Here there be Dragons: Brighton Rockers double header preview


It’s been a busy few days here at BRATS HQ. In the build up to this Saturday’s festival of awesomes, we’ve been hurling loads of articles on this here website. In case you missed them, check out these three pieces:

B-TOWN BRAWLERS: We caught up with a brand new second Brighton based roller derby league to find out how they came into being and what their plans are. A potential future local rival for the Rockers? CHECK OUT OUR INTERVIEW HERE.

BRITISH CHAMPIONSHIPS: The mighty Rockers are taking part in this year’s inaugural British Champs, a national tournament featuring 72 women’s teams. We went along to the first National South Division game day to check out four of their upcoming opponents. CHECK OUT OUR REPORT HERE.

A couple of weeks ago it was announced that the Rockers have been accepted on to the Apprentice Program of world governing body WFTDA, something less than twenty UK leagues have ever achieved. What does that mean though? CHECK OUT OUR ARTICLE HERE.

Now we turn our attention to this weekend when Brighton celebrate their Fifth Birthday by taking on Team Dragon. This challenge side, which originated from London recreational skaters, has put together a special roster to take on the Rockers. They’ll be fielding England 2011 World Cup star Lucy, 2014 England training squad member Lisa Wright, plus Lola Vulkano (Spain) and Aline Decat (Belgium) both of whom featured for their nations in last December’s World Cup. Yowsers! We’d best write a preview then…

The Birthday double header takes place this Saturday (7th Feb) at the Dolphin leisure centre in Haywards Heath. Doors are at 2pm, with the mixed opener at 3pm, followed by the Rockers v Dragon game at 5.35pm. Tickets are £10 for adults, £8 students and free for under-12s. There’s also a special 4 for the price of 3 deal. These tickets are selling fast – this will be the biggest crowd for a Rockers event in quite a while – and are available online until some point tomorrow (Friday 6th). Although we do expect there to be a few left on the door, you’re strongly advised to nab yours via the internet asap. You’ll find a link at the bottom of this piece.

The venue has a decent sized car park and is approximately seven minutes walk from Haywards Heath train station. Turn left outside the station and follow the handmade ‘roller derby’ signs. If you arrive early, the pub opposite the station (the Burrell Arms) is not too bad for a sporty bar and cheaper than most Brighton pubs. It also has a large beer garden with giant Connect 4. If you need to stock up on supplies, there’s a Sainsbury’s superstore halfway between the station and leisure centre. The centre itself is modern, and unlike many UK leisure centres, it sells booze! There used to be two bars in fact, but now there’s only one – a cafe bar in the foyer that does various bottled beers, ales, wines, etc. It probably also sells food, soft and hot drinks, for weirdos that like that sort of thing. There’s a decent break between the two games, so a run to Sainsbury’s for munchies is also an option.

Be sure to pick up a copy of our fanzine ‘Turn Left’ on the door. We had to add an extra four pages to this issue as there was so much to fit in. You’ll find previews of both games, a review of 2014, who won what in our awards for the year, a preview of Brighton’s upcoming British Champs games, and loads of interviews. There are also a few more typos than usual as our printing company’s website was on the blink, so we didn’t get to properly proof it. There’s a prize of a BRATS baseball cap for whoever can find the most mistakes.

Events in the hall finish around 7pm and the after party is at the Wick Inn. This is fairly close to both Brighton and Hove train stations; about 18 minutes walk from Brighton, 15 from Hove (yes, we walked both routes yesterday to check, we’re that nerdy), both of which are a short hop from Haywards Heath. There should be loads of buses from both stations to the pub – it’s on the corner of Palmeira Square, one of the City’s main bus thoroughfares. It’s a private party in the pub’s (swanky prohibition era themed) cocktail lounge, and there’s a good real ale selection for those who don’t want to drink something with strawberries floating in. Grab yourself a brew and reminisce about the awesome day of derby you just viewed. Liked the sport so much you fancy giving it a try yourself? The Rockers have two free taster sessions coming up on the 23rd of this month. Drop them a line at for more details.



“The opener has seven Rockers represented in total: Irish Mist (who fans may have seen skating previously) will be taking part, as well as Sutherland, Lab Wrath, Chloe Colossus, Van Hayley, Skate Bush and Polly Darting, who are all popping their bout cherries. All the South East leagues are well represented. We have skaters from the Bourne Bombshells, Portsmouth Roller Wenches, Southampton City Rollers, Croydon Roller Derby, London Rockin’ Rollers and Kent Roller Girls, as well as some rogue representatives from Wolverhampton Honour Rollers and the Evolution Rollergirls.”

“I’ve never played in a game so this is my cherry popper, but I have scrimmed a few times with lots of skaters from both teams today. I’m hoping that I learn a few things, get to practice a few new moves, not let my team or the crowd down, and escape relatively injury free. We’ve got a lot of tactics and tricks up our sleeves. Of course we have, we’re magicians!”

“We normally scrim for a bit at the end of each practice, so I’ve been doing that roughly once or twice a week since my Fresh Meat course finished. This’ll be my third proper full length scrim, and even though it will be more challenging than previous rookie scrims, I’m fully expecting to score a whole bunch of points against the Magicians – and maybe knock a few over! Skate Bush has a habit of taking you by surprise, so I’m gonna get in her way and keep an eye on her as much as possible. She’s not pulling any disappearing tricks on me!”


“Brighton are taking on a very strong roster from Team Dragon, with some familiar faces from London Rollergirls, such as Lucy who is a very nippy jammer, and Lola Vulkano who is a double threat to watch out for. I saw Aline Decat play at Eastbourne Extreme last year, and she really impressed me. I Eat is a fast and agile jammer and Rusty Stiletto can give some big hits. Brighton will have an advantage – in that the team are used to playing together – but Dragon will certainly give them a tough game. I think the score will be quite close.”

“I never care to predict the result. You just don’t know how each team is going to play on the day. Today we will play hard to win. We have a couple of our usual ‘standout’ players not playing, which should make room for some different players to take the lead, and also you may see a few new faces.”

“We are happy to have some very well respected players in the roster. It’s great to have Lisa Wright in the team; she started her derby life in the LRG Rec League, before rising to the Team England training squad. She retired last year but is back on skates for Team Dragon. She’ll be joining Lola and Lucy in bringing some big game experience to today’s team. I wouldn’t want to predict a result. Brighton are the clear favourites and they’re on home soil but we’re here to play and surprise people. We’re amped for this!”

[Photo by John Hesse]




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