Prep league something special

The present global economic situation makes investing tough in any context, even in Cayman.

Sports are one of the areas feeling the effects of the global recession but at least one league is trying to help change things.

Tonight marks the start of the third week of play in the Cayman Prep Corporate Football League.

At 5:45pm DHL takes on Butterfield Bank in an encounter that’s sure to showcase some of Cayman’s best footballers.

DHL has sportsmen Gary ‘Whiz’ Whittaker, Carson Fagan and Eckerd McField while Butterfield boasts Cayman national team player Tom Elliot.

Five teams make up the league with additional squads representing Butterfield Bank, Maples and Calder and John Gray High School.

Eight players are allowed to take the field for each team, with most squads carrying over 12 players in total.

Games are played every Monday and Wednesday at 5:45pm at the Cayman Prep primary school field on Smith Road. The season finishes at the end of June.

The league is the brainchild of DHL Sales Manager Mark Woollard.

Woollard states corporations on island are finding it tough in these times to justify paying large entry fees for sporting events.

As Cayman Prep is helping to host the tournament at a minimal cost the savings are passed on to the teams, thus making the league an attractive option for businesses.

John Gray came into the fold as Prep was unable to field a team. The squad consists of young Caymanian students.

Woollard went on to speak to the networking side of the league.

‘It’s a good opportunity for young players to mix and network with some of the large corporations.’

Woollard plays an active role in the league, serving as the goal-keeper for team DHL. He has looked pretty decent in goal thus far.

Although he allowed three goals in his first game against Maples he made quality saves and looked like he had seen some competition recently.

Woollard and DHL are actually a big part of the local sports scene.

The company sponsors a local basketball team, a local rugby team, a duathlon and the annual kickball charity tournament to name a few.

Woollard has been a big supporter of all and an avid sports fan on the whole. He can be seen at the South Sound Rugby Club supporting the DHL Storm from time to time.

Also he goes out on occasion to watch the DHL Wolves at the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Court off Eastern Avenue in George Town.

In fact he was out Thursday May 21 to celebrate the Wolves sweeping team Colombia to advance to the senior men’s basketball league final.

Many of the same people on the corporate football team were on the Wolves squad including Andres Kirchman.

It was hard to nail Woollard down in terms of a favourite sport but he has an especially keen eye on local basketball.

‘Our DHL Wolves are having a great season. The team is really focused on having a good season. The addition of Dwight O’Garro has really helped. I think we just needed that one piece of the jigsaw, that one piece of quality that was missing. His presence has helped in terms of raising the team’s standard of play but O’Garro has also had a very positive impact on discipline.

‘Basketball has been crying out for the kind of exposure it is now getting and it’s great for the sport. Exposure can only stimulate sponsors to step up – and basketball needs money here.’