No volley of titles here just yet

Beach volleyball is set to take
firm hold in sporting circles in the Cayman Islands after another successful
staging of the region’s biggest tournament.

The North, Central America and
Caribbean Volleyball Confederation chose Grand Cayman for the second year
running to host the first of its 14-venue series and once again no one left

Olympic qualifying points were on
offer, some prize money and also plenty of kudos for overall presentation and

Public Beach scored highly on that
front even if Cayman’s teams were overwhelmed by the strength of the

Cayman’s top men’s side of Shervin
Rankin and Olney ‘OT’ Thompson started off well, beating Aruba on Friday but
were outclassed against the United States and lacked lustre in losing to
Jamaica on Saturday to go out of the tournament on double elimination basis.

Cayman’s newcomers Andrew Gordon
and Duncan Hamann could not fathom the gap in experience on Friday, defeated by
Jamaica and El Salvador so they didn’t even make it to the second day.

Cayman’s strongest women’s side of
Wanda Brenton and Jennifer Bily showed some great team work and fought whole
heartedly but lost all four games to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and Guatemala.

The second-stringers, Cristin
Alexander and Tarasa Barnett beat St Kitts and Nevis on Friday, lost to the
United States and lost to Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago again on Saturday.

All faced world class opposition
and despite support from the partisan crowd, they could not reach yesterday’s
finals but nevertheless did their best.

Lack of experience was Cayman’s
downfall with the second teams. And although the top teams have been together a
long time, all four have busy day jobs or businesses to run and volleyball has
to take second place in their lives, unlike many other countries where the
athletes are full-time and handsomely paid.

The finals were played yesterday afternoon.


Brenton returns a serve.
Photo: Ron Shillingford