Tagalog defends taking the Mick

Mel Tagalog has not been on the local darts scene for long but already he has proven to be a force. He is not only the star darts player among residents from the Philippines but with his title defence he’s arguably the best in Cayman right now.

Tagalog won the Mickey Mouse darts tournament for the second consecutive year last Sunday. The Corner Pocket bar saw the Filipino star claim the title outright as he nabbed the singles title and the doubles championship alongside Scotsman Eddie Ballantyne. The Mickey Mouse title is his second in the last month as he claimed the Vivian Rankine crown in late October.

Placing second in the singles category was West Bay legend Edsell Haylock. The former Caribbean champion showed he had good darts left in him as he teamed up with Miriam Rodriguez to place third in the doubles competition.

Other notable winners on the night were Randy Cruz, who was third in the singles event. In addition he won one of a number gift certificates raffled on the day. Cruz defeated Jasper Esguerra, who did OK for himself by teaming up with Hank “The Hammer” Ebanks to place second in the doubles segment.

Cayman Islands Darts Association President Paul Anglin organized this year’s competition and states he was pleased with the level of competition he witnessed.

“As far as the competitiveness goes, I was expecting it,” Anglin said. “Though we didn’t have much spectators the competition was still fierce. Everyone had a great time. I thank the Pirates Week office for allowing us to be part of the Pirates Week celebrations once again. I thank our major sponsor Budweiser, who have supported us every year.

“I thank all of the many sponsors who got involved and donated spot prizes because without them it would not be possible. Of course I give thanks to my committee members (namely Michelle Cullen, Miriam Rodriguez and Eddie Ballantyne) who helped make this (my first major tournament) a success. I’d also like to acknowledge Martin Bodden who gave me advice in running the tournament.”

Arguably the highlight of the tournament was Tagalog’s singles championship match with Haylock. Dubbed “Pacquiao versus Mayweather” the encounter saw its fair share of blows (on the darts board of course). It was a tight, back-and-forth affair that came down to a single mistake where Haylock missed an opportunity to hit a triple-12. Anglin stated it was a match for the ages.

“It was very competitive and the finals was something to remember. It could have gone either way as Edsell really gave it to Mel.”

This year’s tournament was played in honour of Trevor Lloyd. The Scottish native passed away last month due to a heart attack he suffered in Barbados. Lloyd, 60, was a darts association member and just served as organizer/competitor in the Vivian Rankine memorial darts tournament last month. One of the last darts initiative Lloyd was involved in was the formation of a youth league. Anglin states the start of that league is one of many endeavours planned for the future.

“Hopefully the youth league will go off as planned in next January. The schools are ready and I’m in the process of getting the coaches together. I’m looking forward to the upcoming national darts league in January 2011. We’re still campaigning for more teams and players to improve the standard of competition. One of the plans we have for that competition is to have a monthly tournament at the end of every month where we can award player of the month trophies. By the end of the year we would have a player of the year and possibly a Cayman champion.

“At the end of the day there are a lot of plans for the sport. I know there’s a lot of hidden talent on the island that has not come out to events. My plea is for all those who are curious about playing or unsure of themselves to come out. See for yourself what we’re all about and let’s play darts.”

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