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T&T: Williams, Whitfield target more silverware in Cayman Islands

beach_3By Nigel Simon From Guardian t&t

Fresh off their historic silver medal winning performance at the fourth leg of the 2016 NORCECA Beach Volleyball Circuit, T&T’s Daneil Williams and Fabien Whitfield will now target more silverware at the fifth-leg stop, the double-gender Cayman Islands Beach Volleyball Tournament, now in its eighth year.

The three day event serves off at the scenic Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman from tomorrow and will run until Sunday.

On Sunday last, the Toco-born T&T duo created history with a silver medal performance at the fourth stop of tour, at the Guanacaste Tournament in Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica after they went under to Canada’s Michael Plantinga and Cameron Wheelan 23-25, 14-21 in the title-match.

It was the first time the T&T duo had reach a final on the tour, and the silver added to their previous three bronze medals won on the tour, first in 2012 at Mission Beach, Toco and two more last year.

Whitfield and Williams also joined Jamaicans, Mark Lewis and Danny Wilson as the only English-speaking duo to make a NORCECA Beach Volleyball final.

This after Lewis and Wilson did so play at home in 2009 against Mexico’s legendary duo, Juan Virgen and Aldo Miramontes (13-21, 18-21) in June, and again that same year in Nicaragua against the same pair of Mexicans (18-21, 21-15, 10-15) in October.

In Sunday’s semifinals in Costa Rica, Whitfield and Williams defeated Guatemalans Andy Leonardo and Luis Garcia 21-16, 21-15 in 34 minutes while Plantiga/Wheelan overcame USA’s Spencer Mc Lachli and Miles Evans 21-19, 13-21, 15-12

And starting tomorrow, the T&T pairing, bronze winners in 2012 on home soil, and twice last season will be keen to get out of the group stage, something they failed to do last year, and to add to their top four finishes so far this campaign.

The top T&T pair also placed fourth in Guatemala City’s opening leg in March, while they were also ninth (Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico) and sixth in La Paz, Baja, California Sur.

However, the competition on the pearly white sand of Seven Mile Beach located on the western shore of Grand Cayman is expected to be of high quality as all three podium in Costa Rica are registered to compete inclusive of Wheelan/Plantinga.

Leonardo, who took the bronze medal in Costa Rica playing together with Luis Garcia, will be teaming-up with Erick Garrido. The duo Leonardo/Garrido has two bronze medals on their NORCECA resume.

Added to the mix will be the strong USA team of brothers Trevor and Taylor Crabb, winners of the season opener in Guatemala and bronze medalists in Guaymas and La Paz, the three events in which they have participated this year.

On the women’s segment, Diego Martin-born T&T duet, Ayana Dyette and Malika Davidson will be making their first appearance in Cayman Islands together.

This after T&T was represented by La Teisha Joseph and Apphia Glasgow who also failed to get out of their group phase last year, while in 2014 Dyette partnered Nancy Joseph, who twice finished fourth on the tour, ended low down the field.

So far this season, Dyette and Davidson, have endured a tough 2016 with an eighth finish in Guatemala and after missing the second stop in Mexico enjoyed a tenth placed finish in La Paz, and 13th on the weekend .

The favourites will be Canada’s Julie Gordon and Brandie Wilkerson, winners of the silver medals in the first two events of 2016 followed by the gold medals in La Paz.

Betsi Flint and Kelley Larson of USA, third on the podium last week, will also be in the mix along with 

Apart from the USA and Canada teams, the other countries involved are using the matches as part of their preparations for the Third Round of Norceca Continental Beach Volleyball Olympic qualifiers carded for El Salvador (women) and St Lucia (men) next month.

IMAGE: T&T men beach volleyball duo Daneil Williams, right, and Fabian Whitfield show off their historic silver medals won at the fourth stop of the Norceca Beach Volleyball Circuit at the Guanacaste Tournament in Tamarindo Beach, Costa Rica on Sunday after losing to Canada’s Michael Plantinga and Cameron Wheelan 23-25, 14-21 in the title-match.

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