In early October Bristol Roller Derby Bees went over to Hannover to play the brilliant Demolition Derby Dolls. B Team Captain Scar Faith decided to keep a diary of what went on…
13:45 – And we’re off! All packed and ready to go to Hannover for my first game as Bristol Roller Derby B(ee) Team Captain! We’re dragging some of the BRD men with us too, so there’s gonna be 23 BRDers invading Germany!!
14.10 – … Ok, now we’re off. I’m not sure my fellow car passengers share my opinion about leaving as much contingency time as possible when travelling to the airport. But the delightful POW, injured B-teamer and step-in Line-Up Manager, is a calming influence and despite the traffic we make it to Birmingham airport in plenty of time.
I’m going to be away at a wedding for our next Bristol Roller Derby B(ee) Team’s game, so was planning to write a guide to LUMing for our lovely Tooms who will be covering for me as Line-up Manager. What better opportunity for me to take my thoughts and turn them into a blog post? There’re some great blog posts already on the internet about how to line-up manage and what makes an effective bench team, so I’m going to try and do something a little different.
Line-up managing is a role that I have been doing at Bristol Roller Derby for over two years now. I started at the league skating in fresh meat back in 2011 and promptly broke my ankle in three places. I started to NSO during my recovery and several consequent operations, but it just wasn’t for me. I feel that NSOing (and officiating in general) requires precision, a mathematical and/or analytical brain, attention to detail and good concentration. This is certainly not me. I did OK, but it went against the chaos of my general being, and my ankle is still not in a state to play derby.
Bath’s venue is, like their uniforms, very yellow. I wonder which came first; did they base their uniform colour choice on the lighting quality of their home venue? Choose their venue to compliment the hue of their uniforms? Neither of the above? Once our eyes had adjusted to the tone, we sought out our fellow BRDers and congregated in the suicide seating of the traditionally laid out sports hall. After quickly establishing that there was no position you can sit in on a sports hall floor that is comfortable for more than 30 seconds, we claimed our territory.
The Bath A versus Swansea B game was a relatively evenly matched affair. Interest was added by the fact Bristol’s A team was due to play Swansea’s A team in a closed game the following day, and by the appearance of our former teammate Wrecks on the Bath roster. We cheered loudly for Wrecks, warming up our vocal chords for the main event. Bath’s A team took the win, 180 to 115.
After the obligatory visit to the cake stall (I opted for a cupcake topped with a mini malteaser bunny despite the fact that I had 4 full size bunnies in my bag courtesy of Delta Strike who is an addiction enabler), Bristol’s B team took to the track for their skate out. It was an understated single-lap, pairs formation affair that I am totally stealing for the A team. The Bristol B team functions as a pool of skaters, and a spot is open to all of our female skaters not on the A team charter. If you think that this set-up makes the team transitionary or casual in any way then you would be wrong. The Bees, headed up by their fearless Captain Rip Tease and the deceptively sweet-mannered Vice Bear Thrylls, are a cohesive, driven unit, perhaps more so than other B teams who aren’t fighting it out for a roster space in such a large group. Combined with the established and experienced husband and wife bench team of HTM Hell and Thundercat Ho!, they are a force to be reckoned with.
Release the Bees is a publication made by B Team skater Jennything Goes as part of her Illustration degree coursework. The booklet was made for her first game as a Bee where they took on the Bath Roller Derby Girls and won 127 – 341. Each of her team mates manifest as an illustration along with quotes and some explanation of roller derby!
Bristol Roller Derby B team (affectionately known as the “Bees”) recently had the pleasure of playing in an away closed-door game against Surrey Roller Girls. We had the most amazing day there with a really lovely group of skaters, refs and NSOs, and Surrey have even produced this nifty little video of the day! Thanks to Anne Grenade’s dad, Phil Kemp, for making this…
BRD has been lucky to have a large influx of new skaters via our Drop In Derby sessions in recent months, so much so that the Beehive is now groaning under the weight of all this amazing, new, hymenopteran talent! Getting to play together in closed friendlies like this is vitally important for us to get to know each other better, give the new skaters some game time against unknown opponents, try out new tactics and line-up pairings and, most importantly, to have all the fnu! (BRD’s version of fun: it’s like fun, only fun-er!).
Because it was a closed game we can’t publish the score, but let’s just say it was a hotly fought game of two halves. Surrey really pushed us (and I hope we pushed them too), and we came out of the game a wiser and more cohesive team. My proudest moment as captain so far was when during the sweaty, joy-filled, post-game hugs, one of the Surrey girls said “Wow, you guys really play like a team”. Thank you Surrey for having us, and for this awesome video! We really hope to see you on the track again soon.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!