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Somerset embrace history

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Scene of joy: Somerset players celebrate on the pitch with fans after beating St George’s (Photograph by Akil Simmnons)

Ecstatic Somerset Cricket Club fans celebrated an historic Cup Match victory for their team yesterday.

Jubilant crowds stormed the field after Somerset beat St George’s by an innings and 34 runs — the first time West Enders have recorded an innings victory over their rivals since 1948.

“I love it,” Renée Brown, from Somerset, said of the outcome.

Sporting her red Somerset shirt, she added: “They did a fantastic job out there today.”

St George’s supporter Seymour Tate, from Hamilton Parish, conceded that Somerset had been the better team.

He said: “Somerset did well but St George’s need a team. I still support them but I give Somerset credit because they did well.”

Wearing Somerset colours, Walter Roban, the Deputy Premier, was delighted.

“St George’s clearly has a lot of work to do and I look forward to a more competitive game next year,” he said.

“I just wish all my St George’s friends the best over the next year in their goal to challenge us in 2019.”

Progressive Labour Party backbencher Christopher Famous, a keen St George’s supporter, was notably upset.

He said: “I’m disappointed. It’s been a long six years and it looks like it’s going to be another long six years.

“All our cricketers need more international exposure to raise our national level of cricket.”

Mr Famous urged St George’s supporters to stay loyal “even after Cup Match to ensure the necessary adjustments are made”.

Many St George’s fans had conceded defeat early on as the odds stacked up against their team.

David Panchaud, a staunch supporter of the East End team, said on Thursday morning that the best he could hope for was a draw “against the odds”.

Decked out in blue, complete with bright blue beard, the 72-year-old from Pembroke explained that he had been a St George’s supporter since he was a young boy.

He added: “There are too many young players on our team and the experience is not there.”

Fellow St George’s supporter Donald Smith said his team had not played as well as he’d hoped.

He said: “Coming into the game, I felt that St George’s had a good bowling team but they have underperformed.”

His wife, Stephanie Smith, 26, had also accepted that her team would not be bringing the cup home.

Mrs Smith, who explained that she supported St George’s “because my husband is a Baileys Bay fan”, said she was not too distraught by the loss.

She said: “I came to the game for the Crown and Anchor. It’s the only day of the year that I am able to gamble. I’m Canadian, so I’m used to being able to gamble.”

Ms Smith was accompanied by her friend Brittany Spicer, also aged 26, from Sudbury, Ontario, in Canada.

Ms Spicer, who described herself as a St George’s fan by association, explained that it was her first time visiting the island and experiencing Cup Match.

She said: “It’s exciting. There’s a lot going on and the local food is amazing.”

Ms Spicer added that she looked forward to catching some of the cricket.

Proudly wearing Somerset colours, Kacey Smith, 30, attended the game on both days to support his team.

Loudly declaring “Somerset all day”, he explained: “Somerset brought a good team and St George’s is going home early.”

Mr Smith said that in addition to the cricket, he came for the atmosphere and “the alcohol”.

Lifelong Somerset supporter Chris Roy also attended the game on Thursday to experience “all the colourful atmosphere”.

Wearing red and blue from head to toe, Mr Roy, from Southampton, explained: “I normally come for the first day, opening ball, and then watch the second day on TV.”

Visitor Kat Fisher, 31, attended the game with her husband John on Thursday ahead of their planned departure yesterday.

The couple, from Baltimore in the United States, said they wanted to experience Bermudian culture.

Ms Fisher said: “It’s definitely very cool. We are learning about cricket.”

Donald Jarmond, a producer from New York, also got to experience his first Cup Match.

He said: “It’s a good way to come together and raise awareness of Emancipation.

“It’s just a fun atmosphere. I’ve actually learnt the game of cricket since I’ve been here.”

Mr Jarmond, who has been on the island for a week, added: “We got a chance to see the sights but this is by far the best.

“The goal is to set up a group and bring them back next year from the US.”

While the second day of Cup Match got off to a cloudy start, offering shade and a welcome breeze at times, cricket lovers and partygoers were greeted with clear skies as festivities kicked off on Thursday and volunteers from the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre were on hand to remind spectators to be mindful of the heat and sun.

Crown and Anchor proved ever-popular and food and refreshment stands saw business pick up on day two.

Rickeisha Burgess, owner of Duch Pops Bermuda, which offers fresh fruit popsicles, said she had a somewhat slow start on Thursday

She explained: “Our product is something people want after they have eaten and when it really heats up.”

Ms Burgess added that business picked up on day two.

She said: “It’s been good. We had a better start today. It’s been much busier!”

Although she didn’t get a chance to watch the cricket, Ms Burgess said she was “excited” about Somerset’s win.

Lindsay Simmons, of Rosa’s Cantina, agreed that the first day was slower for business.

She added: “Today it’s been picking up but we are all out here having fun no matter what.”

Ms Simmons said the restaurant’s famous fried fish had proved the most popular dish.

While the whole team were staunch St George’s supporters, Ms Simmons said she did not begrudge Somerset a win too much.

She added: “We had the cup for a long time.”

Spectator sport: Bermudians savour the atmosphere at Cup Match (Photograph by Akil Simmnons)
Leading the cheers: spectators show their true colours (Photograph by Akil Simmons)