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February 28, 2013

Last weekend, after what seemed like months of excitement and build up, Tiger Bay Brawlers finally faced London Roller Girls Brawl Saints at Tal Y Bont in Cardiff.

Brawl Saints were rated number 2 in Europe and have never been beaten. Not recently, not ever. Properly unbeaten. Tiger Bay narrowly lost out in their last bout against Glasgow… a bout that was won and lost in the last jam. It was amazing to watch and amazing to be there, but we knew the bout against LRG would be even harder. The predictions were that Tiger Bay would eventually succumb to Brawl Saints by a fairly comfortable amount. While London took an early lead, it didn’t last and the Brawlers led comfortably for most of the bout. I say comfortably, there’s rarely a comfortable lead in the sport. What can seem like a comfortable lead can be wiped out in a couple of jams, so Tiger Bay were kept on their toes and certainly couldn’t afford to take it easy. Brawl Saints are number 2 in Europe for good reason.


Oh sorry, did I say are number 2?  WERE number 2!

Tiger Bay won 204-135, pushing them into the top ten in the  European rankings for the first time, at number 8. Brawl Saints drop to 5th place.

Beautiful scenes at the end as half the Brawlers started crying at the same time I got something in my eye. What a coincidence!

It’s been 15 years since I had this level of emotional investment in a local sports team and I have to say it is really hard trying to stay/ seem impartial while taking photos from behind the tape. I suppose I don’t have to actually act impartial, I just assumed it would be the most professional thing to do. I’ve been wondering recently whether to carry on taking photos of roller derby, as I essentially do it for my own pleasure. There are always people taking photos, whether the person/ photographer is sat in the crowd or is crouched on the corner, and sometimes I’ve been guilty of feeling that so many roller derby photos look the same, so what’s the point? Where do I fit in? Where does roller derby fit in to my life when tt’s so hard to do something different that makes you stand out. I don’t necessarily want to take my flashes, I want to document it without extra lighting, but I’m still trying to figure out how to do it in a way that stands out and still produces clear photos in often terrible lighting situations. 


I nearly pulled out of taking photos on Saturday, but having seen what I saw I’m so glad I didn’t. Being a photographer is such a privilege. You get to see everything from your own unique view, meet amazing and inspiring people and then people tell you they love your work.

And if things really go to plan you get paid to do it. But above all, you have to have the love for the job and your subject, and when you’ve got all these things there’s little better in life.




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