Powering up Scotland - Mission Canada is underway...

Every passionate Scot dreams of one day pulling on1959312_449090048556800_2001698922_n the dark blue to represent their country at a World Cup.

For the vast majority that’s how it remains – an unfulfilled daydream during a drizzly Monday lunchtime at the office.

But lining up for Scotland is the tantalisingly achievable goal for a group of dedicated sportsmen who are determined to fly the flag in Canada in 2016.

This isn’t football, rugby or hockey – its roller derby – and the guys are turning to girl power to help ensure the wheels don’t come off skating’s 21st-century answer to ‘Ally’s Tartan Army’.

Power of Scotland – the national men’s roller derby team – has appointed a coach, head coach, manager and selectors.

They are all experienced, passionate, skilful skaters – and they’re all women.

It’s a refreshing change from male-dominated pursuits such as football and rugby, but that’s par for the course in a sport which routinely challenges stereotypes, shuns convention and rolls to its own rhythm.

Head Coach for the Men's Roller Derby World Cup 2016 is Hannah Grant (aka Ginge) from Edinburgh, with assistant coach Laura Liston (Milky) from Dundee adding to the dynamic dream team.

Manager Nikki Morris from Aberdeen is also in place, as well as three experienced selectors – all female – drawn from across the UK.

Ginge was assistant coach for Power of Scotland (PoS) at the first Men’s World Cup in Birmingham last year.

She said: “It has been a wonderful and rewarding experience with Power of Scotland. We worked hard in the run-up to the 2014 World Cup and it was a thrill to see the guys develop their skills and teamwork.

“To then see them take to the track against the likes of the all-conquering USA, Japan, Canada and Wales was an experience I will never forget. I was so proud of them all.

“I am hoping to take the inspiration and experience we gained from last year’s World Cup and channel it towards Canada in 2016. I am sure that working together we can break new ground for men’s skating in Scotland.”

PoS try-outs are taking place on April 18th and May 23rd – with Scottish skaters gearing up to attend from all over the UK.

After the try-outs, the selection committee will choose a training squad of 30 skaters, who will then meet up a once a month and hone their skills, stamina and teamwork.

In October the selection committee will come together again to watch a Scotland vs Scotland scrimmage made up of the training squad, which will then be whittled down to the squad of 20 who will go to Calgary for the World Cup in June 2016.

Ginge said: “An attendance policy will be in place to ensure the PoS players spend as much time as possible on-track with their team-mates. League attendance could also be a factor – which helps to ensure that regional set-ups continue to thrive and strive forward.

“Training and working together is essential. It is fine being a great skater, but working instinctively with team mates you know inside-out is what will give us the edge.

“In terms of the try-outs we will be looking for skating skills, tactical awareness, strategy implementation, good sportsmanship and the ability to operate as a team player.

“The selectors have been chosen very carefully for their knowledge and involvement in men's derby tactics and also co-ed derby skating.”

Ginge added: “I am so excited to be part of PoS again. Roller derby is growing as a sport for women and men – working together we can help that to continue, both in Scotland and beyond.

“It’s going to be a fantastic journey to the World Cup and I can’t wait to get stuck in with such inspirational sports people.”

The MRDWC 2016 will take place in Calgary, Alberta, Canada in July 2016. At least 20 nations are expected to compete for the right to be champions of the world.

If you’re interested in trying out for Power of Scotland visit www.facebook.com/PowerOfScotland

The team are also on the look-out for a treasurer and fundraisers.

Meanwhile, PoS is calling on artists and designers to come up with a fresh new logo for the team. Visit the team page for the full details.

Interview with BCR and CCRD Captains after their first clash

Recently Bairn City Rollers, Skelpies welcomed Capital Citys Mighty Unicorns in what was their first game against each other and the first game in the newly created Scottish Men's Roller Derby Nationals (SMRDNs). We caught up with both team captains to find out their thoughts on their first encounter and the first game of the SMRDNs.

Dreads #5 Skelpies Captain (D) Despicable V #5 Mighty Unicorns Captain (V)

You Both recently made captains of your respective teams, How did it feel to make Captain and lead your team in the first ever SMRDNs game?

D: I was our vice captain for the past two years so I suppose that kind of helped with the preparation. With this being the first ever Nationals there was obviously a bit of pressure but I’m glad that I did it. I’m pleased with our win but this game shows we’ve still got plenty to work on.

V: I had only been captain for about three weeks before our game and have to admit it was a bit of a shock being voted in as I was up against some tough competition within CCRD for it. It was a bit daunting as this was only our second game and Tequila had done such a great job as captain at our last, so I had big boots to fill. It was all a bit like a baptism of fire as everything passed so quickly from being made captain till after the game. We knew it was always going to be a tough game as the Skelpies are a tough team, congratulations to them on the win they really made us work for every point.

dreads blocking Picture courtesy of Laura MacDonald

Both teams contained skaters who played with Power of Scotland at the world cup last year, including yourselves. Was it strange to skate against people who you used to look to as teammates?

D: To be honest I’m just impressed that I didn’t try to wall up with the wrong skaters or take a whip from one of them! In a way the game was similar to the PoS Team Blue vs Team White game last year in that I was both playing against and alongside my PoS teammates.

V: Like Dreads said it was a bit like the PoS vs PoS game last year. It was odd having some skaters on the opposition who I've played with in PoS and the jakeys and I did find myself a couple of times having to think twice when I saw one of the skelpies i had skated with previously.

This was the first time that both teams have played each other and was only CCRD’s second game. How do you feel CCRD played for their second game?

D: Having watched the footage I don’t think an outsider would have known that this was only CCRD’s second game. Both teams have very similar playing styles (Venus and Ginge have a lot to do with that!) which meant that The Mighty Unicorns were a really tough opponent and those walls were far stronger than any team only on their second game should have!

V: I'm really proud of our performance as all of our skaters really dug down deep throughout the game played their socks off. Since the game I've had a lot of people tell me just how impressed they were by us and how if they didn't know, they would have never have guessed it was only our second game. The Bairns really pushed us hard and took a  lead in the first half but no one got disheartened or lost their focus, which is why i think we managed to dig in and pull ourselves back into the game in the second half.

Despicable V Picture courtesy of Laura MacDonald

Both teams had a mixture of newer and experienced skaters, how do you think your newer skaters played?

D: Our newer guys ended up getting a lot more track time than any of us, including them, expected so really that speaks for itself! Everyone held their own that day but the other side of it is that I now expect this from them every time they’re on skates now!

V: I have to say how impressed I am with all our newer skaters. They really played their socks off and have progressed so much. Some have been training longer with CCRD than others, but all are doing and did so amazingly well and showed everyone how far they have come along. All of our skaters were on track roughly the same amount give or take a couple of jams which shows how much confidence we have in them.

The only other Scottish vs Scottish mens game so far was BCR vs Mean City last year and BCR took the win. Dread's how does it feel being the undefeated champion against men’s scottish teams?

D: We’ve still got the Mean City rematch to come so I won’t say too much just now just in case but so far I’m loving it but now we’ve got the added pressure to make sure we keep this up.

Dreads Picture courtesy of Laura MacDonald

Dreads, seeing as you won your last encounter with Mean City by over 100 pts and they are your next and last opponent in the SMRDNs, are you quietly confident that you can win the game and the SMRDNs for this year?

D: It’s a difficult one, we’ve scrimmed MCRD a couple of times since we last played them and each time they’ve played a very different game so they’re quite unpredictable. Much like CCRD, both teams have a few skaters who have played together with PoS and/or The Jakey Bites so this should be another really good game to play in and hopefully for the fans too.

Picture courtesy of Laura MacDonald Picture courtesy of Laura MacDonald

What can people expect from your teams at their next SMRDNs game?

D: Hopefully some new faces, new tactics and a win, maybe another cheesy hashtag. We’ve got a couple of games before we face Mean City so they’ll also be a chance to see what to expect in June.

V: We have about another 6 ish months till we take on Mean City in the last SMRDNs game this year, so hopefully we will have some new faces in our ranks as we have a few fresh meat coming through who should be mins passed by then. We also have a few games planned between now and then so our newer guys will get some more game experience under their belt. On top of that, we have been watching the game footage and taking notes for things that we need to work on.

When will be the next time your teams will be in action?

D: The Skelpies will be back in action again at home in April when we take on the Knights of Oldham.

As for BCR vs CCRD, to the best of my knowledge there’s nothing planned yet for another game. But now that this game is out the way we can train together and scrim fairly regularly for the benefit of both teams (possibly featuring some of our Granite City Brawlermen pals?)

V: We were working on an away game in April, which unfortunately now isnt happening so Capital City's next game should be our next home game on the 16th of May.

BCR and CCRD Picture courtesy of Laura MacDonald

Auld Reekie Roller Girls All Star Reserves Vs Cambridge Rollerbillies

Posted: by scottishrollerderby
Tags:  all star reserves arrg upcoming bouts

Image courtesy of Auld Reekie Roller Girls. Image courtesy of Auld Reekie Roller Girls.

The Auld Reekie Roller Girls, All Star Reserves take on Cambridge Rollerbillies in their second game of the year. Having beat Oxford in the first match of he new season, the All Star Reserves will be keen to make it an Oxbridge double victory.

It looks set to be an interesting match, Cambridge are a strong team, turning in nine victories out of twelve games last year...and six out of nine in the 2013 season. Last season they lost only to LRG, Plymouth and a narrow 4 point nailbiter against Belfast. Cambridge were also finalists in the 2013 Heartland Series and winners of the 2014 Series, and are ranked 32nd in Europe, as opposed to the All Stars ranked at 61st.

The ARRG All Star Reserves had a loss heavy season in 2014, winning only two games out of seven. They did play an extremely international season, against a broad selection of European teams, and produced impressive wins over Newcastle and Crime City. Flat Track Stats predicts a strong win for Cambridge with a 31:23 score ratio.

The bout takes place at Meadowbank Sports Centre, Saturday 28th February, tickets are available in advance and more information can be found on the Facebook Event page.

Let's get ready to Rhumble - Mean City can't wait to welcome the Fear

THIS Saturday will see the Jocks and the Geordies have a 'Dandy' time on skates as Glasgow's Mean City Roller Derby welcome the Inglorious B*Stars from Newcastle.

The mighty Mean machine is preparing a traditional Scottish welcome for the rising stars from Tyne & Fear Roller Derby.

The Geordie warriors will be swapping the foggy Tyne for the cool waters of Clyde in what is certain to be a close encounter of the thrilled kind.

Old-school fans of ‘The Dandy’ will remember the Jocks and the Geordies - but this is no Beano for the boys north and south of the border.

Expect action from the first whistle to the last - featuring fast-paced thrills, spills, sporting heroics, skating 1371335-jocks_and_geordiesand scoring.

This ain’t for the faint-hearted - Mean City will sell you the whole seat, but you aren’t going to need it.

Newcastle was once home to the Likely Lads - but the guys from both teams are only likely to do one thing this Saturday - deliver a sporting contest like no other.

The match takes place on Saturday, February 7 – doors open at 3.45pm. Tickets cost £5 with free admission for under-14s with a paying adult.

Roller derby is one of the fastest growing sports in the world – combining athleticism, agility, endurance and stamina … all on skates.

Each team fields five players at a time, one scorer (called a jammer) and four blockers. Points are notched up when the jammer laps the opposing players.

It’s a thrilling collision of skill, physical contact, tactics and guts – played on an oval, flat track over two halves of full-on, heads-up action.

Alan Muir, Chairman of Mean City Roller Derby (MCRD), said: “We ‘canny’ wait to welcome our friends in the north to Glasgow. It's going to be a sensational game between the two sides, with the Inglorious B*Stars in terrific form recently.

"Mean City is the West of Scotland’s first and only roller derby league for men and women, and has been going from strength to strength since it was formed in 2012.

"We’re genuinely thrilled to be welcoming Tyne and Fear to Glasgow and hope sports fans will turn out in force to cheer on both 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 for all the family.”

Mean City Roller Derby has been developing as a league since its formation in 2012. It was initially aimed at men, but the decision was taken in 2014 to open the league to all.

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.

Glasgow Roller Derby: Next Level Bootcamp & Guest Coaching Available

Posted: by paingrrl666
Tags:  annoucements grd roller derby bootcamp roller derby bootcamps

Featured image

Glasgow Roller Derby had an exciting year last year, and now we are looking to share our learning with other leagues! We have lots on offer, both for leagues and for individual skaters.

On Sat 21st March, we are hosting our ‘Next Level Bootcamp.  This is a fully co-ed bootcamp, which is aimed at two levels – people wishing to learn basic skills for passing minimums (stops/stride/laterals), and then people who have passed minimum skills and are aiming to become bout ready (agility, edge work, hockey stops etc).   The bootcamp is being offered at the super reasonable price of £25 on-skates, and £15 off-skates.  We will also have our very special Roller Grrls t-shirts available for sale which are unavailable for general purchase, as well as a range of other Grd merch.  You can book a place on the bootcamp here

We are also available to leagues who would like some guest coaching, and have developed a training menu which will cater for league at any level.

We have coaches available to cover sessions such as:-

  • all levels of skills

  • all levels of strategy

  • nutrition

  • off skates fitness

  • mental conditioning

  • league morale

  • team building

  • scrimmage/bout footage reviewing

If you would like to take advantage of this opportunity, please contact interleagueliaison@glasgowrollerderby.com.

We look forward to meeting you!


BCR Skelpies vs CCRD Mighty Unicorns February 28th 2015

There has been a big buzz surrounding the British Roller Derby Champs which kicked off recently and grew out of the heartlands series. Many of the skaters from leagues taking part are now eagerly awaiting their first game in what is Europe's largest Roller Derby tournament, comprising 72 women’s leagues from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Along with 10 men's leagues also competing in the men's side of the tournament. With all this going on you may be fooled into thinking that this is the next big new competition for women's and men’s derby, and you may be right. But here in Scotland we now have something new and very exciting to look forward to with our men's derby.

After a considerable amount of discussions between Scottish Men's Derby Leagues over the last couple of years, there will be a brand new tournament taking place this year. The 28th of February 2015 will go down in Scottish derby history as the opening day and first ever game of the newly created Scottish Men's Roller Derby Nationals (SMRDNs).

Poster by Cara Scott (Beatrix Slaughter of BCR) Poster by Cara Scott (Beatrix Slaughter of BCR)

Bairn City Rollers have the honor of hosting the first of the three games being played this year as part of the SMRDNs. This game will take place at Grangemouth Sports Complex on Saturday the 28th of February, doors are at 3pm and tickets are now available online. For more information on this visit the event page over on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1528686777405809/

Capital City are a relatively new bouting team having played their first ever game in November of last year, whilst BCR have been bouting since 2013 and have six public bouts to their name.  It may be hard to believe, but this game will be only the second time that two Scottish Men's derby teams have played each other in a public bout. Out of all the three bouting Scottish men's leagues, only BCR and Mean City have played each other in a public bout. That encounter ended with BCR taking the win and the bragging rights.  So come the 28th, BCR will be making sure they will do everything possible to extend that undefeated run against Scottish men's derby opponents.

Both sides are expecting it to be an explosive encounter and great inaugural game for the SMRDNs. As starting with a win, will be the best way to be crowned the 2015 SMRDN champions, because both teams will only have 1 more SMRDN game to play this year. After the 28th, the two remaining games will be Mean City vs BCR and the East vs West line up of Capital City v Mean City.

With it being the first game in the newly created SMRDNs there has been a lot of excitement and interest in the game and if BCR Skater Archibald Wreck would have us believe there has been a furore of excitement in Russia and Japan since the game was announced.

BCR VS CCRD Advert in Japan Image by Archibald Wreck (Graeme McPhail) of BCR

BCR VS CCRD Advert in Russia Image by Archibald Wreck (Graeme McPhail) of BCR

Pride, passion and no regrets … except perhaps the kangaroo!

Now that the derby dust has settled on the 2014 Blood and Thunder World Cup – and a new year of our sport is already underway – it’s a good time to look back and reflect on a stellar set of performances from Team Scotland in Dallas.

The flat-track facts are two wins, a narrow loss and a Davina and Goliath-like performance against one of the best teams on the planet.

1559577_10204841834359734_5493801035271240774_n Pic by Dave McAleavy

But that doesn’t begin to tell the story of just how sensational the Team Scotland players were – on and off the track – flying the flag for their country and impressing everyone who saw the blue belles rock their stuff.

Team Scotland kicked off the tournament with a terrific win over Team Mexico (207-45) and then – within hours – narrowly lost to Team Finland (126-78).

The following day, Team Scotland turned on the thrusters to beat Team Colombia (230-53), but they knew they had a daunting task ahead – with the mighty Team Australia in their path.

In the end, the Aussies beat Scotland 464-35, but the scoreline doesn’t reflect the skill, stamina and heart that was poured into the game by all the players, coaching staff and supporters.

SRD spoke to Team Scotland’s Captain Fantastic – Lianne Parry – on her memories of the World Cup, Kangaroogate and what’s next for Caledonian derby.

How was the World Cup for you, Captain?

It was a great experience! The tournament was huge this time and the venue was brilliant. The whole weekend had a completely different feeling to the last - bigger and a lot more hectic, but I loved seeing the new teams involved, and the semi-final and finals games were really inspiring to watch.

TS started strongly against Mexico, played well against Finland and beat Colombia convincingly. Are you pleased with how Scotland played?

Of course! It was a huge deal for us to face up against unknown teams like Mexico and Colombia - it's hard to describe how different a team’s style can be outside of Europe; it's always a good experience to be exposed to that.

The Finland game was one that a lot of the team enjoyed playing most, even though it was the most heartbreaking to lose! It felt like we could definitely have taken the win - we brought it to within a few points - but ultimately they played a really strong game and held it together better at the end. It felt like how playing roller derby should feel all of the time - I wish that game could have lasted two hours instead of 40 minutes!

What are your thoughts on the Australia game? They are an excellent side, but Scotland gave as good as they got – especially second half. What were the differences between the teams in the end?

My thoughts on the Australia game at the time were that it was probably going to feel as challenging as when we faced Team USA in 2011. I'm not sure all of the team were really fully prepared for just how tough it was going to be though, and in the first half I think we definitely struggled mentally in the game.

The style of play was nothing like I'd come up against before, they are quite simply, just really really flipping good at roller derby! Strong, focused, technically excellent, amazing at forcing penalties on their opponents, and they use their whole bodies way more intelligently than I've ever encountered in another team.

It was difficult to get a handle on how to block them, or do effective offence against their walls, and it probably took us until half-time to really get a grip on that a little! But what an opportunity - so much stuff to figure out and learn from that game!

Highlights on and off track?

Gahd too many to mention - on track definitely Australia - every jam I played against them - even if it was totally frustrating. Off track mostly food-related (giant steaks) in Dallas, Kangaroogate (being caught by the Dallas police hot footing it up the road with the Team Australia mascot), failing at the human knot game with the whole team but laughing so hard we forgot to be nervous, making up the stupid team awards at the end and just spending time with the best people.

Any regrets? Perhaps if Scotland had got a better draw…

Seriously - who bloody regrets anything from such an amazing experience! You do it, you try your best, you learn, you grow, you move on. We've started to gather feedback, stats and footage ready to start preparing for the next challenge. We've loads to work on and loads to change up, so I'm raring to get started. The way it worked out, we got to play Australia and I think I learned more from that game than any other game I've played in the last two years so I'm happy!

How does playing for your country compare to league? Is it tricky when you don’t know the players as well or did find you all worked well together?

For me, I guess playing for your country feels like it has way more pressure attached to it - you don't want to let a whole nation down and it seems like the whole world is watching. With your own league you just know each other so well, you know that even if you act like a complete tit by accident, they will still love you!

I guess it can be tricky on mixed teams - skaters from different leagues often have different 'defaults' on track, different cultural norms and are used to different ways of managing their teams - especially decision-making both on and off track - there is quite a lot to try to navigate through, but as you know the derby scene in Scotland is really closely knit so we all know each other fairly well, and there is a lot of respect and support between the leagues. I think the team gelled so well both on and off track this past year, that it won't take much work at all to really build on it and see fast improvements. It takes a big event like this to boost you to the next level sometimes.

How proud were you of your team? 

So - even though this was the second time Team Scotland has played in a World Cup tournament, the team this time was mostly made up of skaters who hadn't played last time; some of whom have never been to the US or outside of Europe to play derby before, and a couple of whom were cheering Team Scotland on as spectators last time around.

They all seriously just took it in their stride, prepared well, stepped up to the challenge, gave so much positivity and energy to each game - even (especially!) when not on the game roster. I'm mostly proud of the sportswomanship the team showed, both to each other and to the teams we played. Even though there were difficult moments, decisions and disappointments, there were also huge smiles, happy tears, so much laughter in the changing room and lots of sweat (and a bit of facial bleeding too).

Where will Captain Parry and Team Scotland go from here?

Back to the drawing board! A wee break to let everyone re-focus on their own league challenges and then we'll start up a new training programme. Look out for some changes to the team leadership structure, it's always good to breathe new life and ideas into a team and we'll definitely be looking to open up some extra team roster spots to ensure we keep providing opportunities to skaters across Scotland. So - watch this space!

Bairn City Rollers - A Roundup of 2014

Posted: by ihorror67
Tags:  bairn city rollers derby review 2014 interviews


The Scottish Roller Derby Blog caught up with Archibald Wreck, Skelpies Vice, and Entropy who will captain the Central Belters to discuss the 2014 season with the Bairn City Rollers.

2014 marked the second year of Bairn City Rollers' existence. How did it go?

AW: “It’s been a year of real growth and setting the ground works for an exciting near future. On the Belters' side they have steadily grew in numbers to reach the point where everyone now has to compete for a place and a really solid team is starting to be moulded. The Skelpies have cemented a very credible position in the men’s European rankings and Judder, iHorror, Dreads, rED Baron, Scrim Shady and Dead Hardy all played for their country at the Men’s World Cup in March.”

Ent: “2014 was a busy year for us. The Belters have had great influx of skaters this year! This means we’ve had the opportunity to develop as a team and really get to know each other. We’ve also had some great results this year against some really tough opponents and we placed well in a Sur5al tournament. I agree, Archie! The Skelpies have slowly but surely climbed their way up the rankings this last year!"

Any particular highlights?

Ent: “The first win for the Skelpies in January was a great start to the year. The Belters coming close to a second win against The Flaming Noras was a great achievement (especially after the bus journey from hell!)

The Sur5al in Stirling was a particular highlight for me. We were able to win a few jams and we held our own against some really strong teams.”

AW: “Like Entropy just mentioned, the Skelpies picking up their first win in January against friendly-rivals Mean City Roller Derby was an early highlight. Equally impressive was the showing against Tyne & Fear’s The Inglorious B*Stars in June, which saw a narrow loss against a substantially higher ranked team. They also took part in a Sur5val tournament in Oldham, hosted by the Knight of Oldham. I feel we were largely unknown but managed to place really well.

Over on the Belters side there was an agonisingly close defeat to The Flaming Nora’s in Barrow earlier in the year. I also agree with Entropy on this one, The five Belters who competed in a Sur5al tournament in Stirling was a highlight for me. The tournament saw them turn more than a few heads with several victories including a win over a Glasgow B-side.”

Bairn City hosted their annual co-ed bout again the “Capital Chums”, a team made up of skaters from ARRG and Capital City. How did you feel it went?

AW: “That was a fantastic day for everyone involved in the league, whether playing in the game or not. To have achieved victory against a team which included several male and female international players was a great achievement, especially with several “cherry poppers” in the Belter Skelpers making their debut that day. We did not forget how great Capital Chums were, however, and voted them our favourite opponents of 2014 at our end of year awards ceremony in November.”

Ent: “ You're right Archie, that game was a great day for the league. It highlights just how much we have grown in our two years! The Capital Chums were great opponents and the game was a lot of fun for everyone involved. The fact that the game was so close, it came right down to the last jam, just shows how exciting the day was!”

As Scotland's only bouting coed league, do you plan on pushing coed further in 2015?

AW: “I believe some feelers have been sent to some prospective opponents, so we shall see what emerges in the next few months!

It will certainly remain an important element of this league, as we were founded as the first co-ed league in Scotland and it remains a principle we promote and encourage. We were pleased to see Mean City announce their decision to go co-ed recently and wish them the best in developing this within their own league in 2015 and beyond.”

Ent: “Being a co-ed league is what makes BCR who we are and its really important for us to see the co-ed aspect of roller derby in Scotland develop. The fact that there are now other co-ed leagues in the country means that future of co-ed derby in Scotland is going to be exciting!”

What can we expect from both teams in 2015?

Ent: “The strengthening of both teams is what the main focus of 2015 will be. We already have a few games lined up for the early half of the year which will hopefully highlight the work the Belters and the Skelpies have put in to further improve the teams.”

AW: “Steady, solid improvement from both teams and a few surprises along the way!

The Skelpies did not play as many bouts in 2014 as originally planned but are already looking at a potentially busy calendar for the first half of 2015.

Both teams are already booked into tournaments (in Edinburgh and Wales) and have individual bouts in the process of being organised as well.

The Belters will continue to mould a strong unit out of the enviable position they now find themselves in with regards to team numbers. The Skelpies will re-inforce their existing squad with a focus on male intake within the league over the coming months.

2015, we’re coming to get you!”

Scottish Roller Derby would like to wish Bairn City Rollers' all the best for their 2015 season.

Keep a look out for games involving all three teams in 2015!

A chat with UKRDA about the British Championships

Posted: by aoanla
Tags:  an interview with... british championship interviews ukrda

The launch of the British Championships this year, as a natural growth of the increasingly successful Heartlands Series, caused and continues to cause considerable excitement in the community. (2015 seems to be the year for these, with the Scottish Men's Roller Derby Nationals and the German national "German Roller Derby League" also starting up.)
Causing more interest was the announcement that UKRDA would be helping to organise the event. We caught up with The B reF G, UKRDA and BRSF director, and man most involved with tournamentish things in UKRDA, to see what UKRDA and the Championships have planned.
So, coming straight to the point, how are UKRDA providing support to the British Championships. Obviously, a lot of the leagues involved are UKRDA members, but what is the organisation itself doing?
The bulk of the work is being done by the incredible, tireless efforts of the crew who are responsible for setting up the tournament. These are the same people who have built the concept over the last few years, the people behind Heartlands and the previous tournament series from which it grew. While the previous tournament concepts organised by this group have been private local or regional ventures, these people are primarily UKRDA members and have stated that their goal from the outset was create a national tournament series so it made sense to formally consult the UKRDA membership as the NGB for the sport. When they approached UKRDA it was seen by the board that a proactive group of members had developed a tournament concept and were looking for support from the community to make it happen.

UKRDA's involvement was discussed at length on the forum and our reps voted overwhelmingly in favour of being involved with this tournament, with a few modifications to the original proposal, and it has grown from there.

The Directors have been involved mostly in an advisory role; having a guiding hand in the appointment process for key tournament staff, seeking guidance from national sporting bodies where appropriate or offering advice on how the logistics and operational delivery could be realised. We have also been negotiating with the Men's teams from around the UK to bring them under the same organisational umbrella as the Women's tournament as we see this as a fantastic opportunity to unite the whole UK derby community, regardless of UKRDA membership status. It is only through a united effort that we can truly drive our sport forward and build on the grass roots efforts gone to date

I assume that one of the ways that UKRDA has helped is by providing assistance in ranking the teams involved, for assignment to the initial divisions?
The Q3 ranking publication was used for UKRDA teams in the tournament and the wider rankings have been taken from Flat Track Stats. This made sense as this is where the UKRDA rankings are calculated so any differential between a member and non-member team would be fairly representative. As it worked out all of the top ranked teams eligible to play in the British Champs are from UKRDA Member Leagues so the idea of making the top tiers UKRDA only fit well with the plan to have UKRDA sanctioning the upper levels of game play.
So UKRDA is Sanctioning the top tiers as well as providing assistance?
Yes, as the top two tiers are entirely made up of UKRDA teams all games in these tiers will be UKRDA sanctioned and will count for UKRDA rankings.  
 One area that we are looking to have a strong hand in coordinating is the provision of Officials for the tournament. There is still an expectation that the teams playing at any given event will be supplying their own officials, indeed it would be extremely difficult to run such a series any other way, however the UKRDA Officials Committee are looking to develop a supportive community for all UK derby officials that we hope will grow to become something that not only supports active UK derby officials regardless of league affiliation, but also that will be part of ensuring that all games are adequately staffed and that officials with suitable experience and ability are available where needed.

As this is the first time a UK tournament of this type as taken place, there may be teething problems as we go along. However, we are confident that any potential issues can be resolved through proper skater representation and fair, flexible management. This structure is one that will greatly benefit the UK roller derby community, from the grass roots to the top tiers of the game in our country.

Are you concerned or offering any advice over managing the potentially increased scheduling complexity the Champs may introduce? I understand that leagues are forbidden from holding bouts on the same day as a Champs fixture in their group, which (assuming double headers) removes about 5 or 10 slots from their schedule, depending on if you do Home/Away return matchups (plus additional blocking for the Tier playoffs). For many leagues who bout once a month, that is half of their potential bouts devoted to their Division. I can imagine that UKRDA's logistical support would be advantageous in managing this organisation?
So the scheduling has, and indeed is being managed by one of the BC crew (who has my utmost respect for this task, if they ever got the time to try I'm sure they would be a sudoku grand master!) in collaboration with the teams from each division. The idea behind it is that each team in a division of six will host one double header that will feature four teams from that division, with a season end triple header to be hosted by one of the teams, or elsewhere. There isn't a home/away return fixture for teams so there will be five games per team per division per season, plus any play-off games. 
Teams are asked not to host any games on the same day as BC fixtures as a way of addressing the 'super-saturation' of games that has been commented upon frequently in derby media. If we're building a national tournament then we want to ensure we have the best possible audience for these games, so it makes sense that any teams involved avoid hosting events that would potentially draw spectators away from the championship games. As the divisions are for the most part geographic groupings of similarly ranked teams, it is in those teams best interests to avoid clashes and maximise the viewer figures for championship games in their area. Plus it gives any teams not competing on a given weekend the chance to go study the form of their future opponents! 
It is a colossal headache trying to fit all of the games in without regional clashes, especially as we move to include the Men's Champs in this structure as that introduces three extra divisions that must be factored into the logistic planning. There are always going to be difficulties with this but I can attest that a lot of thought and planning has gone into developing a schedule that provides the best coverage with a minimum of difficulty for the teams.
This impacts on provision of Officials, Announcers and other support crew too, as too many games in one area would mean we have to import Refs & NSOs from other areas, which then has a knock on effect further down the chain. Something high on the wider agenda is avoiding burnout for Officials and that has been factored into the scheduling to try to minimise clashes with other key tournaments happening through 2015. This is something we are hoping to get more volunteers from the UKRDA membership to support as it is only going to become more complex as the tournament grows.
Saying that teams that bout once a month are committing half of their gaming season to the tournament is fair, however this is in return for the reduced overhead to each of finding suitable opponents (which includes gauging their level of ability against that of your own team which can be subjective at times), attempting to coordinate their own schedules with those of other teams, setting up the game contract, sourcing officials, etc. The hope is that this will present the community with an opportunity to work together and make every team's Bout Liaison role considerably less of a full time job. There is going to be derby all through 2015, whether BC happens or not. While the schedule drawn up may not be 100% to the preference of every team when compared with running their own schedule, having a single schedule for the whole nation will help avoid major clashes and allow us to develop some 'joined-up thinking' in shared marketing strategy and potential sponsorship plans that will be to everyone's benefit. 
Finally, what are your hopes for the development of the British Championships on British Derby as a whole?
As with everything UKRDA do, we want to see the UK community come together to fulfil the massive potential this sport has and we see BC as a hugely positive thing for our community. 
We would hope that in the future the UKRDA would be able to assist even more with the organisation and structure of the tournament. The current British Champs organisers are excited by this prospect, but it would require more time and volunteers from people belonging to UKRDA member leagues.
The first bouts of the British Championships are happening today at Tattoo Freeze, with the Men's thread of the championship being kicked off with Crash Test Brummies vs New Wheeled Order and The Quads of War: Milton Keynes Roller Derby vs The Inhuman League.

Non-bouting Leagues: Round up of 2014

While we've covered the majority of the bouting leagues in Scotland in our Round-ups of 2014, we cannot and should not forget those leagues who did not bout in the last year, either because they are still growing towards that exciting first bout, or for other reasons.

We caught up with Inverness City Roller Derby, Fair City Rollers and Ayrshire Roller Derby to get their perspective on the past year. Doonhame Derby Dolls have also been having an exciting year, and their experience in trying to start up a second junior derby league in Scotland has been covered here.

Ayrshire Roller Derby, having started as a Women's Derby League in late 2013, caused some surprise by announcing their intent to change to a Co-Ed league structure in mid 2014 (becoming Scotland's second Co-ed league, although not the second bouting Co-ed, with Mean City's change to Co-ed more recently). Ayrshire's Nicola Manley had this to say about their year:

Ayrshire Roller Derby has had a good year in 2014. We have restructured the management at ARD and have a very dedicated team. We have recently enjoyed success with some fundraising and as a result will be able to provide some kit so new recruits can come and try out skating. We have been working hard on our training schedule to find one that works for us and provides plenty of variety.

Our change to a CoEd league was perhaps a little soon and not without its own problems....namely lack of male interest also, some women were uncomfortable with idea so we need to think carefully about this in the New Year.

We have a number of skaters ready to take their minimum requirement skills test shortly, so we plan to be putting a team together in the spring. We are extremely grateful to our friends in other local leagues for all of their support and have had guest skaters come and help us out from time to time, which has been greatly appreciated!

Meanwhile, the northernmost league in Scotland, Inverness City Roller Derby (ex Nasty Nessies) have also gone Co-ed, as well as continuing to strengthen and develop the league as a whole. Speaking for the league, Bee-Yatch said:

2014 was a busy year for ICRD and our greatest news of the year was securing a permanent venue, we are now in Hilton Community Centre on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Having secured this venue means we can now actively recruit again for ICRD and have just started advertising for our next intake which starts in February. At the moment ICRD have a mixed bunch of skaters and are working on getting all of the team MINS passed, some skaters are already MINS passed and are on hand to help the newer skaters and encourage/motivate them to keep going and be awesome!  Last year we brought the age for training down to 16 as we had interest from younger skaters wanting to become involved  in the team. As we don’t currently have a junior league (we’re working on it though!) we decided to lower the age to 16, on a strict no contact basis until skaters become 18.  This has had a positive effect on the team and along with being co-ed we are keen to promote Roller Derby as an inclusive sport open to all regardless of age, gender or ability. ICRD launched our new website this year as well to reflect our new name, logo and colours. The site is easy to navigate and over the coming months will have information from skater profiles to taster sessions for those interested in strapping on a pair of skates and joining up! The website can be found at www.invernessrollerderby.com

Of all of the non-bouting leagues in this round-up, Fair City Rollers will be leaving most quickly - they caused some excitement on being announced as one of the teams at Voodoo-hosted Highland Rampage tournament in February, marking their return to bouting status after some time rebuilding. Lauren Kettles, Fair City's PR rep had this to say about their preparations:

At the beginning of this year, we were mainly focused on getting our existing skaters through the last of their minimum skills, so it may have seemed like we were less visible for a while. However, after a couple of Fresh Meat intakes  and increasing our numbers again, we started to contact other leagues. I've been out and about getting some experience in various NSO positions in Dundee, Glasgow and Forth Valley. I then took on responsibility for interleague liaison and continue to keep the league up to date with information on scrims, bouts and other training opportunities. All other leagues we've had contact with have been really helpful, welcoming us back with invites to open scrims and opportunities to train with guest coaches. It's important for us to be strongly engaged with the wider derby community, particularly as we build our team towards bouting again. It's been really valuable to us all to be able to keep in contact with other leagues over the year, as any derby related learning is beneficial whether it's on or off skates.

Looking towards our inaugural bout, we've been working hard, getting our intermediate skaters through their mins and training up September's newbie intake. We've also been scrimming with other local leagues at open opportunities and getting some valuable NSO experience too. Guest coaching has also been beneficial, with trainers from across Scotland putting us through our paces. Highland Rampage will be a great opportunity to get back into bouting and also begin to establish Fair City Rollers as part of the derby community again. Some of the other leagues taking part have already been helpful to us with scrim invites etc, and we look forward to joining them on track for real.

All three leagues also have Plans for 2015, with all three focussing on recruitment and expansion into the new year. Fair City have already held their first Fresh Meat of the year, last Monday, while Inverness will be holding theirs in February. Ayrshire are simply open to new recruits on a permanent basis, and encourage everyone to contact them via their Facebook page. With Fair City gaining a 2014 Communities grant from the Big Lottery Fund, enabling them to double their training sessions per week, and Inverness City skating in a charity bout and also planning bootcamps for March, it will be an exciting year for all three leagues in 2015!