2007 – 2008
Men’s Captain: Ed Norman, Women’s Captain: Katie Wrigley
Men’s and Mixed Hockey
This season the men’s teams faced a stern test in the first division. Unfortunately, it was unable to build on progress made in previous seasons and suffered relegation. The team feels slightly aggrieved at its fate, being to some extent a victim of the pleasing level of interest in hockey in Queen’s. Over the past few years there has been an increasing tendency for colleges to combine forces and field joint sides. Queen’s now finds itself facing St Anne’s/Somerville and Merton/Mansfield amongst others. Arguably, Queen’s did well to compete with such sides, often holding them to draws or forcing them to work for their victories until the very last minute. Hopefully, the team will be able to return to the top flight next year.
This year has seen several notable additions to the ranks, with freshers Tom Walton and Theo Perkins both making impressive debuts, and visibly improving as hockey players throughout the season. Graduate Nikki Palmer was a revelation in the midfield, and frequently embarrassed her opposite number with pace and skill.
Katie Wrigley did a lot of work up front and was often in the right place to snatch a goal. Dan Shepherd continued to improve his first touch and became increasingly adept at holding the ball up to allow the team to build an attack and sustain a period of pressure. In the midfield Sam Drury was a rock, dictating play with decisive and confident passing, while also showing skill on the break when the opportunity arose. Ray Kennedy showed great pace out wide, while Fred Tatham yet again showed off his close-quarters skill, invariably beating a player or winning a free hit. In defence Mary Erskine and Rachel Berry made valuable contributions when called upon, both putting in brave tackles without hesitation. Veterans Jon Dowle and Chris Harper displayed their wealth of experience. Dowle’s jab tackle is now the stuff of legend and has given him the ability to steal the ball when he has no right to do so. This season Harper has added to his repertoire and began to make frequent forays forward, showing good judgement when deciding whether to drive into space or to hold up the ball and look for a pass inside. In goal, Richard Lewin pulled off some spectacular saves in the air but, unfortunately, sometimes struggled to save hard shots aimed at his feet.
This year was an enjoyable, but challenging, one for the ladies hockey team. In the first division the team encountered tough competition. Initially, it was a struggle to get a whole team out for matches, but thanks to some dedicated players, the enthusiasm shown by the complete beginners and the awe-inspiring skills of Nikki Palmer, the team improved greatly throughout the season. Despite heavy losses to a large University College/Hertford squad and a Worcester team mostly consisting of University players, the team spirit remained strong. In the last league match against St Edmund Hall, Queen’s fielded its strongest team, and the match resulted in a closely-fought draw.
Queen’s was unlucky to be knocked out of Cuppers in the first round by a strong Brasenose side. Lack of an experienced goalkeeper nullified the goals scored by the forwards. The team hopes for better results next year.