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Not the result we wanted – but what a special two days for Bermuda

Ball of Cup Match: credit to Derrick Brangman for stopping me in full flight on course to what looked like a sure hundred (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Cup Match 2023 is in the books, and while we didn’t get the result we wanted at St George’s there were some positives to take away. Now is about trying to put as many positives together as possible to get the right result. Having not played in the Annual Classic for nine years, you do kind of forget little things about the game, but I was very quickly reminded. Overall, the two days showed why it is the best holiday we have in Bermuda — the fans demonstrated that and so did the players.

Despite winning the toss and getting a few early wickets, opening the bowling with me is something we didn’t get right. I have no problem holding my hand up on that one. Sometimes those things happen; it’s unfortunate that it happened the way it did, but that’s probably something for us to evaluate and think about going forward — whether that was the right decision for me to open or not. The captain asked me to do it, so I gave it a go.

That and the missed chance to get rid of Dion Stovell before he had really troubled the scorers are things to reflect on personally and as a team. If I had that run-out chance again, I probably would’ve tried to hit the stumps. We spoke about it a lot as a team and how the match might have played out differently.

At first, I was going to go to the keeper’s end, but once I looked up and realised that both Dion and Terryn Fray were kind of in the middle of the wicket, I decided to go to the closest end. I was already in a throwing motion, so the bowler thought I was going to throw it hard. I tried to take something off it, but he had already moved and the chance — a massive one in the context of the match — was gone.

Dion is regarded as one of the best players Bermuda has produced and again showed his class in going on to reach 139 despite having his innings interrupted by injury. Once he walked back on the field, I didn’t think that injury would have hindered him too much. He picked up a few wickets as well, and is a player anyone would want in their team — including Bermuda!

Getting him back in the national squad is something that has been spoken about, but there is nothing concrete yet. Hopefully, in the coming weeks, we’ll definitely make a decision on that.

There were some moans and groans about the drawn match, and people wanting to introduce an overs format to ensure a winner, but if you look at the weather just before and after Cup Match, we could count ourselves blessed that we got so much play in with minimal interruption.

That was the positive, but the downside was that the conditions were brutal for the players. These are already the longest days in world cricket, effectively a three-day match played over two days with only one night of rest. Cup Match has been around for more than 120 years. So we know what it is and that the format is never going to change. It could be a case of looking at the players getting fitter but for the most part we are amateurs and those conditions were quite tough.

The humidity was extremely high, the temperatures were very high. That may have contributed to Somerset slowing down as they tried to enforce the 2-to-1. I know we definitely tired having fielded for all but one over of the first day.

I carried a little hand injury into the match that I was just trying to manage so that it didn’t get any worse throughout the first day. For the most part, it was all right and seems to be healing nicely now.

It had no effect on my batting at all; I was more concerned about the Somerset bowling, as they were on top when I came in at 33 for three. It was just about getting myself feeling ready, and then once I got in, just trying to go big. Me and Chinky [Macai Simmons] were going well and then Charles Trott and I got a little partnership going on.

It was unfortunate I got out on 78, so close to a Cup Match hundred, but it was a pretty good ball; credit where credit is due to Derrick Brangman. In the end it wasn’t enough for us to avoid the follow-on, but bowling a decent team out twice in a day in those conditions was never really on.

Once you get yourselves in those conditions, sometimes there’s only so much you can do as a fielding team. Looking at players’ fitness is probably something for the future, though, but to do it at that intensity, in those conditions for a whole day was always going to be a tough ask.

• Delray Rawlins was talking to Dexter Smith

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Published August 10, 2023 at 7:58 am (Updated August 10, 2023 at 8:08 am)

Not the result we wanted – but what a special two days for Bermuda

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