Weekend Off*

This weekend was my first weekend “off” derby. One doesn’t really take time off from derby. I had offered my NSO services to Leeds Roller Dolls, but wasn’t required. I’ve met some of the LRD players at The Works, so wanted to go and support them. I decided that I’d go and watch them.

chart of score by jamIt felt very odd just watching a game. I set about tracking the score jam by jam. The scores were even until jam 9 when RIPunzel scored 15 points for Leeds. From then they led until the eleventh jam in period 2. As can be seen from the chart, both teams had periods when they didn’t score for a couple of jams in a row. Jam 13 and 14 in period 2 were power jams for Leeds. Skatewell Tart racked up 25 points in one of them. I did also note that she is an awesome blocker.

I think I noted that three players fouled out, I believe Tinchy Slider (Central City) was the first to go, followed by Rigs and El Nasser for Leeds.

Also of note:

  • Central City have some lovely merch. I got a T-shirt, regular pin badges and an enamel badge
  • The Futsal floor was not very sticky. The edge rope was frequently dislodged by skaters, more so than with other halls
  • Futsal have a policy of no food and drink being brought in by spectators. They were running bag checks on the door

The second game was Whip-Its vs Central City B. However, the break between games I was asked if I could NSO. Penalty box timing it was then.

It was a very enjoyable event. One final thing that made me smile was El Nasser standing on the rope whilst I was helping take up the track. Thanks El :-)


Training today was quite well attended, eight blokes and Carly too. It was good to have Baker back on skates. He was “taking it easy” though still managed 35 (is that even possible) in 5 and played very well.

Lots of useful drills throughout, big thanks to Carly and Buckingham for keeping the session moving along. There was time at the end for me to try my clockwise skating. This week I managed 26.5 in 5. I’ll nail 27 soon I hope :-)

We also discussed sessions and events up to the end of the year. We are hoping to have another co-ed scrim before Christmas and a roller disco near to Christmas. I’ll share dates when they’re confirmed.

So another skatey weekend under the belt :-)


Last week was, I think, the worst turnout that we’ve ever had at training! Just four of us on skates, including Carly our ref. Baker was there too, though not skating as he’s injured himself. (A non-skating injury!) Good to see you Baker, missing you on track, get well soon :-)

With so few there we couldn’t stick to the training programme and a scrim was obviously out of the question. Fortunately Matt wanted to work on his minimums so that’s what we did.

It was the first time out for me in my new knee pads. Knee falls were enormous fun as the pads are way more slippery than my old ones. I could slide for ages! We also had lots of time to practice our own skills and time for some messing around too. I’ve been working on jumping two foot translations. I’ve found that going to the skate park at The Works has made me more confident about jumping. I’ve always liked to keep my skates on the floor.

Matt did really well. He ticked off his 27 in 5 with style, hits he’s always been comfortable with and falls are easy. Well done Matt!

At the end of the session I did 24 in 5 clockwise, which I was pleased with, 27 very soon I hope.

The Works

On Monday evening I made it over to The Works again. This was an extra “skaters only” that Ashleigh had organised for Gemma (I believe, as she is moving away from Leeds soon). This too was low numbers, though it was expected. Discussion in the Fraternity of Rogue Skaters group had concluded that a monthly meet would be best. I highly recommend it, next one is 27 October if you can make it.

I got chatting to a young Italian skater who could grind and jump. He wasn’t afraid to point out what I was doing wrong. He’s studying in Bradford so we got the same train back that way. There were a few other new faces there, all good for increasing numbers. It was good to see Sam (Flame) – she’s very confident on the ramps/pipes but also very encouraging of others :-)

My achievement was to jump flat top of a block with ramps. I’d like to be able to grind, but that’s going to take some work I think.


Last weekend Hulls Angels were playing the Dublin B team over in Ireland. I tagged along to do my photos thing.

The adventure started on Friday. In order to keep travel costs to a minimum I had booked cheap flights. Going out from Manchester at 11pm on Friday and returning at 6.20am on Sunday. The total cost of the flights was just over £20, the same that I paid for train tickets to get me to the airport! Once in Dublin I’d be staying in a hostel.

I spent Friday in school doing governor stuff then had the evening to get myself packed and check over my camera gear. I was travelling very light, just a small camera bag and a shoulder bag.

The journey to the airport started a little before 8pm, giving me plenty of time to check in. I was pleased to bump in to Dave and Morgan and Nuke 9t (who played for Scotland) in the bar. It’s always reassuring when your travelling to be with friends. The flight to Dublin was fine, but someone mistook Morgan’s bag for theirs and took it from the carousel! Dave said that I should just get on while they stayed and sorted out the missing case. The bus service to the town centre is good and I made it to the hostel for 2am.

I’m not familiar with hostels, but the bloke on reception was very helpful. I asked about security, for my camera. “There’s a cage under the bed. Do you have a padlock?” No, I didn’t, and he didn’t have any spare. There was a safe deposit box, but that sounded a bit OTT. I was sharing the room with three others. He said that usually there weren’t any problems with the small rooms. He checked his computer. “It’s three Germans in there with you”. ” Ha, that’s fine then” I said. I consider them very trustworthy. I snook in to bed and tried to get some sleep.

The 6.40 alarm wasn’t particularly welcome, but the minibus to the leisure centre was booked for 8.30 from a different part of town. Dublin is a beautiful city, bustling with life and some very impressive buildings. The sun was just up as a I walked along the Leiffy to meet the others.

The drive south the Greystones didn’t take too long, with a slight detour to pick up a few of the team on the way. It’s a lovely leisure centre, nice seating and a small café area just outside the sports hall. The track had already been laid, so time to check the light and say hello to the ref crew.

Cake and merch stalls started to spring up, spectators arrived and other photographers.
All of the photographers I’ve ever met have been friendly. Unfortunately it wasn’t so this time. There are often two boxes marked inside the track for photographers to stand in. This keeps them out of the way of the referees, NSOs and flying skaters. This guy was stood in one of the boxes with a pro camera/lens, so I went to have a chat with him. From the outset he was rude, asking what ISO I was using then telling me that was no good. And my lens was no good either. And he had a “press pass” so he’d be staying in the box cause he “had to get photos”. No amount of jolly banter worked on him. Then he asked how long a “match lasted”. He was shocked when I answered 60 minutes. Frustrated I went and asked Abi if she had a contact at Dublin RD so we clarify the situation. She did and we spoke to them. They sorted it out straight away, much to my relief. I shared the inside of the track with various togs during the day and it worked very well. Mr Obnoxious got bored I think and left after the co-ed scrim, missing the Ireland-Scotland game and the DRD-Newcastle game.

DRDB-HARD-14AIn the Dublin B/Angels game Dublin took an early lead and looked like they would run away with it. But HARD fought back and and towards the end held the lead. Dublin nipped it back, the game ending at 165 to 164. Very exciting. (The card right shows the score against jam with HARD in green.)

The co-ed scrim followed and was another close game. Bravehearts took it 126 to Celtic Warriors 121.

The third game was Ireland Men’s Roller Derby taking on Power of Scotland. Manic. One of the NSOs was worried about skaters crashing into the middle of the track so I was very politely asked to move outside. Ireland took the win, though I don’t recall the score. (Better than 155 against 94, which was the score with almost 9 minutes to go.)

We had to leave half way through the last game, Dublin vs Newcastle, but they did draw the raffle (early for us I think) before we left. We did rather well, I’d never won anything in a raffle but picked up a bottle of red wine this time. Dane-ish won a bottle of champagne, Rollosapien won two prizes. The mini bus driver, Valentine, was a star. He had a corkscrew and plastic glasses. We opened the wines and shared them out on the journey back. It was just like our trip back from Dundee earlier in the year :-)

The after party was at Thomas House, a bit of a win for me as it is just around the corner from the hostel. I started with a pint of Guiness, well, you have to in Dublin, and got talking to a handful of skaters, Abnorman amongst them. I also got to have a jolly good chat with Whippy and her friends. Lovely people. I hit the sack at around midnight I think, with my alarm set for 4am.

The journey back was with many of HARD, though it was a quiet affair, I imagine we were all tired. I was back home before 10am, which seemed very strange. Time for a sleep before Skateful Dead practice.

What an amazing weekend!


Weekend three of my derby crazy month and after the photo trip to Nottingham on Saturday I was at practice with The Skateful Dead on Sunday.

Not many of us made it, six in total, so not enough for a scrim. They can be odd sessions. I always tell myself that it’s an opportunity to work extra hard. With the training plan on hold we practised a variety of blocking techniques and walls, reformation and recycling. This did give me opportunity to jam a little more than my fair share :-)

I like jamming but I have plenty of room for improvement, so practice is good.
The number on track reduced further when Buckingham did his neck in and Ash stepped off (injury? hangover?). This gave opportunity for some free time so I worked on transitions.


Sam (Flame) had arranged at bit of a session at Subvert in Wakefield. It’s a small indoor skate park that is party of the shop, in the Xscape centre. I didn’t make it there until after 6.30. Sam and two others, Maha and Gemma were already there. I kitted up and joined them. The young lad in charge seemed pleased to have new interest in the park – “sick”!

There was a small group of boarders there too, practising a route/trick over and over. I guess that’s what it takes to get them down pat. That made me feel better about being too timid to drop in to a half-pipe or grind an edge. Both are things that I long to do.

I managed to fall on my left knee. It hurt more than it should have done. I guess my knee pads have had it; I ordered some more this morning. Hoping that they’ll arrive before Friday.

An enjoyable evening. Thank you Sam for your encouragement and Maha for letting me talk you to death on the journey back to Leeds. (The image I have in mind is Airplane, over Rio Grande :-) )


This evening was a gym evening. Nothing special, but it does mean that I’ve exercised three days in a row, that has to be good. I seem to end a good number of my days carrying around a rucksack of sweaty clothes :-)


I was down in Nottingham on Saturday, a double header: Super Smash Brollers vs South Wales Silures followed by Nottingham Roller Girls vs Hulls Angels Roller Dames. After a bit of a break from derby photography I was back on it as HARDs photographer.

The day went really well, travel on public transport is quite an art. I was up early enough to get a train before I needed in case my target train failed. It didn’t, so the 7.53 got me to Leeds with 20 minutes to get my tickets for the onward connection to Nottingham. I’d prepared food and drink too. My netbook is an good companion on these journeys.

Nottingham station is excellent. The toilets are clean and free to use. The information about connecting services is easy to find. The bus service out to the (NTU) campus is every 15 minutes. As a result I arrived relaxed and in good time.

When I arrived SWS were already on track, with over an hour to go before the game started. Keen! :-) Most of HARD were already there, it was good to see Mariana back up on her feet. I was also pleased to meet a few that I’d skated with last week in the co-ed scrim at Death Row. Rosie P was announcing (and it turns out that she’s rather good at it). I checked the light in the hall; very good, quite bright and a good colour. Lunch and then the mens game was on.

LangloisThe men’s game was a typical mens games. Lots of big hits, lots of falling over, but mixed in some really good play. I think the main aspect that I noticed that I need to put in to practice is getting low. I saw it used effectively by jammers, ducking under blocking moves, and blockers when challenging oncoming blockers. I didn’t notice the score until the end. All the way through it felt pretty even. Both teams worked really hard and the action was utterly non-stop. The final score was SWS 354 to SSB 56. I’m pleased to report that the game was played in good spirit.

The skaters always seem larger than life on skates, except for me it seems. I look so scrawny in the photos from the co-ed last week. Since then I have paid particular attention to how skaters appear. Non of the male players, not indeed the female players, looked quite so skinny. The nearest I spotted was Marc of the Beast, yet he was a bloody good player. In particular I noticed that his sharking (hanging off the back of players in the wall and sticking your arse out so that the jammer can’t pass) was really effective. Perhaps there’s hope for me yet?

After a short break it was NRG/HARD. HARD were first to score and they snook out an early lead. Then NRG called a time out and seemed to come back revitalised; leading up to half time they took the lead and then it changed hands a few times. At the end of the first period there were 9 points in it, HARD 91 to NRG 82.

I want to compliment the NSO crew on being so stylish. The jam timer was sporting an excellent moustache (and beard) and a very fine red hat. One of the penalty trackers was wearing a beautiful dress and had perfectly done blue hair. The NSOs were also in red (SWS were playing in grey).

No star for you!The second half was fairly well controlled by HARD who seemed to have found their stride. They pulled out a convincing lead and, whilst they had to work at it, they never looked like they would be caught. There was a scary moment when Iron Giant went down, the game halted and medics were called over. Fortunately after a few jams she had her skates on and was back on track.

The final score was HARD 247 to NRG 133.

A few went to the (first) after party, in the student bar, so I tagged along. I was very pleased to be able to share in the chatter about the HARD road trip up to Scotland. I also had a bit of a chat with Melon Collie; I’m getting to know the individuals in the team better now, which is great. :-)

After that I had the long journey home. The train up from Nottingham was lovely, almost empty, lots of leg room, clean and quiet. The train from Leeds to Mytholmroyd was the last of the evening – the drunk wagon. Add to this that it was only two carriages and the passengers included a hen party and a group of drunk blokes hitting on them. Not a joyous leg to the journey. However, the day was rounded off perfectly by a message from from of the HARDies asking if I’d had a good day and apologising for not having had chance to catch up – this is why I love them! :-)

Thank you Nottingham RD for such a well organised event.