Following two years of Covid-affected events or in the case of 2020, a non-event this year’s Cup Match Classic is expected to take place in full-bloom, absent burdensome restrictions.

With fans able to more fully ‘let their hair down’ in support of their favourite team, play on the pitch is likewise expected to blossom, as greater normalcy and revelry returns.

Hosts and reigning champions Somerset enter the match as firm favourites to retain the ‘Holy Grail’ of local cricket, showing few, if any, chinks in armour that has seen them dominate the mid-summer spectacle, in recent times, with two landslide victories, including last year’s 10-wicket triumph, an innings victory in 2018 and a draw in 2019, while holding the upper hand.

As much as St. George’s have made changes, no narrower has the gap appeared.

Yet the East Enders have again sought to ‘shuffle the deck’, having made six changes, including the insertion of a normally professional footballer, Jonte Smith, as a colt, in their attempt at a change of fortunes.

In truth, Smith, the son of coach Clay Smith, was once a promising Bermuda youth international in the ‘Gentlemen’s Game’, has improved throughout the season and top scored in the final trial, when most other batsmen failed miserably.

Like Smith, Jordan Burgess, is set to make his debut appearance, and it is hoped his left-arm seam bowling can provide effective variation within the St. George’s bowling attack.

Being retread are the likes of Treadwell Gibbons, Macai Simmons, OJ Pitcher and this year’s most successful strike bowler, Zeko Burgess, who has been on a wicket-taking tear.

Somerset though retain the edge in terms of batting depth and experience, while their bowling attack appears at least their opponent’s equal.

Perhaps the most influential aspects of the game may be the pitch and the toss, with Somerset Cricket Club having been a place where batsmen have feasted throughout the league season, but with a reasonably fresh, green wicket of some uncertainty set to be put on display it may come down to who makes the right call, whether heads or tails.

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