ROLLER derby players and fans will be a common sight in town this year after a top team relocated to Huddersfield.
The Leeds Roller Dolls – a roller skating team with more than a dozen members from the town – are set to play all their 2011 home fixtures at Huddersfield Sports Centre at Southgate.
Roller derby, an all female sport of blocking and manoeuvring around a court, has been booming since it featured in Hollywood movie Whip It.
The girls take on sassy pseudonyms for the high speed contact sport and more than 50 teams have sprouted up across the country.
The Leeds Roller Dolls hosted a tournament at the sports centre last October and Brackenhall-based member Jude Gouldsborough – aka Magic-8-Brawl – said they were happy to find a new home after losing their base at Leeds University.
She said: “The one we used at the university got resurfaced and they didn’t want a load of girls thundering round on roller skates.
“Huddersfield Sports Centre have been fabulous, they have been so accommodating.
“There’s not many sports centres big enough, but they’ve got all the facilities we need.”
The Leeds Roller Dolls will be appearing at the centre on a monthly basis and are set to launch their season with a Great Yorkshire Showdown.
The six-team tournament on April 2 will see a full day of roller derby bouts between the region’s teams.
Roller Derby has recently been recognised as a sport by the British Roller Sports Federation and Jude said it was really taking off.
“This is the first time we can officially say we’re a sport rather than a pastime,” she said.
“It featured in a big Nike campaign, so there’s definitely a lot more people who have heard of it. It’s growing all the time.
“We’re trying to get as many people to come down as we can.”
Jude said anyone curious about the appeal of the new sport should check out the action at the bout next month.
She added: “It’s something totally different, you don’t get the opportunity to see a totally new sport very often.
“We’ve got 25 new players this year so we have enough to field two teams.
“We did pretty well last year – we had some tough games and we won about half and the ones we lost were by the closest of margins.
“Hopefully we can carry on this year and bring home some wins.”
ROLLER derby is a contact sport where a team skate round a small oval circuit scoring points by barging or passing your opponents.
The five-strong team comprises three players as blockers, one pivot and one jammer
The pivot from each team controls the pace of the game.
At the first whistle the pack sets off, but at the second whistle a jammer comes into play, who is usually fast and agile. The jammer scores a point when they manage to skate past one of the opposition’s blockers.
The blocker must try to help their own jammer get through the throng.
In this way the pack of blockers must act as both defence and attack, restricting scoring chances for the opposing jammer, but helping their own get through.