations, we believe that Scotland's "true" rank in the tournament is probably 10th, narrowly ranked just above Ireland (who Scotland beat not long ago at the Road to Dallas tournament). We believe Norway is strongly penalised by their matching against USA as well, and think their rank should also be at least 2 higher than it actually is in the table.

The full score table for the day is below:


3:00PM GR 7-1 (Canada 581) VS. GR 2-2 (Brazil 75) GR 3-1 (Sweden 303) VS. GR 6-2 (Ireland 133) 3:10PM CONSOLATION 3 ( Japan 114) VS. 4 (Mexico 278)
5:00PM GR 1-1 (NZ 356) VS. GR 8-2 (Netherlands 91) GR 8-1 (USA 854) VS. GR 1-2 (Norway 6) 5:10PM CONSOLATION 2 ( Switzerland 136) VS. 5 (Italy 193)
7:00PM GR 2-1 (France 162) VS. GR 7-2 (Argentina 205) GR 4-1 (Finland 383) VS. GR 5-2 (Belgium 124) 7:10PM CONSOLATION 3 (Wales 395) VS. 6 (Puerto Rico 75)
9:00PM GR 5-1 (Australia 464) VS. GR 4-2 (Scotland 35) GR 6-1 (England 708) VS. GR 3-2 (West Indies 31) 9:10PM CONSOLATION 2 (Portugal 135) VS. 7 (Denmark 245)
11:00PM TEAM 1 (USA 569) VS. TEAM 8 (Argentina 14) TEAM 3 (Canada 290) VS. TEAM 6 (Finland 145) 11:10PM CONSOLATION 1 (Chile 116) VS. 8 (Germany330)
01:00AM(SUN) TEAM 3 (England 278) VS. TEAM 7 (Sweden 72) TEAM 4 (Australia 284) VS. TEAM 5 (New Zealand 56) 01:10AM(SUN) CONSOLATION 7 (Denmark 332) VS. 8 (Puerto Rico 169)

Roller Derby World Cup Day 2 - Review

After a second exciting day of Group bouts, here's what our table looked like:

As a correction from yesterday, it appears that the labelling on the official schedule confused us: any team not in the top 2 in their group pass through to the Consolation round, with one game each (except those in Group 7 and 8 who get two games, as there's only one of them for each Group, and they got less Group games in total). Our UK and Japan time schedules are now updated to reflect that fact.

So, on to the Derby: As is often the case for the second round of groups, most of the really tight games were in the second day. That said, we started with Finland, Australia and England getting the blow-outs that we expected against Mexico, Greece and Ireland (not to say the latter are poor teams, but the former are really exceptional).

Fighting it out for the second place in their group brought grit to the Switzerland v Brasil bout, with Brasil just pulling out the edge in an exciting bout (one for the archives if you missed it). While West Indies won both their bouts (against Japan and Chile) to put themselves into the second position in Group 3, neither of their opponents disgraced themselves, with Japan showing how much they'd learned just in the previous day of play, and Chile holding on until the very last jam!

On to Scotland:

As we mentioned yesterday, Scotland needed to beat Colombia in order to make it through to the Elimination round. While Colombia had periods of control on the track, taking lead jammer mostly when Scotland had a blocker deficit on track, and both teams suffered some penalty issues (there were jams for both teams where they had to cope with having only a single blocker on track), Scotland's excellent pack work, lead by Maclean, Skinner, Parry, Cider, and Davis and Kerr, told in the end ('Splat' Kerr developed a particular skill for knocking Colombian jammers out of attempted apex jumps). Despite a tired O'Carroll and her Colombian opponent spending the second-last jam taking two trips to the penalty box each, in general the Scottish jamming was also excellent, with Gow, Rogue, Hyndman and O'Carroll all able to trust their blockers, and get on with dedicating their skill to scoring. In the end, the balance of jammer penalties, and the superior track control when there was no pack deficit against them, told in Scotland's favour.

Scotland will play the mighty Australia on Track 1 at 9pm UK time today.

Belgium, Netherlands, Ireland and England, the other teams in the tournament featuring Scottish skaters, also made it through to the Elimination stage. Belgium, Netherlands and Ireland, being 2nd in their groups, face tough 1st Group place opponents today in Finland, New Zealand, Sweden, while England, having easily taken their 1st Group place, have the West Indies as their first opponents.

Match ups in the second stage of the elimination are to be decided by the overall score difference after the first round, so even a close game could make all the difference (for the winner) for a better draw in the Quarter Final later on in the day.


After the final Group bouts, the schedule managed to sneak in a few more special games: the first two Consolation bouts, with Colombia triumphing over Greece, and Spain taking their first win of the tournament over South Africa. We suspect that many of the viewers were tuned into the Vagine Regime Expo bout on Track 3, however, where PanGina pulled ahead from a close half time score versus Queerope to take a commanding win in the second period.

The day concluded with another Expo of top skill, the Team USA "Stars and Stripes" bout, where Stars took the close win against Stripes 134:129.


3:00PM FINLAND (312) VS. MEXICO (38) AUSTRALIA (449) VS. GREECE (17) 3:10PM ENGLAND (329) VS. IRELAND (50)
5:40PM NEW ZEALAND (250) VS. WALES (60) FRANCE (310) VS. PORTUGAL (36) 5:50PM SWEDEN (296) VS. CHILE (39)
7:00PM SCOTLAND (230) VS. COLOMBIA (53) ITALY (86)VS. BELGIUM (273) 7:10PM GERMANY (216) VS. SPAIN (70)
10:00PM CONSOLATION 4 (Colombia 305) VS. 5 (Greece 136) CONSOLATION 6 (South Africa 143) VS. 1 (Spain 227) 10:00PM VAGINE REGIME EXPO BOUT

Blood and Thunder World Cup Day 1 Review

So, that was exciting. 27 games in the placement groups, lead to the scores in the groups now sitting as below (assuming one point for each win):


While Derby Central is working hard on a more complete review of the day, we'll try to summarise a bit before we talk about Scotland.

We believe that the structure for the tournament is that the 4th-placed team in any group will drop out after the group rounds, the 3rd position will take the Consolation position with the same number as their group, and the 1st and 2nd positions will enter the Elimination rounds to play for ranking.

So, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Finland, Australia, Ireland, Canada and the USA are all safely through to the Elimination rounds already, as 2pts would already place them all at 1st or 2nd place in their group.

South Africa, Switzerland, Mexico, Italy are probably already "out" after losing both their games, with only a tough game left today, although Switzerland have a chance at winning their game v Brazil and bringing their group to a points-difference call; West Indies and Japan will play to see which of them gets into the Consolation round for their group today, as will Germany & Spain, Denmark & Argentina, Puerto Rico & The Netherlands.

Speaking of Scotland in particular, they played two bouts on Thursday:

After some brilliant play against Mexico, Team Scotland picked up their important first win, displaying good control of the track for the entire 40 minute game. Beautiful jamming from Jenny "Attackbar" Gow, Marshall Lawless and Rogue Runner in particular, with Mexico's jammers overwhelmed by the usual solid play by "Crazylegs" Parry, Ciderella, (Steph) Skinner Alive, "Splat" Kerr, and Grace "Mona" Maclean on the blocking side.

Finland proved a tougher test for Scotland, as they were always going to be. Nevertheless, the scores after the first half were within 15 points of each other, and it looked like Scotland were still within reach of a win. After Finland's Mia, jamming, gave away 3 power jams in a row, it looked even more achievable, despite some very hard blocking from Finland making it hard for any of Scotland's talented jammers to pick up points. However, some excellent performances from Finland's star jammer, SuperMaria, and a little penalty trouble, kept Finland's lead ahead, resulting in a Scotland loss.

With 1 pt in the group, Scotland will enter the Consolation round if they fail to defeat Colombia today at 7pm. Given Finland's performance against the Colombians, however, it seems most likely that Scotland will prevail, gaining the 2nd point in the group to place them into the Elimination round as the 2nd place seed from Group 4. (This makes them very likely to play Australia as their first opponent!).

Outside of Team Scotland, but still involving Scottish Players: Auld Reekie's Lilo & Stitches contributed strongly to Belgium's jamming line up (under the first part of her birth surname, deBuyl), and Sarah McMillan and Chemikill Hazard were big parts of Ireland's lineups. Jen Sykes, who spent some time down in London, still counts as a Scottish skater now she's up in Glasgow again, and she did her usual sterling work as part of the mighty English team, and Crazily Insanne at least got to play against the USA as part of Team Netherlands (although of course, no-one is going to defeat team USA!). Scottish referee Righteous Oxide was also spotted officiating several of the bouts, and Granite City's smacklemore was in evidence commentating (including on the Scotland/Finland game).

Our full score matrix from Day One is below (Flat Track Stats are also tracking scores as usual):


4:20PM SOUTH AFRICA (97) VS. WALES (200) BELGIUM  (174) VS. GREECE (96) 4:30PM USA (505) VS. NETHERLANDS (15)
7:00PM BRAZIL (167) VS. PORTUGAL (144) SPAIN (74) VS. IRELAND (203) 7:10PM SCOTLAND (207) VS. MEXICO (45)
9:40PM JAPAN (53) VS. CHILE (296) USA (637) VS. PUERTO RICO (3) 9:50PM ITALY (82) VS. GREECE (125)
11:00PM FINLAND (126) VS. SCOTLAND (78) NEW ZEALAND (315) VS. SOUTH AFRICA (15) 11:10PM ENGLAND (290) VS. SPAIN (20)
00:20AM(FRI) COLOMBIA (163) VS. MEXICO (75) NORWAY (150) VS. WALES (105) 00:30AM(FRI) GERMANY (129) VS. IRELAND (142)
01:40AM(FRI) FRANCE (315) VS. BRAZIL (14) SWEDEN (459) VS. JAPAN (0) 01:50AM(FRI) SWITZERLAND (132) VS. PORTUGAL (139)