We are heading into the last few weeks of 2015 and we still can't believe it's nearly over, but time flies when you're having fun and working hard. And the Banditas have been working hard this year! While we may not have come away from 2015 with the most impressive scores or the biggest win to loss ratio, we are still proud of ourselves for the way we tackled this year.
The year began with the excitement of the first ever British Championships and we had the honour of hosting AND playing in the first bout of the competition. Not only that but it was the first time we had ever hosted a double-header bout so we were more than a little nervous going into the weekend. Our opponents, Liverpool Roller Birds, were a fantastic team and despite keeping up with them for the first 15 minutes they pulled away with their superior focus and stamina. Even though we weren't victorious the day was a huge success and kicked off a fantastic year of competitive UK-wide roller derby.
After the Liverpool game we said goodbye to a number of our longest-serving skaters and coaching staff. We were sorry to see them go but we were excited to see them gaining so much success with their new teams. Unfortunately this meant that we didn't have enough skaters available for our next match-up for the British Champs, this time against our friends the Dundee Roller Girls. Forfeiting the game was the last thing we wanted to do but without enough on our roster we didn't have a choice.
This was a hard time for the team. We were low on numbers and had lost our senior coaches. Times like this may have stumped some but the Banditas pulled together and formulated a plan. We rearranged our league, began some serious recruiting and invited our referee, Scooby Zoom, to become our new head coach; a position we were thrilled he accepted.
With all that in place we knuckled down and began training hard. We learned new strategy and tactics, switched around the positions and focused in on the things that would strengthen our game for the rest of 2015. Our first test was against Furness Firecrackers in May. Debuting 3 new jammers and 2 new skaters in a 10 strong roster made them a hard challenge to face but face them we did and we came out smiling! We may not have won and the score may not have been flattering but we came out of that came with a new sense of pride. Read the bout report here.
We knuckled down over the summer and came out better against our next opponents, the Sheffield Steel Rollergirls. Again we didn't win but the score differential was a lot closer and the team was definitely settling in to its' new roles. It was an eventful bout in a sweltering sports hall. We started with a 12 strong roster and ended up with 9 skaters due to injury, illness and penalties. All in all we got through 3 captains! Definitely a bout to remember. Read the bout report here.
Our last British Champs game was a relegation tussle against Granite City Roller Derby. The hard hitters from Aberdeen proved to be too solid for us in the end but we had so much fun bouting against them. We are lucky enough to have been grouped with Granite City in the 2016 British Championships and we can't wait for our rematch next year! Read the bout report here.
Our last game of the season was a friendly against Spa Town Roller Girls. After some analysis of our game-play from the Champs season we identified where we needed to improve and in the few short weeks between the Granite and Sap Town games we trained our hearts out. And it paid off! We ended the year with a solid win over Spa Town a team who, much like Granite City, were hard hitters and tough blockers. We were so pleased to be able to bring home the win for our fans and end the year on a positive. Read the bout report here.
In amongst all of our bouting and training we have been busy training up the next batch of Banditas. Our new skaters have worked so hard and are about to take their Minimum Skills Assessment. It won't be long before we have some new rookie Banditas and there is no doubt that you will be seeing some new names and faces in the lavender in 2016. If you are interested in becoming a Bandita yourself then check out our Join Us page for all the information on our new rolling intake programme. You can start your roller derby training whenever you want!
All in all it has been a wild and varied year for the Halifax Bruising Banditas. We've had some tough times and some thrilling times and we have come out of it stronger and more together than ever. We are proud to be the team we are. We are looking forward to having a restful off-season to be ready to launch into a 2016 with renewed vigour! Our 2016 fixtures will be published soon and we can't wait to show you how far we have come.
A massive thank you to everyone who has kept us going over the last 12 months. We are so lucky to be able to play this sport and we couldn't do it without the support of our referees, coaches, NSOs, volunteers and fans. You are as much of Team Bandita as we are and we would hug every single one of you if we could!
From all of us at the Halifax Bruising Banditas, Merry Christmas and have a fantastic New Year!
British Champs Round 1 - Halifax Bruising Banditas v Granite City Roller Derby - Report
April 21, 2017
2016 Year Review
December 31, 2016
British Champs 2017 - Round 3 - Halifax Bruising Banditas v Furness Firecrackers