Kristin White *Photo supplied
Kristin White *Photo supplied

The wonders of Cup Match, with its roots in the emancipation of slaves, was presented to the National press Club in Washington, DC, last week.

Kristin White, business development director of the St George’s Foundation and Cheryl Packwood, overseas representative of the Government of Bermuda, spoke to the assembled group, which included the ambassadors from both Barbados and The Bahamas.

Ms packwood told the audience: “This time of year is a wonderful time of year in Bermuda. It is summer; the water sparkles; all sorts, shapes and sizes of boats are on the water; the children are out of school and racing the streets on their bicycles; every weekend is a holiday, whether you find yourself on the beach, in a boat, on a golf course or just cooling out in your back yard watching the grass grow. 

“But best of all, the air is charged with the anticipation of Cup Match just around the corner that makes this time of year so very special. Are we really the only place in the whole world which shuts the country down to hold a cricket match for two days at the end of July every single year since the beginning of the 20th Century and even before? 

She added: “Cup Match is rooted in history and travels back almost two centuries to slavery. The traditions we see today are bathed in the triumphs and the tribulations of our ancestors. I love my history, but I am so proud of my very own family members’ part in Cup Match. I am proud that oral history recorded that my great-grandfather, who played in the Friendly Society games, suggested that a Cup be played between St George’s and Somerset and I am proud that my grandfather played during the golden years of Cup Match, during the 1920s and 30s and his name still resides in the record books.”

Ms White then spoke about St george’s connections to Cup Match, slavery and emancipation.

She told the Bermuda Sun: “I feel the speech was very well received. Many members of the audience spoke to me after, saying they enjoyed the talk, and I was invited to speak to their groups. 

“When I was asked to speak, I hesitated. I’m not a historian. And there are many incredible Bermudians who have dedicated their lives and careers to researching and telling these stories. In the end, I agreed because I saw it as a great opportunity and challenge. And really, as an honour, to be part of promoting St. George’s and Bermuda’s Heritage.

Ms White regaled the audience with stories of famous St George’s inhabitants such as Joseph Rainey and Pilot Darrell. She talked about Fleeper, the slave mistress of Briger Goodrich, who had promised her freedom on a crumpled piece of paper. But, most importantly, Ms. White described a holiday created by the sheer will of a people who have celebrated emancipation every year from August 1, 1834 until present.

Ms. White added: “This was a great opportunity for the St. George’s Foundation to educate and inform U.S. and international leaders in Washington, DC. on the significance of our heritage, and to share some stories about our beautiful UNESCO World Heritage site, the Town of St George, and Bermuda as a whole.”