Campbell found the perfect flight

The ninth Annual Vivian Rankine Memorial Dart Tournament got underway over the weekend September 20-21.

Some 31 dart enthusiasts came out to Corner Pocket in the Alissta Towers to watch all the dart-throwing excitement.

George Rankine, son of the late Vivian Rankine, would open the tournament on Saturday. Though the 14-year-old would not hit a bull’s eye, as he did in previous years, he scored 32 points which was his father’s favourite double on the board.

The tournament saw its fair share of great local players including Hank ‘The Hammer’ Ebanks, Phillip Parsons, and Caribbean Champion Edsell Haylock.

One of the new faces would make a name for himself in a big way. Rookie Richard Campbell stunned the crowd with upsets over Hank Ebanks and Phillip Ebanks to advance into the A Division.

Campbell was impressive, scoring maximum points with focused play and an apparent hunger for victory.

Campbell would end up going head-to-head with Edsell Haylock for the Division A Singles title. It would prove to be a nail-bitter of a game.

Both players hammered the triple 20 and scored many points, including a 180 by Campbell. Haylock would soon unleash his arsenal of experience closing out the first game with an impressive 150 finish.

Both players threw back-to-back 100s keeping the score line extremely tight.

Haylock however would put Campbell on the ropes with a two games to zero lead. The big play from those games was a missed double 10 by Campbell that allowed Haylock to hit that double and be in control.

However Campbell would start off game three scoring 100 points. In fact he would put over a 100 in the fourth game. Through it all Haylock had many chances to finish off Campbell but could not deliver.

By the fifth game it was apparent that the large crowd gathered was rooting for the rookie Campbell.

All eyes were glued to the dartboard as they slugged it out. The crowd was tense and eerily quiet as the darts struck the wooden boards.

Campbell, not wishing to disappoint his fans, upped his game and left Haylock dumbfounded.

With 52 points remaining, his first dart went for a single 20 before nailing a double 16. Campbell would clinch the title by a wide margin and the crowd was happy for it.

The crowd exploded as Richard jumped into the air with pure jubilation. The happy spectators would rush him and shower him with congratulatory hugs.

Thereafter, in true sportsmanship, both players would hug each other in a show of respect.

In the ladies event Lisa Evan would come out on top and be crowned Overall Ladies Champion.

Though play would not be as riveting as the men’s version, all of the female players made a good showing.

Campbell would cement his legendary play at the tournament with a thrashing of Filipino darts star Ray Bylon in the overall championship game. Campbell would take down Bylon three games to zero.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Alden McLaughlin, MLA Alfonzo Wright and Cable and Wireless Vice President Albert Anderson were among the dignitaries present during tournament. All stated that they thoroughly enjoyed the games.

In his brief speech on the weekend McLaughlin would take time to express his pleasure with the tournament.

‘It was very touching to see the level of support you hall have shown to Vivian ‘Veggie’ Rankine, his family and especially his son George. I commend the organizers for continuing to keep his memory alive.’

McLaughlin presented the trophies to the winners in Division A.

Trevor Lloyd of International Map Services, who sponsored the trophies, presented awards to the winners in Division B.

In a surprise move tournament director Martin Bodden Jr would present a certificate of appreciation to Albert Anderson for Cable & Wireless’s continued sponsorship of the tournament.

George Rankine would receive a gift certificate sponsored by Little Tokyo Mongolian Grill Ltd.

Other members of George’s family were on hand including mom Mavita Rankine and aunt Rosa McLaughlin.

George expressed his gratitude for having the tournament in honour of his dad and helping him at the same time with his future education.

Martin Bodden Jr said the tournament did well in terms of finances. He said a little over CI$1,000 was raised from registrations and a raffle, which included a generous cash donation by the Cayman Islands Darts Association.

Bodden Jr went on to further express his happiness with the tournament.

‘I am extremely happy for the overwhelming support from everyone, including the sponsors, as without them the tournament would not be possible.

‘I’d also like to say a big thank you to my committee who has been more than wonderful. Most of all thanks to the many dart players and spectators who made the weekend one to remember.’