This weekend, Newcastle Roller Girls’ Canny Belters became northern champs, taking the top spot in the T2 North British Roller Derby Championships.
Both teams were unbeaten going into the final, and Nottingham’s Hellfire Harlots put up a good fight, taking an early lead and holding NRG to a single point for several jams in a penalty-heavy first ten minutes.
NRG came back to end the first half ahead with 107 points to Nottingham’s 89, but there were another two lead changes and some tense moments in the second half before the Belters were able to pull away and extend their lead. The final score was Newcastle Roller Girls 194 to 137 Nottingham Hellfire Harlots.
Head Coach Kalamity James said, “We’d been training really hard for this game in particular as we knew the Harlots were going to be one of our toughest opponents this year. Their offence was great, and I think it took us a while to adjust to that disruption to our walls. As is always the case with close games against great opponents, we always learn a lot – we’re definitely going to be working on some counter moves in case we meet each other again at playoffs. We’ll be prepared!”
Leeds Roller Dolls came third place after winning their game in a local derby against Hot Wheel Roller Derby, with Manchester Roller Derby and Hulls Angels Roller Dames placing 5th and 6th in the table respectively after their bout.
Newcastle Roller Girls will now play the South division winners, London Rockin’ Rollers and the Harlots will play Royal Windsor for two places in the premier division next season – joining Glasgow Roller Derby, Edinburgh’s Auld Reekie Roller Girls, Cardiff’s Tiger Bay Brawlers and Middlesborough Milk Rollers (the top 4 ranked teams in the UKRDA).
The Belters may also meet the Harlots again in the British Championships T2 national final if both teams win their games – a look at the stats shows the 4 teams ranked as follows*:
NRG 10 (Europe), 5 (UK)
Hellfire Harlots 19 (Europe), 6 (UK)
London Rockin’ Rollers 43 (Europe), 15 (UK)
Royal Windsor 22 (Europe), 9 (UK)
Canny Belters’ Captain Penny Bizarre said, “We’ve had a brilliant season so far in 2015, unbeaten in the UK and with our first big tournament success under our belts in May, so we were quietly confident going into this game. But we knew the Harlots have had a great year too, so we would have to hold our nerve and work hard to maintain our unbeaten record. The first quarter of the game was pretty tense, but I never doubted we would take the win – we had trained so hard, specifically working on tactics to counter the Harlots’ style of play – and once we got our heads into the game we started to extend our lead. The Harlots are a great team and they certainly didn’t make it easy for us, but I’m so proud of all our skaters and bench staff for bringing home a well-deserved win. Now we’re straight into training for the playoffs – we’ve tasted success and are determined to win promotion to the Premier Tier!”
Catch Newcastle Roller Girls in action in our next home bout on Saturday 5 September at the Walker Dome when the Canny Belters play Swansea and the Whippin’ Hinnies play Leicestershire’s Dolly Rockit Rollers. Advance tickets are on sale now.
*source: Flat Track Stats, 16 August 2015