A NORTH-EAST roller derby team is gearing up to gets its skates on as Covid restrictions ease and is urging anyone interested in the sport to get in touch.

Durham Roller Derby, which has been skating together since 2014, is on the lookout for players ahead of indoor adult group sports getting the green light on May 17, if the roadmap out of lockdown continues as planned.

League char Laura Smith, who has been with the team since 2015, hopes the rise in skating during lockdown will mean greater interested in the fast-growing sport.

She said: "Roller skating has become so popular, from outdoors skating to artistic skating. Hopefully we can capitalise on that interest and will see a boom."

The 33-year-old from Middlesbrough, who now lives in Ushaw Moor, says it is a "good time" to get involved in the amateur sport as many players will need to relearn the rules after lockdown.

The Northern Echo:

She said: "A lot of people have not done much through lockdown so we will be working on roller blade confidence and basic skills. It will be a long time before we get back to playing games. It will be a very slow, phased and safe return.

"We train people from scratch so you don't need to have ever picked up a pair of skates.

"The team is really inclusive. There are a range of body shapes and ages. It's such a nice atmosphere, the roller derby community is a great place."

Durham Roller Derby often goes head-to-head with the teams in the region, which are spread from Newcastle to Middlesbrough, as well as those in Scotland, Cumbria and Yorkshire.

Its team members are aged between 22 and 45 but anyone from 18 can get involved - and "there is no upper limit".

The team, whose last game was March 7, 2020, is returning to socially-distanced practice in May and will be welcoming new members along in June but anyone looking to get involved must have their own skates and protective gear.

Ms Smith added: "We would usually loan these out but can't until restrictions are lifted on June 21.

"Skaters can also join and learn to be referees on-skates or other officials off-skates if they would rather not play the game itself."

Roller Derby is a fast-paced contact sport played by two teams of five members skating in the same direction around the track.

Game play consists of a series of short match ups, known as jams, in which one player, known as the jammer, tries to score points by lapping members of the opposing team.

Teams try to stop opposing jammers from getting past them while trying to help their own jammer score points.

As numbers for indoor sports will be restricted under Covid guidelines, anyone wishing to get involved in roller derby can reach out to the team ahead of June at @durhamrollerderby on Facebook and Instagram.