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BMJRDL's First Interleague Bout

Words by Doctor Hoo Hoo

It wasn’t long after the Blue Mountains Roller Derby League launched in July 2011 that some of the skaters’ kids (and some other interested teens) insisted that they were not satisfied with just watching derby, they needed to lace up some skates and hit the track themselves - the Mountains needed a junior league too! Meetings were held, applications made, info sessions run, and in January 2012 the Blue Mountains Junior Roller Derby League (BMJRDL) was born.

Our little league found its feet in 2012 under trainers Roxy Tocin and Moulin Bruise and our skaters quickly picked up their basic skating skills (much faster than the grown ups). In 2013 after training hard for over a year, we were invited by the senior league to play a bout at one of their home team games.  That May, we played one of the first junior derby bouts in NSW – a night of excitement and pride for our skaters, trainers and families.

Our juniors are bout hungry, and the senior league has continued to show their support and satisfy their appetites with regular bout invites. As far as we know, there is only one other bout level junior league in the state and they are way up in Tweed Heads, so most of our bouts so far have been at home between our home teams; the Blue Slammers and the Little Red Riding Hoodlums, we’ve been lucky enough to have a couple of road trips too. The Western Sydney Rollers asked us to bout at their 2013 home team semi finals, and in August 2013 we were invited to run through a few demo jams in front of our biggest audience yet at a bout between the Australian and New Zealand men’s teams at Sydney Boys High.

In 2014, it was time to step things up a notch and emails began flying between Roxy Tocin and Mama B, President and Head Coach of Lil’ Adelaide Rollers (LAR). Before we knew it we were staring down the barrel of our very first interleague bout against LAR’s mighty travel team, The Roller Rebels. The months before were a frenzy of travel team name votes, logo creation, bout shirt and merch orders and more than a little bit of training. Having only ever played against each other, and given the range in age of our teams (10-16 years old), until now our skaters had probably held back a little on the contact in their derby, but we knew we’d need to change that in the lead up to this bout, so we enlisted the help of the senior league and had some of their most experienced skaters (as well as their refs and NSOs) coming along to and joining in with our scrim sessions. Our skaters were playing stronger and smarter derby than ever and were as ready as they’d ever be.

When the night before – and the Roller Rebels – finally arrived, our freshly named ‘Juniorcorns’ were tightly wound little bundles of excited nerves as we met for a social skate and some pizza. Some of our younger skaters were looking pretty scared at the older LAR girls and possibly wondering what they had signed up for.

It was a pretty intense game for our Juniorcorns, the level of experience of the Roller Rebels was clear from the outset and our team struggled to score points. Finally, close to half time, our jam ref held up some fingers and to a chorus of cheers from all sections of the crowd, some points were added to our side of the score board. They hit the change rooms at half time a little shell shocked at LAR 257 – BMJRDL 4. Messages of support via Facebook from one of our trainers who was overseas, and in person from a couple of local derby heroes who had come to watch the bout helped our benchies, Jakson Polax and Roxy Tocin buoy the spirits of our girls, and they headed out for the second half ready to do it all over again. They showed tremendous heart and courage and skated hard to the very end to finish the bout LAR 461 – BMJRDL 9, a well deserved win for the lovely LAR girls and a well fought bout for our Juniorcorns. 

It’s been so valuable for our skaters to finally play a ‘for-real’ bout, it’s why they started derby and what they’ve been working towards for more than two years. It’s been great to watch them have that experience and to see their response to it. The score was not as close as they would have liked and a result like that could either defeat them or fire them up. We’re pleased to say it’s fired them up - they want to improve their game and their skills, their determination is pretty inspiring.

We’re very much looking forward to a time when the Juniorcorns can play bouts without either team having to catch a plane to get there (Hint: all leagues should start a junior league!), but in the mean time, they’ll take whatever opportunities they can get.

*Photos thanks to D J Wright

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