2003 – 2004

Weakened by the departure of several stalwarts, the club was pleased to discover that there was a great deal of interest in the game from new members of College. Queen’s started the year in the first division, a status which they were doggedly determined to retain. Early in the season the team lacked a little cohesion and confidence leading to a slightly disappointing run of form. Even during this spell, however, the side still showed glimmers of strength, skill and pace which would be more regularly apparent in the second part of the season. Despite enthusiasm and strong support from other members of the College, the squad was demoted from the first to the second division after the first part of the season during which it only won the matches against Worcester and St Catherine’s.

If the team was disappointed by this, it was not despondent. In fact, its removal from the top flight gave players a little breathing space and allowed some consolidation and rejuvenation. The side had a newfound confidence in its playing ability which, combined with an impressive increase in individual skill resulted in the team playing rugby of high quality. Gritty up front and pretty in the back, the second division allowed the squad to demonstrate its talent. But, comfortable as this may have been at times, including a second win over Worcester 38-0, it still provided the side with tough challenges, especially because of the number of players who were absent due to injury. The aim for the second part of the season had to be promotion to Queen’s’ rightful place in the first division, and, thankfully, the team achieved this.

At the close of the league season came Cuppers. Queen’s won their second round match against Jesus 39-0, but then lost their quarter-final match against St Edmund Hall 52-10, which was a bitter defeat inflicted by their old rivals. The fair weather players awaited the sevens season with eager anticipation. However, despite demonstrating great promise in their preparation for the competition, Queen’s were unable to fulfil their potential. The newly formed mixed sevens touch rugby side were able to salvage some silverware and pride for the club by winning their cuppers competition.

Several members of the squad received university colours for their efforts. Alex Hudson played Whippets Varsity, as did Sam Cooke, who also captained the side. Both of them had regular outings for the under-21s side, as did Duncan Macrae, but his season was ended before Varsity due to injury. James Klempster made regular starts for the university rugby league side, but he too succumbed to an injury before Varsity.

There are many lessons that may be taken from the past year. The most important of these must be that even a young side can mature quickly. This must be borne in mind next year too as there will, again, be a few holes left by the departure of third and fourth years. The club would like to thank Richard Roberts for his strong leadership and committed play, the multitude of supporters who regularly came to watch the team, even in inclement weather. Also the team would like to thank the players who leave this year for their service to college rugby.