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Lancaster came up just short as UCLan once again managed to retain their trophy and left Lancaster still without a win in the Lancashire Cup.
With the gap from the first days events leaving Lancaster 12 points behind the away teams went into the day knowing they would need a clean sweep of the events in order to take a victory.
This hope was dashed in the first event to end with Women’s Rugby Union coming up one try short in a narrow defeat that meant the best Lancaster could manage was a draw.
The Women’s Footballers managed to take their first victory over UCLan of the year with an excellent 3-1 win following defeats in the league, and this result frankly made a mockery of the home sides’ league championship as Lancaster played them off the park from start to finish with some stunning football to record a fully deserved victory.
The first team footballers laboured to a win in their game, 6-2 not reflecting the whole story as the side went 2-0 down and a man down with Grant Workman receiving a red card. However James Hopkins managed to rally his troops to go goal crazy late in the game and record what ultimately looks a comfortable win.
In the end it was the Football seconds who were Lancaster final hope of taking a share of the spoils but it was not to be as they slipped to an agonising 1-0 defeat in a game James Marenghi held high hopes of them taking the spoils in.
Despite the final result there are some encouraging signs for Roses.
Some teams which were not expected to do so well won their events both this time round and in the previous round of fixtures. The performance of the Swimming squad on the first day was particularly outstanding considering some of the difficulties they have had. Also the successes of the Tennis and Badminton were not entirely expected but provided good points towards the total. Even yesterday the performance of Women’s Football presented a massive day for them as they defeated a team they had failed to overcome in four years.
However in order for us to take a home win at Roses all team will need to live up to their expectations, they will all need to make sure come the weekend 2nd-4th May they are all in peak form in order for us to take the home win the AU as a whole and James Marenghi richly deserve.
James Marenghi was encouraged by many of yesterday’s performances in the knowledge that Lancaster for the most part dominated the fixtures that were played and did not get the rub of the green, much of this is true for the first round of fixtures as well and had more decisions or important moments gone our way we could be talking about a very different situation.
Mr Marenghi is still very confident for Roses and judging from his behaviour yesterday will be a very excitable figure come the big weekend, one phrase coined was, “Like a child in a sweet shop.”
However the future of the Lancashire Cup is still by no means secure.
With it having to be held over two days due to the ineptitude of the UCLan sports coordinators this led to far more effort having to go into the event that should have done, not only does this affect the AU and clubs but also the transport and the associated components that make the day a success Scan included.
With the election for AU President being held at time of writing the future of this competition hangs by a thread. At least one candidate is promising to remove the competition and setup a new varsity event with the University of Cumbria Lancaster Campus.
I’m sure it is also something that any elected AU Sabbatical will want to look at as clearly travelling to Preston for a competition that does not run smoothly does not benefit anyone concerned.
Although the facilities at the Preston Sports Arena are some of the best i have seen that are being used by a university in an event that to Lancaster essentially acts as a Roses warm up actual competition is far more important than the facilities.
I fear that if UCLan cannot guarantee this the the future of this entertaining event is dead in the water simply because logistically playing Cumbria makes more sense because not only are they more reliable, the games can also be played over a number of days at far less cost and much less of a full scale operation for the AU with teams playing Cumbria frequently as it is.
Overall the event has once again presented a fairly adequate warm up for Roses for our sides even though the overall result was once again disappointing.
I feel from seeing yesterdays events first hand and hearing closely about the previous events that Lancaster are in very good shape for Roses and it will take a monumental effort from the away side from York to deny James Marenghi a home win.