2008 – 2009
Having concentrated on a magnificent run in the 2008 Cuppers competition, Queen’s found itself in the second division of the League with a severely depleted squad of players. However, as is usually the case, the team was bolstered by the arrival of several freshers, with Chris Clube, Chris Greenwood, and Moneeb Nasir all making significant contributions throughout the season. However, despite their introduction, there were several occasions when Queen’s struggled to field a full team, and it need hardly be said that this had a detrimental effect upon results.
The first game of the season saw a very strong Queen’s eleven brush aside the challenge of Somerville, with Queen’s setting a score in excess of 240, James Thompson, James Kelly, and Alex Broomsgrove all making half-centuries. This performance with the bat was backed up by steady bowling, led by Thompson and Greenwood, and tight fielding which led to victory by over a hundred runs. This performance was not repeated for a few weeks as Queen’s were eliminated from Cuppers by University College after an erratic bowling display, and were heavily beaten in the league by Hertford despite the best efforts of Thompson whose figures of 4-20 reflected an impressive display of seam bowling.
The following Saturday saw the first Old Members’ game, Queen’s hosting the Lemmings on an extremely warm mid-May afternoon. The Lemmings made a score of 199-6, which represented a substantial target for a Queen’s side which was short of recognised batsmen. However, a fine innings of 127 from captain Kelly and a determined stay at the crease by Dan Shepherd brought Queen’s within two runs of the Lemmings total. This was followed by a particularly disappointing performance in the league against University College, in which no less than seven members of the side were dismissed without scoring, and a comfortable victory over the Jacobites, with Martin Bourne (37 not out) ably supported by Clube (28), guiding the team home.
A week later, on the Saturday of Eights’ Week, the College hosted the second Old Members’ side, the Crocodiles, which, batting first, totalled 255-4. In reply, Queen’s batted gamely, with Kelly, Nasir, blue Jonty Strachan, Clube, and, newcomer to cricket, Ed Boyes, all making scores above 20, but failing to convert these into more substantial innings as the College ended with 190 all out.
Many of the games in the latter part of the term were curtailed by rain, though Queen’s finished strongly, winning two and being in a dominant position in a rain-affected match. Against Christ Church, Queen’s reached 164-8, Kelly again leading the way with 78, and, after some bizarre umpiring decisions, appeared to be in danger of losing, before the overall strength of the bowlers, Alfred Enoch, Chris Eklund, Clube, Kelly, and Greenwood, saw the team home, Christ Church crumbling to 129 all out. The league match against Linacre started with the quickest bowling spell of the year from Enoch. He was supported by economic bowling from fresher Dom Clark and Richard Bosworth who both were rewarded with two wickets. Captain Kelly brought himself on against the tail and completed the rout by taking four wickets in one maiden over, including a hat-trick, a performance that left Enoch complaining bitterly well into the evening. The Queen’s bowling performance was not to be rewarded because, after two overs of the Queen’s innings, a spectacular show of hail, thunder, and lightening brought proceedings to a close. The pitch had recovered two days later when Queen’s were hosts to St. Catherine’s in the last game of the term. Kelly and Broomsgrove , after a nervy start, progressed serenely in an opening stand of 176 before Broomsgrove departed for an impressive 90, followed shortly by the skipper for 81. The total of 222-4 in twenty overs proved well beyond the St. Catherine’s side which, despite some careless fielding, was bowled out for 167, with Enoch, Kelly, and Bosworth all taking two wickets each, and Greenwood returning figure of 3-40.
Despite winning only four league matches, Queen’s missed promotion by the margin of only four runs, leaving the team bemoaning the loss to the weather of several matches. The accuracy of the bowling attack represented the main strength of the 2009 Queen’s team, whereas the shortage of accomplished batsmen, other than Kelly and Broomsgrove, represented its main weakness. Many of this year’s team remain and, given the arrival of one or two good batsmen, a return to the first division next season seems a strong possibility.