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St. George’s must make amends for 2012 humiliation

In retrospect, Cup Match 2012 might be viewed as a watershed in the history of the mid-summer classic.

The thrashing that Somerset meted out on their own ground not only humiliated the St George's players but also their loyal supporters.

Those leaving the West End with dark and light blue tassels pinned to their hats and shirts will have been bewildered by their side's capitulation.

It's one thing being beaten by the better team but, without so much as a fight, is another.

The holders suffered a rare 10-wicket defeat. Few teams have been beaten so comprehensively.

That result may usher in a new era in which victory must be earned at all costs. Stalemates should no longer be a part of the equation.

Too often in the past matches ended in a draw, the holders refusing to gamble in order to retain the trophy, their opponents thwarted by defensive tactics.

Perhaps the same scenario will emerge next Thursday and Friday, but it's doubtful.

What is clear is that nowadays teams find it difficult to stretch the game through two days, even with two innings. Much of that stems from the proliferation of the 50-over game. Other than Cup Match, there are no two-day games on the local calendar.

Such was Somerset's superiority last year, they'll be more than anxious to show that result wasn't a fluke.

They'll likely field a similar team, possibly an identical team to that of last year, all of the players confident they can inflict the same kind of destruction.

On the flip side of the coin, there's St George's, still smarting from such a shellacking, desperate to appease their supporters whose misery can be only alleviated by a convincing victory.

As such, they have to ring the changes.

Selection chairman Charlie Marshall, one of the classic's most exciting players of the past, will want to field a team with players who approach the game as he did — with aggression, passion and an unrelenting will to win.

At his own admission, complacency played a big part in last year's defeat.

As Marshall has warned, no place is guaranteed. Those who don't perform at Saturday’s final trial, could find themselves on the sidelines. Those who catch the eye of the selectors, will be able to stake their claim.

Whatever the case, St George's have to make changes, not only with new players but with their approach to the battle that lies ahead.

Ultimately they might not be able to snatch the cup back, but they'll need to display sweat, blood and tears, in order to convince their supporters they gave it their all. Clearly that wasn't the case last year, although nothing should be taken away from Somerset’s assault.

St George's skipper Oronde Bascombe is under pressure. But that pressure should be exerted on every player in the team.

Much will depend on the pitch. St George's will be aware they to have to produce a 'result wicket'.

The onus is on their bowlers as they need to collect 20 wickets.

The toss may also prove to be pivotal.

If the pitch is likely to deteriorate, St George's may have to post a formidable total and hope their bowlers can do the rest.

Pride is always at stake in Cup Match.

But given last year's result, there may be a little more this time around.

* * * *

Bermuda Football Association officials have been making their presence known at the ongoing Gold Cup which features some of the best teams in North, Central and South America and the Caribbean.

It's an indication of how the BFA are regarded throughout the region.

BFA secretary David Sabir was general coordinator of the opening match and will assume the same position for the final, and Shaquita Parsons, Troy Lewis and Andrew Griffith and all been involved.

Watching the final will be BFA president Larry Mussenden who is the chairman of the CONCACAF Appeals Committee.

BFA have long played a role in the region's affairs but maybe more so now than any time in the past.

And that could be linked to the fact the local association distanced itself from the bribery scandal which soiled CONCACAF's reputation.

While several islands accepted bribes in order to vote for Mohamed bin Hammam (chief of the Asian Football Confederation) in the FIFA elections, Bermuda stayed clear of the nefarious dealings — as they should have. Nobody in Bermuda would have expected anything less.

The point is that FIFA can rely on the BFA to go about their business without outside influence.

That's a feather in the cap for all those connected with football's local governing body.

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Published July 26, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated July 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm)

St. George’s must make amends for 2012 humiliation

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