Rockers Derby Sevens: Online Magazine and YouTube Video


Our regular magazine Turn Left only appears at traditional Brighton Rockers home games, but we put together a special eight-page mini-mag for Sunday’s epic Derby Sevens event hosted by the Rockers. Click on the image above for the online version of it, or pick up a physical copy on the flyer/games shelves in Brighton’s Evening Star and Bierhaus pubs. Special thanks to all our lovely interviewees, photographers and awesomes advertisers.

Or click below if you want to check out our short (3’40”) YouTube vlog on the event. Yay!

Mr Adam Reports : Roller Derby


OMG They Made Roller Derby EXTRA CHAOTIC! Get To ROCKERS SEVENS This Sunday!

Roller derby rolls back into Haywards Heath this Sunday (27th August) as the mighty Brighton Rockers host their first ever Derby Sevens tournament. Here’s everything you need to know about this awesomes and extra hardcore derby event…


It’s taking place this Sunday, the 27th (a date that ends in the number SEVEN) of August at the Dolphin Leisure Centre in Haywards Heath, with doors from midday and a roughly 6pm finish time.

Tickets are priced (in keeping with the theme) at SEVEN pounds for adults, free for under 12s. Get yours from the link at the bottom of this piece. They should be available on the door too.

The venue is almost exactly SEVEN minutes walk from Haywards Heath train station – turn left and head on in that direction, following roller derby signage attached to lampposts, dogs and passers by.

There’s a decent enough pub (The Burrell, which is SEVEN letters) opposite the station, and a big Sainsbury’s roughly halfway between the station and venue (it shuts at 4pm on Sundays but has an ATM outside – there’s no ATM at the venue).

There are bar facilities in the venue and bringing in booze from elsewhere is very much frowned upon. There will probably only be SEVEN bottles of London Pride in the fridge though, and we’ve bagsied five of them. Just saying.

The official after party is at the East Street Tap in Brighton. Whose address is 72 East Street. Which is a number that starts with SEVEN, yeah?

We only produce our fanzine Turn Left for traditional Rockers home games, but we made a late decision to do a one-off mini-mag for this event. Pick it up on the door. It’s exactly SEVEN pages long (if you don’t include the cover).


“There just isn’t the time to ‘find your feet’ and if you start to give away points there isn’t the time to recoup them later!”


“It’s like those scrimmages where hardly anyone shows up and you have to play every jam! It’s a test of endurance for sure, but you play a whole lotta derby, the fun keeps going and you can stay in your groove.”


“Depending on how the line-ups work, you could be doing one on then one off as a jammer, or be blocking three or four jams in a row before sitting one out.”

“The games are shorter, but you need to remember that it’s not just an hour’s game with two halves and that your opponents change!”

“It takes less penalties before a foul out, but that absolutely definitely never happens to any of us, so I’m sure that wont be a problem, yeah?”

“There are no timeouts nor any extra players if you need one, so there’s no time to get a moment’s rest. It’s good for upping your endurance and seeing all the amazing things your body can do under pressure.”

“A player will foul out after four penalties instead of the normal seven and there are no timeouts. Basically it’s going to be a really fast-paced day packed full of derby!”

[Photos by John Hesse]



Manchester Roller Derby v Brighton Rockers report


It used to be all fields around here. Still is, if one Rocker’s Sat Nav is to be believed, taking her as it does upon a grand tour of various green spaces where the team’s hotel is supposed to be. The Brighton league have sent up a small squad – a mixture of A-teamers, recent arrivals and upcoming rookies – to take on Manchester Roller Derby this weekend. Much of the trip will be spent expeditioning to and from said hotel, for it is only nominally in the City of Manchester, the same way that Luton and Stansted Airports don’t really merit their London prefixes. We could have warned them of the amount of commuting their choice of accommodation would entail, as it happens, since we’ve been doing some work for a television company in this very suburb – Didsbury – and soon cottoned on that Stockport rather than anything with Manchester in its name was the closest large train station. (Feel free to check out some of said TV work by clicking HERE to watch a script about roller skating we writ for three year olds. The BRATS beer fund is boosted by 0.002p in royalties for every online view. But we digress…)

The venue for today’s game is itself in one of Mancunia’s distantest suburbs. The evocatively named Urmston is home to the George H Carnall, a small but perfectly formed leisure centre attached to a school. Few Rockers make it across the plains of Stretford in time to catch the start of the men’s game that precedes their own. The Manchester league is home to several flavours of derby (women’s, men’s, co-ed) and their geezers A-team New Wheeled Order are taking on Team Boy Division here. The latter is a team assembled from members of various other (mostly Northern) men’s leagues. As one would expect, the Manchester side are better organised than their mixed league opposition, although Boy Div have a lot of very strong individuals in their ranks. The visitors are playing with a very small jammer rotation here (3-4) with some players you might have expected to star up, such as Southern Discomfort’s Shrooms and Inhuman Leaguer Doug Hisgrave, sticking to defensive duties. The pyjamas-legged Jim Jams and Lt Damn are among the home team’s most dangerous jammers. Though NWO are on top for much of the first half, their lead at the break is fairly slender (91-59).


The Brighton players have spent much of the multi-car journey up here trying to guess what music was playing in the other vehicles based on their occupants’ dancing. Now it’s time to get serious, celebrating the relative novelty of a derby venue having lockers, before finding out if the skating surface is as slippery as advance warnings have suggested. With their practice laps complete, the Rockers entourage take to the bleachers for the second half of the men’s game. Just ten skaters here for Brighton, along with bench coach Mistress and line-up manager Racey. The latter caused something of a fluster in UK derby’s counter-clockwise circles earlier this year with a blog post that suggested (not unreasonably) that not every single advanced boot camp should be purely co-ed. Some people took this post to mean that she wanted all male derby players to be castrated, before being thrown onto a bonfire that she would personally dance around, laughing maniacally whilst reciting feminist poetry. Security are understandably keeping an eye on her, but Racey somehow resists the temptation to Emily Davison herself under the NWO pack, and has an alibi for the incident that sees Lt Damn spend several seconds face down on the track. The Manchester men take the win 165-102.

The last (and only previous) time Brighton took a small mixed level squad to an open door away game, in Lille earlier this year, they were beaten fairly convincingly. The rankings would suggest that something similar is on the cards here today. Manchester are only five places behind Brighton’s All-Stars in the European table, suggesting that even the full Rockers A-team would be in for a very tough battle here. It’s not that Brighton are underestimating their opponents, just that at this time of year, with many players taking breaks from skating or otherwise occupied, these are the only game-ready travelable players the Sussex league have at their disposal. There would have been eleven here, as it happens, but a slight knock caused the late withdrawal of a temporary transfer from French Canadia. With just ten in the squad, two distinct line-ups of five is the obvious way to go. One of these contains Enyo Face, Kapow, summer transfer Swann, highly rated rookie Obliviator, and a recent transfer from Finland, Harriet Hotter. The other features Rose Bleed, Chaka Carnage, Emma the Condemner and Irish Mist, along with Gin Atomic, here making her Rockers debut after recently joining from near neighbours Croydon.


There’s something of a North-South divide in English roller derby, one that is particularly felt if you’re based as far South as the Rockers are. You get to know players from other leagues through taking part in scrims and watching other games, and for Brighton’s players that ‘circuit’ barely extends to Birmingham, let alone further up the country. Consequently, all that the majority of the Rockers know about Manchester Roller Derby can be summed up in three words: Vic Tori Bee. The England training squad member and Queens Of The Sin Bin sponsored skater is one of the rising stars of UK derby and, as expected, will prove to be Brighton’s tormentor-in-chief here today. Tori is part of a small MRD jamming roster, alongside GoGo Chanel and Smack Mamba. Even though Brighton only have ten skaters, they’ll stick with a typically large starhead rotation: Obliviator, Kapow and Enyo for one line-up; Gin, Emma and Rose for the other. Indeed, all ten Sussex skaters will get at least one outing in the star, although in some cases not for long – Irish Mist passes the star over the pack straight from the whistle when it’s her turn!

Brighton are going into this game with fairly low expectations, having had very few opportunities to practice these line-ups in advance. Indeed Gin, who only joined the Rockers a couple of weeks ago, has only skated alongside Rose once prior to today, and that was at England tryouts. We’re not sure whether this explains the debutant picking up five penalties in the first half, though, but a clean second sees her stay in the game. The Sussex side are a good match for the hosts in the early running. Although Manchester are first to put points on the board, high scoring jams from Enyo and Gin see Brighton leading 45-40 five jams in. Sadly it’s not to last – the small rotation and long journey (most of the team have been up around 12 hours now) will take a toll, as will the all round strength of the MRD Checkerbroads. Obliviator is putting in a strong and determined performance. She looks a little bewildered by the jammer-on-jammer hits Tori Bee throws her away – not something she’s encountered before – but holds up well. During the warm ups, the Rockers had identified the imposing Psycho Sis as an opponent to beware of, and the powerful blocker metes out hard hits to meet those expectations. With Emma off for a track cut, Tori puts in a 20-point jam and the hosts go into half time 110-69 up.


While the skaters take a break, the infield is given over to some bizarre Northern pastime that involves rubber ducks. It’s best we don’t explain further. Quite a partisan home crowd here, as one would expect, and the Checkerbroads have them cheering further as they win all but one of the second period’s first nine jams. A knock to Enyo sees her having to sit out three jams, temporarily reducing Brighton to a single digit squad. Manchester varying their rotation a little, giving Iko and Sirenide a turn in the star. Rockers putting Swann into jam more now, with Chaka and Harriet also getting star-clad cameos. The latter’s debut in the Brighton star doesn’t quite go according to plan, as she manages to pick up four jammer penalties in a single outing – Sirenide clocking in 22 points in the process – but the game has long since drifted out of the Rockers’ reach. GoGo has been a particular menace to the Sussex side, whilst the blocking of Psycho and captain Price has kept Brighton’s starheads at bay. The captain picks up the Best Blocker award, with Jammer going to Vic Tori Bee and MVP to Smack Mamba. Best take out (the hitting kind not the food kind) goes to Kate Push for spectacularly upending Gin at high speed. For the Rockers, Kapow picks up Best Jammer, Swann takes the Blocker award and Gin picks up MVP on her Brighton debut. Rose wins best take out, despite insisting she’s never taken anyone out ever. Final score: Manchester Checkerbroads 243 – Brighton Rockers (mixed level) 115.

The Rockers will miss much of the after party as they have to go back to their hotel first. As we’ve already established their hotel is so far out from the centre it’s practically in Wales. Whilst waiting for taxis to the party, they toast their defeat with Prosecco served in teacups. Stay classy, Brighton. Despite the result, it’s been a productive trip, giving a lot of newer players a chance to line up with established stars in a competitive match. With the numerically limited Sussex league having to put together a tournament roster of 20 for next year’s Championships, some players from outside of the Rockers’ traditional A-team fourteen will be getting a chance to shine. General consensus is that Obliviator in particular is a potential star in the making – a few days after the Manchester trip she will pick up the league’s Skater of the Month award. For now, she joins the rest of the Northern expedition in the Courtyard, a crowded student sports bar in Central Manchester. The long day catches up with the Sussex squad, who bow out of the noisy pub early for the relative sanctuary of a nearby Nando’s. The next day sees a sauna and swim before the journey back South, although a serious problem with Rose’s car means a somewhat longer vacation in the fields of Didsbury for some of the Brighton crew.


The Rockers round off 2014 with a mixed scrimmage in Hove, featuring a lot of skaters from the Croydon and Eastbourne leagues alongside Rockers and others. It’s a real nailbiter and goes to an overtime jam – a steward’s inquiry will later reveal some creative score tracking at work to make the scores level at full time. So onto 2015 then. What’s happening next year? What’s happening is the first ever British Championships, that’s what. A whopping 72 women’s teams in thirteen divisions (plus three men’s divisions) forming probably the biggest league programme in world derby. The lowest tier features six divisions of five teams each. Above that four divisions of six teams. Then the top two tiers, which are for UKRDA member leagues only. The top division features powerhouses Glasgow Roller Derby, Auld Reekie (Edinburgh), Tiger Bay (Cardiff), Middlesbrough, Rainy City (Manchester) and Central City (Birmingham). Brighton wouldn’t look out of place in such a division, having beaten two of those teams, lost to three and never met Tiger Bay. For now the Rockers start, as do Manchester, just below in one of the two tier two divisions. Manchester are the lowest placed team (22nd in the UKRDA rankings) in a very strong National North division, where they are up against Leeds (6th), the other Leeds league Hot Wheel (7th), Newcastle (12th), Nottingham’s Hellfire Harlots (14th) and Hull (20th).

Such is the strength of Northern leagues – note that there’s no Southern sides in the very top division at all – that the National South division looks marginally weaker by comparison. Brighton are actually the highest ranked side in the division (9th) and will be facing Royal Windsor (10th), London Rockin’ Rollers (13th), Portsmouth (15th), Southend’s Seaside Sirens (19th) and Bristol (25th). Brighton have the upper hand in games v LRR, Portsmouth and the Sirens, have won one and lost one v Bristol, and have surprisingly never met Windsor. The 2015 Rockers roster is going to be fairly different from that which has brought the league to their current position in the rankings, so it should be an interesting tournament. All game days are double headers apart from the final day which is a triple header. This means (we think) that Brighton will play one home game and four neutral/away. There will be other non-Champs games next year too, although we suspect the Rockers might try to avoid playing potential Champs opponents in these (they could face the National North sides in play-offs). Overseas opposition seems quite likely. The Rockers ‘owe’ Gent a rematch in the UK and are similarly due a trip over to Paris – neither of these would surprise us. Who else? Hmmm… Whilst we consult the rankings sites to guess potential opposition, grab yourself a mince pie and a pint of brandy – or whatever people are supposed to drink at Christmas – and we’ll see you in the New Year. Merry festives one and all.

[Photos by Shirlaine Forrest. Thanks to the Rockers who spoke to us for this report.]


Manchester Roller Derby v Brighton Rockers preview


It seems like only a few hours ago that we were posting up a report on the Rockers last away game (Portsmouth) and now we’re just two days away from the next one. This time it will be a mixed level Brighton team taking part, with several newer skaters lining up alongside a selection of A-team stars. The venue is somewhere called Urmston – why are Northern place names so much more evocative than Southern ones? – and the opponents are Manchester Roller Derby, one of two major leagues in the area. (Brighton edged past the other, Oldham based Rainy City, in a home match at the start of the year). The game is this Saturday November 22nd at the George H Carnall leisure centre. Doors are at 2pm, with tickets priced at £7 in advance or £9 on the door, and the day also features a men’s game. See the links at the bottom of this piece for more info.

We know Manchester fairly well, having previously worked a day or two per month there. That was a few years ago and things have certainly changed, not least in terms of travel. Several airlines used to fly between Gatwick and Manchester, with the resulting competition driving the fares down to as little as £20 each way. Sadly no-one flies that route these days, so unless you’re driving (circa 4.5 hours) the alternatives are three days by coach or a fortune by train – actually, it’s about eight hours by coach, costing around £50 return on National Express. The train comes in at £101 return. Although there are no longer direct trains from Brighton to Manchester Piccadilly, the journey from London to the Northern city is now probably the fastest domestic train line in the country, taking just over two hours. Total journey time from Brighton to Manchester comes in at around 3h45. Urmston itself is quite a way out from the centre, though. A local train takes about 20 mins (change at Oxford Road) and costs £3.20, but there’s a mile to walk at the other end. The 256 bus gets you closer (Lostock Road) but takes around 50 mins from Piccadilly Gardens, just up from the station.
    The after party is back in the City Centre at the Courtyard Bar in the über studenty Oxford Road area – they do cocktails for two quid each, squee! Hotel wise, the fact that Manchester City FC have two games over four days is probably a factor in wiping out most of the affordable hotel rooms. The majority of even middling hotels in the centre are currently after an eye-watering £200-300 for a room on Saturday night, making the Britannia Sachas in the trendy Northern Quarter a comparative bargain at £109. Our one cultural tip is the Science Museum. Our pub tips include Britons Protection (hundreds of different whiskies), Peveril of the Peak (awesome exterior), The Temple (a toilet – literally!), The Grey Horse (cheap ‘n’ crafty) and the Fab Cafe (life size Doctor Who aliens and 90s indie discos). All are located along the Deansgate to Piccadilly Gardens drag, should pub crawls be your ‘thing’.

Normally we’d give you a run down of how the predictometer at Flattrackstats expects things to go, and these are usually pretty accurate, but since Brighton are fielding a mixed level team things get complicated. Manchester’s A-team CheckerBroads place 19th in UKRDA and 34th in Europe, whilst the Rockers All-Stars are ranked 10th and 28th respectively. Depending on which of the two ranking systems you use, FTS would call this as a either 84% or 58% probability of Brighton winning. The UKRDA differential of 52:33 represents something like a 208-132 away win. Using the Euro stats a 12:11 differential equates to the Rockers sneaking it 156-143. However, using the ranking data of Brighton’s old B-team Bruisers (158th in Europe) gives Manchester a 98% win probability, with a 35:11 differential suggesting a comfortable home win in the region of 210-66. This suggests a mixed level Brighton squad should end up with anywhere between a 150-point loss and 75-point win. Hmm…
    Estimating the result of the day’s other game is even harder. Manchester’s New Wheeled Order men’s team rank 20th in the world for men’s teams (6th in the UK). Opponents Team Boy Division is a mixed league team, however, put together for the day using skaters from half a dozen or so other men’s sides. There’s no way of ranking – and therefore, no way of predicting – a team like that. Generally speaking, though, established sides tend to get the better of mixed exhibition teams, so we’d expect NWO to take the win here. In a moment we’ll be hearing from Manchester Roller Derby’s GoGo Chanel about what to expect on Saturday, but first of all here’s an exclusive first interview with the Rockers’ brand new signing, Gin Atomic…



Hi Gin. Welcome to the Rockers. For anyone who doesn’t know of you, can you tell us about your background in roller derby prior to joining Brighton a couple of weeks ago?
Hello! I’ve been skating for nearly four years now. Previously I was with Croydon Roller Derby. I had no skating experience before I joined CRD but was hooked after my first session.

You were one of the most well known Croydon players – featuring on iPhone cases, calendar covers, etc. Was it difficult leaving CRD? What were the highlights of your time there?
It was really hard making the decision to leave CRD as I absolutely love those guys. The bond you build up training and bouting together over the years is insane. I have so many highlights, I don’t think we’d have enough space for them all! I’m just really excited to watch them continue on their huge upward trajectory. They’re a very strong and hard working team and I’m expecting big things from them. And I still chat to a lot of them, especially Agent Cooper as she lives down here in Brighton too.

When and why did you decide you wanted to join the Rockers? What’s the process for transferring derby leagues – we assume it’s not quite the same as football transfers with agents, wage demands, etc?
I’ve been living in Brighton for two years now. Slowly the twice weekly commute to training started to eat away at my finances and sanity. (Anyone who dreads the term ‘Rail Replacement Service’ will back me up on that!) It’s been quite a casual transfer process as I know a lot of the Rockers lovelies already. I popped a message over to one of the league directors. I imagine it was discussed a bit then I got a message back to say I was welcome whenever and let’s discuss dates. I never thought of wage demands, dammit.

Presumably you knew a lot of the Rockers prior to transferring? Has it been an easy transition? Any people in particular who have helped you settle in?
Everyone! They’re all lovely. I’ve been with Brighton ref Noise Tank for three years now, so initially met most of Brighton Rockers Roller Derby through him. I’ve guest skated at training a few times over the last couple of years and always try to make it to BRRD games and/or after parties when I can, so I’m friends with a lot of the girls that way. I think it made my first training session a little less daunting at least, and those I didn’t know have been so welcoming. I’m very good friends with a few Rockers alumni too, like Mistress, Banger and Sham who I see outside of training.

You’ll be making your Rockers debut this Saturday. Do you know much about the Manchester Roller Derby side you’re facing?
I played against Manchester when I skated with Croydon, but that was three years ago! I know they have some solid, nippy little jammers for sure. I have no clue what the outcome will be this time. I haven’t been training with Brighton for long, so all I’m focusing on at the minute is getting to know the default tactics. We have some strong skaters, so think it’ll be good fun whatever happens.

The day also features a men’s derby game. Do you follow merby at all? How would you say it compares to the women’s game?
Noise Tank used to skate for Southern Discomfort, along with a lot of Croydon refs and CRD head coach Herbie Licious, so I’ve followed them a fair bit. Noise and I have coached Eastbourne men’s side Bomb S’Quad a few times too. I do like watching men’s derby – the rules are obviously the same, but it can be a very different game to watch compared to women’s.

Finally, what are your ambitions with the Rockers and derby in general going into 2015 and beyond?

I’m hoping to make the A-team as a jammer and a blocker. I enjoy both so have my work cut out for me in trying to get track time as both. I’m looking forward to British Champs next year as I’ll hopefully get chance to skate against some teams I haven’t played before. Looking into the future, I’d love to coach. I was co-coach for Croydon’s B team Vice Squad and I really loved doing it.



Hi there. Firstly, for anyone reading this who might not be aware of MRD, can you tell us a little about your history to date?
Manchester Roller Derby were formed in March 2010 when two skaters from Rainy City Roller Girls splintered off to try and form the world’s most inclusive roller derby club. Like all leagues we’ve been through our ups and downs, training venue changes, wins and losses – but we’ve managed to pull it off and build two men’s teams, two women’s teams, plus a co-ed team that took away the trophy at the first ever co-ed British championships.

Are there any particular MRD players or tactics that fans should keep an eye out for on Saturday?
Our big crowd pleaser is the lovely Vic Tori Bee – she not only made the Team England training roster, but is also a high profile coach who has been all over the country imparting her wisdom. She’s a double threat, so you’ll probably get to see her both jamming and blocking on the day. Tactically I wouldn’t like to give too much away, but we were glued to the WFTDA Championships and spied a few tricks that we’ll be testing out for ourselves. Whether we’ll be as good as Rose City or Gotham at them we’re yet to see!

This game will be your first meeting with the Rockers. Do you know much about the Brighton league? Care to predict the result?

I’m a little biased on this one as my partner is a Brightonian, so I’ve been down to the Dolphin Centre to cheer on the Rockers and have been itching to play them for a long time. As a jammer, I fell a little bit in love with Rose Bleed the first time I saw her and I can’t wait to go up against her. It’s difficult to predict the outcome, Brighton are ranked much higher than us but they’re fielding some newer skaters and we have the home advantage. I’m hoping it will be a tight and exciting game that challenges both sides.

The day also features MRD men’s team New Wheeled Order taking on mixed Team Boy Division. How do you expect that game to go?
The NWO game should be an interesting one – they are one of the most cohesive mens’s teams I’ve seen play and it’ll be a real challenge for a mixed team to go up against them. Boy Division do have an advantage in that some of them have trained with MRD in the past and know some of their tricks. Shrooms from Southern Discomfort (a fan favourite at the recent Men’s Champs) and Fish from Barrow Infernos are regulars at MRD’s Sunday evening scrimmage. On the Manchester side I’d keep an eye on Alien Al – he’s a relative newcomer to the squad, having transferred from The Inhuman League earlier this year, but he’s making his mark on the team and is definitely one to watch.

How does men’s derby differ from women’s, and what ways has it benefited the MRD women’s teams having associated men’s sides?
MRD have always trained co-ed and our scrimmages have always been co-ed, so many of our skaters have never really known a life without that. We’ve developed together. I think NWO have adopted some of the teamwork and caution that is present in the ladies’ game. Meanwhile, the men have taught the ladies some of our fearlessness and aggression. When we skate together we don’t really see each other as members of different teams; we’re all MRD.

Can you tell us a bit about your venue. Is there much in the way of seating and vendors, is there a bar on site, etc? What can we expect from the after party?
Our home venue is George H Carnall in Urmston on the edge of Manchester. We have great tiered seating and a multitude of vendors. Our cake stall is legendary and I’d also recommend stopping by Laurie Pink’s stall – she skates for the CheckerBroads as Pinky Fingaz and you can buy miniature canvases of her paintings, sometimes even hand decorated shoes and bags. Unfortunately we’re not lucky enough to have a bar, but we do make up for it at the after party! The Courtyard is in the student area of central Manchester and boasts student prices. You can normally find masses of sweaty, smelly roller girls and boys taking over the heated, sheltered courtyard outside.

Finally, for those making a weekend of it, are there any sights or activities in the Manchester area that you recommend?
Manchester in November is one of the best times to visit, so you’re in for a treat. We have fantastic Christmas markets (avoid the big squares and wander down the side streets for shorter glühwein queues and unusual handmade gifts). Our Northern Quarter is full of trendy independent shops, bars and restaurants. It’s a place where Buddhist vegan cafes share walls with dripping burger joints – a bit like our own little Brighton!

[Photos by John Hesse & Shirlaine Forrest]