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Blanchette relishing Cup Match’s return to Somerset

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Excitement building: Vashun Blanchette, the president of Somerset Cricket Club, at the Hamilton Rotary Club (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
Final preparations: scaffolding being put in place before the annual Cup Match at Somerset Cricket Club (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)
The final pieces of scaffolding put in place before the annual Cup Match at Somerset Cricket Club (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Vashun Blanchette is relishing the return of Cup Match to Somerset Cricket Club after a four-year absence from the West End.

The defending champions, who won the cup from St George’s in 2012 and have kept it since, last hosted the Annual Classic in 2018, when they prevailed against their old nemesis by an innings and 34 runs.

Having been denied the chance to host in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, excitement is building once again within the club, with a capacity crowd expected to help commemorate the 120th anniversary of the event.

“It’s always special to be able to host Cup Match,” said Blanchette, the Somerset Cricket Club president speaking at Hamilton Rotary Club’s luncheon yesterday. “We are very much looking forward to it because it’s four years since it has been in Somerset and also the 120th anniversary. It’s really good that it has all come together in that regard this year.

“It appears that people want to come out and celebrate again. People are looking to get out, do the things that we enjoy as Bermudians, and obviously Cup Match is one of those things.

“I was at the Eastern Counties game at the weekend. It was the first round and it was a bumper crowd. I think we can anticipate a very large crowd in Somerset, and we are looking forward to that.”

With Cup Match just eight days away, preparations are moving along and Blanchette adamant the club is on schedule to be ready in time, with upgrades also being made to the clubhouse.

“Preparations are moving along really well,” he added. “The bulk of the scaffolding has already been erected with a few more bits to be done. We are also doing work to the clubhouse.

“In terms of the scaffolding and stands, it will be pretty much identical to as it was in 2018. We have pretty much maxed out in terms of what we can do from a structural perspective. We always want to make Cup Match as inclusive as possible and allow as many people as possible.

“Cup Match is such a huge undertaking and has so many moving pieces, so it is credit to the collective of the club for putting this event on. It is Bermuda’s most historical and cultural event; it is our Super Bowl.

“I’m very pleased with where we are and everything is on schedule to be ready as we celebrate the 120th anniversary of this magnificent event.”

With a large crowd expected, Blanchette took the opportunity to warn spectators that their usual customs of setting up camp inside the ground early could be affected by increased security.

“We will have security in place from 8pm on Wednesday evening,” he said. “We appreciate the public like to come and set up their camps and feel the atmosphere but we will be locking down the venue at 8pm on Wednesday. Gates open at 6am on both days.

“There will be security at each end of the entrance gates but also various strategic places around the ground because, above all, we want everyone to have an enjoyable Cup Match while being safe.”

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Published July 20, 2022 at 7:58 am (Updated July 21, 2022 at 8:04 am)

Blanchette relishing Cup Match’s return to Somerset

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