Bowland beat Lonsdale for a sixth Founders’ win


Lancaster’s two founding colleges once more squared up in their annual grudge match. On this occasion, however, Londale took on the might of Bowland, and had decisions and luck gone their way, they would be celebrating ending Bowland’s glorious five year reign as the champions.

Bowland came into the seventh Founders contest on the back of five consecutive victories. Not since 2004, the inaugural Founders event, had Lonsdale possessed a team talented enough to snatch a win.

This academic year has seen a number of Founders copycats spring into life. Patriots, a competition involving Furness and Cartmel ran last term for the second time. Whilst Week 9 heralds the first ever Legends Shield featuring County, Fylde, Grizedale and Pendle Colleges.

These new competitions, though beneficial in terms of promoting the collegiate system, lack the rivalry and intensity of the now well-established Founders competition.

Bowland came into the seventh Founders contest on the back of five consecutive victories. Not since 2004, the inaugural Founders event, had Lonsdale possessed a team talented enough to snatch a win.

Founders evolved as the brainchild of former JCR College Presidents Tom Shepherd, of Lonsdale, and Jacob Samuel, originally of Bowland. Shepherd was concerned about his college’s imminent relocation to the newly built Alexandra Park and was conscious to preserve the traditional rivalry with Bowland. Samuel’s suggestion was a sporting competition to take place annually and the rest is history.

Back in the present day, this year’s tournament promised to be the best yet. For those wanting to get involved throughout the whole weekend, Founders packs were available for £7 and included a T-shirt, programme and tickets for a night at Toast on Friday and Sugar House on the Saturday.

Scheduling the event this year proved tricky. The weekend typically falls around Week 8. However, this time it had the 2010 World Cup in South Africa to contend with and an England match that would be kicking off on the Saturday evening of Founders.

Banter and rivalry are staple parts of the competition and the weekend opened in electric fashion as the Boat Race teams readied themselves for their events. However, after a false start and after the banter had turned into a small skirmish with drinks thrown and glass bottles shattered the atmosphere cooled.

Bowland finished the first day having won every event except for the Men’s Darts. This included victories in the Dominoes, Women’s Darts, and the Quiz, in which returning captain Ben Nye was unfortunately unable to attend due to traffic congestion on the motorway.

Due to England’s World Cup commitments the second day saw a lighter schedule. The football matches were played with Lonsdale tasting victory in C Team and A Team football.

However, on the final day Bowland regained momentum and won a series of events to fashion a decent lead which meant that another Founders could be clinched with a win in the rugby. Last year, Lonsdale played brilliantly to deservedly take the points. However, Bowland responded this year by being leaner, meaner and fitter. Excellent performances by John Bekalo and Gavin Reid secured the trophy, ensuring it would reside another year in Bowland.

Lonsdale were not finished however. Sunday’s evening events prior to the awards presentations included Men’s and Women’s Pool and Chess. As George Wyatt Champions, Bowland had already suffered a bloody nose by conspiring to lose the men’s darts match.

32However, Lonsdale inflicted further pain by winning all the events. Despite the fact the Men’s Pool team was bolstered by the return of James Marenghi, Jacob Samuel and Colin Charnley, or that the women’s team benefitted from having Jen Whitein her day considered the best female player campus has ever seen. These defeats allowed the scoreline to narrow. Chess was claimed by Lonsdale too who had their national star Laurence Trent to thank for victory. Bowland now have their own chess hero in James Hanley, but the second year could not do enough to prevent defeat in a game which captivated the Founders crowd

as both players bizarrely played their match blindfolded. Lonsadale’s late resurgence was possibly coupled with Bowland taking their foot off the gas. The final score was 29-26 to Bowland. The result meant it was the closest competition since 2005 when it came down to the final black of the deciding frame of the women’s pool match to determine who won Founders.

Though spared such drama this year it is worth acknowledging that following their dismal performance in 2006 when they claimed a paltry three points, Lonsdale have responded by improving each series since. There is now a genuine belief amongst Lonsdalians that they can win Founders and

evidence can be found in their improvement after another solid season in both the George Wyatt and Carter Shield.

Bowland, however, are not the force, who from 2004-2008 claimed three Carter Shields, three George Wyatt trophies and four Founders Series victories. Though Bowland, complete with a full compliment of old boys would be odds on to win next year’s tournament, there is now a very real possibility that Lonsdale could end what would be seven years of hurt and take back the trophy which Bowland have called their own for so long.

Overall, a fantastic weekend and another step forward for the event that has been dubbed Lancaster’s 2nd Roses.

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