high rollers line up derry derby

Rebel Rebel taking part in a roller derby competition
Rebel Rebel taking part in a roller derby competition

A new team sport for women is to be launched in the city next week.

Roller derby is hugely popular across the US, played by over 1,000 amateur teams worldwide and was even under consideration for inclusion in the 2020 Olympics.

Now Derry women have the opportunity to put on their skates and learn the team sport from scratch.

Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating counter-clockwise around an oval track. One member of the team - the jammer - scores points by lapping members of the opposing team.

The rest of the team try to hinder the jammer of the opposing team.

The sport is described as a cross between ‘rugby and racing’ by a local woman who is organising a six week beginners course in Derry.

Known only by her skate name, ‘Rebel Rebel’, the sports enthusiast says roller derby is ‘great fun’ and is a sport for everyone.

“I got involved with roller derby when I was living in England. I had always had roller boots right up until I went to university.

“I wanted to try out a team sport that I could learn from scratch. I was aware of roller derby through the film ‘Whip It’ and when I looked into it I found a beginners programme close to where I was living.”

Rebel Rebel said deciding to give the new sport a go it was the best decision she ever made and she fell in love with Roller Derby.

“I met an incredible group of women and it has led to all kinds of opportunities I never thought I would get to experience through a hobby.”

These experiences have included attending tournaments in Europe.

“Roller derby is organised by the skater for the skater, everyone chips in for the hall hire and things like that. It is really, really good fun and it really great for all body types.

“It is pretty physically demanding but through training you will build up the endurance and muscles that you need to play a full game.”

It is a little known fact the Derry did have its own Roller Derby team in the past but they had disbanded by the time Rebel Rebel moved to the city meaning she never had the opportunity to join.

Since returning home, Rebel Rebel badly missed the sport, prompting her decision to set up a team of her own, starting with a beginners course to drum up interest in the sport.

“The six week course will cover the basics of skating, how to fall safely and then whips and assists.

“The aim is to have a team that can play matches against teams from Belfast and the south. If we get a team together, we could even bring teams over from the UK to play.”

Skates and safety gear including knee pads. elbow pads, mouth guard and helmet are required.

However, Rebel Rebel said skates can be hired for the first week for women over 18 who wish to come and along and try roller derby out by emailing derryrollerderby@gmail.com.

The beginners course begins on Tuesday October 23 from 8pm (kitting up from 7:30pm) and costs £35.

For more information email or visit www.facebook.com/derryrollerderby/