2014 – 2015
Officers: Captain Matthew Lewis; Secretary Thomas Bradley
After an unbeaten two years in the league, an exodus of talented players left Queen’s with a difficult task to maintain its position in the second division. Two hard-fought seasons saw the team slide down the leagues and this was followed by an unlucky early Cuppers loss against a strong St Hilda’s side.
Whilst positive results were in short supply, quality of play and flair were not. The team gained many talented and committed freshers and hence managed to maintain the free-flowing style of previous years. Adam Nash, Joe Mash and next year’s captain Sam Hancock all added dependable muscle to the forwards, whilst Jesse Matthews, Andrew Jones and Eric Andreoli added pace to the skilful backline. There were also a few players who were returning to the sport after several years, most notably the pacey Morgan Jones, who, with solid and experienced support from Wycliffe Hall members, provided hope for future success.
Intense and well-attended training before the start of term preceded a very close game against a strong St Peter’s XV which ended in defeat. The next game in the second division against Christ Church was a solid display, including some brilliant link-up play between forwards and backs, which the side was unlucky to lose 22-12. However, the Michaelmas season ended with two outstanding performances. First was Queen’s resounding 27-19 victory against Lincoln, a hard-fought win that was spearheaded by the talented Mark Giza and memorably cemented by Taylor Knight’s deft interception and gallop home from forty yards. Secondly was a spirited second-half performance against the eventual league winners Worcester. Although the overall result was 59-31, Q.C.R.F.C. won the second half 31-27 with some aggressive and attacking rugby.
In the second league season the team played three matches, the fixture against Lincoln going down as a walkover to Queen’s. Losses against Balliol and Trinity were mainly due to a shortage of players caused by other commitments. However, the game against L.M.H./St Hugh’s was one of the best of the year. Although the match was officially lost 24-23, the L.M.H./St Hugh’s side, dubiously including several Keble players, was pushed hard by a fierce and fast–flowing Queen’s team. With some of Queen’s best rugby on show, the side was unlucky to lose after an uncharacteristic miss of a conversion from the regular kick-taker, Matthew Lewis. Thus, Q.C.R.F.C. ended the league year with some disappointing results that did not tell the whole story. A team that had started the year vastly depleted, worried that it might struggle to get a team out for any matches, ended it with a battle-hardened spirit that will stand it in good stead in the future.
Although the year was a difficult one for Queen’s rugby, the future is bright. Whilst some outstanding and committed players, Richard Duncan, Hugh Handy, and Rigo Young, are going down, the large intake of freshers this year provides an exciting prospect for future years. Under the guidance of next year’s committee of Mark Giza, Joe Mash, Jesse Matthews and the captaincy of Sam Hancock, next year’s team may well be able to live up to the standard set by those of previous years.