Roller Dolls Derby

IN a game where short skirts and fishnets make up the official team strip it comes as no surprise that these women have a rapidly growing fan base.

The sport's growing in popularity in the UK with new leagues starting all over the country. Leeds Roller Dolls now has an eighteen-strong squad after forming in October.

Compulsory kit for team-mates taking part in the full contact sport, includes a protective helmet and shin pads, as well as the sassy fishnet stockings, hot pants and pleated mini skirts.

Dressing up was definitely part of the attraction for co-captain Rachel Carleton aka Dolly Minxture, of Morley, who signed up in November.

The 28-year-old, who has already broken her arm competitive skating, said: "It's a really big sport in America, quite popular in Australia and starting to take root in the UK.

"It's a full contact sport so people have to be prepared to get a little battered. It's partly about the dressing up and partly being part of an all female sport.

"We have such a close knit team and have become great friends while getting fit."

She added: "I guess it's not surprising that most of our supporters on Facebook and MySpace are male friends."

In the Seventies Roller Derby gained a reputation for being nothing more than a gratifying spectacle for men, where women were encouraged to entertain, some even engineering fake fights.

Roller Dolls team-mate Hannah Marshall, 27, said this was not the case with modern day Roller Derby in the UK.

"When it first became popular again in America it was about the spectacle, " said the 27-year-old who also lives in Morley.

"There are now a lot of new leagues and new members who want to take it seriously.

"Over here it's not violent. I've never seen a fight erupt and I'm pretty sure you'd get a serious penalty if you tried."

Asked what her boyfriend felt about her new hobby, she added: "He thinks it's funny at the moment but when we start competing and get a proper fan base I'm secretly hoping he might be a bit more jealous of the attention we get."

Leeds Roller Dolls train every Sunday from 3.30pm to 5.30pm at Morley Leisure Centre.

On May 18 they will down skates to run the 5k Cancer Research UK Race For Life at Temple Newsam in Leeds.

For more information about Leeds Roller Dolls go to

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