The role call this week was Matt, Buckingham, Si, Baker, Jim, me and Carly our ref. Captain Chris is still off with his back injury (muscular) and will be for another month I reckon. Coach Gillie and Phil couldn’t make it at short(ish) notice. A massive thank you to Carly for coming up with a good session at short notice to keep us on our toes for two and a half hours.

It was all about agility this week. We did lots of solo work practising transitions and stops around obstacles, jumps and duking. Another “drill” that Carly introduced was random calls to jam. She’d call “five seconds!” and we all had that time to form a four wall on the line against a jammer/pivot combo. We’d have a two minute jam. Pivot and jammer would then switch and we’d go again.

Crack on plate on quad skateWith all this work on toe-stops I was worried about making the crack in one of my plates worse. It is worse, but not yet completely broken. I’m off to on holiday at the end of March, so can’t afford new plates at the moment. Meccano may be called into action to keep it going. (And keep it going I must as I’ve booked on to the Beginners Ref and NSO Clinic being run by Leeds Roller Dolls on 7 March.)

I have to say that I’m a little disappointed in these skates (Suregrip GT50). They are almost two years old and are falling to pieces. The shoes are coming away from the soles, so badly that along the outside edge of each skate I’ve stitched them back together. Now a crack in the plate. In comparison my in-line skates are probably eight years old and are still in good order. They get well used in the park every summer and have done a near marathon distance in Berlin one time.My next pair of skates will hopefully by much better…


Just six of us on track today, plus Carly our ref in the middle. We started with some exciting news, that I can’t share just yet, but if it happens it will be good :-)

I led the warm up then Carly took over and led the rest of the session. As numbers we low we focused on minimum skills for the new guys, which I really enjoyed. I spent time with Jim and Rob working on plough and T stops. Jim succeeded with the “skate a straight and curve on one foot” skill. Rob worked on stepping and confidence on one foot, with the next step being T stop.

Those that wanted practised jumping and apex jumps. Buckingham had observed a technique yesterday which we all found really good. One we’ll be practising more in future. Even I found I could do (small) apex jumps.

Towards the end we (obviously) did a little bit of the hitting thing. Each taking a turn at jamming against a four wall (Rob isn’t doing contact just yet, give him a few more weeks!). I went first and managed to get through the wall eventually. Pack definition was imaginary, as was the engagement zone, but it worked okay. I felt that the walls were pretty good.

The other big bonus is that it completely distracted me from my worries, so thank you guys/roller derby :-)



The past few weeks have been odd. I’ve not found time for so many things that I want to do, I’ve injured my foot, twice, and last week we broke Chris.

I injured my foot at the gym, with hindsight, from doing a plank exercise. Not a static plank, but one which involves rolling one’s feet on to tip toe. The pain was in the big toe of my left foot, which was swollen and hot. It passed after a few days the first time, though it was remarkably painful at the time, and walking was no fun at all. The second time wasn’t as bad fortunately.

Training has been fairly well attended, eight on skates last week. Unfortunately we broke Chris, our captain. He took a fall, twisted his back and didn’t get up. That put a bit of a downer on the session, of course, and he carted away in anSo, an ambulance was called ambulance. Soft tissue damage – muscular we believe. So he’s off skates for a bit and taking things easy. Speedy recovery Chris!

I feel mixed about my derby skills. My blocking is improving, but my jammer skills seem to be stalled. I’m not sure how to improve them. I’ve also had a big question hanging over me about playing against strong teams. Knights of Oldham invited us over to play against Barrow Infernos. I immediately said that I didn’t feel I was ready. Then low numbers and kind words persuaded me to say that I would play, though I was a little uncomfortable at the thought. Then Chris got injured, so I felt more pressure to play. In the end I found that my son was with me, so I couldn’t make it. Add to that difficulties at home at the moment, leading to lack of sleep, and my brain feels utterly mangled. I just keep reminding myself of the positives in my life…


HARD/B vs York Minxsters

TeamsEnnerdale was the venue for a very close game betweens HARD’s B team and the York Minxsters. It was a relaxed affair and I had chance to catch up with loads of people. A good chat with Fenno who plays for The Inhuman League – we (The Skateful Dead) really do need to get down to Sheffield to train with them some time soon. I said hello to the Minxsters before the game and they seem lovely too. (The Minxsters, like The Dead, are a small team and so I feel an affinity with them. They had a few skaters on loan from Spa Town.)

The teams were very evenly matched, with the lead changing frequently throughout the game. The final score was 199 for Minxsters against 188 for HARD/B. There was just one foul out (Minxsters) near the end of the game.
A quick pint of Black Sheep after the game was very welcome and an opportunity to listen in on the post-game analysis.

A big thank you to Abi for offering a lift from the station, and Katy for providing it. (And then making sure that had a lift back, which Fenno provided in the end.) Much appreciated!