Lizzie Rider - BACK TO THE FANTASTIC 8
What was the Fantastic 8 ?
The Fantastic 8 was the first French all-star tournament of roller derby. Organized by Roller Derby Metz Club, 7 teams played against eachother during three days to win first place in the tournament. Unfortunately, the 8th team (Hérault Derby Girlz from le Crès) had to cancel their trip to Metz. So, the challengers were :
- BMO : Brest Métropole Océane Roller Derby Girls (Brest)
- Les Déferlantes : Rennes Roller Derby (Rennes)
- Nothing Toulouse : Toulouse Roller Derby (Toulouse)
- Les Petites Morts : Bordeaux Roller Derby Club (Bordeaux)
- Lutèce Destroyeuses (Paris)
- Metz Roller Derby Club All-Star (Metz)
- Les Duchesses : Nantes Derby Girls (Nantes)
Almost all of them had played against each other before.This tournament was an opportunity for them to show their improvement. I’m thinking about BMO vs Les Déferlantes, Les Petites Morts vs Nothing Toulouse or Metz vs Les Duchesses.
The teams were in two groups, we had :
BMO, Les Petites Morts, Metz and Les Duchesses in the first one; Lutèce, Les Déferlantes and Nothing Toulouse in the second one. During the first day, all teams in each group played each team. There were 30min games, at the end of the day we knew who had to play to be on the quarter final. During the second day, we had to play games consisting of two 20 minute halves and full games the last day.
The Organisation :
We have never had an event like this in our country. Metz decided to host and they did it so well ! I had the pleasure to be part of this tournament as a player with my team Les Duchesses from Nantes Derby Girls. From the inside, I can tell that the organisation was absolutely huge and perfectly done. We arrived the day before the start of the tournament and the girls from Metz reserved a place for dinner in a lovely pizzeria. After our first night, we went to the venue, a gymnasium with a wooden floor and many rooms for all teams. When we arrived, in our room we found a tote bag « Fantastic 8 » for each player with some presents like buttons, cards, a cup, a map of the city… We were really happy ! There was another track on the side where we could do our warm up before every game.
There were many volunteers, speakers, a place to buy a lot of merchandise, some gear with Sucker Punch and three crews of referees managed by Riff Reff. We could have drinks at the bar and watch at the games through the window. The players and referees had a specific room for them to eat some really good cakes and salads made by the volunteers.
The Atmosphere :
When we weren’t playing, we supported the teams on track! We enjoyed some games and we were really happy to support our friends on track (and sometimes spied a bit their strategy!). If you are a player, you know how important it is to hear the crowd. I can tell you that the roller derby spirit was there for all three days! As we had games during all three days and had to go back to our city after the final, we couldn’t go to the after party… shame! But I know that referees enjoyed THEIR after parties… If you want to know their secret, ask Shref!
As it was our first tournament, we discovered different ways of how to prepare ourselves for each game. We played three 30min games the first day. We had to be in the game from the very first jam until the end of the 30min. Then, we had to stay warm for the next step. It’s a great experience for practicing mental and physical endurance.
We had the opportunity to watch some really great and tough games. I’m referring to Lutèce Destroyeuses Vs Bordeaux or BMO vs Rennes : tough and close games. I know that our game against Metz was expected to be close. We played them last November in Metz, and they won by 1 point or something. They came to Nantes to play us again a few months ago, and we won by three points or something. Each time it was very close and each time we enjoyed playing them. They are tough, they play well. The battle between us is going to be a long story. We played them twice during the tournament and those games were played at 100% by both teams.
The surprise was Les Lutèce winning against Les Déferlantes. We didn’t expect them here and I think that nobody really knew what their level was. They have really improved themselves this season. Les Déferlantes weren’t in the tournament during the first day, they had a debriefing to prepare them for the next days. Finally, they came back with an amazing teamwork, it was a new team on track and they had their revenge against Les Lutèce. Les BMO Roller Derby Girls were pretty incredible as well. 5 of their skaters stayed in Brest (due to injuries or weren't available to make the trip). So they had a difficult task to play with an incomplete team. Like the other teams, they played hard and did a great job during the tournament. Les Petites Morts had a lot of troubles this season, it wasn’t easy for them, as they struggled to create the teamwork they'd had before. But they finally found themselves, even though some of their players had injuries. Roller Derby Metz Club took the 3rd place of the tournament. They had a tough last day with two injured skaters. They had many supporters, and played very hard : Oshie received the MVP Blocker of the tournament. Then, Nothing Toulouse… what to say about them? They’re amazing, they played every game with a beautiful derby style. They had many great skaters (Cash Pistache received the MVP jammer of the tournament). I guess that everybody expected them to take first place. We knew it! For my part, I enjoyed playing against them. They were so tough, and they gave everything they’ve got and that’s how they showed us respect, by playing their very best roller derby.
FANTASTIC 8 - SCORES
DAY I :
Nantes Derby Girls 115 - 44 BMO Roller Derby Girls
Roller Derby Metz Club 105 - 58 Roller Derby Bordeaux Club
Nantes Derby Girls 99 - 53 Roller Derby Metz Club
BMO Roller Derby Girls 56 - 97 Roller Derby Bordeaux Club
Nantes Derby Girls 92 - 77 Roller Derby Bordeaux Club
BMO Roller Derby Girls 77 - 91 Roller Derby Metz Club
Lutèces Destroyeuses 60 - 196 Toulouse
Roller Derby Rennes 51 - 140 Lutèces Destroyeuses
Roller Derby Rennes 54 - Roller Derby Toulouse 179
DAY II :
Roller Derby Toulouse 246 - 36 BMO Roller Derby Girls
Roller Derby Metz Club 113 - 75 Roller Derby Rennes
Lutèces Destroyeuses 119 - 119 Roller Derby Bordeaux Club
Nantes Derby Girls 133 - 98 Roller Derby Metz Club
Roller Derby Toulouse 413 - 40 Roller Derby Bordeaux Club
Roller Derby Rennes 106 - 86 Lutèces Destroyeuses
DAY III :
BMO Roller Derby Girls 183 - 156 Roller Derby Rennes
Roller Derby Metz Club 211 - 109 Roller Derby Bordeaux Club
Nantes Derby Girls 47 - 281 Roller Derby Toulouse
1er Roller Derby Toulouse : NOTHING TOULOUSE
2e : Nantes Derby Girls : LES DUCHESSES
3e : Roller Derby Metz Club : ALL STAR
4e : Roller Derby Bordeaux Club : LES PETITES MORTS
5e : Brest Métropole Océane Roller Derby Girls : ALL STAR
6e : Roller Derby Rennes : LES DEFERLANTES
7e : Lutèces Destroyeuses : LES ENCASTREUSES