Nottingham-based roller derby team the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots have returned home to the city with a 1st place trophy following a nail-biting tournament in Nantes, France last weekend.
This is the second time the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots have played at Nantes Derby Girls’ West Track Story roller derby tournament but changes in training, lineups and leadership within the league have been credited with driving the team to make history with the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots’ first international tournament win.
Day one of the tournament saw Nottingham take on Antwerp’s One Love Roller Dolls. Whilst Antwerp drew “first blood” to put points on the board, Nottingham quickly snatched the lead and creating a substantial points difference at half time. One Love Roller Dolls fought back in the second half but were unable to defeat the Nottingham, settling on a final score of Nottingham Hellfire Harlots 211 – One Love Roller Dolls 191.
Later on in the day, Nottingham returned to the track to play Finnish team, Tampere Roller Derby. Determined to dominate from the first whistle, Nottingham Hellfire Harlots were in control from start to finish with Nottingham ending the first day with their second win of 202 points to 130.
Day two saw Nottingham play the tournament hosts, Nantes Derby Girls. Nottingham started strong with a half time score of 132 to 72. With the support of the home crowd in the second half, Nantes were inspired to close the gap but not able to take the win from the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots, with the game finishing 197 to 158.
In an interesting turn of events, the final game of the tournament gave the audience something to cheer for as both the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots and Amsterdam both entered the game with three wins meaning that this game was the decider for first place.
Not only was the venue packed with supporters of all five teams playing, the tournament was streamed by roller derby’s governing body, the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), attracting an audience from across the world.
With all to play for, Nottingham were able to use the momentum they had built from winning their previous games to get an early lead, one that Amsterdam were not able to counter with strong jamming performances from Jo Scott and Sophie Ansell. In spite of a penalty-heavy game, the final score that brought the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots to victory was 216 to 159.
Jo Scott, Captain of the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots commented, “This has been a phenomenal year for our league so far. We came to West Track Story two years ago and while we won one game, we came in fifth place overall. This year we came into the tournament as the favourites and we were determined to win. Everyone in the team gave their absolute all, and that shows through this fantastic result.”
Buoyed by their success, the Nottingham Hellfire Harlots are already training hard for their next home game which will be held at Clifton campus Nottingham against Middlesbrough Roller Derby on 9th June. They are also hosting an international roller derby tournament called Track Attack on 20th and 21th October.