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Picking only a few top moments were difficult, such is the rich history of the competition, but eventually a top five were settled upon. Honourable mentions must go to the only drawn Roses of 1974, Lancaster’s last away win of 1985 and the dramatic York win of 2002; these all could have made the cut but just missed out. Here then, is a selection of the five best Roses tournaments over the last 50 years:
5: 1966: Lancaster (H) beat York (A)
It seems fitting than in a year that is remembered with great fondness by the entire nation, Lancaster were also celebrating getting their hands on a trophy for the first time. Forget the England heroes of ‘66 and their World Cup triumph over Germany, this was also the year of the second ever Roses tournament and the first to be held at the home of the Red Rose. After the success of the first ever Roses tournament, Lancaster held the follow up even with a sense of great excitement. The first home Roses proved to be even more of a success for the Red Rose, as they clinched a first ever Roses win and ensured that the tournament would be one to stay.
4. 2011: York (H) beat Lancaster (A)
2011 was in many senses your typical modern Roses weekend, and followed the trend of being a comfortable victory for the home side. York ran out 176.5 to 104.5 winners overall, but it was for one moment in particular that this tournament makes our list. 2011 was the first year that a Roses match was held in a stadium, the Rugby Union 1sts game being watched by thousands inside Huntington Stadium. This added a whole new level to the tournament, as both universities have since attempted to build on the success of 2011.
3. 2008: York (A) beat Lancaster (H)
2008 was the last time an away team won the Carter-James Shield, and it was a sweet victory for the White Rose, as they took their trophy back across the Pennines. During Roses there are almost always a few finger biting moments for both sides, but in truth the trophy is usually decided one way or the other by the Saturday afternoon. This was certainly not the case in 2008, as the score finished Lancaster 122-York 124. Just two points decided the contest during a pulsating Sunday, making it one of the most exciting contests in recent times.
2. 1977 Lancaster (A) beat York (H)
1977’s Roses at York is a special one for Lancaster in particular, as it provided an away victory during the Red Rose’s most successful era in the tournament. The 1977 away trip was Lancaster’s sixth successive Roses tournament without a defeat, a home draw in 1974 being the only blip on an otherwise stunning period for Lancaster. Three of Lancaster’s four away victories came during this purple patch of sporting form and neither side has been able to dominate the tournament to this extent since.
1. 2014 Lancaster (H) beat York (A)
The number one Roses tournament may be slightly biased coming from a current Sport Editor, but there are definitely enough reasons to justify this selection being top of our list. 2014 was the 50th Roses tournament and so had that little bit of extra significance for both sides, not that either university needed an excuse to add to the intensity of the rivalry. An incredible atmosphere from both sets of supporters only increased the standing of the event and it simply exploded at the final buzzer of the Women’s Basketball, the home crowd ecstatic to find out that Lancaster had clinched it.
Lancaster’s win in such a highly important Roses wasn’t the only reason for this being at number one however, there’s much more to it than that. The 2014 Roses allows us all to see just how far the tournament has come in 50 years, to see the huge 183.5-142.5 score and realise this is far more than just a boat race. Roses isn’t even just a sports tournament any more, it’s about combining competition, support and university pride into a three day celebration.
Current Roses Win Total:
Lancaster 24 wins: 20 home, 4 away.
York 25 wins: 21 home, 4 away