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In the wake of Lancaster’s superb Roses 2014 victory, a number of key moments stand out from across the bank holiday weekend. Surprise wins for Lancaster University Rugby Union Football Club’s (LURUFC) second and third strings contributed invaluable points to the collective total. Furthermore, triumphs for the Men’s Hockey Club (LUMHC) firsts and Women’s Basketball Club (LUWBC) maintained each side’s impressive BUCS form. Despite the collective team efforts being deserving of recognition though, the exertions of a range of individuals require a special mention.
Following his squad’s comfortable 27-8 win, LURUFC seconds’ Captain Wes Hallam pointed towards the performance of James Rowan as being crucial to the home team going ahead after a closely contested opening period.
The second year flanker secured a hat-trick of tries and from that point on Lancaster never looked like succumbing to their White Rose opponents. Whilst Rowan was getting his name on the score-sheet, fly-half Henri Bidaou’s kicking kept the visitors penned back in their own half and Dom Horn “had a very strong game in the centre”.
Although the York outfit grabbed a late consolation try, the team’s captain remarked upon the performance positively and celebrated the fact it ended a six year winless run at Roses for our men’s rugby seconds. Looking ahead to next season, Hallam went on to say, “With a new coach in Fergus Owens, and a young team, I foresee great things for the future.”
Lancaster seconds were not the first home side to taste victory on the day though and the club’s third string recorded an even more emphatic 42-13 win over their perennial rivals in the early fixture. Picked out as the team’s star performer, Jonathan Preston was “at the centre of many of Lancaster’s best moments” according to Sports Editor Iain Beddow.
The Lancaster number 8 grabbed a brace of tries in what was his final game for the Cats, though after the game he looked to praise the side as a whole rather than to take personal plaudits.
“The thirds game is a demonstration of how far the club as a whole has come this season and hopefully it will only continue next season to a complete red wash. We planned all year to be fitter and better drilled than them. It showed on the pitch as we pulled ahead after 30 minutes to a thoroughly deserved 30 point winning margin” said a delighted Preston following the game.
Aside from the travails of the home rugby teams, LUMHC faced a crucial run of fixtures on the Saturday of Roses. After defeat for the seconds and thirds, the onus was on the men’s firsts to replicate the form which saw them crowned Northern Division 2A champions in an impressive BUCS campaign.
Trailing 2-1 at half time, Adam Carr’s side mounted a stirring comeback and were 4-2 ahead with 10 minutes to go before York drew themselves level. However, with moments on the clock, Lancaster were awarded a penalty flick which Captain’s Player of the Year Steve McGrath converted with consummate ease.
After scoring what proved to be the winning goal, the Northern Irishman stated, “The main feeling was relief as I had missed one the day before in indoor. After that passed, I was just delighted as it could not have been a better way to end my LUMHC career!”
Heading in to the second day of play, with only 9.5 points required for Lancaster to secure the coveted Roses title, the race was on to be the team that brought the trophy home. Having won back to back league titles, it was fitting that LUWBC’s 62-27 victory was the tipping point that meant the cup would return to the Red Rose county after 12 months in Yorkshire.
Integral to the win was the performance of Damla Tonuk who suggested that, “It was a tough game but we played well”. Team coach Matt Covre was effusive in his praise of the home side and stated, “It’s awesome to win Roses for Lancaster especially as they’re the best team on campus, I’m really proud of them.”
With Lancaster going on to secure a further 20 points, Sunday wrapped up a great Roses weekend in which countless Lancaster stars shone.