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Portsmouth Roller Wenches!

By Sean Kennedy-Referee
29th June, 2012

Portsmouth Roller Wenches and Wreckers are fast and furious females who are taking on the country on behalf of the county.

The Portsmouth based roller derby team founded in July 2010 has attracted nearly 40 members coming from all different backgrounds, including teachers, students and nurses.
With their first upcoming bout against Team Sealand Roller Derby on August 4, the Wenches are training hard and invite everyone to come along and experience the action from the stands.
Roller derby involves two teams of five skaters skating anti-clockwise around a circular track, each team has one scorer or “jammer” that scores a point for each blocker of the opposing team they can pass in the “pack”.
Rachel ‘RR Cool J’ James, 24, art student and Wenches Jammer said: “I thoroughly enjoy every time I put my skates on. I love learning new moves, pushing my personal best or jumping that little bit higher.
“I think one of my proudest moments so far after passing my minimum skills would be competing in the 100 jam’s war between England and France.”
With the success of film Whip It starring Ellen Page many women in the region are coming to the sport in search of the fast paced extreme sport exclusively for women.
Modern roller derby however is nothing like the film and moves such as close lining, tripping and ‘whips’ off offensive Blockers not being allowed in the sport with the emphasis being placed on scoring.
Tilly ‘Tess of the DerbyWheels’ Newton, club secretary and coach said: “There is no doubt that Roller Derby’s popularity had something to do with the Film "Whip It".
“It sparks an interest in women from all walks of life. I think word of mouth, and the internet has had a part to play as well.”
Tilly was formally the “freshmeat” co-ordinator and now coach has ensured that skaters can learn the sport both safely and develop their skills.
RR Cool J said “I must admit I was terrified at first, in a hall with 50 other girls and some amazing skaters.
“I was the first to fall and having not done much exercise beyond riding my bike I found it pretty tough.
“But the Wenches were really kind and encouraging and I went home buzzing (and sore).”
 The Wenches also run a recreational league on Mondays between 8 and 10pm at the Southsea Skatepark for anyone interested in roller derby.
The ‘Wreckers’ league allows new players to learn how roller derby works and develop the skills needed, for those who may not want to play it competitively.
The Wreckers is designed for anyone who wants to try before joining the Wenches and learn the sport in a ‘low pressure environment’ with a mixture of derby drills and exercises that build up confidence in skating before taking the fresh meat course.
The fresh meat course ran annually in September is designed to bring new players up to league standard before they are considered ‘bout-fit’ as roller derby is a tough sport both physically and mentally.
The Wenches often raise awareness of the club through flyering and merchandise sales to attract new members and possible sponsors.
Elaine ‘NoPain-NoElaine’ Gardener, PR officer said: “Portsmouth Roller Wenches is run by the skaters, for the skaters, as a non-profit organisation.
“This means all money raised for the league goes straight back into paying for operating expenses.”
For more information on joining or sponsorship visit:
http://www.portsmouthrollerwenches.com/
or see them in action at Havant leisure centre Saturday, 4 August 2012 at 5pm

 

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