Powerhouse match-up announced for opening of cricket season – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Powerhouse match-up announced for opening of cricket season

The shortened cricket season will make a belated start on Sunday with Southampton Rangers, the Twenty20 Premier Division champions, beginning the defence of their title away to St David’s at Lord’s.

Only T20 and county matches will be played this season with Rangers and St David’s, two teams who were supposed to meet last September to decide the title, battling in the season-opener.

Last season’s key clash, which would have decided the title, was called off because of the approaching Hurricane Paulette. The two teams were level on points going into the final round of matches, with Rangers declared the winners on net run-rate.

The opening First Division match at Lord’s on Sunday will see Flatts, last season’s joint champions with Warwick after their final matches were also affected by the weather, playing Somerset Bridge.

Dion Stovell is expected to lead Southampton Rangers against big rivals St David’s at Lord’s

Three venues will host double-headers each Sunday, with Southampton Oval and Wellington Oval the other venues this weekend. Willow Cuts and Bailey’s Bay will play at Southampton Oval, after the match between Warwick and Devonshire Rec, while at Wellington Oval, St George’s take on Somerset. PHC and Cleveland play in the opening match.

The schedule, released yesterday by the Bermuda Cricket Board, will see ten rounds of Premier Division games and 12 matches in the First Division, with promotion and relegation being introduced this season.

Missing from the schedule are Central Counties fixtures, although representative Dennis Williams assured those matches will be played once the clubs provide scheduling feedback.

“We have some dates in mind and we have put it out to the Central Counties teams and we’ll just decide what we’re going to do,” Williams said.

“There are no free Saturdays, so we’re going to have to double up when the Eastern Counties or Western Counties are playing, which may not be a bad thing if you’re looking at a limited number of people coming [to games] anyway. It will give people another option.

“Our dates are usually May and June and once you get into July and August, it is either Western Counties or Eastern Counties.”

The Western Counties will play its matches in July and August, with new champions Warwick Workmen’s Club hosting Somerset Bridge in the first round on July 3.

Warwick were declared the champions in August 2019 when Southampton Rangers forfeited after having a request for a postponement denied by the Western Counties. Rangers had five players representing Bermuda in the ICC T20 World Cup qualifiers at the time.

Rangers will play in the final round on August 21, with PHC providing the opposition in the second round on July 10, and Willow Cuts playing on August 7. All matches will take place at White Hill Field.

Six venues will be used for cricket this season, with large-group exemptions for cricket attendees set up by the Government requiring the number of attendees at any venue not to exceed 50 per cent of the normal capacity. The use of SafeKey is required for all players, officials and spectators at any gathering of 101 persons or more.

Contact-tracing details must be collected from all attendees, including their full names, date and time of visit, phone and e-mail in case there is a positive case in attendance. Signage must be visible at the grounds, encouraging physical distancing and indoor mask wearing.

The Ministry of Health and Ministry of National Security will police proceedings to ensure all public health protocols are observed.

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Published June 24, 2021 at 7:59 am (Updated June 24, 2021 at 7:47 am)

Powerhouse match-up announced for opening of cricket season

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