Cup Match preparations begin for St George’s
St George's will play the first of three Cup Match trials when they meet St David's for the Turkey Barnes Trophy at Lord's tomorrow.
A second match will take place next Saturday when the Cup Match challengers meet Bailey's Bay in the Cal Wade Memorial Match at Sea Breeze Oval, a game that will also serve as a trial match for Bay who will open the defence of their Eastern Counties title on July 21 against Cleveland County.
Both Cup Match clubs will have their final trial matches on July 28.
The St George's team for tomorrow will be missing several players who played in Cup Match last year, but assistant coach Wendell Smith said selection was based on response to the training.
“That's exactly what it is, we have a few players who we are yet to see, Allan Douglas, George O'Brien, Cejay Outerbridge and Rodney Trott,” Smith said.
Smith recently shared with The Royal Gazette the club's plan to step up preparation for Cup Match, including documenting players' stats and two-weekly training sessions starting next week.
“I told everybody we're going to put the statistics up and that we'll be keeping attendance,” he said.
“Right now we haven't seen the St David's players. If any of them are going to decide they're not going to play then I hope they do the right thing and inform the club.”
Douglas, O'Brien and Outerbridge are all likely to play in tomorrow's match for St David's.
“Both of those matches are matches we've been playing for a number of years and Bailey's Bay seem keen to play, rightfully so as they are the defending Eastern Counties champions, ” Smith added.
“With them having a county match coming up soon they want to have a chance to take a look at some of their players and get in as much match practice as possible prior to counties.”
Smith has already seen an improved commitment from players aiming to battle for a place in the team.
“What's really encouraging is last night it rained for about 15 to 20 minutes and we trained right through the rain doing physical work and nobody complained,” he revealed.
“It showed me a sense of commitment and determination and that was pleasing.
“It's promising what we see right now and it is only going to get better when Cup Match fever hits and you get the talk. At least we're having some really good sessions. We have a lot of work to do and the players know that.”
St George's match against St David's tomorrow starts at 10am.