The annual Premier’s Cup Match Reception was held on Monday, July 31, with the players and club presidents in attendance.

A Government spokesperson said, “The Cup Match competitive spirit is alive and well this week. Yesterday, Somerset and St. George’s fans descended on the Camden grounds for the annual Premier’s Cup Match Reception which was hosted by Premier David Burt.

“Also in attendance, was Governor Rena Lalgie, US Consul General Karen Grissette as well as St. George’s Cricket Club President Neil Paynter and Somerset Cricket Club President Richard Scott. The recently selected 2023 Cup Match teams were last evening’s guests of honour.”

Premier David Burt’s remarks:

Good Evening Governor, Her Excellency Rena Lalgie, US Consul General Karen Grisette, members of the Cabinet, members of the legislature; Speaker of the House & Madam President of the Senate, President Richard Scott of Somerset Cricket Club; President Neil Paynter of St. George’s Cricket Club; Captain Jordan DeSilva of SCC; Captain Onias Bascome of St. George’s Cricket Club; club officials, cup match legends, family and friends, welcome and thank you for joining me this evening…

It’s great to have you all here at Camden as we kick off what everyone knows is my favourite time of year, Cup Match in Bermuda!

Over the next few days, we will come together as a community to celebrate a unique part of our culture and commemorate our history. This holiday we celebrate the abolition of slavery on our island and pay tribute to the resilient spirit and historical contributions of Mary Prince, whose story helped galvanise the abolition movement in the British territories.

And as St. George’s and Somerset take to the field, they will continue a proud tradition that was started by black lodges from the east and west so many years ago and has become an irreplaceable event for all Bermudians.

The Government is proud to do its part in preserving and supporting the Annual Cup Match Classic, as we have done since we returned to office in 2017.

Last week, I visited this year’s host, St. George’s Cricket, at the Wellington Oval and presented them with a cheque for $50,000 set aside in the Government’s budget to help offset costs that come with putting on Bermuda’s premier sporting event.

And the Government will work alongside St. George’s Cricket Club in safety checks of the grounds to ensure that players and visitors have a safe and enjoyable time at the field.

Now, having put all of the official duties and niceties aside, I am sure that everyone can see I am proudly wearing my red and blue for Somerset. And I will be at Wellington Oval cheering on my team as loudly as any other Bermudian.

St George’s, I will say to you again, as I said last year, since I have been Premier, Somerset has held the cup, and I know that Captain Jordan DeSilva and his team fully intend to keep that run going! So the question is, can you break that streak?

But all jokes aside, I wish all players, coaches and staff the best of luck. I know both teams are focused on preparing for the big match. Still, I hope tonight allows you a brief moment to relax and unwind before you go out onto that field at Wellington Oval and put on another incredible Cup Match for all of us to enjoy.

Special congratulations to this year’s colts, Brian Hall and Azendae Furbert for St. George’s and Macquille Walker for Somerset, who all represent the exciting future of Bermudian cricket.

And a welcome home and welcome back to Cup Match to Delray Rawlins, who returns to the field for the first time since 2014 after proudly representing Bermuda in the UK for many years.

While I don’t like the colours you’re wearing, it is always a pleasure to see our athletes return home and take part in our sporting traditions. As I close, I thank the Cabinet Office team for putting together this fantastic event; thank you to the officials and players from Somerset Cricket Club and St. George’s Cricket Club who have taken the time to join us tonight, and thank you all for being here to celebrate with us.

I hope that you all have a safe and enjoyable holiday. Happy Emancipation Day, Happy Mary Prince Day and Happy Cup Match to all!

Minister Owen Darrell’s remarks:

Good evening, Premier, Ministerial Colleagues, invited guests.

I’d like to extend a very special welcome to past and present Cup Match players and to our two Club Presidents – Mr. Neil Paynter of St. George’s and Mr. Richard Scott of Somerset.

Happy Cup Match to you all!

As the Minister responsible for both Culture and Sport, I’m pleased to be here to recognize this important time of year.

Cup Match is the greatest sporting event in Bermuda.

As cricket fans, each year, St. George’s and Somerset provide us with two memorable days of exciting action and competition which serves as an amazing display for our residents and visitors.

The atmosphere, the sights, the sounds, the food, the Crown & Anchor…. Cup Match is by far a unique experience and it’s unlike anything else in our culture.

But while this day symbolizes the great rivalry between east and west – Somerset and St. George’s – it also holds historical significance.

This is a time for use to reflect of our Emancipation legacy.

As we know, the origins of Cup Match date back to 1902, making it one of the oldest annual cricket events in the Western Hemisphere.

The match was initially established to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in Bermuda in 1834. As a result, Cup Match and Emancipation Day are connected with the island’s history and heritage.

This event chronicles the struggles and triumphs of our past and these historical links should never be taken for granted or diminished.

This year, we are also reminded that the second day of Cup Match – Mary Prince Day – is a day of commemoration.

On this day, we recognize the life and legacy of Mary Prince, reflecting on the struggles she faced and the impact she made in the fight for freedom.

So, as we begin this week of revelry and celebration, let’s take some time to also remember the legacy of our culture and traditions.

Ultimately, this Thursday and Friday we will be focused on the two teams – Somerset and St. George’s. As an avid and die-hard St. George’s fan, there’s no doubt where my heart lies.

Clearly its Blue & Blue all the way.

But as the Minister responsible for Sport, I am well aware that I must maintain my neutrality. So, to both the Club Presidents, Captains and Players – I extend my best wishes to each of you. Continue to strive for excellence and continue to set the bar high in the spirit of sportsmanship. I for one cannot wait to see what you have in store for us this year.

May the best team win!

Thank you all and I wish everyone a safe and happy Cup Match.

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