It may have been an imperfect weekend of weather to compete for the Carter-James Trophy, but for a rejuvinated York team under Stuart Leslie’s influential command it was simply perfect.
In the past, home advantage has proved a major deciding factor in the final result, and there is no doubt that York University began this weekend as favourites to regain the trophy, which they lost so cruelly to the Lancastrians a year ago. However this was one of the only parts of this year’s Roses event which followed the form book.
A prime example of the oddities which made up this years event was the sensational draw obtained by the York Men’s Firsts in the football on Sunday afternoon. After a terrible season for Nick Wall’s team, which included relegation in their BUSA division, an inspiring performance and a dramatic last minute equaliser proved to be a suitable tonic against a Lancaster side who are ranked three divisions above them.
The York players were buoyed by the confirmation of an early-morning Roses victory and a jubilant crowd, and they consequently produced a magnificant performance. Had it not been for a series of missed chances and a questionable penalty decision the day might have been even better.
Such unexpected results prove that the Roses weekend is truly a one off occasion, in which the current form of the teams involved counts for nothing. The historic nature of the event inspires sportsmen and women to up the level of their game and the party atmosphere which surrounds the weekend creates brilliant sporting spectacles.
Such spectacles included the Men’s Badminton Firsts, which although in the pre-match build-up might have appeared an unlikely contender for being an enthraling encounter, the dogged display which Lancaster provided shocked York and forced them into an engaging final game decider.
Despite this year’s Roses offering many surprises, there is no question that this was a truly convincing victory for the White Rose. Rob Walker’s Lancaster team never looked like they had the belief or class to repeat the heroics of last year. For the next twelve months York University can not only boast of their superior academic reputation but can couple this with pride in their sporting achievements.