Tournaments are in Sharpe focus

Flag football in Cayman will end its 2012 campaign with a number of competitions.

Cayman Islands Flag Football Association President Jermaine Sharpe states the group wants to build on the momentum from the national men’s and women’s leagues.

“In early November, we’ll be doing a women’s eight-on-eight tournament and a single elimination Knock-out Cup for the men,” Sharpe said. “Both will run simultaneously over the long weekend around the 12 November Remembrance Day holiday.

“We will then give teams time to recover/recuperate for January next year.”

On the men’s side, all eyes figure to be on Jacob ‘Frecko’ Ebanks and the dms West Bay Hellcats. Dms sealed their fourth straight championship season, their seventh title in nine years, by defeating Josh Parsons and the Club House Bulldogs in the Digicel Summer League finals at the Ed Bush field last month.

For the women, focus turns to Joni Wood and the Burger King Wolverines. Burger King won their first national championship on their second attempt this month by defeating Jessica Pawlik’s Zulu Warriors in the Dart Women’s League finals.

For the likes of Hellcat stalwart Nikolai Hill, news of more competitions only increases his competitive juices.

“I thank the sponsors, from Digicel to dms, who sponsor the sport,” Hill said. “We’re looking for more teams and sponsors to keep it moving.

“As for our team, the defence started the season slow but got it done. It would be popular on our team to pick Perry Levy and Frecko as our stars for making big plays. But I’d give the nod to Damian ‘Beast’ Barboram, who should be Most Valuable Player for the whole league, not just on defence.

“I’m still kind of disappointed in the Burger King Panthers and the Bulldogs being so vocally outspoken going into the league playoffs before they played us. They’ll have to live that down. They got to eat their words and wait until next year. Good luck until next year and better luck to them.”

Last year, flag football wrapped up with a beach football tournament at Royal Palms in December. Sharpe states the association has not ruled out a similar situation for 2012.

“The plan would be to have the beach tournament in late December or early January. Then it’s on to the co-ed league in late March/early April and the summer league.”

Local players recently had a chance to shine on a regional stage by competing in the annual invitational tournament staged by the Bahamas Flag Football League in Nassau, Bahamas. The men’s side lost in the finals while the women’s squad would repeat as tournament winners by going unbeaten.

While most Cayman players loathed the officiating, Bahamian tournament director Jayson Clarke states the event will build off its success in 2013.

“The sport has grown tremendously. We have had a couple of teams who have expressed interest, from the US, to come down next year,” Clarke said. “So plans are already on the way. What we are going to do, to fast that and make sure more teams come, is to publish the event from as early as February.

“The teams that want to come from further away, they can then plan properly and compete. We hope to have a more exciting tournament next year.”

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