2013 – 2014
Officers: Men’s Captain Bertram O’Brien; Women’s Captain Julia Megone
Men’s and Mixed Hockey
Following back-to-back promotions in the previous two seasons, the men’s team found itself in the first division, and in for a tough term against the strongest college sides in Oxford. The Club lost over half its players from last year, and rebuilding a team took a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, during that time the team faced the two weakest opponents in the league and could only squeeze out one draw. In the first, against New College, the team was without a goalkeeper but nonetheless held out impressively for a 1-1 draw, whilst in the second, against St Hilda’s, the team suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat. Over the next few weeks the side improved as it discovered several highly-skilled graduates and some freshers willing to lend a hand. Moreover, the previously hidden talent as a hockey goalkeeper of Thomas Pollard revealed itself and played a crucial part for the rest of the season. However, the team was desperately unlucky not to get the results it needed. Its 2-1 loss to league-winners St Edmund Hall/Pembroke, which was the closest result the combined side had all season, was followed by draws in the final two games, 3-3 against Cuppers winners St Catherine’s, and 6-6 against mixed Cuppers winners Keble. In the end Queen’s was relegated by just one point, having drawn against three of the top four sides and having a goal difference of -2.
Hilary Term saw the start of the highly-successful campaign to be promoted back to the first division. After a shaky 4-1 loss to St Hilda’s the team put in a string of good performances to beat St Hugh’s (2-0), Balliol (6-2), Univ. (2-1), and Trinity. The 5-0 victory against Trinity, which included a fine hat-trick from striker Christian Bevan, was arguably the best team performance of the season. As a consequence, Queen’s topped the division and looks forward to being back in the first division next season. Sadly, Queen’s was unable to make much progress in either men’s or mixed Cuppers tournaments, being knocked out in the first round by Magdalen and Oriel respectively.
Despite hopes that enough players might be mustered for a Queen’s-only team, the continued cancellings and reschedulings by other colleges made it difficult to have a solid group who knew they would have matches every week and thus undermined attempts to grow a strong college team. Consequently, Queen’s once again combined with St Hilda’s for league matches and Cuppers. The combined team had a very successful season, being victorious in both the league and the Cuppers competition. In the former the team lost only one match to a strong St Edmund Hall/Keble side, with victories over Worcester and a perennially under-represented New/Pembroke side, which failed to put a team out for most of its fixtures. Cathryn Shannon was a crucial and constant presence in these matches, before her absence later in the season due to injury. The comprehensive return leg 4-0 defeat of St Edmund Hall/Keble featured a particularly impressive performance by the stalwart of the team, Rebecca Bibb, easing the team’s rise to the top of the table.
Cuppers was once again plagued by other teams’ inability to turn up, as well as being undermined by the severe flooding which put a number of pitches out of action. However, a 4-0 win in the semi-finals against an impressive St Catherine’s side put Queen’s/St Hilda’s into the final against St Edmund Hall/Keble. The half-time score (3-0) reflected Queen’s/St Hilda’s domination of the match, but due to the large number of subs available an almost entirely new team was fielded in the second half. This change caused a certain amount of confusion, allowing St Edmund Hall/Keble to capitalise and quickly level the score before the new team settled. Some excellent defence, led by the reliable pairing of Anna Booth and Stephanie Anthony ensured that no more goals could be snatched by the increasingly ferocious opposition. With the full-time whistle the match remained a draw and so penalty shuffles (a new format for the game in which a player has eight seconds to score a goal starting from the 25-yard line with only the keeper against them) were demanded. After the first five shuffles scores were level on 1-1, and a golden goal was needed to settle the issue. St Edmund Hall/Keble missed and, on her second attempt, Julia Megone’s ball found the back of the net, bringing an incredibly tight victory to Queen’s/St Hilda’s, and a very exciting way to end the season. In addition to the members of Queen’s mentioned above, the Club is grateful for the contributions this season of Clare Webb, Anna McHugh, Emma Papworth and Shona Robertson.