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NPT Roller derby
Learning to skate course - My experience by Holly Aspey

After my first session learning to roller skate I had never been so sweaty and out of breath yet with such a big smile on my face… except maybe in the bedroom..!!!

I was sat at my desk four weeks ago at my 9-5 job thinking to myself ‘there must be more to life than this’ when, as though reading my mind, Neath Port Talbot Roller Derby sneaked up on my work’s Twitter feed advertising their ‘learn to skate 10 week course.’ I was instantly sold - convinced it was some sort of sign!

The girls in the team cover photo looked cool and friendly; tattooed and smiling. I knew I needed a drastic change to snap me out of my ground hog day daily routine and maybe this was exactly what I had been searching for!

It was only until I was sat in the roller skating hall with 10 other terrified newbies; strapped from head to toe in safety wear and skates attached to my feet raising me inches off the ground, that I realized what I was doing… ‘what have you gotten yourself into now?’

It was all well and good trying to look cool in front of my friends, telling them I’d joined a roller derby team, but now I’d actually have to stand up on these skates and move around on them which probably wouldn’t look so cool!!

I’m renowned for my awful balance; falling over on nights out, tipping coffee over customers in my waitressing days, not being able to turn left on a push bike without falling off and just generally tripping up over my own feet. What on earth was I doing?

As I was pondering all this, a lovely girl from the team took my hand and slowly but surely we made our way around the track. I couldn’t believe I was a natural; if I could skate when I fall over casually walking down a street then I’m sure this could be a sport for anyone!!

As the lessons went on I was skating on my own, learning how to fall and stop and different styles of skating! I think the best thing about learning to skate is how easily you pick it up. In only a few hours you can really see your progression.

It gives me a huge sense of fulfillment knowing that I can skate and now instead of just telling my friends I’ve joined a roller skating team I can actually show them or even teach them a thing or two myself - and it’s only week four! I highly recommend taking up roller skating to anyone looking for an exciting new change in their lives!

The team are enthusiastic with a genuine passion for the sport which is really inspiring for us learners. Usually after a day in work the last thing I’d be thinking about is participating in physical exercise but I can’t wait to get my skates on and break a sweat!

I’m so happy I’ve started roller skating it’s a huge positive change in my life that is hopefully a permanent one. For now it’s just a bit of fun for me but who knows, I’ve heard they might be making roller derby into an Olympic sport!!


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

Get your tickets here image


NPT Roller Derby is proud to announce our first sponsor, the wounderful Roller Derby Riot, Roller Derby Riot is 100% derby-owned Roller Derby Shop based in Cardiff, selling Rollerderby gear and accessories, and some other pretty special EXCLUSIVE items.

Check out the shop here

New Romantics vs Skin heads

Yesterday March 3rd 2012, was the Swansea City Slayers open bout against Oxford Roller Derby, “This is Derby”.  The bout began with a mixed bout with players from various teams around the UK, the teams were the New Romantics vs Skinheads. 

Our coach Hazel Hemlock was captain of the New Romantics and did NPT Roller Derby proud by jamming, blocking and pivoting  which won her the MVP award for the New Romantics Team.  

Both teams played really well it was amazing to see both teams work so good together seeing most of them had never met and many players were popping their derby cherry.

The bout was really tight with both teams taking the lead at different points, however the Skinheads took the win 170 -150.

On to the main bout Swansea vs Oxford Roller Derby brilliant bout both teams played really well with the final score at 210 - 83 to Swansea City Slayers, well done girls :) and thanks for a fun day.

NPT Roller derby are supporting The Association of Skaters & BMXer’s of Neath read about the petition to get a skate park in Neath and sign it here

NPT First Training Session

Today we had our first training session; it was great to get the skates rolling and get the team started.  We got to Hengwrt barn at 9:30 on a very cold January morning, we waited with anticipation to see who would turn up, and eventually we had some eager derby girls and refs walk through the door, phew the advertising worked :)

NPT First Training

As there were different skating levels we went over the basics of skating, stops and falls, which everyone picked up very quickly.  

All in all a very good morning, we plan now to keep on advertising and hit Neath Port Talbot with the derby bug big time! Thanks to everyone who has helped us out so far, the support from the local and derby community has been great, cheers guys. 

Neath Port Talbot Roller Derby now recruiting :)

Neath Port Talbot Roller Derby now recruiting :)

Whats in store for NPT Roller derby in 2012?

We are looking forward to joining the Roller Derby community, and cant wait to be up and skating, scrimming and bouting.  We know 2012 will mean a lot of hard work but we are ready for the challenge and the fun.

Hopefully it will be a begining of another great South Wales Roller Derby team, we are starting January with a potential 16 people and hopefully with some hard promotion in the next two weeks a few more.

First training session is on January 14th, 10am to 12pm at Hengwrt Community Sport Centre, Briton Ferry 


We are also going to be looking for sponsorship in the new year, if anyone can help please get in touch 

Cant wait for 2012, got a feeling this will be a fantastic year :)

Not long for our first training session, come join us on January 14th 2012, 10am to 12pm at Hengwrt Community Sport Centre, Briton Ferry
Cant wait to see you all :)