Blitz Dames Roller Derby Boot Camp

Birmingham Blitz Dames - Birmingham, England's Original All Female Flat Track Roller Derby

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Wonderbrawl - Birmingham Blitz Dames vs Tiger Bay Brawlers

Wonderbrawl was a week ago but I still have my number written on my arm (I have washed since, and more than once…) and I found bright orange threads in my elbowpad Velcro at skate practice yesterday. At least one Tiger Bay Brawlers uniform took a battering!

Birmingham Blitz Dames v Tiger Bay brawlers was the first bout at Wonderbrawl, Manchester Roller Derby’s first home bout at the Manchester Academy. A big black room, a stage, seating down one side, a balcony, bright spotlights and an oval track – magic in the making.

The Dames bouted Croydon away a week earlier, and four of us (Nina Nunchucks, Superoxide, Suzette la Flamme and Nico Warrior) took part in the Dolly Rockit’s birthday bash in Leicester the day before, so some of us still had numbers written on our arms from previous bouts… We were joined on the track by Tuxspeedo, a Blitz Dame who’s working away in Manchester, Razor Red as alternate and the team otherwise unchanged from the Croydon bout. We didn’t know much about Tiger Bay, other than that they won their first bout against Bristol Harbour Harlots quite recently ; and some of us had seen BB Bombshell skating in mixed teams, in Windsor and Manchester.

The game was a pretty close one; both teams had successful and less successful jams through the first half, neither able to develop a significant lead. Tiger Bay blockers I think were working hard on getting their jammers through the pack, with the smaller jammers often being towed through on the shirt-tails of bigger blockers, so the Blitz Dames pack found themselves working to contain Tiger Bay rather than to help their own jammers through, and BB Bombshell and Queen la Queefah in particular made it hard work for the Dames’ point scorers. Billie Pistol and Crash Bandicute showed some impressive jamming in the Tiger Bay style and Kid Block also stood out as a big presence in the pack. Tuxspeedo, skating in her first bout, jammed effectively for the Dames and strong skating from Violet Attack and Nina Nunchucks also got them past the Tiger Bay blockers. Nico, Suzette and Superoxide showed no signs of fatigue despite their heavy bouting schedule and kept working through the tiny spaces available in the disciplined Tiger Bay pack. Sleazy Rider and Violet Attack jammed and blocked tirelessly, seemingly on track almost the entire bout.

During the second half Tiger Bay’s Queen la Queefah was wheeled out with a broken and dislocated ankle. BB Bombshell and then the Dames’ Izzy Dauntless fouled out; both power blockers treading the line between heavy and illegal hits throughout the game and both made major contributions to their teams before one trip too many to the box saw them removed from play. Tiger Bay had drawn ahead with a couple of high scoring jams and at one point were 20-odd points or more ahead. With five minutes left the deficit was around 20 points; the Dames worked hard to pull the score back, sending out their more experienced players for the last few jams but time ran out with Tiger Bay ahead 123-110. I had a lot of fun this bout; mainly playing blocker 4 and concentrating on jammer killing. I got away with it for a couple of jams, and then Tiger Bay spotted what I was up to and it got harder!

Awards for the Dames went to Diabolus Rutilus for Most Feared Player, Roisin Roulette for Best Blocker, Izzy Dauntless for Pentalty Queen and Violet Attack for Best Jammer and MVP.
Awards for Tiger Bay went to Queen LaQueefa for Best Blocker, Crash Banicute for Best Jammer, BB Bombshell for Most Feared and Penalty Queen and Kid Block for MVP.

We’re learning all the time, and have identified some areas to work on for next time; it was a hard fought bout with plenty of incident. Then we got to watch Manchester Roller Derby take on the Hot Wheel girls – plenty of roller derby action in what we hope will become a regular venue!

~ Roisin Roulette #N17

Friday, 4 February 2011

Blitz Dames take over the media... and UK bouts!

Today the Blitz Dames have entirely taken over Birmingham's media. They're on TV, radio and in the newspaper, all in the same day!

Tonight, Channel 4, 9pm - The Blitz Dames are on 'Embarassing Bodies' raising awareness of breast cancer and learning how to check their own boobs for lumps or abnormal tissue. (If you missed it, check it out on 4OD).

This morning the Dames were on BBC Radio WM - Violet Attack, Roisin Roulette and RUFFty TUFFty were on the morning show with Joanne Malin this morning. If you missed it you can listen to it online here. (If you don't want to listen to the whole show, skip to 2hrs 17 in!)

The Birmingham Mail features the Dames - Today on page 21 of the Birmingham Mail, check it out!

And if that's not enough for you, the Dames are invading TWO double header bouts this weekend! That's right... two!

Tomorrow, Superoxide, Suzette la Flamme, Nina Ninchucks and Nico Warrior will be skating in a mixed bout at the Dolly Rockit Rollers' 'Birthday Bash.' The Dolly Rockits will then take on the Romsey Town Roller Billies.

And then on Sunday the Dames take on the Tiger Bay Brawlers at Manchester Roller Derby's 'Wonderbrawl' Manchester then take on Hot Wheels Roller Derby.

Phew. That should be enough Dames action keep you going through the weekend!

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Full Metal Track It Write Up

Photo courtesy of Neal Humphris

30 January 2011: Full Metal Track It

Usually we’re busy stuffing our faces with roasted food, Sunday lunchtime, but not this week. No, this week the Dames bouting team, Refs, NSOs, lineup and bench team and travelling supporters were meeting up at the van hire centre or outside the Mailbox with skates, pads, snacks, flags, snacks, boutfits, make-up bags, snacks drinks and more snacks, ready for the 3hr drive to Croydon Roller Derby’s bouting venue in Carshalton.

Having agreed that it would be childish to race all the way there in our two minibuses, we settled in for a Dames road trip. Bus 2 took an early lead, but timing and an attention-grabbing moon from Violet Attack and Little Ruffty helped Ruffty (at the wheel of Bus 1) gain ‘Lead Driver’ status as we approached the M40 and the driving contest was effectively won there and then.

Croydon were well organised and when we parked at the venue just after 4pm the track laying was well underway and we were met and directed to the changing room. This was a first public bout for several Dames (Izzy Dauntless, Nico Warrior, Kathleen Hamma, Rip Lashes and Razor Red) and there was some nervous chatter, and some nervous silence, as we waited to warm up and have equipment checked before the game. But as soon as the first whistle began we just played roller derby.

The Dames hadn’t bouted as a team since April 2010 and some of the more experienced blockers were initially a trifle over-excited to be back on track; I for one didn’t play as sensibly as I should have done, being sent to the penalty box twice early on. The first half points were fairly evenly distributed but with there was a succession of Dames stuck in the penalty box, including one jam where the box was full and blockers were waved off. Croydon later had an amazing 20-point jam (Jessica Rammit jamming) to go into the lead and by half time the score was Croydon 50-41 Blitz Dames.

Dames Captain Violet Attack gathered her troops for a quick team talk: she told us that the Dames were allowing the Croydon jammers to fly past on the outside far too easily. If we could just keep 5 players on the track for each jam, we could stop Croydon scoring. Without their power jam, Croydon would not have been in the lead. Dames blockers just needed to play with less heart and more head, and stay on the track so that our jammers would have the help they needed to slip through the pack.

We don’t like to disappoint Attack. And so the second half was a different story, with the Dames holding the Croydon jammers back more effectively, and Dames jammers steadily scoring points. There was brave and determined jamming from Nico Warrior (and I’d like to send our thanks to the Warrior friends and family for their passionate and noisy support) slipping through walls and bouncing back up every time she was knocked down, and confident and crafty jamming from Nina Nunchucks; Violet Attack as ever caused problems for the opposition wherever she chose to play, and Sleazy Rider and Izzy Dauntless were tireless in knocking holes or positionally blocking in the pack. Rookie skater Razor Red worked well at the front of the pack with Bitchy or Doc, and teamwork across the second half saw the Dames outscore Croydon with 74 points in the half against Croydon’s 31.

Croydon players we were particularly wary of were Jessica Rammit and Amazon Dragstar, Mary Blockins, Mosquito and Jeopardy Jinx; we felt that the level of derby skills was good from both teams, and everyone will have learned something from the bout. Croydon were lovely hosts, we felt welcomed and well looked after (they fed us! brought fruit and water and cake! gave us goodie bags!) and we hope we can return the love in a home fixture before too long.

Everyone involved in a roller derby game has a slightly different view and interprets that view in their own way; whether you’re in the suicide seats, the back of the stands, skating in it or standing in the centre of the track, you can’t see everything. This, then, is my recollection of the game; I was on the track a lot, I am well known for my inability to think and skate at the same time and obviously missed a lot of what was going on around me. So if I fail to mention someone’s brilliant play or amazing piece of skill, sorry, I was probably in a world of my own at the time.

~ Roisin Roulette #N17