2006 – 2007
Officers: Captain Jim Fouracre; Vice-Captain Tom Banyard; Secretary Andrew Rubins
After some promising pre-season nets and an intensive Easter fitness regime, the college team started in emphatic style in their opening game of the season against local club side Oxenford. Buoyed by the news that the sports ground had a new licence, record crowds came down to watch Queen’s post 306 in their 40 overs. After the early loss of new captain Jim Fouracre to a textbook weak lofted off drive, veterans of the college circuit Jim Riddiford and Duncan Knox proceeded to make hay out of the opposition bowling. Unfortunately, exactly how much hay they made will never be known as the Oxenford scorer suffered from severe counting difficulties under the April sun but estimates of 90 and 130 respectively would be conservative. They were ably backed up by Australian Tom Campbell and new street cricket find Saj Muthalaly. Raw pace merchant Andrew Rubins opened up the bowling and was clearly enjoying the Mediterranean conditions as he took a couple of early wickets with Tom Banyard providing support from the other end. This early pressure led to desperate running from the opposition who had not taken into account John Gladwyn’s stinging arm from square leg, his laser throw producing two run outs. Duncan Knox finished the job with four wickets, thus giving himself ample topics of conversation in the bar.
After such a resounding victory, Queen’s went to Exeter for their first league match full of confidence. After losing an important toss, Queen’s top order faltered, though New Zealander Tim Fountaine (84*) and Muthalaly (40) resurrected the innings which finished on 196 for 6 off 40 overs. In a tight finish Exeter won, having lost six wickets and with only a few balls to spare. Perhaps the biggest loss of the day, however, was that of Tom Campbell, who limped off midway through the Exeter innings having made a valiant attempt to catch the ball at first slip off University opening bowler Jonty Strachan. First-year Strachan, making his debut for Queen’s, was pick of the bowlers, and was unfortunate to come away with just one wicket. He too was to miss much of the season, this time with blues commitments.
For various reasons, most of them involving examinations, Queen’s next travelled to Lincoln in the first round of Cuppers with a much weakened team, a problem that would blight the middle of the season. However, despite losing another toss and being put in again, Queen’s started very strongly with the two Jims putting on 100 for the first wicket, Riddiford hitting a fine 50 and Fouracre 31. From 100-0 wickets tumbled quickly leading to a disappointing total of 158. Unfortunately, the result never really looked in doubt, despite excellent bowling from Jack Hazzard (3 for 27) while debutant Dipender Gill added an economical eight over spell yielding only 14 runs. It was a disappointment to exit so early in the tournament since, with a full squad, Queen’s could have done very well.
Losses in the league to Hertford (Fountaine 33, Banyard 27, Chris Harper 2 – 47) and Worcester (Ben Hemingway 29 and 4-23, Muthalaly 27*) were matched in friendlies against the Lemmings (Knox 33 and 3-14, Rubins 1-23 and Gill 1-6) and Jacobites (Muthalaly 30 and 2-23, Fouracre 29). Although the results did not go Queen’s way, there were some positive features. Full teams were fielded in every game, something not every college can manage in such a busy term, and the eagerness of so many inexperienced cricketers to play was heartening. Both Tom Banyard’s keeping and fresher Martin Bourne’s bowling improved constantly, while Dipender Gill became more economical by the game, and Duncan Knox rolled back the years opening up the bowling with his delicate offspin. It was also on education to play against a current international wicketkeeper in Lemming Clare Taylor. Needless to say, the College was unable to get her out.
The next league fixture against Pembroke brought the team’s first league win, Alex Bromsgrove scored 50 in only his second match, and Fouracre made 55 as part of a total of 172 off a reduced 30 overs. Knox quickly ripped into the Pembroke top order taking 3-36 before Bromsgrove emerged to take 5-34, including four wickets in four balls.
Queen’s crumbled the following Saturday against the Crocodiles, despite restricting them to 148 in a very enjoyable game featuring commentary from the boathouses and a special fly past from the Red Arrows. However, Queen’s was successful in its next three games. Touring side Buxton Strugglers were first up in a rain-affected 25 over game. On his return to the side post-Finals, Matt Hodges top-scored with 49 not out with Muthalaly making 23 and taking two wickets, as did Banyard. In the next game third place New College travelled to Queen’s who responded with possibly their best fielding display of the season. Muthalaly and Mark Windsor took three wickets each as New were skittled out for 87 in an innings that included a sublime diving catch from Fountaine. Such a score would have seemed a daunting target a few weeks earlier, but with the side now nearly reaching full strength it was confidently knocked off in just 14 overs, Knox top-scoring with 33 not out.
After the disappointments earlier in the season, escape from relegation now looked a distinct possibility and it was secured with a comfortable win away at Wadham under the captaincy of Hazzard, Fouracre being reduced to exam revision. Runs were scored all down the order with Hemingway, Bromsgrove and Hoose all making over 40 and Fountaine (33) and Nick Woods (22) ably supporting, with Queen’s finishing on 235-7. The presence of blues captain Woods and the return of opening bowler Strachan bolstered the bowling line up as they each took three wickets, with Muthalaly, Rubins and Hazzard sharing the others, to produce a victory for Queen’s by 129 runs.
The final game of the season saw Queen’s travelling to Balliol, who needed to win to secure the league title. Queen’s pushed them all the way with Riddiford, Hodges, Hemingway and Muthalaly all making starts, and Hazzard and debutant Richard Bosworth bowling particularly tightly. But it was not to be as Balliol won with only three balls to spare. It was an excellent finish to a highly enjoyable season and showed what Queen’s could do when fielding a full strength team. The wins against Pembroke, New and Wadham ensured that Queen’s finished just in the top half of a very tight first division table.
The team for next year will be much weakened by the loss of several very influential members, Duncan Knox, Jim Riddiford, Rob Hoose, Jack Hazzard, Nick Woods and Tim Fountaine to whom QCCC is much indebted. However, enough strength remains for incoming captain Tom Banyard to lead a successful team next year.