2011 – 2012
Captain David Phillips; Secretary Matthew Guinness
With 29 players contributing in various games during the season, The Queen’s College Cricket Club found itself in the unfamiliar position of not only having a full side for every game, but being able to select players for certain matches. Only one first team regular had left at the end of the 2011 season, and a talented group of freshers combined to bolster the capacity and ambition of the Club. The weather unfortunately played a major part throughout the season, inducing the cancellation of six matches, but little else was going to detract from what was a hugely successful season.
The Cuppers competition was brought forward a week this year, resulting in Queen’s being thrown in at the deep end in the first round against a competent Magdalen side. Having restricted the opposition well with the ball, the opening batsmen knocked off the runs with ease, Christian Walters on his debut competently backing up openers Samridh Agarwal and Tom Watts, the latter finishing on an unbeaten 60. With the tag of favourites of the tournament, Queen’s came under pressure with a tough draw against last year’s runners-up and this year’s eventual champions New/St Hilda’s. Even with a couple of experienced players unable to play and some very substandard fielding, Queen’s kept the opposition to just 169 from their 40 overs, Blue Frederick Johnson taking an outstanding 3-15. However, almost in exactly the same fashion as the dramatic batting collapse in last year’s semi-final, Queen’s soon found itself behind the run rate and with only three wickets remaining. Despite a valiant attempt by fresher Dan Geer, the Cuppers run came to an abrupt, disappointing, and premature end.
The wettest drought on record only added to the team’s frustration in not being able to turn its fortunes around in the league. Some two weeks later it was finally able to attack a strong Somerville side, which proved to be Queen’s closest challengers in the final league standings. Chris Greenwood and Matt Hilborn both took three wickets on a flat track, and the total was knocked off in quick time with five wickets remaining.
The following Saturday saw the first of the annual Old Members’ games, Queen’s hosting the Lemmings. The Lemmings built a substantial innings, finishing 231-6 from 54 overs and declared shortly before tea. The target was a daunting one, but approached professionally by an opening stand of 120 by Joe Moxham (69) and Tom Watts (119). The rest of the batting line-up did little to contribute to the run chase, but a determined ninth wicket partnership saw Queen’s scrape over the line with just two balls to spare. The Crocodiles mounted a similar challenge the following week, posting 240-5 this time in 53 overs despite Alexander McDonald’s commendable efforts with the ball. However, an exceptional innings of 122 not out from next year’s captain Dan Geer changed the game, the young right-hander carrying his bat all the way through to another well-deserved victory.
The last phase of the season focused on a push for promotion in the league, with some admirable performances from several players who became the backbone of the Cricket Club this year. Four wickets from Matt Guinness and 64 not out from captain David Phillips helped Queen’s to a two wicket victory over St John’s, Chris Greenwood hitting the winning runs in what turned out to be his final innings for The Queen’s College. All-rounder Guinness then capitalised on his rich vein of form, this time producing 56 unbeaten runs with the bat against rivals St Edmund Hall, which was complemented by a superb economical spell from Rob Smith in his final game for the Club, and career-best figures of 4-12 by Jon Lindfield. This fine performance was a marked improvement from the early season jitters, and secured promotion to the premier league after three years in the second tier.
On the last day of May, the team faced touring side Buxton Strugglers, which suffered the same fate as the Lemmings and the Crocodiles. Chasing an impressive 220-4 in their 40 overs, Queen’s were able again to execute a fine run chase. David Phillips (76) and Tom Watts (74 not out) built a lengthy partnership, with David Crummey displaying his skills in pinch-hitting to clinch victory with one ball to spare.
The bad weather washed out nearly half of the fixtures this season, which proved greatly frustrating for all concerned. Nonetheless, promotion in the league rounded off what developed into a very pleasing season, and maintaining Queen’s status in the premier league next season will be a considerable challenge. On the other hand, with only two members of this now flourishing Club leaving, success in the Cuppers tournament will certainly be the main priority for the 2013 season.