The Speaker of the House and MP for Constituency 35 Dennis Lister and a group called the “ friends of Sandys” felt that the history of Bermuda’s emancipation from Slavery and the true origins of the legendary Cup Match holiday has been lost on some people, particularly younger people.
To try and resolve this, the friends of Somerset decided to host a public walk throughout Somerset and other parts of the west and highlight areas which relate to emancipation and Cup Match.
The first stop on the tour was Springfield, which played an important historical role for Bermudians, Mr. Lister said. The next stop on the walk was Naval field, where the first-ever Cup Match tournament was played, way back in 1902.
“ To celebrate Emancipation Day ( August 1, 1834), the black community took that date as an annual celebration with picnics, gatherings and other fun activities,” Mr. Lister said.
“ Out of those celebrations came cricket game between the east and west. The game became so successful and popular that Cup Match was created. It has been celebrated every year since 1902 except for 2020.”
Other important sites that were touched on during the walk were the Friendly Society Lodges, St. James church and West End Primary school. The tour ended where the site of the 2022 cricket match will be held and is held every other year:
Somerset Cricket Club. While at the club,
legendary Somerset player and former Speaker of the House Randolph paid guests a visit and spoke with them.
According to Mr. Lister, the highlight of the day was at Naval Field, when participants were greeted by Welma Bean, whose grandfather played in the very early Cup Match tournaments.
Participants even got to see the original bat that he used to hit the ball. The bat, according to Mr. Lister, is still in good form.
“ Emancipation was given to us, but we took the holiday, never forget that,” Mr. Lister said. “ We took and fought for that holiday, it is our history.”
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