Roses 2013 – Heroes and Villains

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Servant to the Red Rose Award: Will “Bashful” Blackmore

The scenes at the end of the Rugby 2nd XV defeat were a bitter pill to swallow for most Lancastrians, but for some, it was the end of something far greater. For William Blackmore, it saw his last chance to best his clubs oldest rivals in their own backyard slip away; and by the smallest margin of two points. Blackmore has been a pillar for LURUFC over his four years at Lancaster, and has contributed massively to both the Men’s and Women’s games, as well as refereeing intercollege tournaments such as Legends in 2012. His reaction to his team’s loss in the 2nds fixture was testament to how much his club means to him. Former Lancaster Rugby prop forward, Alex “Kes” McFadden, summed up those feelings:

“Roses isn’t just a tournament; it’s a stage on which the club can show all its progression and hard work from the season, as well as its pre-Roses dedication. Not only that, but every year it is the last game for many Cats. They will never again play wearing that LURUFC jersey. Being part of the club is like being part of a family. Many people join the club and leave better people, better players, and they owe so much towards it. So the amount it means to step out that last time and play your heart out for your family and university is a feeling that, I think, is hard replicate anywhere else.”

Best Team Award: Lancaster’s Men and Women’s Basketball

The fact that Roses was away clearly had a marked effect on a number of score lines. Lancaster managed many impressive victories, but there were notably few high scoring routs of the White Rose in their own backyard. Fortunately on Sunday, the combined outfit of the Men and Women’s Basketball teams completely annihilated their York rivals. The Women’s match saw a fantastic display of attacking play, combined with stalwart defence and a remarkable ability to retain possession; the score finishing a resounding 71-24 to Lancaster. The Men were not to be out done, as they took to the court shortly after, and proceeded to dispatch their opponents 72-35; giving the two teams of Lancaster a combined score of 143-59. This was a true testament to the abilities, dedication and hard work of our Lancastrian Basketballers.

Best Coaching Staff Award: Batman and Robin

When 3rd XV Captain James Halliwell saw a bad leg injury end his match prematurely, there must have been a moment when the LURUFC Chairman felt completely and utterly vulnerable. Fortunately, help was on the way, as LURUFC’s medical team, Batman and Robin, swung in to pluck the injured Halliwell from the field.
After ensuring his charge’s injury was safely under ice, Batman refused any accolade for his actions, commenting “It’s not who I am underneath. It’s what I do that defines me.” The identities of the Caped Crusader and his Boy Wonder are still unknown.
Supporters of the Weekend: The Lancaster Away fans
It has already been said, but the point cannot be reiterated enough; the York support at their own Roses was pretty embarrassing for the home side. On the Friday afternoon, only a small percentage of the fans that were to travel across the Pennines to York were present; yet they still outnumbered their York counterparts. They were certainly in fuller voice.
With the exception of the 1st XV game at Huntingdon, most fixtures across the weekend saw a fair 50-50 split between Red and White Rose fans. The effort that Lancaster students put in to make sure they were there to support friends, flatmates and partners across the weekend was exceptional, and the players from all the sports teams were undoubtedly hugely grateful for that encouragement. It highlighted the importance that Lancaster places upon this historic tournament; as well as the sad lack of interest that the York student body places upon their own sports teams.

Villain of the Weekend: Women’s Rugby match Officials

The last thing that LUWRUFC would want us to do is make excuses for their loss against York. However, the lack of discipline and the outright brutality of the York players during the 1st XV fixture was one of the few sad points of the weekend. There were a number of incidences where York players committed high tackles, infringed at the ruck, and there were alleged reports from some spectators of stamping. The referee failed to act on any of these, and never once thought to implement his authority on the game with disciplinary action. His failure to act had a knock on effect on the match, which saw a number of injuries resulting from sloppy tackling and reckless play.

Lancaster Player of the Tournament:

This winner of this award has proved to be near on impossible to decide. There were dedicated performances across the weekend from a large number of players of the Red Rose army; and to single one out seems to be counteractive to the team effort that was displayed by all of Lancaster’s travelling teams and fans.
Honourable mentions should go to Harry Roe’s performance at fly half for the 1st XV; Alex Lanigan’s hat trick in the College Select football; and Ed Markey’s impressive 89 in the Men’s cricket. But for sheer effort, dedication to the cause, and for leading Lancaster forward from the front, my Player of the Tournament award goes to Liz Ashworth. She has poured all her effort into Roses 2013, and her performances in the Women’s Rugby at Openside flanker were inspiring to all both players and supporters. Her crippling injury in that rugby fixture may have put her out of contention for the Women’s Waterpolo later that evening, but was testament to her determination; the fact she attempted to return to the pitch was truly remarkable considering the extent of her injuries. Although returning homeward without the Carter-James Trophy, the dedication of Ashworth to her sports teams across the year has never faltered; hopefully this acknowledgement will provide a small amount of consolation.

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