Pruning red roses

It has been the general form of Roses that the home side wins, though the margin of the weekend’s York victory was certainly not run of the mill. Perhaps the home advantage is due to the teams familiarity with the environment, or perhaps the fact that they do not have to travel? But based on Roses 2005, there might be a different reason.

Home support has to be a major factor, and this year’s hockey is a case in point. There were massive shouts of support, with ‘Come on York!’ gravelling the throats of many spectators, adding a bit more passion to the Yorvik sprints down the line. Congratulations must go to all those who turned out in a weird mixture of sun, rain and hail to provide a sufficiently noisy accompaniment to some increasingly vocal hockey matches – should Lancaster really have tried to red-card the umpire after a decision didn’t go their way?

As well as shouting, the hockey sidelines saw a particularly well watered set of fanatics form a five-piece band. In the end, the black and white shirts of the York teams had a guitar, two bongo drums, a trumpet and, wait for it, a didgeridoo, blasting out disparate but heartfelt rhythms, partly because they had had a drink or ten, but mainly because they were excited at the prospect of a York victory. Two particulary ‘excited’ members of the York brigade even dropped their trousers, both to reveal ‘York Uni’ printed across their boxer shorts. Sadly, those boxer shorts didn’t match nouse in terms of coverage.

So maybe full-bodied home support gives the home side the necessary cutting edge. Whatever the reason for the trend, the aim of each team has to be to buck it. York have managed to kill Lancaster’s attempt, with style – next year it’s our attempt to go against the grain. Judging by the final scores this year, we may have a bit of leeway.

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