2002 – 2003

Captain Stewart Robinson; Vice-Captain Richard Roberts; Secretary Rory Clarke

After finishing last season in the first division and winning sevens cuppers, the team returned hoping to expand on its great reputation. Having lost a number of key players, it was a relief to see several keen freshers arrive in Michaelmas. The first match of the first division was away to Oriel. In typical rugby weather, the team fought hard against a much larger side and came out the victor. Unfortunately, this was to be the end of the team’s success in the first division. The next two games saw the team beaten by well-drilled sides and feeling a bit let down by its performance. The team was unlucky to lose to Keble, a result which brought relegation. Determined to fight back in the second half of the season, the team redoubled its efforts. Winning the first three games, it looked certain that the team would bounce straight back into the first division. The match against Brasenose was postponed and left the team travelling back to Oriel to secure promotion. This time the tables turned in their favour, and left us with a win-or-nothing situation in the last match against Brasenose. Due to the fixture being re-arranged, the team found itself lacking some key players. However, the reserves performed stalwartly and helped the team to regain its first division status.

The team finished second in the group stage of Cuppers, having been defeated by a blues-reinforced Keble side. Relegated to the Plate competition, the team went through to the final only to be beaten by an impressive Jesus side. The sevens team was unable to repeat its Cuppers victory of the previous year, losing in extra time in the quarter-final. This year saw the return of an Old Members’ team for a match in Hilary Term, something that all are keen to make an annual event. On the social side Queen’s rugby is definitely expanding, rugby drinks a must nearly every week and the occasional team date has proven enjoyable for all. A highlight of the year, as always, was the annual rugby dinner. On the University scene, Queen’s was represented by Jon Hughes in the Under 21’s varsity match, Sam Cooke and Alex Hudson in the Whippets squad, and Tom Kelly as pack leader for the first successful Colleges XV team. That the season was so enjoyable and successful owes much, if not all, to the commitment and positive attitude of the players and the committee.