Hooligans tamed by irresistible Wenches

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Joe Mattock scores in injury time. Picture: Joe Pepler

Rotherham 1 Pompey 0 – Neil Allen’s match report

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Tender Hooligans were put to the sword as the Roller Wenches claimed a 216-156 victory at Havant Leisure Centre on Saturday.

The Portsmouth side erased painful memories of two consecutive defeats with the impressive home triumph.

And now Lauren Sears, known on the track as Peggy Peril, reckons her side can kick on and produce a grandstand finish to the season.

‘It seemed completely different to any of our other games this year,’ she said.

‘The team has been training so hard that we just got down to business straight away.

‘It was quite a physical game but the communication went well this bout.

‘We still need to concentrate on our walls but I think the communication we have will be an advantage going into the last bouts of the year.’

The battle with the Tender Hooligans, who are the second team from Manchester’s Rainy City Roller Girls, was a physical match-up.

Heavy tackles were traded throughout – but it was the Wenches asserting themselves early in the bout.

They led 52-36 after the first quarter, despite solid defence from the Hooligans.

Showing good defensive form early in the bout, the Wenches recycled the Hooligans jammers repeatedly.

Excellent play by Amber Tasker (Psyclone Destroyher) forced her opponents further and further back down the track.

Michelle Brooks (Brookslide) was also on top form co-ordinating effective drifting walls to close down scoring opportunities for the visitors.

But despite excellent tactical play by the hosts, Manchester did not let up.

They constantly exploited weaknesses in the Portsmouth pack to slip through and pick away at the lead.

And towards the end of the first half the physicality of the game started to show with the penalty box almost full at several points.

Leah Robinson (RIP McMurphy) showed why she is such an asset to Portsmouth with nimble footwork letting her dance through the pack, dodging blocks and leaving Hooligans skaters littering the track.

The half closed with the Wenches leading 114-66 in front.

And the action continued in the same vein after the break with Portsmouth in control.

Ulrike Roberts (Nina Nunchuks) took a leaf out of Robinson’s book with some skilful dodging stretching the home team’s lead.

And despite spirited play and unsuccessful official reviews by Manchester, Portsmouth tied up the game 216-156.

Portsmouth’s victory pushes them up to 45th in the European rankings, with two bouts left before the end of the year.

Roller derby is a full contact sport played on roller skates.

Two teams of five players skate around an oval track.

In each match – known as a bout – one skater from each team, called the jammer, scores points by lapping members of the opposite team.

Tackling is full contact and often sees players crashing to the floor or skidding off the track.

Portsmouth Roller Wenches were founded in 2010, with skaters hailing from across the south.

They are next in action on November 23, when they travel to Big Bucks.

To find out more about the club or roller derby, visit portsmouthrollerwenches.com