In the great tradition of tardy Rollerbillies writeups, here’s the skinny on Love Smack. To kick it off, we are properly jealous of the Bombers‘ venue – a little bit chilly in February, but super spacious. There was even room for a romantic valentines balloon arch and a camper van. And all that space meant we had a wide selection of merch vendors to tempt us – including the all important cupcake stand. And not only cupcakes – bacon butties, eccles cakes, and a nice cup of tea. Oh yes, eccles cakes. Are we doing the roller derby workout challenge diet and eating cheese for breakfast? Uh, no. We’re growing enormous asses made of lard and raisins.
Bout one: Team White vs Team Black:
Two B teams made up of women from teams all over the country. You could feel the excitement in the air as many of the skaters hit the track (sometimes literally) for the first time. All that training, all the hard work, and so much commitment, finally finding its expression in a momentous sweaty blur.
Having never skated together before, both sides spent the first half finding their feet, and often finding their way to the penalty box, but by half time both teams were beginning to gel. The second half began with Team Black in possession of a 24 point lead, and Team White took to the track determined to close the gap. The pace increased as the period progressed, and a combination of solid three player defensive walls and a couple of textbook jams by Team White took them to within 4 points of equalising. Team Black were forced to play hard to retain their lead, and it all got a bit exciting and shouty, but ultimately the women in Black kept it together and finished on 155 points to team White’s 145.
Bout two: Lincolnshire Bombers vs Central City: The Belles of Centrinnians made an impressive start, consistently taking lead and picking up 40 points to the Bombers’ 7 in the first eight jams. CCR’s jamming triangle of death, Hustle’her, Block Star, and Billie Whizz sliced past the Bombers’ front wall, whilst their blockers dominated in the pack and Tragic visited her wrath on the opposing jammers. The Bombers began to get into their stride as the first half progressed, picking up lead jammer with more frequency, but in the face of such assertive play they were stuck playing CCR’s game and finished the period with 30 points to the Centrinnians’ 65.
But it’s always a different game in the second half and the Bombers came back on determined to set their own agenda. Ce Cee Slam’er, Inya Head and Minx a’matosis showed steely determination to grab lead, and with their blockers upping the energy on their hits they started raking some points back. But the Centrinnians’ jammers were tough to contain and shot out of the pack right behind the Bombers’, scoring hard on their heels and nomming into their points differential. It was a hard and pacey second period with much more competitive game play, but the Centrinnians had a selection of tricks up their armsocks, and maintained their cool and their advantage, ending the game with 130 to the hosts’ 79.
“Yes, but how did the girls feel about it?!”, I hear you exclaim. Well, you’re in luck because The Romsey Town Rollerbillies own Lil Mischief, Dusti Knuckles, and Phoenix in Flames skated their stripey little socks off in the first bout, and are here to bring you the action in their own words. Over to you girls…
Lil Mischief #16
“I was excited to be playing with people I’d never met before. I was also nervous about it. I worried I’d be the worst on the team and let everyone down and I worried it would be hard to get us working as a team as we wouldn’t know each other’s skate styles and strategies. The warm up was really fun and helped us get to know each other, and get a chance to try stuff out on the track. It was a pretty reasonable surface but for some reason plough stops were really tricky. Everyone was lovely – really friendly and a great laugh. It made me feel so much better.
I was still nervous as hell when the bout started. We had our skate out and I nearly forgot to wave when my name got called. At least I didn’t fall over! As I watched the first jam the excitement overtook the nerves and I couldn’t wait to get out on the track. My legs were shaking on my first lineup but I as fine once I started skating. I don’t remember much about the game – it all went so fast! At first it was hard to keep our defense together and get everyone working as a team. We were having difficulty walling up and defending and Team Black seemed to get it together really fast and soon took the lead. But as we played together we started working as a team more. By the second half we were playing much better and were narrowing the gap in the scores. We were jamming smarter and blocking better. I loved every minute! Couldn’t believe it when the final whistle blew – wish we could have had a few more minutes!”
Phoenix in Flames #177
“I was SO nervous but was lucky enough to have Dusti by my side as a team-mate and that was really reassuring. I had met a few of the girls on both teams a few weeks before, at Rainy City’s bootcamp and knowing what I was coming up against helped relieve a LOT of the anxieties I had about my own skating ability. Team Black managed to get to know a bit about each other via a Facebook group – this really helped on the day & I think contributed a lot to the team working well together.
Dusti and I lined up together on the first jam; by that point the anxieties had melted away and I was really raring to go!! I could see my family and RTRB team-mates on the front row cheering us on and desperately wanted to do them proud! The bout went by in a blur and I have NO idea how well I played, although found out that I should definitely not try jamming. Ever. What a disaster! But Dusti and I must have done something right as we played nearly every other jam and it felt amazing to work well with skaters I hardly knew. We tried really hard as a team to get the opportunity to push ourselves and try different positions and that worked really well. The two teams were put together well and we were pretty evenly matched – we had to work really hard to get our win!
The re-match (hopefully it’ll happen!) will be epic – Team White will out to prove they’re the queens of the track and we’ll be fighting so hard to keep our title! I have to say a HUGE thank you to Alma Geddon who was a brilliant captain and an even bigger thank you to all of LBRG who put this together for us – what an amazing opportunity it was for new skaters & a huge contribution to the UK derby scene!”
If you’re not already in the derby community, dear readers, this could be you! So far, the Rollerbillies have played one bout against Glasglow B, and our players have skated in our mixed side, Team East Angrier, against Stuttgart Valley Rollergirls and London Rollergirls. We’ve also guest skated for Central City and Bedfordshire Rollergirls, so we’ve got a mix of experience in the team. We’re always looking for new skaters and we’re committed to training them up right and giving them the opportunity to compete. There’s a bout out there for everyone, so what are you waiting for – come and check derby out for yourselves. Hit the I want in! page above to find out how.
Thanks again to the Bombers for a great event, and for inviting our lovely Quad Ophelia to be your lineup manager. We’re really sorry we got the writeup out so late. Photo credits: Jason Ruffel (1), In Depth Photos (2, 3, 4, 7, 8 ) Hannah ‘H’annihilation‘ Edmonds (5), Daz Wilson (6), and Adam Rhoades (9, 10).