2005 – 2006

Men’s First XI

Captain Jim Riddiford; Vice-Captain; Robert Hoose; Secretary/Treasurer Jack Hazzard

Although this year has seen Queen’s comfortably maintain their place in the first division, the season has been characterised by two things: the weather and the inability of the College to raise an XI. The former meant that no play was possible for a full three-week period during the middle of term, while the latter indicates darker times ahead for the Club unless the problem can be rectified.

The season began in promising fashion with a comfortable win against Corpus Christi, with Jim Riddiford scoring an unbeaten century in Queen’s total of 232 in 40 overs, and fresher Thomas Banyard taking 5-32 in a fine display of swing bowling. Unfortunately he and Andrew Rubins, the other fresher bowler, were unable to play for much of the season due to academic and sporting commitments, which took its toll, especially towards the end of the season.

The next week saw Queen’s ignominiously defeated in Cuppers by a strong Keble team, which won by four wickets. Queen’s collapsed from 99-1 to 125-9 demonstrating the fragility of the batting line up, as only Duncan Knox’s 50 and a gutsy last wicket partnership between Hazzard and Jones spared Queen’s further blushes.

Against Worcester, the lack of numbers was brutally exposed, and the match had to be forfeited due to only seven players being available. A team was raised against St Anne’s, with Riddiford, Knox, Hoose and Jim Fouracre all making between 16 and 24. Coupled with the lack of support from the rest of the line up this led to a ten-man Queen’s being skittled for 111 easily within St Anne’s capabilities as they knocked off the runs on a fast outfield for the loss of just two wickets. At this point the weather intervened, and no match was completed for three weeks. During this period a strong Queen’s team nearly inflicted a first defeat in two years upon the Lemmings before the clouds burst, a sign of what might have been if the College had been able to get its strongest XI on the field week in week out.

When play was once again possible Queen’s gained revenge on Keble, with David Richardson, by some way the quickest bowler, taking 3-14 off 6 overs of new ball bowling, and graduate Thomas Campbell weighing in with 2-7. The target was reached with a minimum of fuss off 18 overs, Riddiford making 49 and Hoose 38 not out as Queen’s won by seven wickets. In the last two weeks both Somerville and Balliol forfeited to Queen’s due to inability to raise a team, whilst Queen’s had to forfeit to Exeter for the same reasons, indicating that apathy and lack of participation at College level appears to be a malaise not solely confined to Queen’s.

The highlight of the season was undoubtedly a magnificent match between Queen’s and an old members’ team led by Rob Posgate. On a beautiful day at the end of seventh week, Queen’s led by Hoose in the absence of Riddiford with a broken finger, made 202 off 40 overs, Hoose leading by example with a flawless 84, and being well supported by the Chetwood brothers and Tim Fountaine, a useful all-rounder, who made an unbeaten 44. At 42-6 the Posgate team was on the ropes, John Butterfield having done most of the damage with 3-20, before a magnificent partnership between Pete Baker (93) and Posgate (63) saw them within 15 runs of their target with four overs left, and the scores were tied with two to go, with the Posgate XI having three wickets in hand. At this point, Jon Chetwood bowled a superb maiden under immense pressure, an apt way for this ex-captain to bow out. Queen’s were still underdogs when Hoose, having thrown off his wicketkeeping gloves, bowled the last over. No runs were scored from the first three, and with the fourth Posgate clubbed a long hop to square leg, where Fountaine took an unbelievable one-handed catch diving to his right. Queen’s spirits were doubly lifted when the very next ball Simon Dewsbury clung on to a steepling catch at mid-off to set up a pulsating finale leaving the Posgate XI one run to win off one ball with one wicket in hand. Incredibly, the batsman charged down the wicket and was stumped, leaving Hoose with a hat trick and the game as a tie, scenes surely not witnessed for many years at Queen’s. This was a match played in perfect weather and in fantastic spirit, and one can only hope that the fixture will continue in the calendar for many years to come.

Next year’s captain will be Jim Fouracre, who has improved with bat and ball in every match. The team would like to express its utmost appreciation to all those who played for and watched Queen’s this season, and the leavers, Chetwood, Richardson and Kinner, who will be sorely missed.