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Auld Reekie Roller Girls
Auld Reekie Roller Girls
Auld Reekie Roller Girls were established in 2008

Kirsty Greer of Edinburgh's all-female, full contact roller derby league tells of the team's recent win and what the sport is all about:

"Well, I'm pleased to report that it was a double win for Auld Reekie on Sunday.

Our B-team, the Cannon Belles, played a very close game against a mixed team of Newcastle Roller Girls and Middlesboro Milk Rollers.

Our A-team, the Twisted Thistles, steamed ahead of the Lincolnshire Bombers.

All in all, a very productive day!


Auld Reekie Roller Girls were formed in April 2008 (it's our birthday on 15 May), after the US phenomenon spread to the UK via the London Roller Girls, the UK's 'Big Sister' league.

Roller derby, in its many guises, has been around since the 1930s. Following a resurrection in Texas in 2003 it has expanded to what is now a world-wide community.

It was a travelling race, which saw both men and women skating on a banked track in a test of endurance.

People soon started to give nicknames to their favourite skaters and the game became the more competitive sport we play now.

Team sport

Roller derby
Scottish teams in the roller derby league regularly compete together

It is a full contact team sport, played on an oval track, with players skating (on quad skates, not in-lines) round the track.

There are four players from each team who are 'blockers'. They skate in a tight formation called the 'pack'.

Each team will also have a point-scorer called the 'jammer'. This player attempts to sprint round the track and lap the pack. She scores points for each opposition player she passes.

It is her team's blockers' job to assist her through the pack, and to block the other team's jammer to stop her scoring points (this is where the full-contact comes into play).

Grass roots

There are several reasons why Roller Derby is such a unique and revolutionary sport.

Due to the 'grass roots', amateur nature of the sport, it has meant that each league that forms, has had to administrate themselves.

Each league will have a complex unit of committee members and helpers who organise the day-to day-running, which in ARRG's case has upwards of 70 members.

This "for the skaters, by the skaters" ethos gives derby girls a sense of ownership of the game they love.


From arriving in the UK four years ago, we have campaigned and worked hard to ensure the growth and expansion of Roller Derby into the mainstream.

This DIY approach is also employed for our training sessions.

We train for seven hours a week, with each practice dedicated to a different area of discipline.

Sunday's practice is an off-skates fitness session, where Wednesday and Friday practice is aimed at skating skills and actually playing Roller Derby.

Training schedule

Several of our girls are currently training for the Bupa 10K, and many of us go to the gym, outside of our busy ARRG training schedule.

For any other sport, this dedicated approach would not be surprising, but for most of our girls, this is a hobby which is completely alien.

Roller Derby gives women a reason to work out, keeping fitness fun and competitive.

We have been training for the first ever Scottish tournament, Highland Fling, which takes place in Aberdeen on 22 and 23 May.

Scottish teams

Scottish teams have a particular bond and we regularly hold Scottish mixed scrimmage events.

Each is hosted by a different team.

Edinburgh and Glasgow are the two longest established Scottish leagues, with Aberdeen's Granite City Rollergirls, Perth's Fair City Rollergirls and the Dundee Destroyers being the newer leagues.

Roller Derby is a truly modern phenomenon in popular culture and in women's sport.

With almost 30 teams in the UK, and more being formed almost weekly, this sport has definitely established itself and is not going anywhere soon."

Roughed up on roller skates
02 Oct 09 |  UK


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