The Cayman Islands will challenge some of the region’s best on the darts board.
The national team, put together by the Cayman Islands Darts Association, is competing in the 20th Caribbean Cup Tournament in Tampa, Florida on July 11-20. The Mainsail Suites Hotel and Conference Center will host the tournament, which is organized by the Caribbean Darts Organization in conjunction with the Florida Dart Association. Cayman, competing for the Americas Cup and the Caribbean championship, will be represented by 18 people, led by manager Paul Anglin, coach Cassius Anglin and captain Rodan Asuncion.
Cassius Anglin says a number of veteran players will lead the charge.
“The national team is currently preparing and consists of eight men, five women, three youth players and two officials,” Cassius Anglin said. “Hank “The Hammer” Ebanks will be leading the men and Miriam Rodriguez leads the women. The team has been training hard for the past few months and is looking sharp and ready. Hank is now in top form and playing good darts, this is the best I have seen him in years and he thinks that he has a good shot at winning the most coveted singles trophy.”
Aside from Ebanks and Rodriguez, the squad consists of Earl Smith, Romwell ‘Mel’ Tagalog, Cliff Weeks, Norrin Stewart, Neville Parker, Edward Ballantyne, Nathina Ebanks, Rosyl de Guzman, Irma Smith, Kimberly Stewart and juniors Arek Archibold, Adrian Anglin and Kaylone Warren.
The biannual tournament will see Cayman challenge teams from the Bahamas, Belize, Bermuda, Barbados, Brazil, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos and Florida. Players face a rigorous competition schedule that sees of 7-8 hours of play each day.
Cayman, which had three rookies including Nathina Ebanks, will be eager to improve on its seventh place finish at the 2012 Caribbean Cup in Belize. Florida emerged the overall winners. Prior to that result, Cayman had steadily been ranked among the top four nations in the region. In 2010, the team placed fourth in Abaco, Bahamas and also finished fourth in Trinidad in the 2008 event; the same year Caymanian Edsell Haylock became the Caribbean singles champion.
Asuncion, one of Cayman’s top Filipino players over the years, says this time around expectations are measured.
“We had tryouts and we saw the players there that would be on the team,” Asuncion said. “We’re now finalizing our doubles and mixed doubles teams. Individually, we can win but as a team, I’m not sure if we can keep up because we seldom practice. A lot of people are busy working and some players can’t go with us and that’s a setback. As a team, if we had practice a lot we could make it.”