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2016 Year Review

What a year that was! 2016 was a year where we regrouped and tested our progress against teams at our level. We met that challenge head on and came away with an impressive stack of wins and some close fought defeats. We are so chuffed with our progress, we've ended up bing promoted back into Tier 3!

We started the year with a huge trip up to Aberdeen to face off against the skater of Blackpool Roller Derby League. As the first game of 2016 we were keen to see how our previous 12 months of work had paid off. Going into the game with no expectations but a big hope of success we came away winning one of the closest bouts we have every played. Blackpool were strong opponents and would prove to be one of the three teams finishing on the same points in the Tier 4 table. We started our campaign in winning fashion and were determined to carry on the year that way. Read the full bout report here.

Next we travelled to Durham to take on the host team in our second game of the year. Durham were a great team to play against but were only able to field 9 skaters on that day. Despite that we stuck to our game plan and gave them the best of the Bandits. We came away with a large winning margin and great pride in the way our training and tactics had come along in the year so far. Read the full bout report here.

The game against Spa Town Roller Girls was a real test of character. Our Yorkshire friends came with a strong game plan and pushed our training thus far. Despite the close loss we played to our strengths and listened to our coach. As with any loss we came away with a list of improvements and began work on them as soon as we were back on skates. Losing our first home game of the season hurt but we were proud to have pushed our opponents to the end of the game and make it an exciting one for our fans. Read the full bout report here.

Our last British Champs game saw us play last years Tier 3 relegation partners Granite City Roller Derby. The team from Aberdeen had won all of their games so far and were the team to beat going into the last round of the competition. If we could win or lose with a small score differential AND if Blackpool won their game against Spa Town the Banditas would end the year in second place in Tier 4 North! The game against Granite City was the toughest yet. Their walls were strong and their jammers more than capable of exploiting flaws. Despite our loss we managed to get the closest to Granite of any other team in the Tier, they even thanked us for the tough game we gave them. With that game done we waited with bated breath as we watched the intense Spa Town/Blackpool match up. With injuries, penalties and foul outs galore the game proved that both teams wanted this last win. With the last jam of the game the Blackpool team cliched it for Spa Town and ensured the Banditas would finish the year in second place of the Their 4 North table! Read the full bout report here.

We were over the moon! Despite finishing the competition on a loss we had achieved a podium position not 12 months since we had been relegated with a 100% loss record. All of our hard work, dedication and team work was epitomised by the silver medal we earned and proudly wear. Each and everyone one of us deserved the medal we worked for and couldn't be more grateful to the people that have supported us.

But the success didn't stop there! In September we took part in the Great Yorkshire Showdown hosted by Leeds Roller Dolls. The tournament featured 6 teams split into 2 groups playing half hour games with the top team from each group playing a full length final. We were grouped with the formidable Hereford Horrorbulls and Glasgow Roller Derby's B-Team. Having never played either team we were unsure of how the day would go, in fact many of us thought we'd be home in time for an early tea! But we played our game without letting any of the pressure get to us and came away with two convincing wins! Finishing top of our table we were set to play the Leeds Roller Dolls B-Team, the Whip-Its, in the final. Having just finished our last tough group game against Hereford we were already feeling the aches and pains but we kept the momentum going and battled through to win the whole thing! Read the full day report here.

We hosted one last game in 2016 in our new home venue at Calderdale College. With the news that we would be promoted to Tier 3 for 2017 we decided that it was time to test our progress against the Hallam Hellcats. Hallam finished third in their table in 2016 and would be a good benchmark for how 2017 would go. It was one of the most mentally taxing bouts we have had this year. The Hellcats started strong but we fought back and traded leads until the very end. It was hard to finish the year with a loss but we proved that we can more than hold our own against our opponents next year and proved that we had come so far from when we started our British Champs adventure. Read the full bout report here.

Aside from all of our bouting we have been busy fundraising, recruiting and training up the newest batch of Banditas! We have been so happy to welcome a new transfer skater and 5 brand new fresh Banditas to the team! Shortly before the Christmas break we held a free taster session for next year's potential new recruits and are so excited to see them start their roller derby adventure next year.

If you are interested in joining us in any capacity then please check out our Join Us page for all the information you need.

Overall it has been a really successful year for the Banditas. We have come a long way in the past year and have notched up the scores and the wins to prove it. We also suffered our fair share of losses but each loss just highlights new areas to focus on, new directions to take our training. Our losses will just make us stronger! We are looking forward to a fun filled 2017 which will be kicking off with a bout at the famous Tattoo Freeze at the end of January! Our 2017 fixtures will be published very soon so stayed tuned for all the up-to-date info!

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, we hope you had a Merry Christmas and have a derby-tastic New Year!


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