Congratulations to our very own Head of Training, Hellfire Hoskins, who was on victorious Team Lawrence at this weekend's Last Action Heroes! Well done to all our participating skaters for making the Minxters proud.
An exciting occasion for the Minxters this weekend, as the very first all-Minxters roster geared up for a bout against former rivals, North Wales ZomBs. Having faced off with the ZomBs once and walked away victorious, the away team came ready to settle the score, whilst the brand-new Minxters skaters prepared to show off the skills they've been working hard on for the last year.
As the bout started, the Minxters soon learned that ZomB's like it rough. Playing offensively from the offset, North Wales went in with an aggressive strategy that was hard to best. With a little fancy footwork on the inside line from jammers Redfern (#19) and Fox (#4), the Minxters almost closed the gap, with a nail-biting 27-30 score in favour of Wales close to the halfway point. Unfortunately for the home team, the ZomB's take-no-prisoners strategy prevailed, and at half time they led with 80 points to the Minxters' 49.
After a pep talk and time to re-group, the Minxters came back strong, with great team spirit in the face of adversity. Showing greater cohesion as a team in the second half, the Minxters raised their game in some respects to the level of their opponents. Capitalising on aggressive hits resulted in some memorable moments, including a daring block by Motherclucker (#17), who used her backside to fearlessly knock an opposing skater off track. Sadly, a good show of enthusiasm was not enough to win the day, and the Minxters eventually succumbed to a closing score of 97-245 in favour of the ZomBs. A valiant effort was made by all, and despite their loss, the Minxters enjoyed a challenging taste of first blood as a team.
After all was said and done, we caught up with our two team captains to see what they had to say.
North Wales ZomBs Captain, Angel with Diamonds (#64)
Q: Congratulations are in order! What do you think your team's strengths were today?
A: Taking it back to basics with our tactics. We practised, and we did what we practised. I'm really proud of my girls.
Q: Your tactics paid off. Is there anything you would have done differently?
A: We always take back things we can improve on for our next game, but I don't think I would change what we did today. We always do our best, we always make sure we learn, and for this one, I wouldn't change a thing.
Q: Finally, what was your favourite moment?
A: Not a favourite moment exactly, but mainly when our jammers and our blockers were on-point with their assists, and the assists – they looked effortless, but they're not effortless. Five people on one track, all doing what they're meant to be doing, at the right moment – I'm very proud of that.
Minxters Captain, Gem O' Cide (#84)
A: A bittersweet day for the Minxters! What do you think your team's strengths were today?
Q: As always, our communication was very good. I think it was difficult for us; I remember the first time we played Wales … we're not used to playing offensive at all. I think we held the jammer back, and with so many new skaters, I think we did ourselves proud. We'll learn a lot from it.
Q: A nice positive outlook. Is there anything you would have done differently?
A: No! This was the first time we played as an all-Minxters team, and that's all I wanted.
Q: D'aww, that's sweet Cap! And finally, what was your favourite moment?
A: My favourite moment was when Henn [Motherclucker, #17] did her bum thing. I loved the bum thing. I asked her afterwards if she's going to practice bumming now.
Thanks to all our skaters, refs, NSOs and audience for supporting us, and thanks again to North Wales Roller Derby for coming to play.
Photos coming soon!
Minxters Best Blocker – Gem O' Cide (#84)
Minxters Best Jammer – Fox (#4)
Minxters MVP – Redfern (#19)
North Wales Best Blocker – Sudden Beth (#2)
North Wales Best Jammer – Merrillstreak (#162)
North Wales MVP – Sazitron (#333)
Roller derby is a sport rife with ritual, crammed with cultural quirks, and packed with peculiarities, particularly when it comes to players and their relationships. With team mates quickly forming close friendships that last a lifetime, roller derby is a sport of love and skate, where bonds are built through brutal bouts and fierce passion for both game and glory. With emotions running high, it's unsurprising that many skaters find themselves an on-track soul mate, forming a close connection that sees the pair support, mentor and challenge one another throughout their training and beyond. To show their love, many pairings become 'derby wives', as a dedication to an enduring friendship built on blood, sweat and tears.
In honour of Valentine's Day, we've put together our top list of gifts for that special someone in your derby life.
1. Put a ring on it
Say your derby "I dos" with these adorable matching rings. D'aww!
This weekend we hosted our very own Cherry Popper! Here's how we got on.
Nerves were riding high on Sunday, with a fine showing of 11 Minxters skaters appearing on track, alongside players from Birmingham Blitz Dames, Deathrow Hull, Hot Wheels, Hull's Angels (H.A.R.D.), Spa Town and Sheffield Steel Rollers, together forming a fine crowd of rookies ready to roll. Divided into classic Black and White, this no-frills scrim focussed on fun for all newcomers, including the two Bench Managers – Minxters' very own Redfern, for Team White, and Hylander, leading the battle cry for the Blacks – both familiar with the track but fresh faces to the bench. As the first half began, a crowd of friends and family watched on in eager anticipation.
Black made a strong start, with some heavy penalties from the White side aiding their opposition with a couple of early power jams. As the bout progressed and confidence grew amongst the skaters, the game became cleaner and calmer, with White walls proving a tough obstacle. Still, the Black jammers prevailed, and at the end of the first half, Black emerged lead, with a favourable score of 123 to the White's 60.
After a half-time pep talk from Bench Managers Redfern and Hylander (both doing a cracking job in their new roles), along with a selection of sweets and healthy treats from the oh-so-loving Minxters Captain, Gem O' Cide, the second half saw the Whites return with new energy and focus. With stronger walls and impressive jamming skills to boot, the White team pulled back the score, tightening the gap with some tactical moves and an impressive apex jump from Big Guns Bentham. Tired from a heroic first half effort, the Black team came off a little flustered, collecting a few penalties along the way. A spectacular last minute foul-out from Mother Clucker was greeted with odd pride by the Black team, who still managed to pull off a final win, with a closing score of 160 for the Whites to 252 to the Blacks.
We caught up with our fabulous Captains at the end of the bout to hear their thoughts on the day's events.
Lethal Fawce #56 (Team Black)
Q: Congratulations on your win! Did you have a strategy?
A: Enjoy it as much as possible!
Q: Fantastic! How do you feel about the outcome?
A: To say that I'm thrilled might be a bit rubbing it in a bit, but … I think all the girls skated really well today, and the points don't matter at the end of it, because everyone played such a good game. There was a lot of communication, and we're talking about skaters that have never been together as well. The fact that they can get it together on track just shows off the hard work they've been putting in. I think that's the most important outcome of today.
Q: Good stuff. Last question: do you have a favourite moment from today?
A: It's a little bit of a guilty pleasure, but when Mother Clucker fouled out! She went out with a bang.
Fox #4 (Team White)
Q: Captain! We have to ask: did you have a strategy going in?
A: [Grinning] To have fun!
Q: Fabulous! It certainly looked like you achieved that. How do you feel about the outcome?
A: I think it was good – we had a lot of skaters that were completely fresh, completely new – but they've learned so much, and every single one of them has said they've felt so much better [about derby] after today, which is why we're here.
Q: Awesome! And, finally – what was your favourite moment?
A: [Thinking] My favourite moment? Ooh … er … [Thinks] The second half in general. We pulled it together, it was really great.
White Best Blocker – Woolley Mammoth #98
White Best Jammer – Rachiepie #8
White MVP (Most Valuable Player) – Frank Intense #16
Black Best Blocker – Dommimo #87
Black Best Jammer – Hallowheels #31
Black MVP (Most Valuable Player) – Blocke R Ella #2
Thanks to our NSOs, skaters, refs, Bench Managers and lovely spectators for coming out to support us! Photos coming soon.
(Full disclosure: this article was written by Sephy Hallow, aka Hallowheels. Every effort has been made to provide an unbiased, accurate representation of events, based on spectator notes and Captain interviews post-game).
Skateparks are a great way to test your nerves, balance and sense of adventure, but even for die-hard derby players, taking the leap from flat track skating to dropping in bowls is a scary prospect. Swapping a regular sports hall for curving concrete, wooden ramps and grind rails can feel like entering Fresh Meat all over again, with the added challenge of an ever-changing floor to test your stability, and no often no friendly faces to help cheer you on. Thankfully, Chicks in Bowls are there to make the transition from track to park a little smoother, bringing the support of a derby team to the adrenaline-fuelled skatepark experience. Started in New Zealand in 2012, the movement now have 213 chapters worldwide, including our own awesome local group, Chicks in Bowls Yorkshire.
From newbies sticking to the flats, to utter pros testing their limits, Chicks in Bowls offers an awesome way to learn, have fun, and challenge yourself as a skater. If our regional crew are anything to go by, skaters and organisers are super friendly and willing to lend their expertise, advice and encouragement, so being at a skatepark doesn't have to be scary.
Pros: There are Chicks in Bowls chapters all over the world, so wherever you are, there's always someone on hand to help you out. Plus the merch is pretty cool.
Cons: Watching someone drop in a giant bowl or fly through the air on skates might be a bit intimidating at first, though after a while the friendly atmosphere and helpful guidance will have you skating in ways you never dreamed you could!
To find your local Chicks in Bowls, check out their website - or take a look at the awesome Chicks in Bowls Yorkshire here.
Roller derby is known for its wonderful blend of theatrics and athletics. Whilst hotpants and face-paint may be slowly falling out of style (with the notable exception of Scald Eagle – Scald, we adore you and your warpaint), the idea of a derby name still holds significance for many of us. The question is, how do you go about picking one? Here, we run through some handy tips for picking the best on-track name for your derby alter ego.
Please bear in mind that all the names we've used here already belong to other skaters, and are just for inspiration.
Durometer, or sometimes just 'duro', refers to the hardness of your wheels. Measured in numbers and letters, duro measurements are a little bit like bra sizes – they're somewhat cryptic at first, they vary between manufacturers, and everyone has to find their perfect fit.
Just like different bras are made for different occasions, the durometer of a wheel determines its purpose. Whilst softer wheels are better for outdoor skating, providing cushioning against rough surfaces and more grip, harder wheels have a slickness that increases potential speed – but also reduces stability.
Like so many things that seemed easy until you tried it with skates on (standing up comes to mind), breathing – once a natural skill – becomes conscious and, often, difficult. Whilst breathing is important for endurance overall, it is particularly crucial to breathe correctly when tackling 27 in 5. With its knackering combination of speed and endurance, good breathing technique is essential for mastering 27 in 5. Consider these handy tips next time you're on track.
Roller derby is by far the greatest sport in the world (in our totally objective view), but improving your game isn't all about time on skates. Great roller derby involves stamina, strength, agility and reflexes, all of which can be honed by additional sports or off-skates workouts.
If you're looking for a sport to support your roller derby, here are our top 5 picks.
A favourite for world-class skater Stefanie Mainey, who says she cycles an average of 80 miles a week, cycling is a great way to improve your cardio and work out your legs and glutes. Try cycling through a city to work on those all-important jamming skills, as you dodge and weave your way through a pack of heavy traffic.*
*Please don't do this. We are definitely joking, and much prefer our readers unsquished. Safety is sexy!
Whether it's a teammate whose laterals you envy, or an international-level player, we all have skaters we want to be. To get you inspired, we're taking a look at 7 of the world's best roller derby players.