Cup Match 2019 came to an abrupt end on Friday when Dion Stovell was hit in the head with the ball bowled by Justin Pitcher.
No official word yet on the Somerset batsman’s condition after he fell to the ground, prompting a host of players to rush onto the pitch before medics attended to the injured player, ending the two-day classic in a draw.
During the presentation that followed later, a number of speakers expressed concern and asked that prayers be sent up for the young cricketers recovery.
St George’s Captain Lionel Cann said: “Dion Stovell played a master class innings today (Friday).”
His comments were echoed by Somerset’s Captain Jason DeSilva, who added: “Dion he proved once again how much he loves the big stage and what an innings he played today.”
Both captains were called to the mic to address the crowd gathered for the presentation by Neil Paynter, President of St George’s Cricket Club, who congratulated both teams.
Governor John Rankin, who presented the cup back to Somerset Cricket Club said: “I’ve been privileged to watch cricket around the world but can genuinely say there’s nothing that can match the atmosphere in Bermuda.
“St George’s – well done for steadying the ship this year, you’ve done well.”
And to Somerset for “retaining the cup”, he said: “Well done!”
As Mr Cann greeted the crowd, he said: “Who says draws can’t be exciting. I wanted a team of warriors and I got that team. What you see here is a team of warriors.”
But he said: “We got the wicket that we wanted on the first day and when we came back the second day the wicket was cut – conspiracy – I don’t know.”
He then suggested that if it was a conspiracy it was done by St George’s.
To Justin Pitcher, he said: “The heart that you play with every single player in Bermuda should take that and cricket will be on the rise.”
He also commended his opponent, Jason DeSilva, and said: “You showed leadership.
“On a personal note I just want to say thank you to Bermuda for supporting me through all the Cup Matches that I’ve ever played,” he added.
At one point, he appeared to choke up with emotion when he addressed his club’s President.
“Mr President thank you for all the support that you’ve given me over 25 years.
“Cup Match is growing – it’s on the rise – the heat the endurance, I know this might be the last time I grace this stage. Please keep Dion in your prayers and I wish him a speedy recovery.”
Mr DeSilva congratulated Mr Paynter and the club for all the work that goes into this event.
He also commended Justin Pitcher for bowling “20-plus overs in that humidity and that heat”.
“To my team, I made a promise of my own – I promised that my team would do the talking on the field and they delivered.
“And Dion – he proved once again, how much he loves the big stage and what an innings he played today.
He was also asked to announce that his Dalin Richardson (SCC Reserve) as the winner of this year’s Safe Hands Award.
“It’s been a wonderful 2019 down here in St George’s, we’ll be seeing you next year in Somerset in 2020.”
Mr Paynter concluded his remarks by acknowledging the “many families involved in Cup Match”.
“Mr Richardson, you have our condolences on behalf of SGCC – this is an up and coming young man and we want to acknowledge that,” he said.
Mr Richardson’s family suffered the loss of a close loved one on Thursday evening.
In closing, Mr Paynter said: “We need you to continue to support and continue to realise that this game is not about Somerset or St George’s it’s about Bermuda.
Governor Rankin presented the cup at 8:37pm and after that it was all over, once again, for another year.
At the end of the day, Somerset bowled out St George’s for 154 runs, leaving them with a 132-run lead before St George’s declared late in the day, at 296 for seven.
SCC’s Captain Jason DeSilva topped his highest score in the annual classic to secure 77 runs before he was caught by Allan Douglas Jr.
Dion Stovell knocked up 78 runs on both days of Cup Match after he retired injured on Thursday and returned on Friday to score his first half century.
This year’s match will also go down as the Cup Match of dropped catches by both teams.
Four St George’s players scored half-centuries on the first day of Cup Match this year.
With St George’s out so quickly on the second day, at one point, the possibility of Somerset winning looked just that – possible, if every batsman attacked to score runs.
Dion Stovell was the first man up and when he attacked, the ball bounced and struck him in his head.
Somerset won the toss and sent St George’s in to bat. They declared at 297/6. Somerset replied with 119 for 4.
- Feature File Photo: Dion Stovell receiving MVP Award from then Minister of Sports Michael Weeks