The Newcastle Roller Girls (NRG) are the newest addition to the UKRDA family, forged when like minds, athletic ability and a desire to do something different collided with an imported all-girl American sport.
The team was founded in 2009 by four girls including Claire Byrne, the current team captain. NRG have been going for two years, in that time meeting and training with skaters from across the world, while teaching themselves the game, and progressing to a bouting squad that are ready to give back to the roller derby community.
Their first bout (away) was Hadrian’s Brawl on 11 April 2010, a real baptism of fire against the Auld Reekie Roller Girls‘ B team, and the 5th March 2011 saw their first home bout, Flog on the Tyne, against Aberdeen’s Granite City Roller Girls at The Lightfoot Centre in Walker, Newcastle. Final score: 113 – 63 to NRG.
Kalamity James tells us a little about her league…
We’ve been part of the recent UK roller derby boom, with our ranks swelling more than we can believe and demand for our rookie course blowing us away with every intake. This interest and the hard work everyone puts into the league means we now have 3 teams:
- The Canny Belters – Our A team
- The Whippin’ Hinnies - Our B team
- Tyne & Fear – Our Merby team
As well as two full teams plus spares, we are a busting-at-the-seams after a recent intake of newbies who are just about to graduate their minimums.
During our first bouting year, we travelled the length and breadth of the UK to battle teams, make new friends, and maintain a positive vibe in the derby world. This year we aimed to build on that by bouting our two teams and getting as many of our newbies up to standard and out on track as soon as they’re ready to. Our aim is to get every girl and boy on skates, taking part, and joining in as often as possible. Having achieved all that, our goal for the future is to improve exponentially with every game we play, and aim to have match ups with teams we’ve admired from afar. Our calendar for next year is already full and we’re looking forward to taking on teams that will really challenge us.
Away from the track we’ve organised a newbie bootcamp to help skaters pass their minimums, and encourage new teams across the UK, we’ve agreed to send our coaches to other leagues to encourage a safe and fun start to the world of derby for areas where it’s new. We’ve taken part in community events and importantly we’ve worked hard to make sure we get lots of positive media coverage of bouts and events that we attend, to spread the word of derby and help the newer leagues or good causes that we’re working with.
At each of our home bouts we invite a local charity to come along and get donations – then we give them a donation from our league too.
Our league has a real sense of DIY. We promote from the beginning a feeling of “team” within the league.
We task new members with being “positive role models” for their group, asking them to pay at least one compliment per session to another skater, and giving themselves a compliment too. We have added to the end of our minimum skills that you must come and NSO, to further build on your knowledge of the sport, and also meet the full team. We request all skaters take part in extra-curricular activities together, helping the league, or a local cause – encouraging people to mix outside of their usual group of friends. Because of this, there is a strong sense of camaraderie within the NRG.
We also encourage all skaters to strive to achieve excellence. We take each skater as an individual and help her on her journey. Our drop-out rate is low, so we know we’re doing pretty well at this.
We’re excited to see what the future holds for NRG and we can work closely with the UKRDA to double derby audience figures in the next 12 months!
For more information on Newcastle Roller Girls, check out their website