West Bayers so united

The community football scene in West Bay is pretty unique in Cayman.

That’s partly because it has its very own local league of five teams. They play in the Arthur Ebanks West Bay Community League.

Another reason for its success is that teams are mixed in every sense. They have to have two women players and play short if no girls are available. Players of all ages and abilities are involved too.

For example, the West Bay Central side has Cayman international Gabriel Godet playing alongside his mother Martha and Boatswain Bay captain Dion Brandon is a seasoned international who plays with novice teenagers and veterans like Olson Bush.

‘This was a league that was put together after Hurricane Ivan,’ said organiser coach Roy Huta Ebanks. ‘But it has been non-existent over the past three years.

‘Through the outcry in the community to restart it, me and Colin Anglin, who also works for the sports department, decided to do it this time again and hopefully we’ll continue it for good.

‘The purpose is to make people come out in the community, spectators and everybody, to socialise and build a positive vibe in the community.’

Games run every Sunday, kick-offs at 4.30pm and 6.30pm and Wednesday nights at 6.30pm. The other teams are Mount Pleasant, North West Point and Birch Tree Hill.

Betty Ebanks said: ‘They have named this league after Arthur Ebanks, my father. Daddy was a very good sportsman. He did quite a few. Cricket was his first love, also football, boxing and table tennis.

‘He was a very good sportsman. He concentrated a lot on discipline and sportsmanship. That’s what I’m hoping these guys will get out of this. And, of course, it carries into the rest of your life as well.

‘I’m so glad that these gentlemen have found it within themselves to organise this.

‘Dad was an elder in the church. Of course, he would not be happy about it happening on a Sunday afternoon… but this is still good, getting young people together.’

Arthur Ebanks was a seaman in his early life then became a collector of customs. He died in 2005, aged 82.

Ivan Farrington said: ‘I remember him as a young boy teaching us cricket and football. I admired his discipline and sportsmanship.

‘He played hard to win but that wasn’t everything, he was strict on sportsmanship. He used to play inside left with us. He was not just one of the greatest sportsmen Cayman Islands has had but the whole world has seen.’

Huta added: ‘We are being sponsored by Hinesburg and Cambridge Real Estate company which is owned by McKeeva Bush and his wife Kerry. We cannot thank them enough for doing something like this for the community. We hope and trust that other business people in the community can see his initiative and also contribute to this project so that we can make it even bigger and better next time around.’