Somerset retain Cup
Thousands of people braved the heat to soak up the Cup Match atmosphere at St George’s Cricket Club this weekend.
Spectators filled the stands at Wellington Oval to watch the game, take on the “stock market” at the Crown and Anchor tables and socialise with friends and family.
The game ended in a draw after Somerset batsman Dion Stovell was struck on the head by the first ball of their second innings and taken to hospital. He was later discharged.
The result means Somerset, who won the annual match in 2018, retain the trophy for another year.
Dorothy Cann, from Sandys, said that the annual match was the highlight of her summer calendar.
She added: “There’s a great feeling of togetherness. It’s a celebration of our history, of who we are and how far we have come, and sometimes how far we still need to go.
“We have been through darkness, but we can see the light ahead.”
Ms Cann said the heat was always a problem, but that she came prepared.
She added: “It always feels like this is the hottest time of the year. But I’ve got my water, I’ve got my fan and I’ve got a little shade.”
Robert White, from Hamilton Parish, was impressed by the level of competition this year as St George’s mounted an effort to retake the Cup on their home turf.
He said: “I’m glad to see it be a more competitive game than some of the past years. St George’s came out swinging, and I don’t think everyone expected that.”
Mr White said that although thousands of people showed up for the game, the crowd seemed smaller than previous years.
He added: “It seems a little quieter up here than usual. Maybe it’s the heat, but it’s a little disappointing. I had thought more people might come since it’s a closer game.”
But he said: “It is good to see all the tourists out and about, though. If they can sort out a cruise ship in St George’s the next time the game is up here, can you imagine? This place would be packed to the rafters.”
Douglas and Shirley Waters, from Stone Mountain, Georgia, travelled back to Bermuda specifically for Cup Match after they missed it last year.
Mr Waters said: “My wife and I missed out on last year’s Cup Match by about three weeks and everyone was telling us about it, so this year we decided to fix that mistake.
“It’s fun. I can’t say I understand the game at all. A couple of people have tried to explain it to us, but I’m still having a great time.
“I got my head around Crown and Anchor. Not that it helped me win anything.” Mrs Waters added: “We love Bermuda. Everyone has been really sweet to us. We have been to a few places around the Caribbean but this place is special.
“Its like a little bit of southern hospitality in the middle of the Atlantic.
Everything is so bright and colourful. The water, the houses. It’s awesome.”
Lori Williams, from Smith’s, said the Cup Match atmosphere — and the opportunity to meet friends — drew her to the game every year.
Ms Williams said: “It’s the biggest party of the year. Honestly, I don’t really watch much of the cricket at all. It’s more about seeing my friends, unwinding and soaking up the positive vibes.
“I always forget how expensive it can be, but thankfully I’m not much of a gambler, so it goes a little farther for me.”
Alex Wolfe, from St George’s, praised the Cup Match spirit of togetherness and friendly rivalry.
Mr Wolfe said: “I love Cup Match. It’s the music, the food, the atmosphere.
“Everyone puts all their personal stuff aside and come together for two days. Suddenly the biggest argument is red and blue or blue and blue. And that’s pretty good.”
Occasional showers on Thursday did little to dampen spirits in St George’s, where crowds began to gather early to enjoy the game.
Paul Daniels, a St George’s supporter, was optimistic despite his team’s poor record in recent years.
Mr Daniels said: “Somerset has won for what, five or six years in a row now? But ask half of those Somerset fans, they grew up without ever seeing their team have a victory.
“They went 20 years without winning, so they can chat all they want nowadays.”
Mr Daniels, whose family has been blue and blue “for generation after generation after generation”, said he and friend Robert Coddington had been to every Cup Match for about four decades.
He added: “We got here at seven o’clock and we’ll be here bright and early tomorrow.”
Charlie Marshall, a St George’s batting legend, said: “I love coming to Cup Match. It’s very exciting and one of my favourite holidays of the year. As you get older, Cup Match becomes better than Christmas.”
He added: “This is Bermuda, this is the gift — all the support from Bermudians of all different cultures coming out.”
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