Journalist captures Cup Match fever
As calendars flip to July and the fever sets in, fans island-wide start to show their colours.
But Lawrence Trott has been thinking about Cup Match all year.
The sports reporter launched his second book this week. Cup Match in Bermuda contains 250 photographs of the beloved event, taken over the span of his 40-year career.
“The idea for the book came to me four years ago, around the time of the 2013 Cup Match,” he said.
“Since that time I thought about the book almost daily, sometimes in the dead of winter when hardly anybody was thinking about Cup Match. I had a clear vision of what I wanted the book to look like.”
The red, blue and blue hardcover is predominantly a picture book, beginning in 1979 — a landmark year for Somerset, who won the cup that year for the first time in 20 years.
This publication comes 20 years after Mr Trott’s first book, Bermuda Sports.
“It is an idea that would not leave me, and once I started to go through the thousands of slide and digital images, I knew it was something that would be worth doing. A great majority of the images in the book have never been published,” he said.
He was determined to launch the book in July — the year mattered less.
“Reluctantly, I put off publishing the book last year when I got near the deadline, but it enabled me to make an early start for this year,” he said.
“A picture book on Cup Match has never been published before, so I’m confident it will be well received.
“It’s a special event and many Bermudians living abroad return for Cup Match. Now they have something to show their friends and neighbours when talking about Cup Match in Bermuda.”
The pages capture not just the game, but the mood, the characters and the memorabilia.
“That depicts Cup Match as we all know it. It’s not just about the cricket, it’s about the atmosphere, the crowds,” he said.
He shows former St George’s captain Clay Smith in a barber shop, getting a fresh cut ahead of the game in 1988; a glowing portrait of Johnny Barnes’ statue is decorated with team ribbons.
One of his “all-time favourites” is of Lionel Cann jumping over St George’s team-mate Rodney Trott to take a brilliant catch. That image made the cover.
Other favourites include players putting a Somerset cap on umpire Roger Trott in jest; the funeral of former Somerset Cricket Club president Colin Smith; a sequence of Somerset spin bowler-turned-cricket-commentator Dwayne Leverock juggling the ball after a catch; and an umpire explaining the game to a group of children.
The pictures also tell a story of tradition and superstition.
Former Somerset batsman Dean Stephens refuses the cash gift of a young girl because he had not yet reached his requisite 50 runs.
“She went to him instead of Janeiro Tucker at the other end who just reached his 50,” Mr Trott said. “Dean was in his 40s at the time and he thought the girl might jinx him. He reached his 50 a few minutes later.”
The book contains outstanding images of both teams and their supporters. Emotions, he says, stays out of it.
“It’s very well balanced with Somerset and St George’s. There’s no bias.”
He bought his first camera in December 1976 after starting at The Royal Gazette. The job meant he had to make a decision between cricket and a career as he was required to work Sundays. It ended his dreams of playing Cup Match one day.
“I played league cricket for St George’s. I was a left arm slow bowler like my father [Fred Trott]. My brother Anthony made his debut four years after my father finished playing in 1971.
“At that time I was dreaming of following in their footsteps.
“When I started working here the editor, David White said, I hear you like cricket. Unfortunately you’re required to work every Sunday so that might not work out.
“That was the end of my cricket career.”
The 59-year-old said he always likes to be aware of what’s going on around him when shooting Cup Match, always looking for interesting crowd pictures.
“Cricket has always been my passion,” he said. “It’s one of the hardest sports to photograph because it requires a lot of patience and a lot of concentration. Sometimes you’re sitting there for an hour, nothing happening at all.
“Sometimes your best photo is not the one that you see through the viewfinder but what you see all around you.”
Former St George’s captain, Wendell Smith, wrote the foreword for the book. He also wrote a tribute in the first book. Smith is the first batsman to score 1,000 runs in Cup Match.
“Wendell was one of the first people I shared the book idea with,” Mr Trott told Lifestyle.
“He is well respected in local cricket and every year since 2012 has been writing the Cup Match Legends series for The Royal Gazette, highlighting the accomplishments of outstanding players of the past.”
Mr Smith wrote: “This book represents a pictorial, and historical reflection on the multitude of sights that have graced the hallowed grounds of our two Cup Match venues over the decades.
“This brilliant book is sure to evoke not only memories, but also emotions, as the pictures certainly are worth a thousand words.
“A compelling page turner, one will be captivated by the variety of action shots from the 1970s that tell the story of our great event known simply as Cup Match. Additionally, the many scenes that depict the cultural traditions beyond the boundary walls are equally as impressive.”
Cup Match in Bermuda is now on sale at The Bookmart, the Bermuda Book Store, Bermuda Craft Market in Dockyard, Robertson’s Drug Store and People’s Pharmacy
Mr Trott will sign copies of his book on Wednesday and Friday at the Bookmart from 12-2pm