Cardiff’s Tiger Bay Brawlers take on the London Rockin’ Rollers’ Rising Stars in their first roller derby match of the year tomorrow.
The Brawlers are keen to win at home at Talybont Sports Centre in the rematch of a game lost at the Rollers’ York Hall last year. The game will be the Brawlers’ 11th match since their first ever bout in January last year.
Veteran Brawler Jenny Moseley, known as “Jen Clawed Van Slamme” is hopeful about the match.
She said: “Last time we played the Rollers, they were already an established team, but we were still starting out. Since then, we’ve come a long way and we’ve improved a lot.”
Extra training time has been dedicated to the cause, with Brawlers training an extra four to five hours a week to ensure they’re well prepared for tomorrow’s match. Tactical training has also played a big part in the Brawlers’ preperations.
Moseley said: “All of our games are filmed so we can see what needs to be improved. We’ve been watching videos of our own bouts as well as theirs so we can prepare the right tactics for Saturday.”
A win tomorrow means the Brawlers will be on a high with three wins in a row. Their last match in December against the West Midlands’s Central City Rollergirls’ Slay Belles saw the Brawlers win by almost 100 points, scoring 200 to the Rollergirls’ 104.
In a nutshell, Roller Derby is a full-contact sport played by women on skates. The modern revival of the sport began in the early 2000s, predominantely in America and it has since enjoyed significant popularity in the UK, with over 40 leagues across the country and 10 teams in Wales.
Teams consist of five members - one jammer and four blockers. The jammer is the team’s pointscorer, attempting to overtake the pack of blockers who attempt to prevent them from doing so while also facilitating a clear path for their own team’s jammer.
Rules are strict to ensure the safety of the players. Seven referees are present for each game in order to
ensure players are not using their elbows or tripping up other members.
Nicknames and distinctive outfits are a big part of the game. Colourful personalities and showmanship woo the crowds at packed-out matches.
Due to the sport’s high popularity the UK Roller Derby association was founded this year and there is a possibility a national championship could be set up in future. Roller Derby is also being considered as a sport for the 2020 Olympics.
Tomorrow’s match between The Tiger Bay Brawlers and the London Rocking Rollers begins at 6.30pm and doors open at 6pm.