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By Russell Cook
Thursday, November 29, 2012
THERE were thrills and spills at a fun centre as it played host to a landmark international roller derby clash.
It took place at CurveMotion, in Bury St Edmunds, and featured one of the top men’s teams in the world, the New York Shock Exchange (NYSE), taking on a team consisting of some of the best players from across Europe, the Brawl Street Thrash.
Competitors arrived from countries including France, Germany and Ireland and many travelled from all over the UK.
The event, at the complex in Lamdin Road, was organised by newly-formed roller derby team the Blue Thunder Rollers, who base their weekly training at CurveMotion.
It included an invitation-only training session with the NYSE team, a Thanksgiving banquet and a demonstration scrimmage in the evening.
Founded on the Mildenhall airbase, Blue Thunder Rollers have set out to create a team that combines US military personnel with members of the British community.
They aim to encourage the development of Anglo-American relations in the region, promote roller derby as a sport and give Americans an opportunity to feel more at home in the community during their posting to the UK.
The banquet was served to 50 people comprising the New York team and local roller derby enthusiasts, who were able to sit down together and celebrate the festivities. NYSE’s Jonathan R said: “We are overwhelmed by the hospitality and effort from Blue Thunder and CurveMotion to give us a taste of home while we are here on this tour”.
With the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey, there was some doubt over whether the NYSE team were going to be able to come to the UK at all.
Team member Abe Drinkin said that New York’s last roller skating rink had been destroyed by the hurricane, and with little money to rebuild it.
The concept of roller derby is relatively simple. A bout is made up of two 30-minute halves split into two minute rounds, or “jams”. Both teams provide four “blockers” and one “jammer”.
The aim is that the “jammer” from each team attempts to break through the opposing team’s “blockers”.
The first to do so becomes the “lead jammer”, who then skates around the track to break through the opposing teams wall of “blockers” to score points.
Meanwhile, the opposing team’s “jammer” has to try to catch up with the “lead jammer”, overtake them and take up the lead position themselves.