While we've covered the majority of the bouting leagues in Scotland in our Round-ups of 2014, we cannot and should not forget those leagues who did not bout in the last year, either because they are still growing towards that exciting first bout, or for other reasons.
We caught up with Inverness City Roller Derby, Fair City Rollers and Ayrshire Roller Derby to get their perspective on the past year. Doonhame Derby Dolls have also been having an exciting year, and their experience in trying to start up a second junior derby league in Scotland has been covered here.
Ayrshire Roller Derby, having started as a Women's Derby League in late 2013, caused some surprise by announcing their intent to change to a Co-Ed league structure in mid 2014 (becoming Scotland's second Co-ed league, although not the second bouting Co-ed, with Mean City's change to Co-ed more recently). Ayrshire's Nicola Manley had this to say about their year:
Ayrshire Roller Derby has had a good year in 2014. We have restructured the management at ARD and have a very dedicated team. We have recently enjoyed success with some fundraising and as a result will be able to provide some kit so new recruits can come and try out skating. We have been working hard on our training schedule to find one that works for us and provides plenty of variety.
Our change to a CoEd league was perhaps a little soon and not without its own problems....namely lack of male interest also, some women were uncomfortable with idea so we need to think carefully about this in the New Year.
We have a number of skaters ready to take their minimum requirement skills test shortly, so we plan to be putting a team together in the spring. We are extremely grateful to our friends in other local leagues for all of their support and have had guest skaters come and help us out from time to time, which has been greatly appreciated!
Meanwhile, the northernmost league in Scotland, Inverness City Roller Derby (ex Nasty Nessies) have also gone Co-ed, as well as continuing to strengthen and develop the league as a whole. Speaking for the league, Bee-Yatch said:
2014 was a busy year for ICRD and our greatest news of the year was securing a permanent venue, we are now in Hilton Community Centre on Monday and Wednesday evenings. Having secured this venue means we can now actively recruit again for ICRD and have just started advertising for our next intake which starts in February. At the moment ICRD have a mixed bunch of skaters and are working on getting all of the team MINS passed, some skaters are already MINS passed and are on hand to help the newer skaters and encourage/motivate them to keep going and be awesome! Last year we brought the age for training down to 16 as we had interest from younger skaters wanting to become involved in the team. As we don’t currently have a junior league (we’re working on it though!) we decided to lower the age to 16, on a strict no contact basis until skaters become 18. This has had a positive effect on the team and along with being co-ed we are keen to promote Roller Derby as an inclusive sport open to all regardless of age, gender or ability. ICRD launched our new website this year as well to reflect our new name, logo and colours. The site is easy to navigate and over the coming months will have information from skater profiles to taster sessions for those interested in strapping on a pair of skates and joining up! The website can be found at www.invernessrollerderby.com
Of all of the non-bouting leagues in this round-up, Fair City Rollers will be leaving most quickly - they caused some excitement on being announced as one of the teams at Voodoo-hosted Highland Rampage tournament in February, marking their return to bouting status after some time rebuilding. Lauren Kettles, Fair City's PR rep had this to say about their preparations:
At the beginning of this year, we were mainly focused on getting our existing skaters through the last of their minimum skills, so it may have seemed like we were less visible for a while. However, after a couple of Fresh Meat intakes and increasing our numbers again, we started to contact other leagues. I've been out and about getting some experience in various NSO positions in Dundee, Glasgow and Forth Valley. I then took on responsibility for interleague liaison and continue to keep the league up to date with information on scrims, bouts and other training opportunities. All other leagues we've had contact with have been really helpful, welcoming us back with invites to open scrims and opportunities to train with guest coaches. It's important for us to be strongly engaged with the wider derby community, particularly as we build our team towards bouting again. It's been really valuable to us all to be able to keep in contact with other leagues over the year, as any derby related learning is beneficial whether it's on or off skates.
Looking towards our inaugural bout, we've been working hard, getting our intermediate skaters through their mins and training up September's newbie intake. We've also been scrimming with other local leagues at open opportunities and getting some valuable NSO experience too. Guest coaching has also been beneficial, with trainers from across Scotland putting us through our paces. Highland Rampage will be a great opportunity to get back into bouting and also begin to establish Fair City Rollers as part of the derby community again. Some of the other leagues taking part have already been helpful to us with scrim invites etc, and we look forward to joining them on track for real.
All three leagues also have Plans for 2015, with all three focussing on recruitment and expansion into the new year. Fair City have already held their first Fresh Meat of the year, last Monday, while Inverness will be holding theirs in February. Ayrshire are simply open to new recruits on a permanent basis, and encourage everyone to contact them via their Facebook page. With Fair City gaining a 2014 Communities grant from the Big Lottery Fund, enabling them to double their training sessions per week, and Inverness City skating in a charity bout and also planning bootcamps for March, it will be an exciting year for all three leagues in 2015!