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As another academic year begins and an influx of eager freshers descend upon the Lancaster University campus, each of the eight undergraduate colleges ready themselves to lock horns for what is sure to be another year of fierce competition and passionate sporting drama. The 2013-2014 year will, as always, see the colleges compete across a whole host of sports, ending spectacularly with the university’s athletes coming together collectively to face York in the annual varsity competition of ‘Roses’.
Newcomers to Lancaster may initially be sceptical about the intensity that college rivalries can muster, brushing it aside as friendly competition. Nevertheless, once college tournaments such as the Carter Shield begin, the competitive edge of everybody involved will certainly be felt.
With Pendle taking last year’s trophy, finishing nine points clear of Bowland on 123 points, spirits and general optimism are sure to be high on the south-westerly side of campus, as the college known for their witch’s emblem seek to have another magical sporting year.
The annual ‘Founders’ tournament additionally stokes up a similar sense of passion around campus as the two founding colleges, Lonsdale and Bowland, go head-to-head in a weekend of sport to determine bragging rights. Last season saw Bowland take the overall win after hard-fought battles in sports, ranging from hockey and rugby to basketball and dodge ball. Mass crowds gathered to witness each of the sporting events throughout the two days, best encapsulated with a crammed touchline as the football tie headed to a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
Football and netball stand prominently as the main seasonal inter-college sports for students, with last year’s league tables finishing closer than ever. The sense of rivalry can be felt from the off, with colleges eager to get a winning start and establish early points on the board. With sporting fixtures recently being released by LUSU, colleges are able to see exactly who they will face and when.
This seasons upcoming men’s football fixtures have dished out a mouth-watering start to the campaign, with last years A-league winners Pendle facing a tough match up with Fylde whilst simultaneously in the B league the action kicks off with one of the strongest rivalries in college football, a classic County vs Fylde showdown. Fylde will feel they have a score to settle on this occasion, after being both knocked out of the LUSU cup and beaten to the B-league title by their County rivals last season.
College sport isn’t completely about intense rivalry and patriotic-like allegiance – it is also a fundamental part of meeting new people and branching out your social life during your time here at Lancaster, into a whole new pool of different communities. Joining a sports team, many students agree, is one of the quickest and most efficient ways of getting to know new people during your time at university. Whether personally playing or merely being a part of a group of supporters for a particular event, the beauty of inter-college competition allows people to unite over a shared purpose.
With Freshers’ Fair just around the corner, there is not a more opportune moment to get involved with either a sport you love or perhaps one which you have never before previously heard of. If weekly fixtures against fellow rival colleges aren’t for you, Lancaster provides a whole host of other sports of a more lesser-known quantity, examples including tag rugby, rounders and volleyball; all of which are key elements which make up the Carter shield. In addition to the sports already mentioned, the colleges pride themselves in their regularly competing bar sport teams including pool, darts and dominoes, which may better suit those who aren’t fans of the more physically taxing sports. In short, no matter what sport you either currently play or perhaps wish to play, the chances that the University caters for the sport you desire are considerably high indeed.
As Freshers’ Week begins, with it college devotion and sporting allegiance follow in meticulous fashion. Before you know it, you will find yourself declaring your love for your college and opposition to all others, most probably via many an alcohol-fuelled college anthem that ring around campus during an action packed first week. It’s here that you will first find yourself gaining both attachment and pride with the college you belong to, a feeling that will only grow stronger as you continue your journey as a Lancaster University student. Enjoy Freshers’ Week and remember to capitalise as much as you can upon the many sporting opportunities which will serve you with both high-level competition and friends of which you will most probably keep throughout the entirety of your university lives.