Bristol Roller Derby: 2013 in Review

Wow, what a year its been! Let’s have a look back at what Bristol Roller Derby got up to in 2013…

The League kicked off the year in January, with the A-team (ranked 29th by ERDR) playing the first bout, which was almost a no-goer due to the snow! We visited the lovely Dolly Rockit Rollers in freezing Leicester, and took home the win 237-166.

March brought a double header, with BRD as the hosts. As usual with all our home bouts, league members all chipped in and things ran like clockwork. Thank you to all those who have volunteered their time, we couldn’t do it without you!

The Harlot’s B-team (affectionately referred-to as ‘the Bees’, ranked 95th) took on Mean Valley Roller Girls. The score ended 227-162 in Mean Valleys favour.

The A team faced Leeds Roller Dolls B team, 245-91 to us, continuing a great start to 2013.

Photo by  Adam Gasson | http://www.adamgasson.com
Photo by Adam Gasson | http://www.adamgasson.com

The Bees certainly have been busy! In April we were winging our way East, to bout against the Royal Windsor Roller Girls B team, the B-Headers. We fought well but Windsor were triumphant 204-131.

The Spring was set to be a full schedule of bouts for all the hard working Harlots, as both teams headed to Lincolnshire in April. The Lincolnshire Bombers hosted two very closed games. We won the A game, 193-171. The Bees game, went to the Bombers, 148-128. Nail biting stuff!

May, and our Harlots A-team faced possibly their biggest challenge to date. We took part in the Roller Rumble, a Southern regional UKRDA tournament, held in Alexandra Palace alongside the Great British Tattoo Show.

Seeded 4th, the Harlots first game on Saturday was against Brummies, the Central City Roller Girls. A fantastically close game, in which CCR just edged ahead, 218-204. Later that day we played Kent Roller Girls that ended in the 1st win of the weekend for us, 272-107.

Photo by Jason Ruffell | http://www.jason-ruffell.co.uk
Photo by Jason Ruffell | http://www.jason-ruffell.co.uk

Battered and bruised from Saturdays games, we played Brighton Rockers Roller Derby on Sunday, winning 251-175.

With about 5 minutes to lick our wounds we were straight back on the track to play CCR for the second time. By now we were old friends and spent a good few time outs discussing who would have to play again straight after, against London. Sadly for our hearts (but not our bodies) it was Birmingham  who went on, beating us again with a super close score 196-172.

Photo by Jason Ruffell | http://www.jason-ruffell.co.uk
Photo by Jason Ruffell | http://www.jason-ruffell.co.uk

Despite being a fit bunch of ladies, we were some-what unaccustomed to playing 4 bouts in one weekend (in what was essentially a greenhouse!). However… everything really clicked that weekend! Maybe it was the adrenalin, creating extreme focus? Or perhaps it was the quality of youth hostel sleep? Or maybe the few questionable fast food meals? Anyway, we all left feeling pretty proud and I think all the Harlots would agree; it was one of the most fun and rewarding things we’ve done as a team.

We won the hearts of the crowd, 3rd place and jumped up to 18th in the rankings!

No sooner were the A’s back from London, than the B-team were off to France in June for our first game outside the UK! The Bees played BMO Roller Derby in Brest, won some great new friends, almost missed a few ferries, and unfortunately lost, 279-86.

The A team, not wanting to be left out, hopped on a plane a week later to Stuttgart, Germany. The Stuttgart Valley Roller Girls hosted a fantastic game, with a huge crowd. Showing us and their fans just how its done, winning 160-94.

With so much long distance traveling this year, we have continued to raise money for the league and our chosen charity of the year, Survive. Our home teams held auctions, sponsored skates and bingo nights, but its not hard to put your hand in your pocket when you’re having so much fun!

Photo by Adam Gasson | http://www.adamgasson.com
Photo by Adam Gasson | http://www.adamgasson.com

Our June double header; the Bees and our newly formed mens team take centre stage. Porto Roller Derby came all the way from Portugal and put up a great fight, while skating short. The Harlot B-team won, 236-133

Recruitment for the boys stepped up a gear late last year, with skating skills and tactical knowledge progressing at lightening speed! Vice Quad was born in January and along with this bout we have had scrimmages and closed bouts with the likes of Devon, SDRD B and SWS. The June bout saw Vice Quad played their first open bout as a team and for some skaters it was their first public bout ever, cementing their new found love for Roller Derby. VQ did BRD proud against Milton Keynes Quads of War and this exciting game ended 251-166 to QoW. The boys will have their first international game in early 2014.

Photo by Matthew Lord | http://www.wtf4photography.com
Photo by Matthew Lord | http://www.wtf4photography.com

We also can’t forget our stripey friends, the refs and NSO’s from team Zebra, without whom there would be no order! This year, not only did they help out at home, they travelled with the teams and hosted our first Officials boot camp in July, providing invaluable knowledge for around 30 attendees.

The first of Julys games took the Harlots A-team North, to the home of the Sheffield Steel All Stars. We suffered a few injuries in this game, but soldiered on. The All Stars won 167-155.

A week later they were back up country with the Middlesbrough Milk Rollers who showed us they were definitely ‘coming’ in the last game of the season! 269-99.

Our rookies started their fresh meat training late in 2012, and have been coming on leaps and bounds since then. We can’t really refer to any of them as rookies any more, they are just too good! At the end of July they were ‘sorted’ into our home teams, during a Harry Potter themed scrimmage.

We’ve also started seeing some new skaters moving up to the league from our weekly ‘drop in derby’ sessions. The family is growing!

Photo by Jennifer Rollason | http://jenniferrollason.tumblr.com
Photo by Jennifer Rollason | http://jenniferrollason.tumblr.com

The whole league then took a well earned rest in August, but were raring to go in September… Hot Wheel Roller Derby came down from Leeds, with their heavily defense game play,  and took no prisoners against the A-team, 282-112.

Our final home double header of the year, in December, saw our A-team rematch against the Hellfire Harlots. Unfortunately the Nottingham Harlots fire could not be quenched by our Harbour Harlots, 225-128.

We had almost 500 spectators at this event and the Bees gave them a real show, taking on Cornwall Roller Derby’s Atlantic Breakers. Lead changes were non stop down to the last jam, which gave the win to Cornwall by only 4 points, 180-176.

Photo by Alan Thuc | http://www.flickr.com/photos/little-rock-gallery
Photo by Alan Thuc | http://www.flickr.com/photos/little-rock-gallery

Thank you so much to all the skaters, nso’s, refs, cake bakers, coaches, first aiders and anyone else who has supported us in 2013. We can’t wait for 2014!

Written by E-Z Roller