This year’s Vivian Rankine tournament was special in many ways.
One of Cayman’s biggest darts tournaments celebrated its 10th year and saw record attendance.
Lost in all of that was the presence of Jamaican star players Hubert ‘Tengue’ Brown and Mark Birthwright.
Both men are revered around dart circles in the Caribbean for their play decades ago. They are former Caribbean champions, a feat Cayman recently reached with Edsell Haylock’s performance last year in Trinidad.
The duo competed in the competition and, as the results show, both middle-aged men had not lost their touch in darts.
Birthwright claimed the biggest accolades as he walked away with the doubles title, alongside Danny Cruz, in the A division.
Under the watchful eyes of tournament director Martin Bodden and Corner Pocket owner Horace Duquesnay, the Jamaicans were honoured with plaques by Education Minister Rolston Anglin.
Both men returned to Jamaica last week where Brown had a brief sojourn before heading back up to his Fort Lauderdale home while Birthwright picked up his role as Past President of the Jamaica Darts Association.
Before leaving the pair shared their thoughts on the tournament.
‘This was my fourth time in Cayman,’ Brown said. ‘I liked the format of the tournament. It was also for a good cause and it gave me a chance to see some quality darts.’
‘It was a well thought-out tournament,’ Birthwright said. ‘It was entertaining and very forgiving to the players. In most tournaments it’s one (loss) and (you’re) done.
‘But in this one if you’re off it won’t ruin your chances. You can play again and right the ship.’
Among the players who excelled was Michelle Terry. She confirmed her place as one of Cayman’s best by winning the women’s championship over Carol Johnson.
Meanwhile Eddie Ballantyne kept his momentum in darts going with the overall tournament title.
In addition to all of that action the tournament gave the Jamaicans a chance to check out the level of Cayman darts.
‘From being here a couple times I had not heard a lot of people into darts,’ Brown said. ‘But I saw some good players and lots of action this time out.’
‘We’re hoping to come back next year and after that as well.’
‘I’ve been to Cayman eight times,’ Birthwright said. ‘I’ve seen less and less people into darts. The first time I came Cayman was crawling with dart players.
‘Then again not enough people play in Jamaica either, especially the youth. It’s one of those things where if you don’t get the youth involved it will die down.’