Zahn Richardson helps to prepare the grounds at Wellington Oval. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Zahn Richardson helps to prepare the grounds at Wellington Oval. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

The first ball of Cup Match is just hours away — and pre-match predictions are being bandied around in offices, pubs and sitting rooms all around the island.

One thing is for sure, the wicket has not been prepared with a draw in mind. Wellington Oval groundsman Calvin Richardson has set up a strip that should encourage pace and seam — something that will obviously suit the home side as they look to wrestle the Cup from Somerset’s grasp.

St George’s, in keeping with their own pitch, have named three paceman — Justin Pitcher, Lateef Trott, Zeko Burgess, and seamers OJ Pitcher and Treadwell Gibbons.

Clearly, they are banking on pace and movement, and St George’s veteran batsman Lionel Cann says it will be a struggle for batsman.

He told the Bermuda Sun: “It’s looking like the wicket will do a bit. It will be a struggle to get runs, definitely a result wicket.

“It’s going to be a wicket where you never settle, every single ball you could be you out. It’s good for a result – that’s what the fans want to see.”

The 40-year-old knows what it takes to win — and is more than happy to lend his experience to the four colts that have been named in the St George’s team (Zeko Burgess, Lateef Trott, Christian Burgess, Onias Bascome).

He said: “We are going to have bat well in the first innings – Cup Match can be lost in the first innings. Also, we can’t give them any second, third chances. We have to take our chances.”

He added: “There’s more responsibility on me being one of the older and more experienced players. It’s always down to us to carry the mantle. The dynamic doesn’t change – all the players know what they have to do.

“They (colts) are going to be international players. They have a long way to go and they have to start somewhere but they know they have the talent.

“I know them all personally and they are always asking for advice. They’ll need to stay relaxed in the their pre-game routine, I’ll help calm them to get their games in order and make sure they express themselves, don’t change who they are just because it’s Cup Match.”

Somerset, despite their win last year, have 32 years of history to overcome, with 1981 the last time they won in St George’s.

The holders’ star man Janeiro Tucker, it’s fair to say, is not a man who pores over the record books. His advice is just to keep things simple — and let the cricket do the talking.

He told the Sun: “I didn’t even know about it (32 years) — someone told me the other day!

“We’ll want to win to break that duck. But I don’t read the history books, I just play and people tell me afterwards, you’ve done this and done that. I keep it simple, I just play and play to win.

“It’s all about ourselves. We stand on our own. If we can play as a unit and complement each other then we should beat St George’s.”

He added: “I love to bat, at my age I’m not bothered about fielding or bowling. Hopefully we’re not in the field too long. I play cricket to bat, that’s what I love.”