Cup Match countdown begins
A month into the cricket season and Cup Match talk is already in the air.
Cup Match Time in Bermuda is seven weeks away, and the time is now for St. George’s to start their plan to wrestle the trophy away from the champions, Somerset.
An emphasis on trial matches will be necessary this year as reliance on player statistics will certainly be skewed, because player averages in batting and bowling stats will be inflated due to the one-league structure.
St. George’s over the last couple of seasons have had trial matches with St. David’s and Bailey’s Bay, before their final trial, providing three games that allowed a good look at the possible prospects.
Playing against St. David’s has always been a good option because half of the Cup Match team historically have come from them. Bailey’s Bay usually provides good opposition with County Cup around the corner, and with a few possible prospects looking to impress, it sets the stage for a very good game as well.
This year more than in recent years, the final trial will be highly contested as some regular players could find their positions in jeopardy. That’s in order to increase their chances of winning the cup outright.
As challengers, nobody’s place or position is safe. The coach and captain will be looking for a good balance, with aggressive players mixed with responsible players. St. George’s have plenty of players to choose from with the potential to make at least three changes to last year’s team.
One certain change will be the return of Oronde Bascombe as captain. George O’Brien could also return as he has been bowling well and should be considered an automatic pick based on his record of destroying Somerset’s batting.
There could also be a place for one of the young bowlers with St. George’s young speedster Zeko Burgess a strong candidate. If they opt for an extra spinner to give the bowling some much needed variety, young left arm spinner Delray Rawlins would be a great acquisition.
Somerset, as the reigning champions, will not want to make too many, if any, changes from their winning team that ruthlessly destroyed St. George’s last year. However, there are definitely a few who could pose a threat to breaking into the team.
Captain Jekon Edness, who currently leads the batting charts, will be confident of retaining the cup, but could we see him and the selectors try and get another Somerset league player in the team? One player that comes to mind is Shaquille Jones who has been knocking on the door and could find that with a couple of big knocks at the right time he could pry his way into favour, as there is very little risk as champions to take an extra bat.
Outside of Shaquille, two big names also come to mind Dion Stovell and Deonte’ Darrell. These two players were absent from last year’s victory. As champions will Somerset opt to take one of them this year to add batting depth or will they look at the team harmony from last year and keep the same winning team?
Normally the final trial is the one that carries most of the weight. However, because of this year’s league structure all of the trial matches will be crucial for any player looking to break into either team. Selectors will be keen to analyse the trial matches on averages and wicket-taking if there are any tight decisions to be made.
Somerset should be praised for their approach to winning the trophy back with their hard fought, aggressive cricket. Under new captain Edness they have been more attack minded and truly relentless.
Cup Match was exciting last year and one thing is for certain with St. George’s now being the challengers, we will be in for yet another exciting game as they will take it to Somerset from ball one, in much the same way as Somerset did.
The next couple of weeks will be interesting and at least give the spectators something to look forward to. With July quickly approaching, before we know it Cup Match will be here and the country will be buzzing with anticipation of yet another thrilling game.
Good luck to all the players and if I could give one piece of advice, it would be to pick yourself. Let your performances be that good that the selectors can’t leave you out of the team.