Somerset will be hoping that home advantage helps them to break their seven-year Cup Match drought this year.
The last time the west-enders actually won the island’s annual cricket clash was 10 years ago — way back in 2002 — when they overcame their bitter rivals by a convincing six wickets on home soil.
Two years later, at Somerset Cricket Club in 2004, they drew with St George’s. That was the last time a ‘blue and red’ hand touched the silverware.
Since then, St George’s have held a vice-like grip on the trophy. In 2005 they overcame Somerset by 27 runs and forged a remarkable winning streak which has included four draws.
Last year it was the ‘blue and blue’ of St George’s that triumphed once again, in one of the most dramatic encounters of recent history.
A cameo knock of 49 not out by East End hero Lionel Cann at a packed Wellington Oval wrestled the cup back for St George’s, just as the Somerset bowlers looked to have one hand on the trophy.
Islanders will be hoping that this year’s eagerly-anticipated encounter at Somerset Cricket Club on August 2 and 3 will live up to the drama and intense excitement of 2011.
Alfred Maybury, president of Somerset Cricket Club, said his team was more determined than ever to get their hands back on the cup this year.
“As far as we are concerned it has been 10 years since we won Cup Match,” he said.
“We don’t count draws. And 10 years is far too long.
“So that will be a major motivating factor this year for the team.
“Home advantage is going to play a big role for us as we’ll have our supporters cheering our boys on from the stands.
“We believe this year is going to be our year. We want to put our hands on the cup and keep it.”
Mr Maybury admitted that his Somerset team had been faced with a few ‘challenges’ in the run up to this year’s game, but said that the adversity would make his side even more determined to win.
“We have a couple of players who are overseas and at school at the moment and may not be able to play.
“And of course Janeiro Tucker has retired from the game and that is a blow.
“But I believe that these things will make us even more determined and make the guys put in a great performance.”
Meanwhile, the St George’s team remains confident of securing the cup for the eighth year in a row.
Damon Walker, chairman of the club’s cricket programme, said: “We are always confident of getting a result in Cup Match.
“We may lose our captain Oronde Bascome due to injury but we have an experienced group of players who can do the job for us.
“Lionel Cann is a great guy to be able to call on to take on the top job if he is needed, if Oronde does not recover on time.
“Going down to Somerset and getting a result holds no fears for our guys. We have done it before and will do it again.
“We feel comfortable and confident wherever we play — whether it is home or away.”
Both squads of players will go through a series of trial matches before the Cup Match XIs are named later this month.
The 2012 Cup Match will begin on August 2 at Somerset Cricket Club.
To see the team lists see the August 1 edition of the Bermuda Sun.
Cup Match Companion 2012