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Well, it’s once again that time of year for the countdown to the pinnacle of University sport, the ultimate rivalry and the biggest show of university pride. Yes, Roses will soon be upon us and 2014 should prove to be the best one yet, as the biggest varsity in Europe has it’s fiftieth anniversary right here at Lancaster University.
The Wars of the Roses have been etched in British history since 1455 when the houses of Lancaster and York fought hard for the throne of England until Henry VII united the houses to begin the Tudor reign.
Just as passionate although certainly less bloody, the war of the roses between Lancaster and York Universities carries on the mantle of this historic event and creates a weekend of thrilling sporting contests. As the red and white roses compete across a plethora of sports to win the title for that year, only the university with the most well balanced standard across all sports can win the contest.
The event started out in 1965 as an idea from the York Vice-Chancellor who suggested that the two universities compete in a yearly boat race, with the winner being awarded a trophy. This was soon expanded by the students and the contest gradually added more and more sports until it eventually became the competition that exists today. Roses’ remarkable growth doesn’t stop there however, as every year since the competition’s formation, a new sport has been added to the roster.
The fact that Roses in 2014 is now approaching it’s half century of contests adds another extra incentive to win for the teams on both sides, giving the varsity an added edge. Teams around Lancaster will be looking to retain the title following a valiant but ultimately unfruitful journey to York last year, despite some eye catching team and individual performances. York’s 180.5 to 105.5 home victory followed a familiar pattern of the contest being dominated by the home side, with York’s away win in 2008 being the only time in the last 10 years an away side has gone home with the spoils.
For those who are new to this prestigious tournament, Roses is the by far the biggest sporting event of the year for both Lancaster and York students. Almost all university sports teams will compete against their York counterparts in the hope of securing victory, bragging rights and valuable points towards the total. Points are weighted accordingly depending on the sport and the score of the match; as the weekend progresses and scores arrive, the totals of the two universities increase until all events are concluded.
Roses isn’t just a big deal for the sports teams on campus however, it’s a whole university event that will undoubtedly spark up all the university pride possible for each student who embraces it. For anyone who doubts the sheer size of Roses and it’s position as the biggest varsity in Europe, just wait until the strews of red and white shirts are seen around campus as both Lancaster and York students soak in the atmosphere. Singing, drinking and meeting new people are all great social aspects of Roses that mean not just sports teams get involved in the event. Simply put, when Roses fever hits, you won’t be able to escape it.
Another great thing about Roses is broad spectrum of sport it covers, giving everyone a chance to go and watch something they enjoy. The willingness from students not usually enthused by sport to get involved with Roses brings a positive energy amongst all the sports teams, for example last year’s footballing whitewash was overseen by huge gathering of Lancaster support. Whether it be the traditional Saturday afternoon rugby match, the all day enjoyment of 50 over cricket or the absolute bedlam from supporters during the darts, there really is something for everyone.