World’s top roller derby team heads to Yorkshire for clash

London Rollergirls vs Detroit Derby Girls, who played at Anarchy in the UK in April 2014. Picture: Jason Ruffell
London Rollergirls vs Detroit Derby Girls, who played at Anarchy in the UK in April 2014. Picture: Jason Ruffell
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IT’S the clash roller derby fans have been waiting for – the world’s number one team, New York’s Gotham Girls, will go head- to-head on the flat track with London Rollergirls on Saturday.

And it’s being played right here in Yorkshire, at Leeds Futsal Arena in Millshaw off the A6110 Leeds ring road. Tickets for the game sold out in just four minutes, and the city’s own league, Leeds Roller Dolls, has been partly responsible for making it happen.

Gotham Girls roller derby league celebrating winning Divisionals in 2013. Picture: Sean Hale.

Gotham Girls roller derby league celebrating winning Divisionals in 2013. Picture: Sean Hale.

Roller derby is a highly competitive sport played on quad roller skates, and Leeds was the first league to form in Yorkshire in 2007, and its lead was quickly followed in Sheffield, Wakefield, Hull and beyond.

Hayley Avron, captain of Leeds’ A team the Rebel Roses, who will play London’s second team, before the headline game, said: “Gotham are unbeatable at the moment, but London have paved the way for other UK roller derby. They are head, shoulders and kit bags above any other UK team, so it will be a great game.

“We’re proud of the small part we’ve played in getting the game here.

“London needed to find a large enough venue to host 1,000 fans and a skater bootcamp, and we have that here are Futsal.”

Gotham Girls have won the biggest accolade in club competition, the WFTDA Championships, three times in a row.

London Rollergirls (LRG) created the UK’s first league, and are currently fifth in the world.

It will be the first time the rivals have met and the competition will be fierce. LRG skater Amy Ruffell said: “We’re going into the game as the underdog, but we’ll be putting up a fight.”

Gotham Girls’ skater Melissa Waggoner said: “We are expecting a tough game and are excited it’s happening in the UK.”