This was it. It came down to the last game of the season – which also happened to be our turn to host!
In usual DCRA style, we had a live band playing in between games to keep the crowd entertained. We also invited local businesses to really make the day more of an event featuring two roller derby games. We are pushing hard to bring our sport to new audiences and our tickets sold far better than we expected!
Game 1: STRD v DRD
To start the day, we watched Spa Town and Durham Roller Derby battle it out for medals and a possible promotion. The first half in particular was very strong for Durham with some outstanding performances from Taz and Robinson in particular. I was announcing the first half of this game and was really impressed by how each team kept lifting themselves, the momentum of the game swinging from jam to jam.
The second half however belonged to Spa Town, and resulted in their victory 240- 155. This should mean automatic promotion to Tier three for Spa Town as well as Furness Firecrackers. Massive congratulations to both of these teams for being a dominant force all season.
Game 2: DCRA v SRD
Our game didn’t involve medals, or a potential promotion – it was however, about ending the season on a win against the newcomers to the tier. This year it was Sunderland Roller Derby. SRD have experienced something like our first season in champs and were yet to take a victory. But they were playing the same monster teams we had faced and lost against. Plus I watched them put on a very impressive display and victory against Wakey Wildcats Trinity Warriors, so I knew they had some serious skills.
On the run up to and on the day itself, I was a big giant ball of anxiety and stress. Hosting is tonnes of fun, but being champs rep, co-ordinating the hosting, announcing and then playing is perhaps a little too much and I’ve learnt a lesson from this and realised Roller Derby is so much more of a mental game than I have given it credit for. Lesson Learnt!
The game itself was bitter sweet as it would be our last game and last time on track with Flying Kiwi and Legz. They’re getting married (yay!) and then emigrating to New Zealand at the end of the summer (boo!). Anyone who has played against us, or seen us this season, knows the skills and jaw dropping abilities Flying Kiwi and Legz have demonstrated in games – Imagine having them coach your team for a full year! We are so immensely grateful for having them, even if it was only for a short time.
Anyway, back to the game, before I cry (again!) Thankfully, we were able to have some familiar faces back on track with us for this last game who had been out of action all season. Very welcome returnees to our roster included:
Bam Solo, has been consistently on our bench crew and cheering us on while her wankle got itself sorted. Thank F**k it did – this one has been a huge miss this season!!
Chaos Casey, has been growing a whole new human since her last game at champs last year! She vowed to be back on track this season, and to be honest I don’t think many people thought she would/could – But she proved them all wrong and oh how we have missed her!
Going from 7 to 12 skaters was rather nice and having the increased numbers meant we were ‘one on, one off’ which is just how we like it. Our LUM, Force-a-Nature created our “zen bench” again so we had a calmness about each jam and knew exactly what we wanted to do.
For this game we were determined to learn from our mistakes from our Spa Town game and really get our jam starts working well; we had formulated a clear idea for each one and our offense and jammers were able to devise plans before the whistle. This made all the difference to our gameplay and inevitably the result. So many things that didn’t click in the Spa Town game were finally clicking into place against Sunderland. There weren’t many power jams, but we knew what to do to maximise and absorb them. We caught goats, we rotated and reformed and most importantly, we held strong. The offense was offensive! And our jammers – well each one of our jammers played out of their skin. They were on fire from the first minute to the last and I have NO IDEA how they recover and play so hard jam after jam! The feeling for me was reminiscent to our first game against Durham; it was smooth, chilled and relaxed but mostly, we were in control.
Little thing I have learnt this season: It’s a funny thing being a skater on track; it appears you’re in the thick of the action, but you’ve got to ignore everything that’s going on whilst you’re not on track – so you’re essentially missing half of the game! I regularly get told off for peeking around and not paying attention in our huddle, but when the crown goes wild – whats a girl to do really!?
We had a small lead at the end of the first half. Sunderland have their own set of crazy good jammers and strong as fuck blockers, but we are normally a second half team and it proved to be that way again in this game. The second half felt even better than the first and any nerves were well and truly gone; now it was all about protecting and extending our lead. I don’t dare to look at the scoreboard during games – it gives me flashbacks to our champ’s game against York last year where we lost the game in the final 2 jams. These days, I rely on people telling me where we are and how we’re doing, but I didn’t need anyone to tell me during this game; it felt good, it felt strong. We were doing loads of useful stuff to help our jammers get points on the board.
The final whistle blew, and I allowed myself to finally look at the score: 267-135. We’d done it! The sense of accomplishment and achievement was huge and was the perfect way to end the season.
We couldn’t float about on cloud 9 for too long. after there was a whole venue to deconstruct and decontaminate – hosting is great fun but the clean-up… Not so much! And then it was time for gin and pizza and to destroy the left-over cakes from the day with the best people.
What’s next for DCRA I hear you ask? Well on 4th August we play Newcastle Roller Girls North C’s in a bit of a friendly with a whole new raft of Angels making their debut for DCRA. We also have some amazing summer activities planned which include our graduation/end of year party, THE boot camp with the one and only Miracle Whips in York, Last Action Hero’s IV: Pivotal Clash down in Halifax and a roller dance master class with JerryAttric here in our hometown. So yeah, off season isn’t quite feeing like off season! 😃😃
All photos from this blog post are from Dave Moore