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Champion of Champions set to return

Central Counties official Gershon Gibbons

The Champion of Champions competition has been revived, with matches scheduled for the next two Saturdays at Lord’s.

As reported on Monday, plans were in the making to bring the competition back after a decade after representatives from the three counties, Eastern, Western and Central held discussions.

Yesterday Gershon Gibbons, a Central Counties official, confirmed that the semi-final will be played on Saturday between Willow Cuts of the Western Counties and Western Stars, the Central Counties winners, with the winners taking on Cleveland County of the Eastern Counties in the final on September 12.

“The combined counties have got together to bring back the Champion of Champions competition which has been defunct for close to ten years,” Gibbons said. “This year there were conversations between the Western and Eastern to try to make it happen and it will happen with the games at St David’s.”

Cleveland were just confirmed as the Eastern Counties champions after their draw with St David’s in the final on Saturday. The competition began in 1978 when Flatts, the then Eastern Counties champions, were the first winners. It proved to be a popular tournament before interest started to wane and the competition was stopped a decade ago.

“There had been conversations the last couple of years, with everybody thinking the same thing and now we’re making it happen,” said Gibbons, who also has affiliation with Western Stars.

“It puts more emphasis on playing the county games and to have a superior county champion.”

The three counties received support from the Bermuda Cricket Board in their effort to revive the competition.

“We’re well supported by the Bermuda Cricket Board and John Barritt and Sons who are one of the sponsors,” Gibbons said.

The matches will be 50 overs starting at 10am with coloured clothing and white balls. There is an entry fee of $10 while seniors and children under 16 are admitted free.

“Our focus is to grow cricket and it made sense to start with the resurrection of the Champion of Champions,” Gibbons said. “I am pleased with the joint focus between the counties to provide the support to our member clubs as a priority to strengthen their cricket programmes.

“The next step is to look forward to next year and create the full branding of our joint ventures for Bermuda cricket, which includes focusing on junior cricket and promoting stalwarts of county cricket.”

The Western and Eastern Counties allow for guest players in their competition which means Cuts could call on Malachi Jones and George O’Brien, while Cleveland could boost their team by including Southampton Rangers pair Dion Stovell and Hasan Durham.