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The eagerly awaited 50th anniversary of the Roses tournament got off to spectacular fashion late on Friday evening, as an ensemble of varied entertainment engaged the amassing crowds within a packed and energy-filled stadium.
In the lead up to the opening event of men’s Football, the centre stage was taken by an array of acts, beginning with the Lancaster University brass band providing a booming background with their takes upon classic numbers as the spectators began to arrive in their droves. Setting the atmosphere nicely, the Lancaster cheerleaders soon followed, performing their well-rehearsed routine seemingly unperturbed by the chill of the late spring air.
As the sea of red began to fully formulate in the standing section upon the hill, the Lancaster University Magic and Illusion Society took to the field to further stoke up the heat of the atmosphere; quite literally with their fire tossing act illuminating the stadium. The crowd watched on intently as batons of fire pirouetted through the air before falling majestically back into the grasps of the performers.
As the applause was still ringing for the Magic and Illusion society, the final act saw a selection of girls comprising the Lancaster LUDanS society enter the fray before the main spectacle. Expertly synchronised moves were carried out with impeccable timing as the impressively choreographed routine played out in front of approximately 3,000 spectating students.
The LUDanS girls withdrew to cheers of appreciation as the university footballers took to the stage, the accompaniment of Pavarotti’s iconic Nessun Dorma rendition booming out and hyping up the intensity tenfold. A dazzling pyrotechnic display along with fireworks exploding into the evening sky signalled to all that the semi-centennial Roses was well and truly upon us.
Following a weekend of passion, at times frustration and ultimately joy, Lancaster entered the closing ceremony as landslide victors with the score proudly standing at 183.5 to York’s 142.5. The closing proceedings, equally as engaging as Friday’s opener, led with opening sentiments from both universities, with Lancaster chancellor and vice-chancellor Sir Chris Bonington and Mark Smith offering their thanks and congratulations to all involved respectively, before handing over to York counterpart, vice-chancellor Koen Lamberts.
Music and entertainment were provided to accompany the festivities, with musicians from the University Brass Quintet performing a fantastic cover of Muse’s hit ‘Time is Running Out’ in collaboration with Jess French, promptly followed by the Lancaster University Hip-Hop Society who dazzled the students and academics alike with an energetic, fast flowing piece.
LUSU Vice President for activities Emily Pollitt closed with words of thanks for all involved over a magnificent weekend of sport, before individual trophies were distributed to the triumphing teams. Finally, and the event that all had been waiting for, Sir Chris Bonington stepped forward along with Emily Pollitt to hoist aloft the Roses trophy. A rapturous applause and chants of Lancaster filled the air as Queen’s ‘We Are The Champions’ reigned over the speakers, a backing track of which no iconic victory would be complete without.
From start to finish, the tournament lived up to every ounce of the spectacle of which it was billed. A sweet home victory enjoyed by all, from freshers to seasoned university old-timers, Roses 2014 will certainly be one that lives long in the memory.