Cayman darts players are under early pressure to raise their games.
The ongoing Cayman versus Team Philippines monthly competition has been one-sided to this point, with Filipino players winning on three straight occasions. The next contest is on Saturday, 26 January, at 7pm at the Mango Tree.
Spearheading the challenge is Cayman Islands Darts Association Vice President Frank Martyr, who states locals will step up.
“The Filipinos are still giving us licks, it’s not looking good for us,” Martyr said. “Last year was theirs but this year the Cayman team will come out full strength.”
Matches take place on the last Saturday of every month. The Philippines have beaten Cayman 9-8, 10-7 and 11-6 thus far. After the last round in December, the association statistics show a number of players have excelled.
Leading the Filipino charge is Buena Valle, who is unbeaten with nine points and three tons. Eugene Deguzman has the best low darts finish at 17 while Rodan Asuncion has the most tons with 12.
Cayman has leaned on Earl Smith, who is 3-0 with a league-best 10 points, 26 tons, a high finish of 101 and he even recorded a perfect score of 180. Darts association president Paul Anglin is unbeaten at 3-0 with seven points and four tons.
The competition is being used as a precursor to international tournaments, like the Caribbean Championships. Cayman is eager to improve on a disappointing seventh place finish last year in Belize.
The monthly event will also fill the void caused by fewer local darts tournaments as the Vivian Rankine Memorial ended last year. There are plans for a large memorial competition to supplement the annual Mickey Mouse challenge during Pirates Week.
Martyr feels local players will turn things around in the coming months.
“The Filipinos beat us three straight times, they won in December and the highlight is guys like Eugene being among the top scorers.
“Things tend to stop until the next tournament. What the results, so far, mean is that the Filipinos are practicing and the Cayman players are not. Mind you, the Filipinos got jobs and no families here so when they are off work, they got loads of time to play.
“It’s not easy for the Cayman players because they got families to deal with and Parent Teacher Association meetings to attend. But we know where they are and we can go from there. I know it will change closer to the international tournament.”