Bermudians take cricket seriously, and they’re not alone. Even though it’s not as well known in the U.S., cricket is the second-most popular sport in the world, with 120 million people playing all over the globe. Cup Match is a great opportunity to fall in love with cricket (if you haven't already).
It all began back in 1901, when two “Friendly Societies” began competing for a silver cup. The match became so important to Bermudians that it was made a public holiday in the 1940s.
The highly anticipated game is played over two days as teams from Somerset, the West End of the island, and St. George's, the East End, face off. Somerset supporters wear red and blue while St. George’s supporters sport dark blue and light blue. The Cup Match venue in 2018 was the Somerset Cricket Club on Cricket Lane in Sandy's Parish.
The match is important, of course – but Cup Match is about more than just cricket. Emancipation Day (which in 2019 falls on Thursday, August 1) coincides with the first day of Cup Match, giving locals and visitors a chance to recognize one of the most significant moments in Bermuda’s history: the abolition of slavery on the island in 1834.
Emancipation Day is followed by a second public holiday, Somers Day, which commemorates the Admiral Sir George Somers, whose shipwreck in Bermuda in 1609 led to the island’s English settlement.
Cup Match Parties & Events
It’s all about celebration during Cup Match Weekend, with a bit of quirkiness thrown in for good measure. Below are some events from the typical lineup:
- Summer Splash – This party weekend includes a series of exciting concerts featuring top local artists and international performers.
- Soca vs. Reggae – International Soca and Reggae DJs jam all the top hits during this lively nightlife event.
- Non-Mariners’ Water Raft Up – Hundreds gather at Mangrove Bay for the biggest raft-up party of the year. Formerly the setting of a “non-race” with no start and no finish, barely seaworthy vessels, slapped together with every and any type of building material, bearing political and comical commentary, would compete to stay afloat. Over the years the event has grown to mean so much more – a floating fete to finish the Cup Match holiday, whether they non-race or not.
Crown & Anchor
Cricket isn’t the only game played during Cup Match. You can try your luck at Crown & Anchor, a simple dice game that was traditionally played by sailors in the Royal Navy. It’s a fun, easy way to make a little tax-free cash!