Over the last four years, the Cayman Islands enjoyed being ranked among the top four darts nations in the region.
This year marks a big departure from that legacy. Cayman recently finished seventh in the 2012 Caribbean Cup, held at the Biltmore Plaza Hotel in Belize City, Belize.
Team manager Cassius Anglin states the result was far from expected.
“Due to a lack of preparation and not having any luck on our side, the results do not reflect the level of our play,” Anglin said. “We lost five team games and drew one. In individual play, Eddie Ballantyne made it to the semi-finals and lost to the eventual champion, Robin Albury of the Bahamas.
“Eddie should have won as he was first on the doubles. He may have choked a bit but he made the wrong choice of shots. We all had our usual problems of starting games good and not finishing well.”
Cayman finished with 35 team points, well off the pace set by overall winners Florida, who had 102 points. Bahamas were the runners-up with 81 points, Barbados came third with 65 points and Brazil were fourth with 62 points. Trinidad and Tobago were fifth with 61 points and Belize were sixth with 48 points.
It would be a clean sweep for the Americans, as they also claimed the sixth annual World Darts Federation Americas Cup. They would beat out Canada, the Bahamas and Trinidad, largely behind the play of women’s singles champion Marilyn Popp.
For the record, Cayman has competed for a number of years and placed fourth overall in Abaco, Bahamas in 2010; that matched the best ever finish from the 2008 event in Trinidad. That same year, Caymanian Edsell Haylock became the Caribbean singles champion.
This year marked the 19th edition of the Caribbean Championships, which ran alongside the Americas Cup. Some 11 countries were in action with some of the other competitors including Costa Rica, Puerto Rico and Turks and Caicos.
While Ballantyne had the best individual performance, Anglin stated the rest of the Cayman team gave their all.
“Michelle Terry and Miriam Rodriguez lost a close game, that they could have won, to a veteran pair from Trinidad. Cliff Weeks and Neville Parker did well in the doubles, losing in the quarter-finals to the runners-up. Hank Ebanks, Eddie and Michelle made it to the quarterfinals of the mixed trio and lost to Brazil.
“Nathina Ebanks, the rookie, was masterful for her first time and played like a veteran who seemed to have no pressure on her. Norrin Stewart also played well for his first time and showed good poise, winning his first two games and was very unlucky in his third against a player from Florida in losing 2-1. The usual spectacular play of Carol Johnson and team captain Paul Anglin was also noted.
“High expectations for Mel Tagalog and Jasper Esguerra were dampened by difficulty in their travel route. Because of visa issues, they had to spend a night in the airport of El Salvador. It was such an ordeal that they could hardly focus on their games.”