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Live! Roller Derby! Auld Reekie Roller Girls Home Bout: ARRG’s Twisted Thistles vs ARRG’s Cannon Belles

Auld Reekie Roller Girls travel teams are facing off this weekend, in  a bout that many have waited a long time to see. Here at Alhimself we are excited about the prospect of an Edinburgh Roller Derby Home League in 2012, so this bout will certainly be something to whet the appetite in anticipation.

The bout will see the two teams face off against each other to ensure that both are skating their best heading into the 2012 season, when these two teams will represent the best of ARRG across the UK and beyond.

“We are immensely lucky to have so much talent in the ARRG league,” said Belles (for whom Alhimself will be rooting on this occasion) captain Bruise Leigh. “But these two teams have never been pitted against each other. What better way to hone our bouting skills for 2012 than to take on this fierce and formidable team?”

Thistles captain Crazylegs said, “We’ve faced teams from Glasgow to Stuttgart, but the Belles are sure to give us a run for our money. If anything, we’ll all probably be harder on each other because we know it’ll help us get ready for next year. This is going to be very, very fun.”

Next year marks a new era for ARRG with the introduction of home teams, which will play each other in a series of tournament-style bouts. The travel teams comprise the league’s best players, who take on the challenge of representing ARRG in external bouts in addition to playing on their home teams.

What is Roller Derby? I hear you cry. Well I asked the people at Auld Reekie to explain:

“Roller derby is an all-female sport that involves teams competing on an oval track in a series of ‘jams’ – two minute periods that see teams of five players each battling to score points. During each jam, one player on each team is designated as the ‘jammer’ who scores a point for every member of the opposing team she passes.

The sport requires a punishing array of agile and athletic skills, from zig-zag blocking moves to body slams to all-out speed-skating. To perfect these manoeuvres, skaters commit to several hours of practice every week, paying for gear and practice space out of their own pockets.

While it has its roots in sports-entertainment-style exhibition bouts going back as far as the 1930s, modern roller derby has reinvigorated the game with a grass-roots DIY ethos that puts the passion for athleticism front-and-centre.

The trend finally reached Edinburgh in 2008, when a small group of women founded ARRG. The Edinburgh league now averages at over 80 skaters, and is run purely on the volunteer efforts of its members.”

Saturday 29th October 18:30 – 20:30. Tickets are £5  (Free for children aged 14 and under) from: http://thistlesvbelles.eventbrite.com/


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EdinburghGuide: London Roll Into Town For Major Test of Edinburgh’s Derby Mettle

Edinburgh’s very own roller derby team is set to take on one of the top teams in the country this Saturday. The Auld Reekie Roller Girls, or ARRG for short, ‘Twisted Thistles’ travel team will clash with the London Rollergirls ‘Brawl Saints’ at Meadowbank Stadium. It will be the first time two teams recognised by the world roller derby governing body have competed publicly on Scottish soil.

Zillah, who captains the Twisted Thistles, explained:

“This is a chance to see some of the best roller derby players in the UK competing against each other and I guarantee that it will be a hotly contested bout. It’s the first time that a game has ever been sanctioned by the WFTDA on Scottish soil, so both teams will be determined to win.”

The WFTDA is the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association, a US-based governing body for the modern incarnation of the sport. Edinburgh’s team is the first league in Scotland to become a member, and one of the first in Europe. Derby has been popularized most recently by the 2009 Hollywood movie Whip It! – starring Ellen Page and directed by Drew Barrymore. Glasgow, Dundee and Aberdeen all have their own teams who play Edinburgh regularly.

“Roller derby is a rapidly growing sport in the UK and audiences are now realising how exciting it is to watch. The bouts are athletic and fast-paced and they show off the talents of highly-skilled players, so it is a great spectator sport.”

“Auld Reekie Roller Girls already have a passionate supporter base, but we hope to attract even more spectators to our upcoming bouts. This match against the London Rollergirls will be the ideal opportunity for anyone who is interested in the sport to come cheer us on and see the sport in action.”

The sport itself has roots in sports-entertainment-style exhibition bouts dating from the 1930s, but this modern take on roller derby got its start in Texas in 2000. It has since grown to include hundreds of skater-owned, mostly all-female leagues throughout the world. Edinburgh established its league in 2008. It includes around fifty skaters and is run on an entirely voluntary basis.

Roller Derby bouts are family-friendly affairs, with home-baking and plenty to shout about. Each bout lasts around an hour with an interval for half-time.

You can follow the Auld Reekie Roller Girls on Twitter @AuldReekieRG

Doors open at 2pm at Meadowbank Sports Centre, London Road, Edinburgh on Saturday 11th June. There will be a demonstration of the basic rules prior to kick off and costs £5.

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