DORSET ladies strapped on their skates and took on the might of Plymouth in a roller derby double header last weekend.
Equipped with helmets and pads, sparkly hot pants, glitter stripes and an inflatable dinosaur, Dorset Roller Girls hosted Plymouth City Roller Girls and two other teams at the Sir David English Sports Centre in Bournemouth for an afternoon of full-contact thrills.
Following a surge of interest in the early 2000s roller derby now has fans and players across the UK and beyond, with many hoping it might one day become an Olympic sport.
The Dorset girls, who narrowly lost their Heartland Series bout 145 to 154 on Saturday, are currently ranked 46th out of 357 teams in Europe.
Charlie Simonds, known on the track as Cannon Fire, founded the team back in 2011 and said it had been remarkably easy recruiting players to take part in the fast paced and physical sport.
“I’ve been impressed with how brave people are. Some of our team had never skated before they joined and are now among our top players,” she said.
“The main thing for us is the camaraderie. As soon as you step into your first roller derby session you have made 30 new friends who are always going to be there for you.
“But it is also a chance to get fit in a way which is so much more fun than going to the gym.
“I started the group after moving back home from London and I get extremely county-proud, flying the flag for Dorset.”
In roller derby two teams compete on an oval track in two 30 minute bouts, with each team’s ‘jammers’ trying to lap members of the opposing team while avoiding the ‘blockers’.
After enjoying worldwide popularity in the 1950s and 60s, the sport was reborn in Texas a decade ago and has since spread worldwide.
Dorset Roller Girls jammer Nasreen El-Mariesh added: “One of the great things about roller derby is that anyone over 18 can get involved. You don’t even need to know how to skate.
“It is great fun playing as part of a team and working out a winning strategy.”
Dorset Roller Girls train at 2 Riversmeet in Christchurch on Wednesday evenings and the Sir David English Sports Centre on Sunday afternoons.
To get involved visit www.facebook.com/dorsetrollergirls