Jubilation: Cricket fans feel the moment on the Second day of Cup Match 2013. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead
Jubilation: Cricket fans feel the moment on the Second day of Cup Match 2013. *Photo by Nicola Muirhead

As a hugely-successful author recently declared on my TV screen: “It’s about love, it’s always about love.”

A Somerset fan, beads of sweat cascading down his face, jumped over the fence and back into the crowd. 

An exaggerated gutteral grunt suggested deep fulfilment, as if, after 10 swizzles, his favourite soca tune had finally come on.

“Yes, sssssir,” he shouted. 

“He de greatest. He deserves my money.” 

It didn’t take a genius to realise this guy hadn’t shoved small change into Janeiro Tucker’s pockets.

As a close-up introduction to a wonderful tradition, it was impressive. Equally memorable, though, were the emotions Tucker’s century — which made him the first man to score four 100s in Cup Match — had clearly stirred in this man.

Loyalty, pride, admiration and, I presume, overwhelming generosity. It was all unconditionally there. Admittedly, he was hammered (fan, not Janeiro) but no-one’s pretending Cup Match is also good for your health, right?

After wiping the guy’s spit from my cheek, I moved on towards the Club End, took a plum seat behind the bowler’s arm and immediately had my view blocked by a particularly-vociferous St George’s supporter.


“Jesus wept,” I whispered to the bloke next to me. “Does this dude know the score? His team are getting whipped!”

I looked up… and there was Premier Cannonier, with a blue flag in each hand, getting his groove on. At his heels — or soles, depending what move he was doing — were his advisers, looking as though they’d rather be massaging Janeiro’s sweaty feet.

Premier entertainment

But before anybody accuses me of disrespecting this fine country’s leader, I’m not. Quite the opposite. In fact, the Premier showed in a few hip sways what has made the past days, a celebration of the end of slavery let’s not forget, so special.

And he wasn’t the only one. Beres Hammond, Shabba Ranks and Alison Hinds also had it in spades, as did all those down Front Street and in Cosmopolitan and Cairo, everyone at Wellington Oval, players (apart, maybe, from Treadwell Gibbons), fans, umpires, mussel pie chefs, the b******* who ate all the shark hash before I had a chance to try it, the guy who clearly gave Janeiro his life savings, the (so obviously) bankrupt crowd in the Crown and Anchor tent, everyone at the BeachFest and, of course, the hard-drinking maniacs at Non Mariners. 

They all had it — spirit, equality, tolerance, respect, identity, fun and love. Because it’s always about love, at least that’s what I think they were doing at Soca v Reggae.

Until next year, Cup Match.