Cayman has made leaps and bounds in the world of darts recently and much of that success is owed to Edsell Haylock.
Haylock was part of the national dart team that travelled to Trinidad to compete in the Caribbean Championships.
There Cayman earned its best results in history. Cayman walked away with four awards, a fourth place overall finish and the Caribbean champion for the next two years in Haylock.
The 31 year-old has been playing darts for some 14 years now. He first got into the sport at 17. While he was temporarily in the States he learned the ins and outs of the game from his father.
From there the born-and-breed West Bayer got into darts locally. He got into the local darts league and has been a steady fixture since.
In fact he was recently part of the undefeated Triple Crown team that won the league back in March.
For Haylock being the new champion will allow him to represent Cayman more in the future.
‘It was my first time going to the event and I thought it was a great experience. For the next two years I can say I’m the best in the Caribbean. I’m looking forward to defending the title in 2010 and bringing it back to Cayman.’
Haylock says the competition he faced was tough and he had to push himself to the extreme.
‘It was very hard because I haven’t played that calibre of darts before. Trust me it wasn’t an easy hill to climb.’
Haylock says his strategy in the tournament was to make the big shots and take things from there.
‘When I hit the doubles I was on a high. That eliminated a lot of pressure for me. I was shooting well and I stepped up to the plate against some very good players.’
In all Haylock had to beat six players from across the region to be crowned champion. The players were from Trinidad, Brazil, Bahamas, St. Lucia, Guyana and Barbados.
Haylock says one of his toughest competitors was Andy Muir of Guyana.
‘The toughest game was in the semis against Muir. I had too much confidence. I thought because he was a rookie that he was no good.
‘I won the first game and he won the second game. That brought a lot of pressure on me. I got really nervous in the third game thinking I might lose.’
Muir, a rookie based out of Florida, made it to the semi-finals after beating Cayman’s Earl Smith.
From there Haylock would end up facing Barbadian legend Anthony Forde in the finals.
Forde is best known for pushing English darts legend Raymond Van Barneveld to the limits at the Pro Darts Corporation Championships in England last December.
Haylock says in spite of Forde’s history and the match’s hyped atmosphere he was not flustered.
‘I wasn’t nervous in the finals. It didn’t matter to me that there were 500 people watching, that I was competing on a stage or that there were TV cameras and an announcer.
‘I was pumped up, armed with a strategy and ready to roll.’
Haylock went on to explain that for him darts is a game of nerves.
‘The key to the game is pressure. If you can control your nerves then you can go far. It’s very hard to do but it separates the pros from the amateurs.’
As the Caribbean’s top player for the next two years Haylock will undoubtedly be the target of many people. But the long-time veteran has one message: bring it on.
‘I have the title for two years. I’m the best in the Caribbean. Whoever wants it is going to have to come good to beat me.’