It was a typical scorching summer afternoon on Seven Mile Beach Monday but the heat failed to slow the determined players who chased glory in the first-ever Twin Spike Volleyball Tournament. Hosted at Royal Palms and sponsored by Digicel, the competition is seen as the first step of what organisers hope will become one of Cayman’s premier international sports events. The potential of beach volleyball is huge, believes Noel Williams, president of the Cayman Islands Volleyball Federation.
‘This is a dream come true,’ said Williams. ‘Next year we hope to have teams [pro and amateur] come from all over the world. This sport can be a big boost for tourism.’
Beach volleyball always promises plenty of action and Monday’s finals delivered. Shervin Rankin, one of the best pure athletes in the Cayman Islands, put on a dominant display of spiking that wowed the Royal Palms crowd. Rankin’s high-flying power plays, combined with the steady hands of teammate Glen Daykin, earned top honours in the men’s final. Second-place team Darin Machewka and Jason O’Driscoll played well but couldn’t find a way to stop Rankin’s airborne attack.
For the women, two vacationing friends from Texas heard about the tournament, entered, and ended up winning it all. Leslie Wooldridge and Sara Maitlen play in a competitive Texas league and were able to withstand the Caribbean heat to claim the trophy. The Texans were solid in all aspects of the game.
Runners-up Drew Dhanraj and Natisha Ramroop were strong in the final as well. Ramroop’s court awareness was brilliant as was Dhanraj’s power at the net.
The women’s third-place match was memorable as the team of Emily Davies and Tammy Kelderman held off Dara Pereira and Sophia Foster.
Cayman Islands Olympic Committee president Donald McLean and Sports Ministry permanent secretary Carson Ebanks presented trophies to the winning teams. CIVF president Noel Williams thanked primary sponsor Digicel, as well as other sponsors Vibe FM, Cayman Airways, CIOC and Quik Cash.