I had the great privilege of joining Bermuda in celebrating their biggest island event: Cup Match. Held on a two-day public holiday, it’s a traditional cricket match played between two lodges: typically one from the east and one from the west.
In 1902, Cup Match exclusively between St. George’s (east) and Somerset (west) was initiated. The annual game became so popular that residents would routinely miss work to watch it, and in 1947 a two-day public holiday was enacted. Today, everyone in Bermuda watches Cup Match – either live or on TV – and thousands simply go out, camp and celebrate the occasion with rum, fun and traditional fare.
My knowledge of the sport is limited to the movie “The Crying Game,” so I required a crash course in cricket before the match kicked off.
I’m fortunate to have have connected with Jamal here, Sports Marketing Coordinator for the Department of Tourism. He’s basically best friends with everyone in Bermuda, and he introduced me to fans and friends, along with many of the cricket professionals, owners and players.
Everyone at the stadium is decked – St. George’s fans don blue while Somerset rocks red – but both sides are slugging Swizzles, Bermuda’s famous rum fruit punch.
Crown and Anchor is a game of gambling that is legal only during the two days of Cup Match. You can win up to three times the amount you bet depending upon which symbols come up. I’m no gambler – and the tables, located behind the cricket field on the stadium grounds – were packed. But it was fun to watch during the lunch break nonetheless.
After nearly a decade of Cup Match loss, Somerset took the win this year. Though it was a touch difficult for me to follow along (I can barely get beyond cricket’s ‘Wild Thing’ pitches), Somerset is said to have played like champs. In fact, they scored so far ahead that the game ended earlier than most years, with fans crashing the field to celebrate the long-awaited west end victory right in their home town.
(Field image source: Caribbean Sports Network)