This year’s Roses tournament saw Lancaster win the war of university sport once again, reaching the required 164 points on Sunday afternoon after three intense days of sporting head-to-heads. Confirmation that Roses was Lancaster’s was announced on Sunday afternoon, meaning that Lancaster have won two Roses competitions back-to-back, and with York losing on home soil for the first time in 30 years.
The annual event is Europe’s biggest inter-university Varsity competition, and, as the name suggests, is a sportier re-enactment of the famous War of the Roses. Pitting York (White Roses) and Lancaster (Red Roses) head-to-head to decide once and for all the true colour of roses (well, until next year). And unfortunately for York supporters, this year roses were officially Red.
Despite a strong start on Friday, and a raucous 11-2 win from the Women’s Lacrosse team in the opening ceremony, Lancaster began to pull ahead throughout Saturday afternoon. Strong York sweeps in dance, Netball and both Men’s and Women’s Rugby Union weren’t enough to overpower Lancaster’s narrow wins in American football, volleyball and darts, leaving them with a large lead come bedtime.
While the Sunday teams worked hard to scramble some last minute points, it was never going to be enough to gain the 70+ points needed to take the prize. After a tight final morning of point tallying as Red Lancastrian results for archery, indoor hockey and cricket flew in, at around 3pm Lancaster were officially the Roses 2023 champions.
Still, the basketball Closing Ceremony allowed for one last comeback from the York Men’s 1sts who snatched an enthralling 58-56 win. But ultimately, despite this final electric battle, the wider war had already been won.
Just like in 1485 where Henry Tudor’s Lancastrian army decimated Richard III’s Yorkist army at the Battle of Bosworth (where our Sport’s Editor Jacob hails from) deciding the Wars of the Roses, University of Lancaster soundly beat York in 2023, sending outgoing Sport’s President Franki Riley off with a quieter outcome than she might have hoped. However, it’s not 1485, and the years long War of the Roses is far from being decided yet. Let’s just hope York can bounce back from the dead for a rousing competition in Lancaster next year.
It was far from all doom and gloom, with additional triumphant news for all involved. This year’s Roses is now the highest fundraiser in Roses history, with the weekend raising over £8000 for the charity Survive. The York based charity was announced as the official charity for Roses by Franki Riley in a deeply personal article written before the event, with the money going to help support adult survivors of sexual trauma. Furthermore, the media coverage accomplished by York and Lancaster media terms, including Nouse, URY, YSTV, Scan, LA1 and Bailrigg FM, demonstrated an impressive effort by student media all around.
With an important cause at its heart and an intense battle raging across 100+ sports throughout the weekend, the 2023 Roses tournament was a memorable one, and we are certainly looking forward to York’s potential comeback on Lancaster soil.