Betties handed first home loss 

Comox squad takes the win in back-and-forth bout

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVID BUZZARD / WWW.DAVIDBUZZARD.COM - betty vs. betty Whistler's Claire "Wino Rider" Leitch, right, throws a block on a Comox jammer during "The Battle of the Betties." Leitch was Whistler's MVP in a losing effort.
  • photo by david buzzard / www.davidbuzzard.com
  • betty vs. betty Whistler's Claire "Wino Rider" Leitch, right, throws a block on a Comox jammer during "The Battle of the Betties." Leitch was Whistler's MVP in a losing effort.

They weren't the better Betties last weekend, but Whistler's flat-track roller derby team put up one heck of a fight in a back-and-forth affair with its Vancouver Island visitors.

In a bout dubbed "The Battle of the Betties," the Brick House Betties of Comox knocked off the hometown Black Diamond Betties 206-175 at Meadow Park Sports Centre on Saturday, May 31.

"It was neck and neck, and it was really exciting for the fans," said Whistler skater Alison "Gold D. Blocks" Kemp. "It was exactly the kind of bout we were hoping to have."

The seesaw match featured more than a dozen lead changes over the course of the night, but the visitors managed to stretch their advantage over the closing minutes, when injuries and penalty trouble caught up with Whistler.

"We were separated by under 15 points... constantly throughout the game," said Kemp. "It wasn't until the last quarter that the Brick House Betties started to increase their lead. That was right after we lost two players (to injury) in a row, and we also lost players to fouling out, which had never happened to us before."

The local Betties suffered their first-ever loss at home, and now sit at 3-1 all-time when playing in the resort.

Whistler captain Lori "Princess Slayah" O'Hare said it was disappointing to see the home record blemished for the first time, but added that there were plenty of positives for her team to focus on.

"I think we played really well, and I think the other team brought their 'A' game as well," said O'Hare. "We kept playing our game the whole time; we didn't get distracted with what they were doing and continued with our offence and defence.

"I really wanted to win, and there were a few times... we were ahead but just couldn't hang on to it. It would have felt good to stay undefeated on our home turf."

Whistler's MVP for the bout was Claire "Wino Rider" Leitch, and Kemp said her teammate was very deserving of the honour.

"(Leitch) was a very effective jammer," said Kemp. "She got lead a lot of times, never gave up, and was one of the jammers who was able to jam and pivot throughout the whole game. She's a really strong skater with a hockey background."

More than 400 boisterous fans packed the arena standings for Saturday's bout, and O'Hare said their support didn't go unnoticed.

"Whistler crowds for derby have been outstanding at our home games. It was a such a feel-good atmosphere again — a repeat of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival, where they really get into it, and we can hear them cheering for us," she said.

Whistler's Betties don't have any more bouts scheduled this season, and finish the 2014 campaign with a record of 1-2. However, the Betties will begin looking for new skaters starting next month.

The team's first recruitment camp, which is open to any interested skaters and does not require previous derby experience, will take place July 13 at Spring Creek Community School, with sessions continuing through August.

Visit the Black Diamond Betties on Facebook for more info.

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