Deep in the Lost World that they call the Sir David English Sports Centre there lurks a pack of fearless rebels armed with eight wheels, kick ass pants over their trousers and facial expressions that not even T-Rex himself would argue with. They’re all gathered here for one sole purpose, and that is…Roller Derby!
Being one of the Dorset Roller Girls training locations, the Bournemouth Sports Centre seemed like the ideal place to play host to their very first home bout of the year. Having a wander around pre-derby I could feel the excitement filling the building. There were people taping the track to the floor, stalls full of tasty goodies (including bags of penny sweets which made me feel like a hyperactive 5 year old me again), some pretty awesome roller derby gear and of course a raffle (which I did end up winning a cute little heart badge from – whoop!).
For those of you new to roller derby, I’ll share with you the basics. Roller Derby in the UK is played on a flat track where two teams play against each other. Each team has a Jammer (with a star on her helmet), and it’s her job to score points for her team.
Then there’s four Blockers, and it’s their job to stop the opposing team’s Jammer from scoring points. All eight Blockers together form the Pack. The Jammers aim is to make their way right through the pack. The Blockers will try and stop the opposing Jammer by using their hips, shoulders and bums.
Jammers score points for every member of the opposing team they pass on their second lap through the pack. The first Jammer that makes it through the pack clearly is called the ‘Leading Jammer’. She then has the power to call off the Jam before the two minutes are up. She can do this by hitting her hands on her hips. This means the Jam is over and the opposing Jammer can no longer score any more points.
Players can be sent off during a bout to the Penalty Box if they perform any illegal moves. This includes punching, cutting the track and back blocking.
Jur-ass-kick Park consisted of two bouts – the first being Severn Roller Torrent VS Surrey Roller Girls and the second being Dorset Roller Girls VS Plymouth City Roller Girls. Both bouts were part of The Heartland Series which is Europe’s largest interleague women’s flat track roller derby tournament.
Twenty four leagues from England and Wales have been divided into four regional divisions for double-header bout days, and the teams in these bouts are part of the South West regional division.
Being the first roller derby bout I’ve ever seen live I was very excited, so much so that I had to sit in the Suicide Seats. Yes it was a low fly zone, although luckily enough I left in once piece!
The first bout was Severn Roller Torrent (SRT) VS Surrey Roller Girls (SRG) who played really well and finished on a score of 68 to SRG and 419 to SRT. Meaning that Severn Roller Torrent won the bout!
The second bout and the most anticipated was Dorset Roller Girls (DRG) VS Plymouth City Roller Girls (PCRG). This was going to be an amazing game and a lot faster paced. The bout had me cheering and gritting my teeth as DRG took the lead, then PCRG took the lead nearing the end of the bout.
There were time outs called, players sent to the Penalty Box and a rumble of people chanting “DRG, DRG!” – It was the most excitement I’d had in forever!
The bout finished with a very close score of 145 to DRG and 154 to PCRG. The crowds went mad and formed a circle so that all of the roller derby girls and refs could get clapped and high fived and the derby adrenaline was over until their next bout!
I had an amazing time, as did my friend (she now wants to join her local team) and I’d recommend checking out a roller derby bout even if you don’t like sport. It’s an experience you need to have at least once in a lifetime. Share the roller derby love and keep up with the Dorset Roller Girls latest antics on Twitter and Facebook.
Words by Michelle Stannard
Photography by Dorset Roller Girls