Standing: Dee Montague (Line Up Manager), Kim Wild (Vice-Captain), Zoe Butler, Nikki Gray, Kelly Michael, Tristan Dodd (Bench Manager), Front row: Julie Truelove, Louise Braithwaite, Becce Turner (Captain), Kelly Prosser, Minx Dodd and Mandy Counley-Worrall.
Hereford Roller Girls (HRG) A Team the ‘Horror Bulls’ travelled to hosts Evolution Roller Girls today (Sunday 12th October) to take on Derby’s Haunted City Rollers in the final Heartland Series Roller Derby North West Division Game.
The Bulls took a team of just 10 players (up to 14 skaters are permitted per squad) due to a few injuries picked up during the campaign, so knew they were in for a challenge against Haunted City’s 13 skaters. Haunted City were bottom of the table without a win, but had impressed throughout the campaign with game-on-game improvements and a reputation for heavy hits and tenacious attitude.
The Bulls started strong and despite starting the first jam at a disadvantage when Haunted City were awarded Lead Jammer, they pushed to ensure the jam was called before City could score any points. The Bulls took control and the halftime score was an impressive 162 – 21 to Hereford.
As has been the case in many HRG games throughout their bouting campaign, the Bulls came back stronger after the break; nerves had settled and their notorious agility ensured they stormed to a massive 368 – 48 victory. Best Blocker was awarded to Zoe Butler, Captain Becce Turner was named Best Jammer, and Vice-Captain Kim Wild was named Most Valuable Player.
The victory ensured that HRG remain unbeaten in 2014 and go into the November National Finals of the Heartland Series Roller Derby as North West Division winners. In ever-changing European Rankings, HRG are placed at 75th, but with their win and points differential will likely see them climb up the table of over 350 teams by the time the rankings are updated this week. (EDIT: on 13th October HRG climbed 12 places to 63rd in Europe!) The Bulls are ranked 12th in the UK in the UK Roller Derby Association Rankings.
“As a team we’ve worked incredibly hard in the three years we’ve been established,” said Turner. “We were honoured to be invited to take part in the Heartland Series, and knew we would be up against some tough competition. We set out to win our division and we’re delighted to make the finals. The hard work and commitment of every single member of HRG has paid off, and now we need to build on that to make sure we’re at the top of our game in November for the finals.”
The team’s success has not gone unnoticed; following the Bulls being named Senior Team of the Year at the Herefordshire Sports Awards in February, they’ve been shortlisted to win Community Club of the Year at the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Sports Awards in November. Turner has also been shortlisted for the Senior Sportsperson of the Year Award.
In addition to this, HRG have been invited to take part in a tournament in Caen, France in January. Hereford are the only UK team invited to compete and this will be their first international trip together. The Bulls are currently fundraising for the trip and the first event is a bag pack at the Morrison’s Hereford store on Saturday 18th October. There will also be a punk benefit at the Jailhouse ‘Night of the Living Shred 2‘ on 31st October, with hardcore punk from bands such as Brain Wreck, Fetus Christ and Skinhorse. There’s another fundraising event later in the year, with a quiz night at Hereford City Sports Club on the 29th November.
The Bulls make a rare appearance at home on Sunday 2nd November in their last home game of the season when they take on Birmingham Blitz Dames B Team. Buy tickets or find out more on the Facebook event page.