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The image of Emily Pollitt, last year’s VP Activities, raising the red-ribbonned trophy for Lancaster’s win at the 50th Roses, will long stay in the memories of all Lancastrians who took part in 2014. With a lot of planning going into this year’s tournament, there is much hope for a similar image and a first away win in York since 1985.
Roses in York, for Lancaster teams, has a very different feel than a home Roses. The task of gathering together a team willing to make the trek over the Pennines and to take a weekend out of revision for exams just around the corner is always hard. The challenges of a long journey, and sleeping on cold floors whilst listening to already competed teams celebrating until the early hours of the morning make a top quality performance seem quite a feat. The diminished support for Lancaster whilst in York creates a vastly different atmosphere for those playing in red.
Of course this is all insignificant when Lancaster kit is put on and that whistle, buzzer or shout marks the start of a match. There is still a roar of Lancaster supporters, the determination to win comes to the fore and the pride of playing in red takes over.
With just under eight weeks to go, the training is being ramped up and plans are well under way for a final push towards the elusive away win. But York are also pulling out all the stops. Roy Hodgson, current England football manager and former professional footballer is lined up to open this year’s tournament. Even David Beckham and Rio Ferdinand were approached for the role, but declined, according to York student newspaper York Vision.
With Lancaster only one win behind York in the overall tally, the race is on. So in reality what are the chances for Lancaster’s sports teams at Roses 2015?
With Lancaster British University and Colleges Sports (BUCS) teams having lost all six times there have been fixtures against York so far this year, you may be forgiven for thinking that all hope must be lost. Add to this York’s overall BUCS points position nine places ahead of Lancaster, you might wonder why so much effort is being ploughed into the chances of an away win this year.
However, a study of the teams overall paints a completely different picture. Of the 36 Lancaster BUCS teams with York equivalents, an impressive seventeen are in higher leagues than York, with another eleven either in the same league or equal league level. This just leaves eight teams having to face up to York teams in higher leagues than them. Perhaps this is an indication of the growing strength of Lancaster sports teams over the last few years and provides an optimism which may so far be lacking.
Lancaster teams with the best Roses records are the Men’s Hockey 3rds, the Trampolining Team and the Lancaster Bombers American Football Team – all of whom remained undefeated until 2012 and are therefore the ones to watch out for. As are the Women’s Basketball Team who tipped Lancaster’s point count to victory last year, the Men’s Fencing 1st Team, who are the only Lancaster team in the Premier League and the Men’s Tennis Teams, who have had the best team form over this season.
BUCS teams of course aren’t all of the activities which gain those all so valuable points, but perhaps will help repeat and improve last year’s 183.5 – 142.5 victory to finally allow Lancaster to gain an away win for the first time since 1985.