They’ll Locke it up

They may be small in number but the
women on Cayman’s national darts team have big expectations.

After propelling Cayman to a fourth
place finish in 2008 at the Caribbean Championship in Trinidad, sentiments
abound that the ladies can push the side even higher.

In all five female players are on
the team in Michelle Cullen, Miriam Rodriguez, Linda Locke, newcomer Tiffany
Laurie and Irma Smith (who is a reserve for the team, taking Michelle Terry’s
spot due to medical reasons). They join nine men in Adrian Mannouch, Eddie
Ballantyne, Cliff Weeks, Earl Smith, Paul Anglin, Richard Campbell, Mel
Tagalog, Edsell Haylock and Arek Archibold (who is also a junior player).
Haylock is the stand-out among the men as he is the defending Caribbean singles
champion (he won two years ago).

Cayman is one of a number countries
taking part in the 2010 Caribbean Championships 20-31 August in Abaco, Bahamas.
Guiding the side will be team manager Arthur Ebanks, head coach Anthony ‘Tony’
Archibold and assistant coaches Cassius Anglin and Hank Ebanks. Tony Archibold
feels that the women will in large part be led by Locke.

“Linda has come a long way and has
exceeded herself,” Archibold said. “With Michelle being out she, along with
Miriam, is forced to step up. Michelle has been our top women’s player for some
time and with her being out the light is shining squarely on Linda now.

“Hopefully she carries the ladies
and they jump on board. The way I see it Linda will more or less make it
through while the others have to work hard to be a good mix for the doubles and
mixed sections.”

A big reason why expectations are
heavy for Locke is due to her recent form. In national team qualifying matches
she won the most singles matches (11) and won the third-most mixed triples
(four) and mixed doubles (six) games. Locke, who will be part of the twice
weekly team practices leading up to Abaco, states she does not mind the
pressure.

“I used to play in the US and I won
the US national championship years ago,” Locke said. “I have a lot of
experience and I’m fine with the idea of bringing the girls along. There is a
lot of tactical stuff and numbers to bear in mind with this sport and I can
certainly pass on my familiarity with that to the girls.

“I’ve been playing good the last
few weeks and I’ve played the men a couple times and beat a few of them. I’m
enjoying it and the added challenge is fine by me.” 

Aside from contributions in the
singles matches Archibold went on to say that the women are a vital part of
Cayman snatching points in the mixed events.

“The mixed competitions are very
challenging. In every tournament those two games are very good and they’re
worth a fair amount of points. Cayman is familiar enough with the mixed events
that I’m looking forward to a number one or two spot overall and in those mixed
matches. Last time we were fourth overall and between then and now we’ve really
closed the gaps and we’re ready for anyone.”

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