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DeSilva eyes place in history books

Cementing their place in history: Somerset can make re-write the record books this week (File photograph)

Somerset are aiming to make history again by becoming the first team since turf wickets were introduced 45 years ago to win three straight titles.

The West Enders will start the match as favourites to make it three on the trot for the first time since Calvin “Bummy” Symonds led his dominant St George’s side to eight wins in nine years in the Sixtes, including six straight between 1964 and 1969.

Somerset previously put together a winning streak like that in the Thirties when they won six straight between 1931 and 1936. They also won six successive matches between 1914 and 1919.

Jordan DeSilva, who has replaced Jekon Edness as captain, appreciates the magnitude of the task as excitement grows ahead of the game tomorrow and Friday.

“Last night was probably my first sleepless night, just thinking about certain things, but probably anxiety more than anything else,” said DeSilva, who has been making public appearances along with OJ Pitcher, the St George’s captain.

Yesterday, they judged a Cup Match fashion competition at the Family Centre and the evening before the teams were the guests of Premier Michael Dunkley at Camden.

“We’ve been caught up with the public appearances but I’m ready for the game on Thursday. Today Argus had a fashion show with people dressing up in their colours and they had OJ and me as the judges.

“Last night we were at Camden and had the Family Centre press conference with the Premier in the morning.

“Jekon told me about all of this, but I enjoy it. We’ll have our last training session tonight, talk about some things and get ready.”

The three-peat is something the champions are well aware of and would love to achieve.

“It was brought to our attention early in the season when the talk about the three-peat that happened in the Sixties,” DeSilva said.

“I’m always the type of player who is looking to win games first and then as the game goes along you do different things in different scenarios.

“But we’re not trying to compare ourselves to any other team, we want to build our own thing, our own dynasty so to speak.

“We did something last year that hadn’t been done in 34 years which was to win at St George’s, so why not try to do something that hasn’t been done in 50-plus years.”

The West Enders have picked the same team, a rarity in Cup Match, though experienced pair Janeiro Tucker and Jacobi Robinson have confirmed this will be their final year.

Tucker leads the all-time batting and catching records while Robinson is the leading bowler among the present crop with 32 dismissals.

“We’re confident in the players we chose, which is why we stuck with the same team,” DeSilva said.

“I’m sure St George’s are confident in their players as well, but with us we know what we’re capable of because we’ve played together before.

“We all agreed there wasn’t anybody who really stood out who wasn’t already in the team, although we had guys like Joshua Gilbert, Justin Donawa and Solomon Burrows knocking on the door coming into Cup Match. We don’t think they quite knocked it down.

“Regino Smith was another who impressed us on the day, but we just felt that the 11 from last year was our best team this year. I played with him at under-19 level so I know what he’s capable of.

“We felt that with Janeiro retiring this year, possibly also one or two others, that we may be forced into changes next year so we didn’t need to make unnecessary ones this year.

“Five of the players St George’s picked are recalls so these aren’t guys who are new to this, but the coach and myself are confident in the nucleus of players we have and confident we can do what we did last year.”

Somerset have 37 wins to 32 by St George’s, while there have been 45 draws.

This year marks 75 years since Alma “Champ” Hunt scored Somerset’s first century in Cup Match, 104 in the 1941 match.

Tucker would love to go out with another big score, possibly a first century at Somerset.

In the last two years he has managed just a duck and four runs in his only two innings after Somerset recorded comfortable eight-wicket wins on each occasion.

“He’s taken seven or eight wickets and ten catches in those two years, so it’s more than just his batting,” DeSilva said.

“We know it is going to be an impossible feat to replace him, he’s probably the best player to have played Cup Match, if you look at his stats and what he brings to Cup Match.

“But we have two or three other guys continually knocking on the door.”