Pop socks and coconuts!

Pop socks and coconuts!

Just two of the things you might find washed up or discarded on a beach near you. And find them we did, when the Sirens joined the Marine Conservation Society Beach Watch for their quarterly beach clean this weekend in Southend–on-Sea. I like to think that the coconut drifted here from Tobago, or some equally tropical paradise…I’m pretty sure the pop sock didn’t hail from such exotic origins!
Jokes aside, litter on our beaches is a real problem – for us and for our furry, feathery and fishy counterparts. Every year, tons of litter sadly finds its way onto our beautiful beaches. And so we found ourselves on Jubilee beach, on a bright and bracing Sunday morning, gloved up, issued with inventory clipboards, bin bags and picker-upper-grabby-sticks (their technical name), raring to clean our beach.
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For two hours, our Sirens crack cleaning team and other people from Beach Watch scoured a small stretch of the beach, removing and noting all manner of litter. Little did we know what random items we would find. Aside from the pop sock and coconut, we discovered paintbrushes, hair combs, used fireworks, a sorry looking dog toy, glass, face wipes, sponges, hundreds of fast food wrappers, plastic bottle tops and an assortment of other plastic bits and bobs. However the worst offenders, sprinkled in their hundred like misplaced blue and white beach confetti, were the little the plastic sticks from cotton buds. Goodness knows why people would flush these chaps down their toilets, but flush them they unfortunately did. The problem is, plastic (from which our little ear-pokey friends are made) is not biodegradable; some plastic items might float around in our seas for 450 years before breaking down. And even when they do degrade, they can release all sorts of yucky toxic chemicals into the environment. Remember to tell all your friends – plastic (and any other items that don’t include toilet roll or things that you produce in your body!) belong in the bin, not down our loos!
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At the end of the clean, we handed in our bag for the big weigh-in. The Sirens collected a very respectable 2.5kg of rubbish to add to the total haul from the clean. It was a super fun way to spend two hours on a Sunday morning – friends, fresh sea air and doing something fun for the environment and our local community. And the mini Sirens who came with their parents had a whale of a time, doing supervised scavenging on our trash treasure hunt. Unfortunately we didn’t discover any Doubloons, but there’s always next time!
 

If you would like to get involved, the next Beach Watch Jubilee beach clean is on 8th June. You can register via their website : http://www.mcsuk.org/beachwatch/beach/jubilee-beach
We’ll see you there!
 
Photos © Dan Clarke

Seaside Siren Roller Girls victorious over Kent Roller Girls in season opener

Seaside Siren Roller Girls victorious over Kent Roller Girls in season opener

The Seaside Siren Roller Girls emerged victorious after taking on the Kent Roller Girls on Saturday (22nd February) at Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre in the first game of the season.
 
The Seaside Sirens have been training hard to ensure a winning start to their fourth year of playing competitively and kick started 2014 with a game that was guaranteed to be hard and tactical.
 
Jammers, Gail (Force Ten Gail) Heather, Jade (Killer Bite) O’Neill, and Ellie (Ella-Gnaw) Punter fought through strong walls to put initial points on the board while the Sirens blockers formed strong dynamic walls to hold the Kent jammers back. An early power jam in the first jam, saw Force Ten Gail rack up 22 points.
 
April O’Steel for Kent put the first points on the board in the third jam but was quickly closed down by being sent to the penalty box, giving Killer Bite the chance to gain points in a power jam, although coming up against strong, defensive walls.
 
Acid Trip for Kent Roller Girls proved tough to hold back, with her strength and drive forcing the Sirens to stay tight and close her down, but she gained lead jammer over Killer Bite who was recycled to the back of the pack by Kent’s blockers.
 
Force Ten Gail’s speed and agility really came into play when Kent’s Diagnosis Mauler picked up lead jammer with Gail breaking through the pack shortly afterwards, chasing down Mauler and forcing her to call the jam off before she scored any points. Pack speed remained fast, forcing all skaters on the track to be light on their feet and think quickly.
 
At the end of the first half, the score stood at 124 to the Sirens and 41 to Kent.
 
In the second half, Kent continued to nip at the heels of the Sirens lead while both teams racked up penalties leaving blockers depleted and giving jammers better scope to get through and put points on the board.
 
Hula Gunn spent the game providing super offense for her jammers, ensuring the Sirens stayed in the lead while her blocking with Katy Peril and The Bexorcist remained formidable.
 
The final score was 233 to the Seaside Sirens and 125 to the Kent Roller Girls.
 
And the award winners were delighted to be presented with the Sirens newest medals, engraved with the game and date details!
 
Kent Roller Girls Best Blocker: Whizz Skid

Kent Roller Girls Best Jammer: Acid Trip

Kent Roller Girls Most Valuable Player: Demi Lition
 
Sirens Best Blocker: Katy Peril

Sirens Best Jammer: Ella-Gnaw

Sirens Most Valuable Player: Frocky Balboa
 
The Seaside Sirens will continue their bouting season by taking on Newcastle Roller Girls The Canny Belters on Saturday 29th March at their home venue, Southend Leisure and Tennis Centre visit www.seasidesirens.co.uk for more information.
 
Photo © Andrew Sims

Changing tides – by Geek Le Chic

Changing tides – by Geek Le Chic

I’ve loved being by the sea for as long as I can remember. I grew up in the late 70s/ early 80s, a time when it wasn’t common for families to go overseas on holiday. My family used to enjoy the good old British seaside holiday every year, and I loved it.

The initial hit of ozone and salty smell as Mum bundled us out of the car. Making sand castles, burying Dad’s feet in the sand, messy windswept hair, impossibly white ice cream, paddling in the sea, the abrasive feel of Mum rubbing the sand off our feet so we didn’t muck up the newly vacuumed car seats. And then stopping for fish & chips on the way home (I don’t care what anyone says, British seaside chips are the best in the world).

I’m lucky enough to live by the sea now, but the little flutter in my tummy when I first spot the sea on the horizon is still as strong as it ever was.

I never really considered the issue of marine conservation as I was growing up. Through a child’s eyes the beach is one big fantastic playground.
I first got an inkling something wasn’t quite right when I went to Newquay aged 17 for the annual surf festival.

I’ll admit my motives for going weren’t entirely honourable. The promise of a bevy of sun-kissed surfer dudes is, unsurprisingly, a huge draw for a hormonal, heterosexual 17 year old girl. However the main thing that made an impression on that holiday was a chat with someone from Surfers Against Sewage at the event.
Until then I had been blissfully unaware of the huge detrimental impact we as humans have on our seaside. My beloved seaside.
Sadly, as with many things, once you see it you can’t un-see it.

Fast-forward to the present and it’s truly upsetting to skate along the beach by my house on a Summer’s evening and see all the crap left behind by day trippers. Especially as there are numerous large litter bins available.
But then I guess visitors are not privy to the devastation they’ve left behind, so why should they care? They’ve already boarded the train and are half way home.
Not that the locals are entirely blameless by any means. There is evidence of dog fouling on the beaches year-round, despite numerous designated dog waste bins.

As well as being that big fantastic playground, our beaches now double up as glorified open waste bins, and it makes me very, very sad.

It’s obviously not just a visual impact rubbish has on the environment, it has a tragic effect on all marine wildlife from plants and sea creatures to birds. A bird only needs to accidentally swallow a tiny piece of plastic, get it stuck in its throat, and it’s unable to eat.
It will starve to death, if it doesn’t choke on the plastic first. Add to this the fact that 88% of Europe’s fish stocks are overfished or depleted and it paints a pretty bleak picture.

When one of the Sirens mentioned there was a Marine Conservation Society (MCS) beach clean survey on December 1st, I was keen to get involved. The last time I helped with a beach clean was when I was at University, which was…let’s say ‘a good few’ years ago. So I figured my involvement was well overdue.

So that’s how six Sirens plus one mini honorary Siren (7 year old Imogen) happened to be on a beach at 10am on a ‘brusque’ (read flippin’ freezing) Sunday morning.

We were joined by the beach watch organiser Debbie and four other volunteers. Most opted to wear Christmas hats. I declined. Mainly because I didn’t want to take my nice warm woolly hat off – Did I mention it was very cold?

Once we had given Debbie our details we were issued with a clipboard and sheet for tallying the different types of item we collected. We were given a thick blue rubbish bag, a small plastic container (for any sharps collected), a pair of heavy duty gloves each and one litter grabber thingy (technical term obviously).

Given Imogen’s obvious enthusiasm for the litter grabber thingy, we made her guardian of that – and she did a fine job using it to full effect.

Lil’ Miss Tash was designated as scribe, and therefore team leader, and diligently recorded items as they were put into the sack. I held the sack (it was a VERY important job OK?) AweSam, Dame Fear Her Limbs, Ursula Transgress, Hell Broke Luce and Imogen did the bulk of the collecting.

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To give you an idea of how much rubbish there was (and remember this is off season) it took an hour for the seven of us to cover just a 20 metre stretch of beach. In that 20 meters we collected 0.75kg of rubbish (a total of 1.04kg was collected by all 11 of us). A surprisingly common item was plastic cotton bud sticks. General bits of plastic, polystyrene and food wrappers figured highly as did cigarette butts and face/baby wipes. We found a discarded syringe, quite a few pieces of broken glass, two lighters and a couple of bits of dog poop – we didn’t have to pick that up, but we did have to ‘log the log’ as someone eloquently put it.

MCS claim that the volume of beach litter has doubled in the last decade, despite awareness around the issue being on the increase. And the amount of rubbish we found was truly an eye opener and seemed to support this.

As it was a Winter beach clean, we only did an hour (two hours is typical in the Summer).
We vowed to come back to the next beach clean with a lot more Sirens.
Although a sobering experience, it was also an enjoyable morning. It was rewarding to be able to make even the teeniest dent in such a gargantuan task.

I’d really encourage you to take a look on the MCS website to see if there are any beach cleans in your local area. If there are, sign up and get involved!

If you aren’t able to, or don’t live close to a beach there are still simple things you can do to lessen your impact on our marine environment:

  • Don’t flush anything other than toilet roll down the loo.
    Use sanitary bags for tampons and towels and make sure to throw cotton buds and face/baby wipes in the bin.
  • When you do visit a beach, use the bins provided for any leftover rubbish – including cigarette butts if there is a butt bin available. If the bins are full then take the rubbish home with you to dispose of later.
  • If you walk your dog on the beach, pick up and bag their mess and dispose of it in the dog waste bins (again, if they are full take it home).
  • Try to use cleaning and beauty products that have natural ingredients and less chemicals in them. Most supermarkets sell own-brand eco cleaning products now.
  • Only buy or eat fish and seafood included on the MCS sustainable seafood list – and preferably those in season.

Thanks for reading. Geek Le Chic.

Photo Credits: Daddy Le Chic & Debbie Fox (Beach Watch Organiser)

Seaside Sirens v Lincolnshire Bombers 09/11/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

Seaside Sirens v Lincolnshire Bombers 09/11/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

WHEN you think of a finale we all know what we want…drama, screams, whoops, nail-biting, edge of the seat entertainment and a happy ending – and hell did our Seaside Siren Roller Girls deliver that at their last game of the season.
 
We were delighted to welcome Lincolnshire Bombers A team the Bombshell Bruisers to take on our All Stars, who have been victorious this year in all our games, bar our last bout against the amazing Newcastle Roller Girls.
 
But it was a very exciting day because our Seaside Siren B Team took to the track for the first time in 2013 to pitch themselves against the Bombers’ B team, the Damebusters.
 
So with the hall filling up on Saturday November 9th, B Team captain Bazooka Salt, who is fighting fit after a little ankle break in 2013 (have we mentioned how rock hard our skaters are?!) led her team onto the track to do battle with the help of a few friends of the Sirens from London Roller Girls Recreational League, Max Voltage, Baby Cheesus and Tiny Temper.
 
Despite not getting lead Jammer, Sirens jammer Baby Cheesus put the first points on the board after Twisted Innocence was sent to the box for skating out of bounds. Next up former Seaside Siren A team skater Tiny Temper, who gets a rowdy reception whenever she takes to our track, takes the jammer panty but passes the star to cherry popper and rising star Pegasus.
 
With some stellar jamming from Max and Atomic Kylider, the Sirens lead at the beginning of the game 35 – 19 but with blockers and jammers being sent to the penalty box the sees the half time scores at 94 – 115 to the Damebusters.
 
10 minutes into the second half and a couple of power jams takes the Sirens to 139 – 125 but Cheesus gets sent to the penalty box allowing Riva Styx to pick up lead jammer taking it to 139 – 135. Strong packs and some amazing blocking from Hell De Jour and Bazooka Salt keep jammers back for a lap and a half in some circumstances. Each team had to knuckle down and really fight for their points.
 
As the Bombers’ score continues to creep ahead Twisted Innocence starts in a 4:4 power jam with the guests playing some strong offence with Pegasus leaving the penalty box but hassling from Hell forces Innocence to call off the jam.
 
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Final score for our amazing B team versus the Damebusters is 160 – 242 but our girls carried on fighting until that final whistle and we look forward to what the future holds in store for our B Team in the 2014 season.
 
Next up was our A team All Stars and first up on the jammer line was Killer Bite and Florence The Machine. The Sirens steamed ahead with a power jam as a result of Flo cutting track, putting 24 points on the scoreboard for the Sirens to 4 for the Bombers.
 
Flo and Killer Bite continue to battle it out against each other with the scores fluctuating and remaining close. Force Ten Gail skates with astonishing power to score some points and close the points which have creeped into favour for the Bombers 46 – 64.
 
Force Ten manages to pick up two grand slams as Sirens due Katy Peril and Hula Gun keep Riva Styx in the pack before Peril gets sent off for Out Of Play penalty call. The Sirens hard work in focussing on packs and offence has paid off.
 
At the end of the first half scores at at 134 – 93 to the Sirens All Stars.
 
The second half is something that can only be understood if you were sitting in the crowd or following our lovely Phoenix in Flames’ twitter feed. With just 10 minutes left on the clock the Bombers tight walls and strong jamming see a lead change to the Bombers taking the score to 169 – 171. Next jam, despite Lincs having 3 blockers on the track to Sirens 2, Force Ten finds a gap and picks up 3 points before Mills can reach the pack, CHANGING THE LEAD AGAIN!! 172 – 171.
 
Second from last jam of the game the the score remains in the Bombers favour , with a 3:1 pack advantage to the Sirens it’s Force Ten vs Kissy. With Gail getting lead the jam is called dead as Kissy is directed to the medics for a facial hit and the Referees are given time to check the track for blood.
 
So into the final jam, 4:2 pack advantage to the Sirens, Riva versus Gail. Riva gets out first and on her second scoring pass before Gail gets out. Riva gets sent to the penalty box, the clock is on 00:00 and Force Ten passes bodies on the track before the last whistle is blown.
 
After an official review it is confirmed as a WIN for the SEASIDE SIREN ROLLER GIRLS ALL STARS but a nail bitingly close 194 – 192. Well, what a game.
 
It has been an exciting year for the Seaside Siren Roller Girls, and the acceptance into the WFTDA Apprentice Program, the B team taking to the track for the first time in 2013 and a final win for the All Stars has just topped it off.
 
We can’t wait to see what 2014 has in the pipeline but stay tuned because we have some amazing games in the pipeline!
 
 
Photo © Chris Brown

Seaside Siren Allstars v London Rollergirls Batter C Power 29/06/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

Seaside Siren Allstars v London Rollergirls Batter C Power 29/06/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

The Seaside Siren Roller Girls are delighted to have secured their 4th win of the season after their All-Stars took on the almighty London Roller Girls Batter C Power at their home venue in Tottenham last weekend. And it so happened that the game landed on what appeared to be the hottest day of the year! So the Sirens, armed with frozen towels, bandanas and waterproof mascara made their way into the big smoke ready to do battle.
 
The skate outs started with the home team donning Rainbow T-shirts and skating out to Relax by Frankie Goes to Hollywood in honour of London Pride, raising a cheer and a smile from everyone in the hall! It was certainly the most colourful skate out seen for some time!
 
First on the jammer line was Natasha Byrne for Batter C, while Killer Bite kicked off the game for the Sirens. A fast pack and tight walls from both teams made it hard to put points on the board and Byrne gets called lead jammer, chased down by Killer Bite, and earns just one point before calling the jam off. The scoreboard stayed low and slow thanks to some dynamic walls and strong jamming from the opposing jammer not lead, chasing down and forcing them to call it.
 
The first power jam of the game went to the Sirens, with Ella Gnaw jamming. Despite some strong defence from Lex Plode the scoreboard shifts to 25 – 1 to the Sirens. 10 minutes into the game, LRG put some points onto the board, taking them up to 8 while the Sirens edged forward to 35. And shortly afterwards, Natasha Byrne found herself with a power jam, but fortunately for the Sirens, there was a quick power jam switch and the Sirens found themselves on 40 points, quickly followed by another Power Jam to Phoenix in Flames for the Sirens, who was skating against just 2 of Batter C. A succession of power jams in the Sirens favour took the seaside visitors up to 80 to LRG’s 27 points. Next up was Sherry Bomb taking the star panty for the first time, and gets lead over Ella Gnaw and the teams go into the half time with the points differential closing at LRG 72 – 107 to the Seaside Sirens.
 
The second half started with Sherry Bomb jamming against Killer Bite and fights despite not getting lead. Killer scores and calls it off. Force Ten Gail spends the game low and fast and makes the walls and recycling demonstrated by Batter C seem like paper as she busts through, racking up points for the Sirens. As the scores hit 252 – 92 to the Sirens, Killer Bite took advantage of yet another power jam with the help of Bexorcist as her offence.
 
Final jam and Digibeater, gets lead and scores 7 points taking the final score to 103 – 291 to the Seaside Siren All-Stars.
 
Despite the score difference, the game was hard and fast and the blocking from the LRG C team was tight, dynamic and unforgiving. But the Sirens were delighted to continue their winning streak and look forward to the remainder of the season and the games that lie ahead!
 
We would like to extend our thanks to the NSOs and Referees that helped the day and the game run as smoothly as possible, and also our own Sirens refs and NSHos who came along with us. And also @LRGbouts on Twitter who helped us piece together the game for this blog after a little post-bout after-party drinking!
 Lastly, thank you to Batter C Power for having us hosting a brilliant game and to our loyal supporters who could probably have been heard cheering from our hometown of Southend!
 
Photo © Andrew Sims

Seaside Sirens v Graveyard Queens Cologne 25/05/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

Seaside Sirens v Graveyard Queens Cologne 25/05/2013 – by Ella-GNAW

When we received an invitation from the Cologne Roller Derby’s Graveyard Queens to visit their city for a bout, the Seaside Siren All Stars gave a resounding thumbs up and we started looking at travel options and booking flights straight away – after all, the Sirens would never miss a chance to play a game and party in a different country!
 
Fresh from our win over Manchester, the team were keen to push on secure another win but with not much known about the Graveyard Queens, the Sirens focused on all areas of tactical play in preparation. As most bouting skaters will tell you, always go into a game assuming they’re smart, hard and fast, and in this case, that was very good thinking!
 
After arriving in the City late Friday night, the All Star skaters spent Saturday checking out Cologne, while myself and a few others fully utilised the hotel’s spa area, spending a few hours getting into game mode and ensuring a clear head for the game that evening!
 
Arriving at the venue, we had a very warm welcome from the Queens, with a personal note on the changing room wall, a platter of snacks and goodie bags for each of our skaters! So with no time to waste, we strapped on our skates and ventured out to check out the sprung floor! Which was a whole new skating experience!
 
And without further ado, it was time to skate. No one can accuse the Germans of lacking showmanship, the announcers were on skates, dressed as queens (and translating in English for our Siren supporters) and the NSO’s and Referees were all announced one by one, making an entrance from the changing rooms! It felt like a big production and we loved it. Next up was the Queens skate out, a death march laced with a sprinkling of punk!
 
As the game kicked off, we realised quickly that we had to adjust our game. Their jammers were slippery, finding the smallest gaps and absorbing any hits landed on them by our blockers. The atmosphere was electric with fans in the bleachers sporting banners, including our favourite from our loyal supporters who followed us out to Europe for the game, and Graveyard Queens’ supporters banging drums, akin to the ones beating manically at football matches.
 
Jamming from Force Ten Gail and Killer Bite was second to none and with their hard work we secured a lead. And I even got to put the star panty on and give it my all, which was the best fun ever (I wonder if I was smiling outwardly as much as I was inside!?).
 
So the final score was 224 to 109 and we secured a win but it wasn’t without a fight.
 
But what’s a bout without an after party. The Graveyard Queens took us to their after party venue in downtown Cologne E.D.P, probably the coolest bar we’ve ever visited (bar our home base The Alex). And as to who won the after party, I’ll leave that to the Sirens and Graveyard Queens who were partying until the sun came up (literally) to fight it out.
 
We want to send a special thank you to all the supporters who got on a plane or jumped in a car to come and give us your support. Your cheers and chants kept us going when we were so far away from home! Thank you!
 
We can’t wait to have the Graveyard Queens over and show them how we do it at the seaside!
 
Photo © Gavin Bourne

Carry on Bruising – Sirens v MRD 11/05/2013 – by Phoenix

Carry on Bruising – Sirens v MRD 11/05/2013 – by Phoenix

After a nail-biting finish resulting in a narrow victory at their last game, the Seaside Sirens were hoping to steal a much more comfortable win against their next opponents; Manchester Roller Derby’s (MRD) Checkerbroads. However the ladies in green had other ideas and their sturdy, speedy jammers & tight pack work gave the crowd another thrilling close-run game.
 
The game saw both teams with a small jammer rotation; MRD making use of VicToriBee, Sirenide (captain) and Go-Go Chanel whilst the Sirens bolstered their previous rotation of Force Ten Gail and Killer Bite with The Beckoning. You may recall from our previous bout that the Sirens had a special guest mascot for the day; a young fan who flew the flag for our skate out! This time around we dug around in our sandpit and found ourselves another super fan to blow the first whistle for the game; comedic panel-show legend Phill Jupitus! Everyone loves a good celeb, but at Sirens HQ we particularly love Mr Jupitus; a long-term Seaside Sirens fan who is often spotted wearing a Sirens or Kent Roller Girls shirts on TV. Thanks Phill for getting this bout started for us!
 
The Sirens’ blockers took to the pivot line for the start of the first few jams but MRD’s nimble jammers took advantage of this and took the Sirens packs by surprise with their speed, earning 4 of the first 5 lead jammer calls of the day. However with the Sirens jammers always hot on their heels they were compelled to use “hit it & quit it” tactics giving them just a 0-15 lead going in to the 6th jam. Similarly when Killer Bite picked up the Sirens first lead jammer call in the 3rd jam, Go-Go Chanel was too close for comfort, resulting in a 0-0- jam.
 
With Force Ten Gail lining up for the Sirens in the 6th jam, she made use of a 4-3 pack advantage and placed the first 4 points on the board for the ladies in blue before calling the jam off; much to the crowd’s pleasure! The Beckoning scored the next 4 points for the Sirens a few jams later; 9-17 to MRD.
 
Our first power jam of the day came at the 12 minute mark after recent Sirens transfer Katy Peril forced a track cut penalty on MRD’s jammer VicToriBee. With some offence from her pack Force Ten Gail picked up 3 grand slams before VicToriBee was released, giving us a lead change 24-17 to the Sirens.
 
Two jams later, Force Ten Gail broke free from the pack first, taking advantage of a gap left on the inside line coming out of the apex; however the jammer referee spotted half a wheel over the line, seeing Gail off to the box to join her blockers Katy Peril and The Bexorcist. With The Beckoning joining them a few moments later and a full box for MRD too, jammer Go-Go Chanel called the jam off immediately and handed the power jam responsibility to VicToriBee. Her blockers opted to play patient offence and she made light work of thinly spread Sirens pack, picking up 15 points and calling it before Force Ten Gail could be released. Another lead change; 24-36 to MRD.
 
A few jams later Go-Go Chanel was once again lead and facing a power jam, as Killer Bite picked up a cut track penalty for the Sirens. With all her blockers on the track this time, Go-Go opted to keep the star for herself and with the MRD pack again playing patient offence, Go-Go picked up 4 passes of the Sirens pack who were quickly muscled out-of-play each time. Her 18 points saw MRD further their lead to 58-24. This run saw MRD capitalising on the Sirens penalty trouble who were only able to pick up one point in 7 jams.
 
The Sirens responded by switching up their starting strategy and joined the MRD blockers in front of the jammer line; a strategy that without doubt paid off for them. The first jam after saw VicToriBee & Killer Bite breaking out of the pack together. Followed by a scrappy jam that saw both jammers and two blockers from each team take trips to the box went slightly in the Sirens favour and the next one Force Ten Gail picked up lead, calling it for 4 points.
 
MRD took the chance for a team time-out to re-group. Unfortunately for the Checkerbroads the Sirens also used the opportunity to build on their change in starting-line strategy; the home team had a 3-2 pack advantage going into jam 20 and opened up a space on the inside line for Killer Bite to take lead. Brutal pack work from The Bexorcist, Frocky Balboa, Ella GNAW and The Beckoning trapped & repeatedly recycled MRD’s jammer Sirenide, allowing Killer Bite to pick up 2 grand slams before Sirenide broke out. The unrelenting hits from the MRD’s Kate Push & Psycho-Sis pack led Killer Bite to call the jam midway through her next pass as Sirenide was approaching the pack. With tensions running high and keen to score points, Sirenide was mid-block as the 4th whistles were called and was unable to stop herself landing the hit, that saw her off to the box with an Illegal Procedure penalty for blocking after the whistle.
 
With the crowd on the edge of their seats and huge cheers of encouragement for both teams, Force Ten Gail took the star facing a formidable MRD wall of Sui-Cider, Kate Push and Psycho-Sis. The Sirens pack again opted to play an active power jam, making holes for Force Ten and trapping blockers to maintain a slow pack, allowing her to pick up 19 points before she called it just before Sirenide was released. Another lead change! 67-65 to the Sirens.
 
Killer Bite quickly picked up 4 points in the next jam with a 3-2 pack advantage at the start but by the time she’d called it there were 2 Sirens blockers in the box and Hula Gunn in the queue. The MRD response was glorious; VicToriBee shot off the jammer line to earn lead whilst her blockers Penny Pinch’er, Kate Push and Psycho-Sis held Force Ten Gail & recycled her to the back of the pack long enough for VicToriBee to pick up 9 points, giving us another lead change 71-74 to MRD!
 
It seemed like MRD were on a role and keen to finish the first half with a lead; Go-Go Chanel collected the lead jammer status on her initial pass, but some smart recycling from The Bexorcist forced a cut track on her first scoring pass. Killer Bite had just under 2 minutes to capitalise on the error and a combination of smart, distracting blocks from her pack and a couple of nifty apex jumps saw the first half come to a close with a stunning 29 point jam for Killer Bite and gave us another lead change; 100-78 to the Sirens.
 
The second half saw the teams trading lead jammer calls and taking 3 or 4 point passes before being forced to call it; the Sirens clinging on the lead and MRD refusing to allow them to extend it much further. The Bexorcist tricked VicToriBee into a sneaky track cut penalty early on, giving Force Ten Gail 2 minutes to rack up 5 full passes and 24 points; eeking the Sirens lead to 128-90. A few jams later and the power-line-up of Psycho-Sis, Jowanna Clout, Ma-Rollin’ Munster and The Incredible Ish trap Killer Bite long enough for Go-Go Chanel to pick up a jammer lap point & taking MRD to triple digits before being sent off for a cutting penalty. With a 3-4 pack advantage and truly impressive blocking skills, MRD are able to keep the pace slow and control Killer Bite, only allowing her 2 scoring passes in the 2 minutes. 142-100 to the Sirens.
 
When the tables are turned a few jams later, with the The Beckoning sat in the penalty box to give MRD a power jam, the ladies in blue aren’t able to match the same slow pace & controlled blocking against MRD’s patient offence and jammer Sirenide is able to force split packs to collect 18 points, calling the jam before The Beckoning is released. The next jam VicToriBee is able to put up a further 7 points before calling it to prevent the Sirens scoring and they close the gap to a tantalising 146-125!
 
Once again the Sirens responded to this attack on their lead; their much-practiced hammer & nail recycling held back the MRD jammers for two jams, allowing two scoring attacks on the MRD packs from the Sirens jammers. With around 9 minutes left and the Sirens ahead with 155-125, it looks like a done deal when VicToriBee is sent to the box for a cutting penalty, receiving a 2nd minute for an illegal procedure when she left the box seconds too early. Force Ten Gail is able to score 25 points in 2 minutes before calling it to give Killer Bite the chance to pick up the lead jammer call unopposed, who is then able to collect a further 14 points before calling it off to give the Sirens a seemingly comfortable 194-129 lead. That is until Force Ten Gail cuts the track in the following jam; whilst Ella GNAW, Hula Gunn, Katy Peril and Dr TerrorBrAwLL are left to make Sirenide’s life difficult for 2 minutes, only allowing her 4 points before the jam reaches its natural conclusion.
 
VicToriBee takes the star once again for the Checkerbroads who field their power line-up (see above!) and picks up 15 points before Force Ten Gail is released from the box; but knowing they need all the points she can get ToriBee relies on her blockers to do their job and how they do it! Against a much-reduced Sirens pack, that sees Frocky Balboa and The Beckoning foul out, they’re able to hold Force Ten Gail for a further 3 passes and finally force a cut track on her. All in all, VicToriBee collects an incredible 35 points for the Checkerbroads! The Sirens are clutching onto the lead 201-164; the clock says there’s enough time for only one more jam and proving her stamina, VicToriBee keeps the start and sets out to try and put down another huge jam for the Checkerbroads. She manages a valiant 9 points before Force Ten Gail is released from the penalty box and calls the jam dead.
 
Final Score: Seaside Siren All Stars 201 – 173 Manchester Roller Derby Checkerbroads.
 
An absolutely thrilling game from start-to-finish and best of all was the response both teams had about the game; each & every skater I spoke to from both sides gushed about how much fun and good-natured the gameplay was. Despite fighting tooth & nail on the track, the teams had a huge amount of respect for each other and it really showed at the after-party at The Alex with MRD joining us to celebrate a great game. Thank you Manchester Roller Derby!
 

Awards:

Manchester Roller Derby

Best Jammer – Go-Go Chanel

Best Blocker – Psycho-Sis

Most Valuable Player – VicToriBee

 
Seaside Sirens

Best Jammer – Force Ten Gail

Best Blocker – Hula Gunn

Most Valuable Player – The Bexorcist
 
Photo © Andrew Sims

Seaside Siren All Stars v Dolly Rockit Rollers 21/04/2013 – by Jenna Tail’ya

Seaside Siren All Stars v Dolly Rockit Rollers 21/04/2013 – by Jenna Tail’ya

We love a goooooood bout. You know the kind. Where the blockers are all over each other from start to finish and the jammers have to claw for every single point they get. Where both teams are so evenly matched that it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top. Where the skating and skill is top notch and you are astounded by some of the tricks you see. I know you know what I mean – a goooooood bout!
 
God love those lush London boys of Southern Discomfort Roller Derby for inviting us to open their home bout against the Crash Test Brummies at Tottenham Green Leisure Centre. And against the formidable Dolly Rockit Rollers (DRR) of Leicester none the less! We knew that particular game on Sunday the 21st was going to be a goooooood bout, we just didn’t realise exactly how good.
 
DRR and the Sirens have a long history of a lot of love – both teams were founded around the same time, with one of the DRR’s founders being a red-blooded – not orange-skinned – Essex girl (Hi Slamabama!). DRR catapulted themselves up through the UK derby scene as a force to be reckoned with, and we were impressed and awed with how quickly they were able to take to the game and make it their own. The Sirens’ own assent to awesomeness was a slow and steady incline in comparison so, needless to say, this bout was a long time coming.
 
The game kicked off to a packed house with what seemed to be an equal amount of Siren and Dolly supporters in attendance. Both teams have a bit of a reputation for being loud, lairy and a lot of fun, so it was always going to be a bit more noisy than usual. A ‘bit’ turned out to be an understatement!
 
The first jam saw Force Ten Gail (FTG) of the Sirens up against Nitro Noush of DRR. Power blockers from the Sirens – vice captain The Bexorcist, Hula Gunn, The Beckoning and Frocky Balboa – were able to hold Noush in the pack while FTG snuck around the outside of the pack dodging heavy hits from DRR’s blockers to get lead jammer status. She scored six points before Noush escaped the pack and called off the jam.
 
The second jam saw Killer Bite (KB) against the aforementioned Slamabama. The Bexorcist was back on the track and landed a huge – and unfortunately illegal – hit on Slam, making her the first penalty box trip of the game. None the less KB got lead jammer status, scored and killed the jam dead.
 
Between KB and FTG rotating one on one off as jammers, the Sirens managed to hit over 50 points within the first jams of the game. The Siren jammers, possibly tiring, gave away a few power jams to the Dolly’s jammers who took full advantage of the Sirens’ time off the track. They managed to even up the score very quickly and then surpassed the Sirens’ score within the first ten minutes of first half. Thus began the rotation of power jams; KB sitting down only to be joined by DRR’s jammer, captain Onya Case, which released KB back to the track. And back and forth we went like that.
 
Meanwhile, the packs from both teams fought hard and displayed impressive tactics. DRR were excellent communicators constantly feeding information to their team-mates while the Sirens’ heavy hits from Frocky Balboa and Doc, coupled with their impressive recycling abilities, managed to slow the bleed from DRR and claw back a few points of their own. The teams went into the second half with the Sirens ONE POINT in the lead, 77 to 76.
 
The second half began exactly where the first half left off. FTG wore the star for the Sirens, Onya Case wearing it for DRR. Both jammers struggled to get through the tough packs, but FTG managed to escape first and get called lead jammer. Onya was hot on her heels forcing FTG to call the jam off early and no points were scored. KB hit the track for the second jam of the half and got a cut track penalty, giving DRR’s jammer, Major Mickey Taker, the opportunity to change the score lead again. She catapulted the score to 91 – 77 in the Dolly’s favour and called the jam early to start the next with KB still standing in the box. Holly Sheet of DRR took to the track to do some more damage, but the Sirens’ pack were all over her and managed to prevent her scoring anymore points before KB rejoined the game. KB broke through the pack first but couldn’t be lead, and she didn’t manage to circle back around and score before Holly broke through, was called lead and killed the jam immediately.
 
Ten minutes into the second half and DRR are up 102 to the Siren’s 89. The penalties are heavy from both teams, but the Sirens blockers aren’t slowing. Some excellent jammer assists from Hula Gunn were well timed and hugely beneficial, while The Beckoning worked her magic at the back of the pack holding down the opposition jammer. DRR’s power blockers – Thrashin Bones and last-minute sub Evel Von Deta – weren’t making it easy either, targeting the Sirens’ defence and attempting to destroy their formations and their concentration.
 
The teams hardly went more than ten points from each other through the entirety of the second half and tensions in the crowd and on the benches were high. This was well and truly anyone’s game!
 
With 1:26 to go until the final whistle the score was a dead even 162 to 162. Jammers KB and Nitro Noush were taking turns rotating in and out of the penalty box, when KB cut the track and fouled out of the game with too many penalties! The jam ends and FTG is forced to take KB’s place in the penalty box where Noush is already sitting, and the jam starts with both jammers in the box! With hardly any time left on the period clock this is very clearly going to be the last jam of the game.
 
FTG is released almost straight away and she starts passing. The Sirens’ bench and supporters are all on their feet screaming and cheering her on! She passes once, and then twice, and starts on her third pass when Noush is released from the box and starts on her first pass with 30 seconds on the clock. The Sirens power blockers – The Bexorcist, Hula Gunn and The Beckoning – manage to keep her in the pack, rotating and recycling, driving Noush off the track and forcing her to the back and through again. DRR’s blockers are focusing all their attention on trying to stop FTG from scoring any more points and Tottenham Green Leisure Centre is rocking from the noise! Before Noush can score the final whistle sounds, ending the game with the Sirens ahead at 178 to 162. And the crowd goes nuts!
 
It was a goooooood bout!
 
The Sirens would like to thank Southern Discomfort for hosting us, the referees for their whistle skills, and the NSHo’s who were FANTASTIC as always, and the truly excellent Dolly Rockit Rollers for putting us through our paces.
 
Congratulations to the award winners from DRR:
Thrashin Bones – Best Blocker
Lil Crash – Best Jammer
Nitro Noush – MVP
 
And the same to the Sirens’ award winners:
The Beckoning – Best Blocker
Force Ten Gail – Best Jammer
The Bexorcist – MVP
 
Our next public outing will be at home in Garon’s Park Leisure Centre against Manchester Roller Derby’s Checkerbroads! Tickets are £5 in advance, £6 on the door and, as always, there’ll be beer!
 
 
Image copyright: Andrew Sims

Beyond The Thunderdome

Beyond The Thunderdome

On a sunny Saturday afternoon in April, the Seaside Siren Zebras-in-Training headed to Oldham – home of the Rainy City Roller Girls – and boy did it live up to its name!
 
We arrived at our stable for the night under heavy grey clouds and could only expect there to be a downpour in a city nicknamed Rainy! It had been a long trek and we wanted to put our hooves up before the day of skating that awaited us. So after a hot meal, we settled in with our Ovaltine (Clawd’Ya) and knitting (Rosie the Refetor) and pondered what lay before us at the Referee Clinic.
 
Bright and early on Sunday morning we re-fuelled, packed our saddlebags, and headed to The Thunderdome!
 
After navigating some horrible one-way systems littered with roadwork’s, we finally arrived. The Thunderdome was once a theatre in Oldham town centre – now it is the home venue of The Rainy City Roller Girls, who refurbed the venue in 2011 to suit their needs by laying a new concrete floor and designating bench areas and the penalty box.
 
We were met at the door by Matt the Knife, Yvel Saint Laurent and Emmeline Pancakehurst, who were without keys. The wind was blowing, and the herd of zebra’s was growing rapidly. Finally, Karl Lagerfilled arrived with the keys and we trotted up the stairs in anticipation of the day ahead.
 
We had been warned that The Thunderdome could get quite cold, but I don’t think anyone was fully prepared for the chill that awaited us! So, with mugs of warm drinks and several layers of clothes we gathered at the end of the room for the slideshow!
 
Matt and Karl introduced themselves officially, and we were all wowed by their years of experience and the certifications under their belts. We were definitely in good hands to learn the ropes. Labelled as an event for Beginner-Intermediate level ref’s, the day promised to teach us more about pack definition, making clear calls, professionalism, how to perform kit checks and more.
 
The morning session was made up of several PowerPoint presentations, and included role- play (no, not that kind of role-play!) of what to expect from an Official Review. Most of all, Matt and Karl stressed how a referee should be professional at all times, and ensure that you remain calm and in control of any situation as things can get heated on bout day! It was really informative and we came away with plenty to think about.
 
After a swift lunch, we strapped on our skates and donned our stripes (some of us for the first time ever!) for the afternoon session of skating. Matt promised that this half of the day would teach us the skills we would need for the track, and put the theory session to the test. After kit-checking each other and a quick warm-up, we set about on an obstacle course designed to put several skills into practice. Starting with a jump over the fallen skater, or cones in this case, transition to backwards to follow the front of the pack, then turn again to chase. Stopping at the next cone we were greeted with a penalty card and colour and number card, helpfully held up by some of the Rainy City skaters and refs, to which we had to clearly call the penalty and ensure we made the right hand signal. Can anyone say pressure?!
 
There were several more drills, and some of the Rainy City A-Team came to help with some pack work. We were split into three teams of seven (a full ref crew), to ref the pack at varying speed. Not only that, but they were holding up cards with different penalties written on them for us all to call. The cries of a herd of zebra can be quite deafening at times!
 
After a quick briefing by Matt, we were told the day would be ending with a closed-door bout between Furness Firecrackers and the home team, Bet Lynch Mob. Great, we thought, we can watch a ref crew up close and personal. But no, Matt told us that WE would be ref’ing the game! Making our bout debut was a scary thought, but we knew we had been preparing for this moment all day. After a quick group hug, the Seaside Siren Trainee Zebra’s went into battle armed and ready.
 
Matt was based on the inside track and would oversee us from there, helping with any calls or issues. Karl was watching from the Outside and was ready to debrief us after the game. We were split into teams of seven again, and would be skating four jam rotations and we would get the chance to try out all the different positions (that’s what she said!). Rosie the Refetor was in the first group, and Clawd’Ya and 7 Deadly Sims followed in group two. After the first rotation, all the zebras were starting to get into the swing of things, and even enjoying themselves!
 
With the bout whistled to an end, Matt called us in to the middle for the last zebra huddle of the day. We all felt that we had improved, and were leaving having gained some great knowledge and experience. The most profound being:
 
Rule 2.2.2 – The Team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
You need skaters to score the points
You need referees to count the points
You need NSO’s to track the points
 
Without any of the above, there is no game. So remember Rule 2.2.2 when you are next at a game, and remember that ref and NSO training is just as important as skater training. Without us, the track would be carnage!
 
Rosie the Refetor, Clawd’Ya and 7 Deadly Sims would like to extend a MASSIVE thank you to The Rainy City Roller Girls, and especially to the Matt The Knife, Karl Lagerfilled and all the ref crew for organising such a great day out. We hope to host you at the decidedly warmer seaside soon!