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The countdown is almost over, Europe’s largest inter-university sports tournament is nearly upon us and the White and Red Roses are putting in their last pieces of training preparation in order to lock horns once more.
Roses 2014 promises to be the biggest sporting spectacle of the academic year, with Lancaster desperate to not only make amends for last year’s away defeat in the walled City, but also to stake claim to the landmark 50th anniversary of the prestigious tournament with a memorable victory.
Roses 2014 officially gets under way with the opening ceremony of Men’s football, to be played in a campus based stadium on Friday evening. The opener is poised to be an exhilarating affair, with the University firsts coming off the back of a fine domestic campaign seeing them finish second in the Northern 3A, incurring only one loss all season. This, coupled with Lancaster’s strong history of footballing form against the White Rose, beating York in the previous two Roses encounters, sets the stage for a fiery introduction to the semi-centennial tournament.
In a break with tradition, the Rugby Union firsts have given way to the Football in showcasing the opening ceremony. This should not deter the Cats from doing their part to put Lancastrian points upon the Roses scoreboard however, with confidence at an all-time high following an awe-inspiring unbeaten season. The Saturday of the Roses weekend is dedicated to the Rugby Union teams this year, with the seconds and thirds turning out respectively in the morning before the firsts prepare to take the main stage in the early afternoon.
Football and rugby may stand as two of the most watched sports of the Roses weekend, but with over 300 points available across the 40 different sporting activities, it is clear to see that the battle could be won or lost in a culmination of different areas.
In assessing where Lancaster could be successful in taking back their Roses crown, a large spectrum of different sports can play their part, particularly those that go largely unnoticed until the yearly meeting with York arises. It is one for all and all for one throughout Roses however, with every point contributed vital to either University’s potential triumph.
Lancaster’s hockey and lacrosse teams will be looking to make their mark upon the York opposition, with both sports enjoying success-laden seasons in their respective domestic leagues. The Men’s firsts of both disciplines have dominated their leagues this season, storming to championship winning places and sending out real signals of intent with regards to the upcoming clashes with York. Showing sheer quality across both sexes, the Women’s hockey firsts also stormed to the title in their league campaign by a clear six points.
Elsewhere, championship winning seasons have also been registered for the Lancaster Women’s firsts basketball, Men’s firsts squash, Men’s firsts table tennis and Women’s thirds hockey. Alongside these remarkable domestic conquests, Lancaster additionally had five other sporting teams finish second in their respective leagues, with Men’s seconds hockey and Men’s thirds Rugby Union unfortunate to narrowly miss out of the top prize.
Likewise, it has been a sublime season of sporting contention for the University’s tennis and water polo athletes, with both the Lancaster Men’s and Women’s firsts teams from each of the two sports placing second in their leagues, in some cases only a single point keeping the title from their grasps.
Hoping to provide just as heartily to the University’s Roses point tally however will be those sports perhaps overlooked by the BUCS organisation. Athletes representing Lancaster for disciplines such as Ultimate Frisbee, trampolining, sailing, fencing, clay pigeon shooting, karate and archery as well as successful long-standing University bar sports such as darts and pool will all test their skills against the York opposition.
Furthermore from an antithetical view to the physical duels, Roses has it all, as the debating, baking, equestrian and dancesport will also all be vying for points; the latter having particular grounds for confidence after a majestic year of competition wins for the LUDans girls.
It truly has been a successful year of university sport for Lancaster, yet all captains and teammates alike will know that now is not the time to let the foot off the gas. As Roses beckons, a chance to own a slice of University history arises. Does Lancaster have what it takes to overcome the White Rose and seize back our rightful crown in the prestigious 50th coming together of the old foes? We’re about to find out.