2013 – 2014
Officers: Captain Hamish Tester; Secretary Jonathan Lindfield
This season Queen’s College Rugby Football Club continued to play the brand of free-flowing rugby which, for the second year in a row, brought unbeaten success in the league. However, the combination of a complete lack of rugby throughout January due to flooding and a tough draw saw Q.C.R.F.C. crash out of Cuppers in the early stages.
Reeling from the loss of several iconic players, Q.C.R.F.C. mounted a successful recruitment drive amongst the freshers, gaining a talented fly-half in Mark Giza and some solid and dependable forward bulk in the shape of George Myers and next year’s captain Matthew Lewis. There was also a welcome return to college sport for Andrew Murphy, returning for a second stint in the M.C.R., not to mention the experienced and dependable support from Wycliffe Hall members. Despite having been undefeated in the league during the 2012-13 season, the weather disruptions of January 2013 saw Queen’s begin this year in the fourth division. Having trained tirelessly in the vacation, the side began its quest for fourth division league glory by annihilating Balliol 48-0. This solid display was then backed up by a 70-19 victory over Brasenose and a 50-0 thrashing of St Edmund Hall 2nd XV. Having already won promotion to the third division, the side then faced a tough University College team, including some Merton/Mansfield and Pembroke players, and still triumphed 30-7. Clearly overawed by such a result, the final match of the league was conceded by Trinity, and Queen’s finished top of the division.
The second league season saw only one match being played by Q.C.R.F.C. against Pembroke, following walk-overs against Trinity and L.M.H. With a weak starting XV, Queen’s went 7-21 down at half-time. However, the side had the composure and calm under pressure to consolidate and regroup. Buoyed by the half-time arrival of several key players, Queen’s took to the field and played the best half of rugby of the year, completely reversing the momentum of the game through an aggressive and attacking style of rugby which enabled the side to put on 43 unanswered points. However, having finished Michaelmas Term on such a high note, the January floods brought an end to the second league season without another match being played. Thus Q.C.R.F.C. finished the regular league season unbeaten for the second year in a row, and unbeaten in a league match since January 2012.
Following the league success, Q.C.R.F.C. had an outing to Stowe School, arranged by Andrew Murphy, to play against their schoolmasters. This was the Club’s first game of rugby for two months, and its first venture out of Oxford since Doxbridge 2012. In front of some two hundred baying schoolchildren, the side began poorly, and by half-time was 24-0 down, having been crushed by the physicality and strength of the opposition which was a step up from the college rugby to which Q.C.R.F.C. had grown accustomed. The side rallied to score twelve points in the second half. However, a lack of reserves and poor match fitness saw several chances squandered, and Q.C.R.F.C. losing, by 12-24.
Having suffered the first loss of the year, the side entered a Cuppers campaign with several injured players, most notably rugby league blue Thomas Sneddon, and without their captain, Hamish Tester. Under the pitch leadership of Jonathan Lindfield, Q.C.R.F.C. defeated Magdalen in the first round of Cuppers, before going out to a strong Hertford side which reversed its embarrassing seventy-point losses to Queen’s in the previous season. Having been knocked out of the main competition in the last sixteen, Queen’s was then knocked out of the Plate by a strong Corpus/Somerville side in the first round, despite toiling in a hard-fought match.
Although many members of the Club are going down, all of whom have put in at least three years of duty, Thomas Pollard, Toby Webster, Jonathan Lindfield, David Crummey, Thomas Sneddon and Jack Straker, there is no doubt that Q.C.R.F.C. is back on an even keel, and that it will continue to go from strength to strength under the watchful guidance of next year’s committee of Thomas Bradley, Hugh Handy, Mark Giza, and the captaincy of Matthew Lewis.