Pittsburgh’s finest targets Cayman

It bodes well for a sport when major competitions attract international faces.

Darts has done well having two Jamaican legends on island weeks ago.

The sport’s latest international presence was a young American prodigy who came all the way from Pennsylvania.

Anthony Gropelli, 19, was here in Cayman two weeks ago to take part in the annual Mickey Mouse darts tournament.

Gropelli, alongside friend Jeremy Cole and Jeremy’s mom Janie Cole, were at Corner Pocket amongst the crowd of some 65 onlookers and players.

The husky Pittsburgh native threw in both the singles and doubles events. He would hold his own, making it to the doubles semi-finals alongside Jasper Esguerra. As a result he won a limited edition Budweiser glass.

From there he lost in the singles playoff stages to Edsell Haylock.

On the whole Gropelli had nothing but positive sentiments.

‘I came to see what Cayman was about and I heard about the darts tournament from Clive Smith (an avid darts and angling aficionado) and I decided to test my luck.

‘This was my first time in Cayman and it’s such a beautiful, lovely place. I swear you all are the kindest people I’ve ever met. It was the best time in my life and next year I’m coming back.’

On the surface it would seem Gropelli is a typical college student. He attends Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and majors in Accounting. On Sundays he watches the NFL and his favourite team the Pittsburgh Steelers.

However Gropelli, who left Cayman last Monday, came here with a significant darts pedigree.

‘I’m a real avid darts player back in Pittsburgh and I go to different bars to play,’ Gropelli said. ‘In fact I’m ranked as one of the better players in my age group.’

The young man went on to say the tournament impacted his level of play.

‘When I fell to Edsell it was as if things kind of fell apart for me. But I felt I did ok on the whole.

‘What I took away from the tournament is what I need to work on in darts. The truth is I found out I’m not that good and there are many people all over the world who are much better than me.’