Working our way up through the Northern Divisions of British Champs, we've found our way, via Tier 4 and Tier 3, to Tier 2. Our team for Tier 2 North was Newcastle Roller Girls' B-team, the Whippin Hinnies, who were one of three 3 B-teams added to British Champs this year. (London Rollergirls had led the charge the previous year, with the Brawl Saints competing in Tier 1).
This weekend sees the final fixture in the Division, with Newcastle up against Wirral Roller Derby in Manchester. With the Hinnies at the bottom spot currently, with Wirral just one place above them, this should be the closest bout of the tournament for them - SRDRank places them nigh-identically in ranking, whist FTS favours Wirral, but not much. At the top of the table, the other B team in the Division, Rainy City B (the Tender Hooligans) have a tight grip on the top spot, with Liverpool Roller Birds and hosts Manchester Roller Derby fighting it out for the second playoffs spot in the same event.
We talked to Hinnies' Co-Captain, Ania Marx about their first Champs experience...
It's been a tough Tier for the Hinnies' first Champs experience, so far, with teams like Rainy B in the mix. How has the experience been for the team - and what has it taught you?
It has been a challenge but we always knew it would be - being seeded last in our Tier against alongside some really strong teams and also being a B team means that we've also needed to absorb a number of charter changes as players move up to our A team, the Canny Belters, but we're grateful for the opportunity to play at this level - we've learnt a lot and have thoroughly enjoyed the challenge.
With just one game left in the season, what are your plans for the post-Champs period...
We'll have a short break from competitive bouts but hope to fit in a few more before the end of the year - we'll update the fixtures page on our website as soon as we've got more games confirmed. Immediately after our last Champs game on the 5th Aug we'll definitely be letting our hair down and enjoying the after party and hope all the other leagues will be doing the same!
...and your thoughts about Champs next year?
It's been a great opportunity for the Whippin' Hinnies which was only possible due to our A team's WFTDA ranking and our own European ranking going into Champs - if we remain eligible as a B team we will seriously consider taking part next year.
As hinted at in the interview, whilst the Hinnies will be taking a break post-Champs, there's more happening with Newcastle in the coming months. We'd keep our eyes peeled for an away game in August, as well as the return of the Hinnies (and the Canny Belters) later in the year.
The British Champs Tier 2 North final fixture: 5 August, Manchester https://www.facebook.com/events/104769700121799/