Sport

Get your skates on with Hulls Angels Roller Derby

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Whilst Hull City, Hull FC and Hull KR are always in the news, there are so many other sports taking place in Hull, some of which are more alternative than others.

In this interview, we speak to Natalie Hornshaw of Hulls Angels Roller Derby (HARD).

What exactly is roller derby?

It’s a full-contact sport played on roller skates. Each game lasts an hour, split into two thirty-minute periods. These periods are then broken down into jams, which last no more than two minutes each.

How do you play it?

A team can roster up to fourteen skaters with five allowed on the track for each jam. Each team has a skater who has a star on their helmet – they are known as the jammers and gain a point for every member of the opposition they pass.

Skaters constantly switch between playing offence and defence, and the team with the most points at the end wins.

When was HARD established?

We started eight years ago, when a group of people got together to form the first roller derby team in the city. Originally called the Kingston Rollers, the name was changed to Hulls Angels Roller Derby and HARD was born.

Your player name is Wilken. Does everyone have a nickname?

Roller derby is the fastest growing sport in the world and players often skate under pseudonyms known as skate names. These can be puns, nicknames or linked to surnames, such as Thrill Murray, Melon Collie, Rollosapien, Jackie Daniels, Kid Block or just Smith.

What’s your role in HARD?

I joined shortly after the league’s first birthday, so I’m considered experienced within the team. However, because the sport is constantly evolving there are always new tactics and skills to learn. My primary role is a blocker but I’m hoping to increase my versatility by jamming more.

Where can people see HARD play?

Our home venue is at the sports hall of Sirius Academy West and you can also cheer on our A Team at the British Championships in Mansfield on Saturday 24 February.

People should also check out our Facebook page to keep up to date with both our A Team and B Team fixtures.

Can anyone get involved?

We are always looking for new players, referees and non-skating officials (each game requires seven referees on skates and fourteen officials off skates). Please get in touch through social media if you’re interested.

We also teach people how to skate and can provide kit hire before they decide whether or not to commit to the sport. HARD currently has two teams, with the A Team participating in the British Championships whilst the B Team play all over the UK.

What’s next for HARD?

As one of only three Yorkshire teams to be part of the WFTDA, the international governing body of roller derby, HARD aims to raise both the profile of the city and the sport whilst showing that you don’t need to be sporty or athletic to get involved.

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