2002 – 2003

Men’s Hockey

Captain Tom Cross

Queen’s was fortunate this year in being able to strike a balance between experience and youth. Tom Tayler’s experience in goal was vital, and Ben Usher and Phil Jordan showed strong commitment in defence. With a back line as impenetrable as this, it is little wonder that first year students such as Mark Tindle, Matt Rowe and Phil Schartau settled into the team without difficulty. Although the men’s team reached the quarter-final of Cuppers, playing in the first division of the league once again proved a stern test, not for want of ability but because it became increasingly difficult to provide substitutes for blues and university players, or those studying for Finals. That is not to suggest, however, that there was anything less than maximum effort throughout. Hockey, like all college sports, owes a great deal of thanks to those players who play just once or twice, and in some cases make the difference between a win, defeat or draw. One such player was second XI soccer captain Chris Harris, who scored a vital goal that gave Queen’s victory over New College at the end of Hilary Term, a match which saved the team from relegation. For much of the season it looked as if relegation would merely be a matter of time, but it is testimony to the grit, determination and team spirit in hockey this year that Queen’s once again survived. Although individual players showed great skill, the team will have to achieve greater consistency if it is to stay up next year. Phil Schartau ended the season as the top goalscorer, playing at centre forward his main strength was as a target man from free hits. Matt Rowe made a strong impression and important contribution. Sebastian Schilling showed admirable enthusiasm and no little skill throughout the season, and if his effervescence occasionally got the better of him, that is no bad fault to have. Mark Tindle and Matt Jones defended stoutly at the back, and James Klempster used his formidable figure to show some dominance in midfield. It was unfortunate that Richard Stuckey, whose stick-work is occasionally dazzling, broke his ankle at an early stage, and could not often play. No record of the men’s team’s performance would be complete without a huge show of gratitude to the women who played for it regularly, and to great effect. The most consistent stalwart was Miranda Hayward, who raises her game in the men’s league to compete with the best. Charlotte Swire made a number of vital appearances in goal in Tayler’s absence, and Susan Lowrey contributed importantly in midfield. A final mention must go to the quite brilliant Kelly Furber, who will be much missed in Queen’s when she leaves this year. Her exceptional skill is only matched by her possession of that great sporting quality: passion for winning. In short, and although it is difficult to make superlatives appear sincere in print, this great team was a pleasure to captain.

Women’s Hockey

Captain Annie Bowden

The women’s team continued their recent domination of college hockey by storming to a third successive Cuppers title. Fortunate to retain the majority of players from the victorious 2001-2 campaign, the team was further strengthened by the addition of several talented freshers. The fact that the squad for the final consisted of seventeen players indicates the strength in depth of hockey at Queen’s and augurs well for future success. The team eased its way through the group stages of the competition with minimal difficulty. A 4-0 victory over New College was followed by even more convincing wins against St Catherine’s and Brasenose. Against the former, Queen’s resorted to lending the opposition players to make the match more competitive, and both fixtures were terminated early because they were becoming embarrassingly one-sided. Having topped the group, Queen’s were drawn against Worcester in the semi-final. A re-run of last year’s final was bound to be a feisty affair, and so it proved. In highly inclement weather, the team were boosted by home support and survived a couple of scares to record a 3-1 victory. The final was against St Edmund Hall, who had an excellent goal-scoring record and a couple of Blues defenders. However, the Queen’s team was not to be thwarted in its quest for a hat-trick of competition victories, and early goals ensured that the final result was beyond doubt within fifteen minutes. The eventual 6-2 scoreline provides a fair reflection of the balance of play, and Charlotte Swire in goal was rarely troubled. Kelly Furber scored twice, and was joined on the scoresheet by Nicola Blucher, Jo Ham, Susan Lowrey and Suzanne Lavender. Next year the team will be sorry to lose the services of Kelly Furber, a prolific goal scorer and stalwart of college hockey for many years. The backbone of the defence, former captain Lise-Anne Dunn will also be sorely missed, as will other finalists Vicky Couper, Sara McIlroy, Rumina Onac, Thea Houghton, Hannah Smallbone and Alex Mayson. However, the strong team spirit and enthusiasm, combined with the considerable talent that remains, will hopefully ensure the team’s continued success next year. Nicola Blucher and Annie Bowden were awarded Blues, while Miranda Hayward, Lucy Eddowes and Susan Lowrey all represented the University.

Mixed Hockey

A new hockey triumph for Queen’s this year was the College’s victory in mixed hockey cuppers. Being in a position to leave out good players for even better ones meant that all positions were filled with skill and experience. The tournament also provided an opportunity to defeat opponents who had on other occasions proved nemeses to Queen’s. Having received a bye in the first round, Pembroke, who won men’s Cuppers this year, were defeated 2-0 in the second. The most dramatic display occurred in the quarter-final when Jesus College, who had put Queen’s out of men’s Cuppers some months earlier, were defeated by the convincing margin of 4-0. Meeting St Hugh’s in the semi final was a potential banana skin, but the 1-0 victory was testimony to this team’s ability to dig in when the going got tough. The Final against Worcester was hotly contested, with a goal apiece after normal and extra time. Stuckey, Nasralla, Furber and Shimell all kept their heads in scoring their penalty flicks by which the tournament was decided.