Belfast Roller Derby was set up at the end of January 2010 when a couple of derby loving individuals met up and decided it was high time Belfast got in on the derby revolution! After initial meetings the group would head to the Wigwam Roller Rink to get to know each other better and get used to being on skates again for the first time in years! Over the weeks the original group grew to around 10 regular skaters and the women started getting their own skates and kit. The first official practice was held on 03 April 2010. BRD were joined by some Dublin Roller Girls and Lethal Lou Lou and Sarah McMillan from The Glasgow Roller Girls and we had an absolute blast! The rest, as they say, is history.
BRD is made up of all sorts – from the skaters in our competitive teams, who are all ages and from all kinds of backgrounds, to our Non-Skating Officials, who carry out all sorts of technical and statistical wizardry that keep the whole show running!
In 2012 BRD proudly became members of the UKRDA and can’t wait to get stuck in and share the craic with all the other member leagues to take that next step up in our development.
There’s a place for everyone, with all kinds of skills and talents, in our league. See the ‘Join Us’ section for more information on how you can get involved.
Each game of derby, called a “bout,” is played between two teams, each with five players in a line-up at one time on the track. Each line-up is made up of one pivot, three blockers, and a jammer. The pivot is recognized by her striped helmet cover, the jammer wears a helmet cover with a star on each side, and the blockers have no helmet covers at all. Each game is 60 minutes, made of two 30-minute periods that are further broken down into two minute jams.
The pack is made up of pivots and blockers. At the start of the jam, the pack lines up along the straightaway of the track – pivots and blockers in the front, with jammers positioned 20 feet behind. A referee or time keeper will signal the start of the jam with a single whistle and the pack will start skating, a few seconds later a double whistle will blow and the jammers will start sprinting through the pack. This is the jam.
Each jam is a two-minute race to see which jammer can score the most points. The jammer earns a point for every member of the opposing team she passes. That may sound easy, but the opposing team is doing all they can to get their own jammer through the pack while stopping the other team’s jammer. Derby is a full-contact sport and skaters will use all legal means at their disposal to get the job done, including hitting the opposing team with their shoulders and hips, pushing and pulling on members of their own team, and doing a manoeuvre called a whip to speed their jammer through the pack.
Each jammer must make one complete pass through the pack before she can begin accumulating points. The first jammer to move through the pack legally becomes the lead jammer and as such has the power to call off the jam early – a strategic advantage that allows her to score points and then call off the jam before her opponent has the chance to score. If neither jammer passes through the pack legally, neither becomes lead jammer and the jam continues on for the entire two-minute period.
Through it all, the blockers are doing their thing – blocking. Blockers can hit members of the opposing team with their shoulders, hips, and torso. It’s illegal to use the forearms, hands, and head, and the use of elbows is strictly regulated. Skaters who block illegally, start fights, or otherwise break the rules face penalties which can include everything from time in the penalty box to a complete expulsion from the bout.