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NPT Roller derby

Last day of the learn to skate.  Roller Disco and skate awards then off to the pub.  Sad to see the end but will see some at Roller Derby training next wed :)

Last day of the learn to skate.  Roller Disco and skate awards then off to the pub.  Sad to see the end but will see some at Roller Derby training next wed :)

NPT Roller Derby demo at Swansea Roller Rink

Hot one in training last night, had to escape outside at the end to get fresh air

Hot one in training last night, had to escape outside at the end to get fresh air

Jones NPT Experience a Referees story

So……., Sundays, the memories of a misspent youth of dreaming of Rock stardom, and Formula 1 of course, after all, Formula 1 is what Sundays are for right? I used to skateboard on half pipes when I was a kid, for quite a number of years the deck and trucks were attached to my feet, well, apart from when I was playing music, or watching F1. One Sunday, my then girlfriend (now wife) must have been slightly not as into F1 as I thought to my dismay, and decided on the advice of one of her oldest friends who found some random flyer in a random pub, to disappear for the morning (and leave me in peace to watch the grand prix). A few hours later, slightly smelly, slightly sweaty, and with a beaming smile on her face, in she wandered to tell me about the fun she had on skates for a few hours. If I had known then where this would lead………………

After a few weeks of peaceful F1 time, lots of random youtube videos, and talk of nothing but skating, she convinced me to skate up. Now, understand, I’d never been on skates, apart from those adjustable yellow and blue Fisher Price ones when I was like 4? So my first choice was to buy the Rule book, and see what this was all about. A couple of weeks later, another friend of hers had a pair of old Bauer blades for sale, so the inevitable occurs. I have 8 wheels! So along I go (on a non F1 Sunday I might add).

The rules aren’t that difficult to follow, although those early days of having no-one to show me the ropes was quite daunting. Not quite sure what I’m looking for, not quite sure exactly what’s going on, then the team we were in had a couple of guests down from Cardiff for a scrim. I was appalling during this scrim, but Jon, a ref from the other team helped me out to muddle through, and really boosted my confidence at the end helping me understand bits and bobs. So now armed with the rule book, and a little understanding, there was no turning back.

I soon got bored of blades, and got my first pair of quad skates. Cheap and cheerful as they were, I fell in love! For the first time in a decade, I had trucks under my feet again. the ease and maneuverability was immense. Took me no time at all to get used to them, and don’t get me wrong, I’m not the best skater in the world, but I can do enough on quads for me to get on with refereeing without having to think about what I’m doing on them.

Next came our first public bout as spectators. Tiger Bay Brawlers v’s Bristol Harbour Harlots. I noticed it was easier to watch the refs when they weren’t on the internet. Head Ref, Skatan from Glasgow, and on the outside Pack, a very tall chap called Chaz Tizer who did a cool walking backward impression of a robot! the game was immense, and I knew then I needed some stripes! Right after the bout, I went down trackside, and as soon as the Derby girls had all done their high 5’s, I went and introduced myself to the aforementioned refs saying “Hi, I’m Joe, I want to be a ref too!” A couple of Facebook add’s later, and I had two friends on my list who were more than happy to answer any and all the questions I had.

After a little while, my girlfriend gets invited up to the Brawlers for their birthday bout, this started a friendship which has given me some of the greatest experiences of my Refereeing career. Soon I was going up and helping with scrims, and Chaz became my unofficial mentor. Between him and Hazel (my wife) they have nurtured my knowledge and understanding of the game, and the rules.

Eventually, Haze and I decided to start our own team in our hometown, NPTRD was born! Yes we’ve started from scratch, but we have gained respect, and with our NPT friends, built up a reputation as one of the friendliest teams in Roller Derby. Although I’m not reffing much for the team, and I’m even moving toward Bench Managing, I still get the call from other teams now and again to help out. The experiences I’ve had within Roller Derby have been some of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my career. I’ve Jammer refed, and OPR’d possibly some of the toughest games I ever will, and although sometimes I’ve felt completely down about my performance, I’ve revelled in the opportunity and education I’ve had.

So, now I’m head ref for NPT, I’ve head refed my first bout this year (not that I wouldn’t have before, I just love Jammer reffing), and I’m teaching and debating the rules with one of the nicest chaps I’ve ever met, Dan of Iniquity, my protege! All we need now, is to recruit a few more refs, and the girls of NPT can gain the benefits of constantly being whistled at! Come on, get your Zebra on! Join Team Zebra!


Interested in becoming in a referee and/or want to learn to skate sign up to our 10 week learn to skate course

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Hazel Hemlock’s NPT Experience

Hi I’m Hazel Hemlock, head coach and founder of NPT Roller Derby. I have been skating since I was about three when my sister who was nine at the time strapped some uncomfortable metal adjustable skates on me and taught me how to skate round our front garden and I loved it even though they hurt. I then had my first pair of skates when I was 5 years old, they were white high ankle boots and were not like derby skates at all!

My childhood ambitions were either to be a bus driver or to own a roller skating café. They both involved wheels and I knew even then I wanted skating to be part of my life in some way. I quad skated up till I was 12 years old then moved onto rollerblades as I took up roller hockey in my local leisure centre. I really enjoyed it but found it difficult as I was the only girl amongst a lot of boys and being quite a shy person I found it tough to stand my ground (not anymore lol).

In my teens I then bladed and quad skated a lot down Swansea beach and spent many a summer skating back and fore practicing little tricks. Little did I know I was in a way training for a sport that I didn’t even know existed and more than 10 years on I found roller derby.

I hadn’t skated for a while not because I didn’t want to but because being grown up meant not much time but now I find the time to do something I love. I started out with the Swansea City Slayers and skated with them for a year and a half. Then my newlywed husband Joe and I and our friend Carol decided to start a local team where we lived in Neath Port Talbot. This was a big decision for me as it meant not playing derby for a while until we had formed a group of skaters who could skate and play derby safely. However I’m glad I did as the rewards have been great, I have helped skaters who on their first session clung to the wall but are now confidently bouting.

With coaching you help others but you also learn a lot about yourself too and your own skating as you have to think of easy ways to break things down which isn’t always easy, however completing my BRSF coaching course has helped with this.

The team is going well and we are now introducing our first learn to skate course for people who would like to just learn to skate or play/officiate derby with no pressure. I’m really looking forward to this as I love meeting new people and each person the team meets brings something extra to NPT Roller Derby and its growth. If you are interested please sign up, it is open to anyone over 18 and I and the rest of the team will make sure that you are welcomed.


Get your tickets here


Elemen Teri’s NPT experience



I have been skating with the NPT guys since beginning of February. The first time I put skates on in nearly 12 years. I won’t lie I was terrified but now I could never imagine ever not skating. I’m totally hooked! Roller Derby is such an amazing sport with a real community sense.

I look forward to every practice and any opportunity to get my skates on. I feel so much stronger and fitter even though I’m not the typically fitness freak. It’s the one sort of exercise I can’t wait to get my sweat on!

The More and more I practice the more I improve. I don’t think you’ll ever know everything and can always keep improving. It’s such a sense of achievement every step you take and knowing your team mates are behind you is amazing.

I have made some lovely friends and to sound cheesy it’s a huge part of my life. I can’t wait to pass my minimum skills and bout with the team.


You can now book your place on our learn to skate course follow the link

The Rebel Rosa’s NPT experience


Women of Neath Port Talbot……Yes, you the gorgeous skinny minnie over there… the bootylicious big girl……you who hasn’t ever played a team sport……you fit girls looking for something new to get your teeth into……you younglings with all your enthusiasm for life………you mature women with all your wisdom……You NEED TO DISCOVER ROLLER DERBY!

I joined NPT roller derby in January this year. An unfit roundy woman fast approaching middle age I may be, and let’s be honest….I was terrified! But it turned out to be one of the best things I ever did. Everyone made me so welcome and although I’m never going to be the best in the world, the time is fast approaching when I will be out there on the track with my team mates blocking the hell out of my opponents!

Roller derby brings a whole new spectrum of colour into my life. Anything that brings women of all ages and from all walks of life together without judgement or discrimination has to be a good thing right? And if that thing gets your heart pumping and calls for you to release all that aggression from inside of you in a very cool way…well, what more could you possibly want?

I know one thing for sure - roller derby will never be a fad. You know, when you start something and quickly get bored? Not gonna happen! Take the plunge, come and join us, know what it feels like to be part of a team and amaze yourself at what you can do.

Just be warned that it WILL change your life.

Photo left to right Jones, Hazel HemlockBellzy Bubb, Elemen Teri, The Rebel Rosa, Hannah Bowden,  Electro Aly, Hey Miky, Kayla Khaos, Professor Moriarty, V for Vrettos