2009 – 2010

Officers: Captain Jack Davidson; Vice-Captain Chris Edson; Secretary Tom Davies

Because of an unusually small number of fresher recruits the previous year depleting the size of the squad, the Club was more hopeful than usual of a large and talented influx in 2009. It was encouraging to see a reasonable number show their interest at the College freshers’ fair, and many were keen to get immediately involved in the season opener against Wadham. Although a scrappy affair at times, this produced a memorable 34-27 victory for Queen’s, made all the more impressive since vice-captain Chris Edson and experienced fly-half James Thompson were lost for this game, and unfortunately the rest of the year’s rugby with a shattered thumb and a dislocated shoulder respectively, reducing Queen’s to thirteen men for the last half hour. Despite a loss to eventual champions Brasenose, a hard-fought 27-25 win against a capable Lincoln side and a draw against New set up a mouth-watering ‘winner takes all’ promotion clash against Worcester. With Worcester boasting a number of Rugby League blues, this was always going to be a difficult task for Queen’s, and ultimately Worcester’s large pack and direct approach proved too much on the day. The 10-23 loss was harder to swallow as it denied Queen’s promotion by a single point. This was especially close as the introduction of bonus points this year had given the league tables an added element of interest.

Remaining in the third division for the second half of the season, the team was optimistic of success. However, the strength of Exeter and Oriel, the teams promoted from the fourth division, was unexpected. With more injuries to players such as Lloyd Lee, who along with Matt Pope and Kane Taylor had brought valuable bulk and experience to the side, and a lack of strength in depth, the year ended disappointingly with Queen’s languishing in the relegation zone.

The end of Hilary Term, however, provided Queen’s with an opportunity to redeem itself in Cuppers and various tournaments. The first challenge came against St Anne’s/St John’s in the opening round. With the addition of Edward Boyes to the backs, having relinquished his university playing duties in favour of a college swansong, the Queen’s backs began to play with an attacking intent markedly absent from Martin Johnson’s England team this year. The Saints were duly dispatched, rather convincingly. However, a shortage of players resulted in our failure to raise a team in the second round. Despite this, success came within touching distance at the annual mixed touch rugby tournament, where Queen’s have a glittering history in recent years. On a sunny afternoon at Iffley Road, for the second consecutive year Queen’s were there at the end of the day in the final against the old foe St Edmund Hall. Having lost to Teddy Hall the previous year in a repeat of this final, hopes were high for a reversal of fortune, Queen’s having won every game up to the final. However, it was not to be, and in a similar vein to the first season, the team lost by a single try.

Having witnessed two relegations in the past four half-seasons of rugby, it would be a mistake to suggest that rugby at Queen’s is in rude health at the moment. However, the future is not without optimism. Although on the pitch this may not have been a vintage year for Queen’s, off the pitch there has developed a genuine sense of camaraderie with numerous social events being well attended, the Annual Dinner being a particular highlight. Hopefully next season it will be possible to maintain the bulk of this current squad, supplement it with some fresher talent, and avoid so many long term injuries to key players. The reins next season will be passed on to Patrick Wills, a veteran of three years of college rugby returning from a year spent gallivanting round the Far East. He will be ably supported by Vice-Captain Thomas Sneddon, and Secretaries William Santa-Cruz and Max Tilley. Finally, the Club would like to thank Queen’s groundsman Martin Cross for his ongoing support, and University College groundsman George Garnam who continues to prepare the pitch for Queen’s home games, played at University’s sports ground.