In June I experienced roller derby for the first time, bitten you could say, by a vampirous monster that immediately converted me to the ranks of roller derby fans. So last weekend I felt compelled to return to Bristol’s WISE Campus for some blood-thirsty action in this week’s ‘Halloween Double Header’. See creepy poster here.
The skates, costumes, and fearsome face paints were back! With Bath Roller Derby Girls facing off against Neath Port Talbot, and Bristol’s Harbour Harlots taking on S.W.A.T (South West Angels of Terror), it was set to be a monstrous clash of the titans.
Now, unfortunately I missed Bath’s bout due to a cancelled train (boo!), but thanks to Bristol Roller Derby’s twitter feed and helpful fans (thank you!), it was easy to find out the hard-fought result.
Bath, who recently hosted an extremely successful double header of their own, hung onto a slim lead for most of the first half before Neath Port Talbot made a fearsome comeback. Morello and Moll Esther were particularly menacing, contributing to the half-time score of Bath 87, Neath Port Talbot 137.
In the second half Bath were unable to turn the blood tide, with Neath Port Talbot digging their claws in for the win. Both teams fought bitterly to the end, however, and after 23 jams, the final score was an impressive 187-237 to NPT.
Next up were the Home favourites, Bristol Roller Derby’s A Team/Harbour Harlots. They had the difficult task of challenging S.W.A.T., who had won an impressive 5 out of 6 of their last bouts.
The starting whistle heralded an explosive start, with SWAT’s Dot Slash getting away quickly and putting her team in the lead. Bristol’s Raging Bulmer wasn’t far behind though, rocketing around corners like a demon unleashed.
The first-half jams were very physical with a lot of bone-crunchingly aggressive walls – and jammers being flung aside left and right. SWAT’s Queena Hearts was on fire, swerving around blockers to score some hefty points for the Away team.
Meanwhile Bristol cunningly utilised star passes, keeping SWAT on their toes while ratcheting up their own score. Bristol’s newcomer Scar Faith had some excellent jams, especially against Big Miss Steak, who was an extremely tough opponent to beat.
The first half went by in a whirlwind of skates and spandex pants, with SWAT leading at the final whistle 50-103 thanks to some well-played power jams.
To recover from all the drama I went in search of some sweet treats to sink my teeth into, and was spoilt for choice thanks to the Bath/Bristol cake stall. After a mouth-watering bright green monster-skate biscuit (Mary Berry would be proud), I settled back into my seat alongside the excited crowd, ready for more roller derby action!
Bristol seemed ready and raring to go, clearly benefiting from a zombie-like hunger for brains/the win. With the crowd going crazy for their favourite jammers, and Black Thorn executing some seriously speedy moves, Bristol were looking primed for a comeback, with the score creeping up to 86-121.
Possibly feeling a little scared by Bristol’s aggression, SWAT called for a time-out. But this did little to deter Bristol, who, thanks to Fiery Temper’s fearsome run and some hulk-like moves from Bristol blockers, sprung their score to 104-128.
For the next few jams Bristol clawed at SWAT’s lead like a rabid werewolf, barely being restrained by their panicked opponents. However, SWAT had a silver bullet up their sleeve as Barber Anne sped round skillfully to increase their monstrous lead 136-179.
With a spectacular finale of Black Thorn vs Insane Bolt, the crowd cheered every terrifying swerve, dodge, crash and block on display as the clock ticked down to zero – the final score coming to: Bristol 155, SWAT 194.
All in all, the Roller Derby was, once again, truly a treat to watch! With high-octane action on the track, flamboyant costumes, and delicious home-made cakes, what’s not to like?
For more information about Bristol Roller Derby visit their website here.