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The Rolling Dead roll home with the win

This weekend, Christchurch's only junior roller derby team, the Rolling Dead, travelled to Wellington to take on Richter City's Sk8 Punks junior roller derby team in a keenly matched bout.

This was the first inter-league junior roller derby bout for the Rolling Dead and was the culmination of months of training and fundraising.The Rolling Dead junior roller derby team consists of boys and girls aged between 9 and 15 years. Some skaters have been part of the team since it began in 2017, whilst some only took up the sport in recent months. However all were committed to playing together as a team and were rewarded by ultimately forging ahead in the second half to overtake and beat the favourites, the Sk8 Punks.

According to Head of Junior Coaching, Rachel Millward; "We went away to have fun. We weren't in it to win it. They [Sk8 Punks] had such a strong team we really had our work cut out and had to adjust our game as a result of that. We came away with a well earned win. [I'm] so proud of how well they did."
However this was not just a North - South Island battle, the bout also had families facing off against each other. Three of the Rolling Dead - siblings Emme Fatale, Azkajam and William Skatespeare came to junior derby after a rainy day on holiday caused Aunty Melpractice and cousin T-Bone Jake to take them down to the Kilbirnie Recreation Centre for a skate session. Their expert tuition encouraged the siblings to keep at it and they all joined the Rolling Dead back in Christchurch at the beginning of this year.

It was Richter City's Melpractice who suggested hosting the junior game and the Rolling Dead jumped at the chance. Due to the different levels of play in junior roller derby, the teams were divided into big and small packs so that older skaters played more of a contact game (JRDA level 2) and the younger / smaller players concentrated on positional blocking (level 1). This meant that T-bone Jake (jammer and blocker) was directly up against his cousins Azkajam (jammer) and William Skatespeare (blocker).
The game was fast-paced and evenly matched. Each crew member showed phenomenal bravery and adept skills as they worked together on the track. After 60 tough minutes of jamming, bracing and blocking, numerous knocks and tumbles, visits to the penalty box, and displays of impressive aerial manoeuvres, the Rolling Dead managed to secure the win. For the parents though, the ultimate win was in each child skating off the track having had a great time and looking forward to their next event/game/training session.

According to junior, Skate Invader (Seth Mortimer aged 9); " It was a challenging game, but I loved it! They played differently to how we play."

The Rolling Dead had their final training session and prize-giving on Sunday 17th November. Coaches and skaters are already looking forward to next season already as plans are afoot for a junior tournament and more junior games throughout the season. Anyone interested in signing up for next season should contact juniordeadendderby@gmail.com

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