DCRA have had to sit and wait (im)patiently for our turn to play in the 2018 British Championships. Our campaign FINALLY got underway on Sunday 20th May. Our game date coincided with the Newcastle Roller Girls annual tournament – Euroclash. Clairely Psycho takes us through the weekend through her eyes.
This weekend has truly been a weekend of two halves. Saturday was all about Euroclash, a massive annual event hosted by Newcastle Roller Girls. Top level European (and American) teams take on each other in a action packed weekend of wheelie smack fun. DCRA aren’t quite at that level (yet!) but these games and tournaments are a massive inspiration for us. Angels and cherubs descended en-mass to Walker Dome for a day of watching games, buying copious amounts of merch and the obligatory raffle tickets and charity ducks to throw at people, all in the name of charidee.
For me however, the Saturday was a sweaty nervy affair as I stepped up and out of my comfort zone and headed off to the Live feed desk. I have only been announcing in house at bouts for less than a year, but I was given the opportunity to do live feed announcing, and I thought “Well aye, Why not!”
Live feed may sound really easy easy to us listening and watching at home – believe me it is not! I’m not usually shy of a word or two (in case you hadn’t noticed) But that first half of the feed game between Birmingham Blitz Dames and Steel City, I was teetering on the edge of a panic attack. My heart felt like it was about to leap out of my chest, luckily this rather extreme medical trauma did not occur and after a bit of a refuel consisting of a sugar filed slushy and copious amounts of Haribo, plus some amazing encouragement from the awesomely talented Verry Cherry, we began the second half and I could feel the nerves start to go just a little. By the end of the game Cherry and I were in full on banter mode, and I was actually sorry to see the game end. There was no time to rest though, and I was straight up afterwards for the in house feed which was a lovely chilled affair with the Golden Snatch, and we were calling the action on track for the hosts Newcastle Roller Girls and the very impressive Tiger Bay Roller Derby.
THEN… (Nothing like throwing you in the deep end) I had to carry out the post-game interviews LIVE on WFTDA TV! Fortunately I had professionals surrounding me with whiteboards and crazy hand gestures to keep me on track(ish!) And the skaters were obviously used to being on camera too so that made my life much easier too! Massive thanks to Kalamity James, Pip Gray and Kid Block for being so cool and providing me with major brag points within my league.
So that was Saturday! Phew! A pretty decent day all told, but that was just the beginning!
…Was all about our league. Our first game of the T4WN British champs season was finally here! We didn’t have too far to travel, Harrogate – pronounced Harrow-Ghate, Dahling… is a beautiful place, and on a sunny Sunday afternoon was even more spectacular – the town centre looked very ‘skatable’ ?!? This might need to investigated this further…
Our hosts Spa Town Roller Derby looked after us with a basket of goodies (all devoured before a whistle was even blown) and our personal changing room featured showers WITH DOORS, a luxury!
Our first game of the champs’ season was a re-run of our final game from last season, our closest neighbours at Durham Roller Derby. Last season had been a solid win for them, and although we had progressed so much within the campaign, we were well beaten by Durham, and hadn’t managed to secure a victory in any of our games that year. Propping up the table isn’t exactly where my competitive nature felt comfortable, but we took our victories in different ways. If there was an award for most improved then we would have been strong contenders for that.
On game day I felt a real mixture of emotions. I felt utterly disheartened in myself after our last training session, and I felt sick with nerves. I disguise nerves by being incredibly loud and sweary, and I think my voice volume and speed were cranked up to the max (soz guys!) But as the saying goes, bad dress rehearsal – great opening night, and that was the case with us.
The game itself felt uncharacteristically calm – and that was in no small way due to our line up Liverpool setting our chairs together and keeping us very chill – It’s called Zen bench for a reason! This then meant our walls and jammer could make plans and talk without the last minute panic on the way to the jam line.
For the first half we were matching Durham point for point – I’ve never seen a game with equal scores on the board so many times. Each team snuck a few points advantage here and there but it was clawed back. At half time we were 13 points behind – and as our Bench Princess said – ‘that’s one strong jam or a power jams difference.’
We had our non-playing angels and new angels alongside us and they were so excited about the game play and gave us a much needed motivational pep talks and hugs. Bam Solo, Chaos Chasey and Half Pint Hitter in particular had all the emotions, and were already saying how amazing we were doing.
The second half (We are always a second half team) saw us come out fighting. We have thrown away leads before through excessive penalties and us losing our cool. But this time we stayed so calm and relaxed and focused. The lead changed again many times (I think) in the first part of the second half, but by the end of the game – we had managed to build a buffer which Durham couldn’t reach – and believe me they threw EVERYTHING at us!
Our merry band of angels, all 11 of us on track and the many people in our league who: support, officiate, train, coach and mentor did it!
Our skaters on track:
Hell en Fire
And me (Clairely Psycho)
And I can’t tell you how proud I am personally of each and every member of DCRA. We have had as many leagues have, our upsets, frustrations and at times thinking – is this all worth it? Yesterday was a clear message to us – YES IT IS!
I can’t lie to you, it feels so good to win, the aches and pains don’t seem to ache quite as much. I am chomping at the bit to train on Thursday too! It also feels like there is a little extra bounce in my step this week too. There will be more photos and we cant wait to share them with you!
Our next Champs game is against our great mates at the Mighty Furness Firecrackers on the 16th of June at Newton Aycliffe Leisure Centre, Hosted by Durham Roller Derby. We are really looking forward to taking on the massive challenge of trying to smash up their walls and hold back their Jammers! 😀