Matt Lee is not a standout in local darts but could make a splash soon.
The Cayman Islands darts scene is bracing for one of its biggest events in the Mickey Mouse tournament. Taking place at Mango Tree this Sunday, 20 November, from 1pm it serves as one of the last sporting events for Pirates Week, Cayman’s national festival.
Lee, 41, states he is not sure of his form heading into the weekend.
“Time permitting I would like to try and support the tournament and also try and get more people involved in the game,” Lee said. “Darts is enjoyable as it is a team game. When you are playing singles you are obviously trying to beat your opponent, but in theory you are trying to beat the board. That is why I keep playing to try and improve and be more competitive.”
The Englishman, who has been on Island the last four years, is noteworthy as a successful player at the Grand Caymanian resort, a recent venue for darts. Lee placed second in the doubles segment (alongside Cayman Islands Darts Association president Paul Anglin) at the site’s first tournament back in August. The Spotts resident feels that locale is a boon for the sport.
“I thought the tournament was well-organised and that the venue is well set-up and is a good venue for a large tournament. The winnings is an incentive and may be a positive way of getting more people. My dad (John Lee) was with me at the tournament as he visited the Island for six weeks after my wife gave birth to our second child in July. The evening was a good chance to catch up and let off some steam.”
Much of the focus for the Mickey Mouse tournament will be on defending champion Mel Tagalog. In 2010 he won both the Vivian Rankine memorial tournament and Mickey Mouse event within about five weeks. This year he is on pace to secure another double as he is coming off a title defence in the Vivian Rankine memorial earlier this month.
Tagalog is part of a growing number of Filipino players. Many newcomers, like Eugene Deguzman, are playing well while established names like Randy Cruz continue to set the bar high. All have been playing the sport for years and Lee, who is an assistant at the Glass Blower studio on the George Town waterfront, states he is no different.
“I am originally from Dartford in Kent, England though I was born in Frome in Somerset, England like the F1 racing driver Jenson Button. I enjoy most sports. I was brought up mainly on football and played pretty much from the age of 10 until 30 most Sundays and then only a few games in the last few years due to injury.
“I got into darts through my dad and started playing with him in a pub league in England about 15 years ago and played for about three years. I renewed my interest in darts here and have been playing for approximately three years. I was fortunate enough the season before last to throw a 170 check out in a doubles league game.”