No.30 - Wed 3rd February 2016; BUCS Mens Football Midlands Division One;                            2pm at Queens College Sports Ground; Barton Road; Cambridge; Cambs; CB3 9LL


Matchday images (40)

Cambridge University AFC (0) 1 Oxford University (0) 0

'The Queen(s) of clubs comes up trumps'.

'I have for some time been indebted to the ground collecting legend that is Brian Buck. The modest but affable Bedfordshire-based supremo famed in East Anglia and beyond its borders boasts (not literally) a hopping CV that is second to none. Its a career that covers more than 11000 games attended as well as a formidable unbroken sequence watching Tottenham Hotspur home games that dates back to the early 1960's. His exploits, passion and maybe even addiction have rightly been well documented on regional TV and in the national press. To say that his travels are extraordinary is an understatement.

On a personal note Brian has in his retirement found some spare time to religiously (not literally either) furnish me with a weekly bulletin (sent via E-Mail) detailing his impending movements, football-related, of course. The schedule which lists his intended travels over the coming seven days is a true labour of love. The entries on the pages sent are well researched up to the point of showing kick-off times and venues some with coloured-coded notes to highlight his possible and probable destinations; there’s even reference made to games that have been called off or postponed. What a marvellous service I hear you say!

As I opened Brian’s latest bulletin one particular fixture jumped out immediately at me above all the others. I was drawn to the game featuring Cambridge University AFC who was entertaining rivals Oxford University in a BUCS Midland League Division One men’s football match on the coming Wednesday afternoon with the game to be played at the Queen’s College Sports Ground. Although I had previously watched the students play at Grange Road and more recently Fenners Cricket Ground, I had not seen them ply their trade at this alternative venue which would obviously be a new experience for me.

As you've probably guessed, a couple of days have since passed and here I am standing pitch side with a handful of spectators ready for my latest fix, the battle of the blues. True to his word Brian joins me on the hallowed turf along with fellow hoppers Graham Edwards (the Newmarket Town FC secretary) from Cambridge and the unrivalled Tony Incenzo, a life-long QPR fan from Hertfordshire, once editor of the highly regarded Pyramid magazine and FGIF contributor who these days has become, in his own words, a self confessed super tweeter.  

The game played in bright sunny but cold conditions is a terrific contest with end to end flowing football throughout. The hosts just manage to edge it with a well deserved 1-0 victory, the only goal coming just after the break on 49 minutes when young centre forward Alex Gaskell taps in from close range. The result means that the light blues consolidate their mid table position in third place (out of six teams). It’s also nice to see that these games are well organised with three (all local I believe) officials in charge of proceedings. Travellers may also be interested to note that neither programmes nor refreshment are on offer for the match.

Queens' College itself is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge and is found in some three miles from here in Silver Street. It is one of the oldest and largest colleges of the university, founded in 1448 by Margaret of Anjou (the Queen of Henry VI, who founded King's College), and has some of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge. The college spans both sides of the river Cam, colloquially referred to as the "light side" and the "dark side", with the world-famous Mathematical Bridge connecting the two. The college's alumni include heads of government and politicians from various countries, royalty, religious leaders, astronauts and Oscar nominees, with distinguished alumni Stephen Fry, Abba Eban and T. H. White amongst others. Its most famous matriculant is Desiderius Erasmus, who studied at the college during his trips to England between 1506 and 1515.

The college also has a rich sporting history, enjoying much success in most of the major sports on offer in Cambridge. It has sports grounds, a boat-house, squash courts and gym. The college rowing club, Queens' College Boat Club, is one of the oldest in the University with the earliest known record of the college boat club dates from 1831. The club's boathouse was built in 1986 and is shared with Magdalene College Boat Club. Like other Cambridge boat clubs it takes part in a number of annual rowing races on the River Cam, Lent Bumps and May Bumps. Each year QCBC also hosts the Queens' Ergs competition in the Michaelmas Term, an 8x500m indoor rowing relay race open to novices only. It usually attracts over 1000 rowers, and is the second largest indoor rowing event in the UK. Queens' College Rugby Football Club (QCRFC), plays Rugby Union against other Cambridge Colleges in both a league and a knock out competition. The rugby club has produced several notable alumni including Irish international star Mike Gibson, former England captain John Spencer, Barry Holmes and Charles Nicholl.

Now back to the football. To reach the Queens College and Robinson Sports Ground (to give its full title as shown on the sign) I was directed by my trusty sat nav around Cambridge via the A14 and M11 coming off the motorway at junction number 12 and onto the A603 on Barton Road towards the city centre. Conveniently the main entrance is only about half a mile from here situated on the opposite side of the road. As expected facilities are first-class (no pun intended) with the playing fields stretching out as far as the eye can see. A wooden pavilion complete with veranda and ornate roof clock stands on the edge of the field. There are many pitches (several out of immediate view) on site which benefit from having a full-time grounds man means that the playing surfaces are immaculate and lovingly maintained; today the game takes place one on the far side of the nearest field. This is lined by landscaped hedges on three sides giving it a rather pleasant enclosed feel. A word of warning should be given to all motorists who should watch out for the large tee which grows directly in the middle of the car park driveway calling for a quick decision to go either left or right in order to avoid an imminent accident and hefty repair bill!

Apart from the dedicated Cambridge University AFC website (men’s football section), details of all fixtures and venues involving the students are also posted on the superb BUCS site. With several colleges making up the university itself there are plenty of terrific ‘hoppertunities to watch college football at different venues – in fact there is even an organised colleges league that operates its own intra-mural league programme (see link on Full-Time below). Watch this space as they say! Finally, big thanks to Brian for making this another cracking day out in great company. The joys of hopping and al that...'


FGIF Match Stats

Scorers: (H) Gaskell (49) and (A) N/A   

Attendance: 23; Admission and Programme: None; Match rating: 4/5; Ground rating: 4/5.



edited on 04/02/16