SANTA CRUZ, CA >> Cheri Bell, aka Queen Litigious, scored 81 points and earned match MVP honors as the Santa Cruz Derby Girls’ All-Stars, the Boardwalk Bombshells, beat the Bay Area Derby’s Richmond Wrecking Belles, 197-137 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium on Saturday night in a fast and physical game.
“It always pumps us up playing at the Civic for our hometown fans,” Bell said. “We have the best fans and they motivate me to work harder and score more points. And tonight our blockers worked really well together and provided great offense, making my job a lot easier.”
It was the first meeting between the teams since 2014, when the Bombshells prevailed 277-120.
Santa Cruz started out strong, gaining lead jammer status and control of the game. Within minutes, the Belles’ jammer was called on a penalty, giving Queen Litigious, a chance to capitalize and run up the score 22-6.
The Bombshells continued to dominate and take advantage of Belle jammer penalties with well-timed offense. The Bombshells went into halftime with a hefty, 120-59 lead.
The Belles came out strong with different jammer matchups and went on a solid run to start closing the gap. However, the Bombshells hit and blocked their way back up to keep a solid, 60-point lead.
The game ended with an exciting turn of events when fan favorite Ace Wenchura (Claire McCoy), a high scoring jammer from previous seasons who has taken a hiatus from jamming, was fielded to jam in the final jam. The crowd erupted in cheers with Ace’s gravity defying hops and spins, but she ended up being called to the penalty box on a track cut in the final minute.
Ace came out of the penalty box and made a star pass to another fan favorite, Shamrock N. Roller (Regan Eymann), who is usually seen controlling the front of pack with her fierce backwards blocking, and she ended the game by putting up the final points as jammer.
Along with this bout, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls are hosting a Women’s Flat Track Derby Association tournament at their practice facility in Scotts Valley this weekend. All games will count toward WFTDA rankings and determine playoff invitations in July. The Bombshells, who currently rank No. 33, dominated the No. 44 Kansas City Roller Warriors 202-89 earlier Saturday.
The Bombshells face No. 38 Sac City Rollers of Sacramento on Sunday at 3 p.m.
“We love playing for our fans and want to give them the best roller derby,” said Bombshells coach Valerie Andromacha-Atha, aka Valcohol. “And Bay Area Derby is always a great team to play, who we really respect. We’re excited for our game (Sunday) and want to keep up our momentum for a three-game sweep for the weekend.”
The next bout at the Civic Auditorium is June 11, featuring Santa Cruz’s home teams, the undefeated Redwood Rebels versus Organic Panic. Tickets are at santacruztickets.com
**Article by Eileen Hill as printed in the Santa Cruz Sentinel**
**Photo Credit: Mark Nockleby ©2016**