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.