The 2009 Island Games did not go as planned for Cayman volleyball.
The national team limped back home from Aaland earlier this month with a seventh place finish and a load of complaints.
However one positive that shone through was the abundance of talent available in the sport.
One of the island’s best players and most established names in the sport is Olney Thompson.
He played and helped lead the squad alongside captain and fellow veteran star Shervin Rankine.
In Thompson’s eyes many guys impressed.
‘Keeble Knight, Daniel Pattico and Richard Campbell came on and did a very good job. They played aggressive, were dominant blocking balls at the net and they played the game like they had done it for many years.’
Thompson, a veteran of many Island Games himself, sees a bright future for Richard Campbell.
‘Richard was impressive considering it was his first Games. He has a lot of potential. He’s young and up-and-coming player who is willing to learn.’
With so much fresh talent on-hand all indications are Cayman can more than brush off their performance in Aaland.
Things started off on the wrong foot in the group stages. Against the likes of Aaland, Gotland, the Faroe Islands and Guernsey, Cayman fell out to a 1-3 mark.
Cayman won only five sets during those stages and as a result allowed the second most points (302).
Nevertheless Thompson felt he accomplished a lot alongside Shervin Rankine.
‘We intimidated a lot of teams because most of them are familiar with us. We made a lot of smart plays and had good athleticism and we were a dominant force to me.’
Arguably the back-breaker in the competition came against the Faroe Islands. Cayman lost a close match 3-2 towards the end of group play. A win would have given Cayman the chance to play for fifth place.
From there the squad beat Gibraltar convincingly in three straight sets in the seventh place game.
Thompson explained how the games ultimately turned out for Cayman.
‘We were placed in a very hard pool. We are normally in the top five for the competition but this year we ended up seventh.
‘It was a fairly new team and the majority were first-time players. Overall the guys did a good job. It was some very close, tight games there. The Faroe Islands was a tough loss for us but things just didn’t go in our favour.’