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Style & Stuff Editorial
High rollers. High stakes. Low cunning.
Shout it loud and clear: THE NEWCASTLE ROLLER GIRLS TAKE NO PRISONERS (quite literally, they have no powers of arrest). What they do take, however, IS ALL OTHER TEAMS TO THE CLEANERS. Have you sampled their wares yet?
If I’m not very much mistaken (and I’m not) it was Oscar Wilde who said: “Football is all very well as a game for rough girls, but it’s hardly suitable for delicate boys.” What Oscar would have made of roller derby is anyone’s guess, but we assume that he would be as enraptured by the flaring nostrils, flying elbows and general brawling-on-wheels as we are. (Brawling on wheels? Surely not? Listen up: the matches aren’t called “matches”; they’re called bouts…)
A mixture of speed-skating, rugby and “controlled contact” (and there’s a phrase that’s pregnant with possibilities), roller derby has really taken off over the last few years with leagues being set up all over the country.
The Newcastle Roller Girls formed back in 2009 and had their first bout in April 2010, which proved to be a real baptism of fire against Edinburgh’s Auld Reekie Roller Girls (i.e. they got beat). Since then, however, they’ve gone from strength to strength (i.e. they’ve won plenty of games) but The Newcastle Roller Girls isn’t actually the name of the team. Oh no. That’s actually a catch-all moniker for the TWO teams under its umbrella: The Canny Belters (the ‘A’ team) and The Whippin Hinnies (the ‘B’ Team). Each team is made up of 14 players; five on track at any one time - four blockers and a ‘jammer’ - whose job it is to lap the opposition players and, depending on the number they pass, points are scored.
Players take on a ‘skate name’ (local heroes include Penny Bizarre, Hit One Purl One and Anita B Nasty) and if you’d like to see them in action, their home games – sorry, bouts – take place at The Walker Activity Dome (formerly the Lightfoot Centre) and all are welcome - even delicate boys.