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Founders Series 2012 is set to take place on the 15th, 16th, 17th June or for those that are regulated by the ‘University weeks’, the weekend of week 8 of Summer term. For those of you that don’t know, Founders series is an annual sporting competition between the two founding colleges of Lancaster University; Lonsdale and Bowland. For members of other colleges you may have not heard of it, care about it or even want to continue reading about it, but for some members of the respective colleges it is the biggest and best weekend of the year.
The two colleges ‘hate each other’ but the majority are good friends through the rivalry. Lonsdale have only ever won the tournament once, in its inaugural season, with Bowland winning every year since. In all honesty the tournament requires a Lonsdale win to revitalise the competition. Although the principal’s archery has quite often already taken place the weekend traditionally starts with the ‘Boat Race’; the ladies drinking bottles and the gentleman drinking pints. The team that drinks theirs the fastest in relay wins. The weekend starts as it means to go on, somewhat drunkenly. Last year was the closest fought series of the competition’s history as Lonsdale had a chance to seal victory with the penultimate event Men’s A Team pool, before for the first time in the competition the series was decided with the Chess.
The tournament was first to 30 points; Lonsdale led 28-26 with just the pool and chess left to play. Within the pool itself the scores were tied at 5-5 when the then University Captain (Lee Osborne) stepped up for Lonsdale but ultimately missed the black that could have won Founders for Lonsdale college, as the black rattled in the jaws. Lonsdale were on their feet in celebration as the ball looked to be going in to the far corner pocket, before quietly returning to their seats as Bowland realised what had happened and roared louder than they had all weekend, as they could now win Founders, having been eight points behind overnight on Saturday and 28-20 behind after the Men’s Rugby on Sunday afternoon.
The weekend orientates around the big events; Football (As, Bs and Cs), Netball (As and Bs), Men’s Rugby, Pool and Darts, with easily over 100 people attending each of these events. However it is some of the lesser ‘sports’ that also epitomise Founders, with at points over 60 people crowded around games of Dominoes, with people climbing on furniture and peering through windows for a glimpse of a game, many argue is determined by luck. Equal or even greater to this was the attendance at the Chess decider of 2011 with approximately one hundred members of each college eagerly watching and waiting for the outcome of the game.
It is hard to know if Lonsdale have passed up one of the greatest opportunities they will ever have to win the competition or if the heartbreak of 2011 will spur the college to glory this time round. Last year there were deciders in Men’s B Pool, Men’s Darts, Men’s A pool and a penalty shoot-out in the Men’s As football; it will be almost impossible for the tournament to be as close and exciting as 2011 but if it is anything like last year, it would make great viewing for any neutral spectator never mind the two colleges involved.