WAKEY Wheeled Cats are back on fighting form for their first home bout of the 2012 season, next Saturday.
Last year saw the Cats take some great wins but also some big losses, and after a two-month break from bouting, they are hungry for the win.
The closed season has seen the Cats knuckle down in training to get to grips with the changing nature of highly-tactical game, including drafting in guest coaches from other leagues.
Since the inaugural Roller Derby World Cup in December and the WFTDAs championship tournament just a few months previously, the pace of play has changed dramatically, with teams in the UK scrabbling to keep up with the American-led tactical change.
The league has also been blighted by venue problems. There is currently nowhere in Wakefield large enough to accommodate a public bout, and practice space is hard to come by.
Cats’ captain Kirsty Quinn said: “Last season presented us with a number of challenges - it was our first booting season, we had a number of experienced players with long-term injuries and the introduction new players in almost every game, plus a lack of appropriate practice venue.
“There has also been a huge shift in how flat-track roller derby is played, with an emergence of new tactics and counter-plays allowing for huge score differences. This combination of challenges has made WWC look at the game in new ways, resulting in a more tactically-focused training plan with a strengthening of team focus.
“We have used the season break to look for a better training venue, whilst re-grouping and continuing to train hard, with a view to enjoying a successful season in 2012.”
The league has also used the break to hold its first intra-league game, as player numbers have grown enough to allow them to break off into two smaller teams who will scrimmage against each other in practice. The Wakey Wheeled Cats travel team will continue to bout against leagues from across the UK.
Quinn said: “Finally having enough skaters to allow for two intra-league teams is a benchmark for WWC, and shows that the sport is growing in popularity at a fast rate. Having two teams that can test out new tactics against each other, and can allow new skaters to get bouting experience, will be extremely beneficial to the league. We are hoping that these benefits will transfer across to the travel team, resulting in some good wins.”
On Saturday, February 25, they face tough competition all the way from Wales, Cardiff’s Tiger Bay Brawlers ‘B’ Team.
Quinn said: “We’ve seen the Tiger Bay Brawlers in action and they are not to be underestimated, they gave UK leaders London Rollergirls a tough game thanks to clever tactics and skilled skaters. It’s a must-see bout for roller derby fans new and old”
Wakey Wheeled Cats v Tiger Bay Brawlers ‘B’ takes place at Huddersfield Sports Centre on Saturday, February 25. Doors open at 4.30pm.
Admission is £5 in advance from www.wakeywheeledcats.moonfruit.co.uk or £6 on the door. Under tens go free