University Sport at York

Image: Justyn Hardcastle

Image: Justyn Hardcastle

Like most universities there are plenty of opportunities to get involved with sport at York.

The collegiate system means anybody can have a go if they want, read our guide to College Sport here.

If however that isn’t your thing you might fancy your chances of representing the Black and Gold. York has fifteen sports that compete in BUCS leagues, short for British Universities and College Sport. Throughout the year they do battle against other Northern universities, predominantly on Wednesdays.

Those sports that compete in BUCS are badminton, basketball, cricket, fencing, football, golf, hockey, lacrosse, netball, rugby union, squash, table tennis, volleyball and water polo.

There are countless other sports that also compete with other universities, with the pool & snooker club being one of the University’s most profitable in terms of points. Head to the Union’s website to see the whole list.

As well as BUCS action there are two big sporting events throughout the year. The first is Varsity, traditionally this has seen York go up against city rivals York St. John but last year the opposition was provided by Hull.

The second big event of the year is Roses. This taps into the history between Lancaster and Yorkshire with the universities of York and Lancaster battling it out over three days. It’s a bit like Varsity, only the weather is nicer, it’s a lot more exciting, more people take part and it matters more. You can see our coverage of last year’s Roses here to get an idea about what it’s all about.

Teams at York enjoyed some success last year. The major high points were resounding victories in both Varsity and Roses but there were triumphs too for individual teams. The men’s lacrosse firsts won the BUCS Northern Conference Cup final, while the men’s table tennis did the same. The team of the year though were the women’s basketball firsts. They won promotion from BUCS Northern Conference 3B, winning all their games on their way, and they sealed Roses glory for the University.

There’s an overall BUCS league, don’t you know, in which York are 48th out of 145 – above Anglia Ruskin, if you were wondering.

If you feel you could improve York’s ranking, or just want to have a good time on the pitch/astro/court/insert arena of sport, then trials will be held in Freshers’ Week. Get involved!

There’s not much more to say, so we’ll leave you with a few quotes from some of York’s sportspeople about what sport at the Uni means to them.

“You always feel part of the team, whether its during a tense competition or during a night out, and I feel that this is what makes sport at York truly special. It’s up to you as the individual to decide how serious you take it, and no matter what, being involved in sport will definitely make your university experience more memorable.” – Liam Woodcock, University of York Waterpolo and Swimming Club.

“University sport has been the pinnacle of university life. It’s fun, competitive, there’s a great team spirit, you get to keep fit and you make friends across all colleges and years.” – Jack Beadle, University of York Football Club.

“Being involved in the Darts Society here at York has been great fun. The people you meet, the evening meeting times, the camaraderie and the chance to represent the University on a national level in both individual and team tournaments has brought a great deal of fun and fulfilment to my time at York.” – Nick Hall, University of York Darts Society.

“It has been a real privilege to play badminton for the University. With so many great people both running and attending the club, its hard not to get immersed in the warm and inviting atmosphere. The best part for me was Roses, where we convincingly beat our old rivals Lancaster!” – Talfryn Provis-Evans, University of York Badminton Club.

“The most enjoyable thing about playing sport at Uni is it made me a load of great friends with the same interests as me, improved my Uni social life and just allowed me to interact with a lot of people which would not have happened without playing sport.” – Fraser Crawford, University of York Cricket Club.

“York sport has been a thoroughly enriching experience; a wonderful mesh of competitiveness, comradeship, fitness and socialising. I would have never met my best friends had I not joined York sport.” – Liz Chan, University of York Women’s Lacrosse Club.


  1. You missed Futsal off the list of BUCS sports.

    Ambro would not be pleased…

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  2. I never like to upset Ambro.

    I just used the list on the BUCS website, is Futsal not on there because BUCS are just slow? Or is it because it’s not played weekly?

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  3. Just to say that the Darts Society can be found on the Societies list not the sports teams one!

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  4. We’re also national champions!

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  5. Must be because it’s not weekly.

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  6. There are plenty of sports that are BUCS and not listed (because they’re not weekly).

    A lot of clubs send off competitors to one off tournaments such as Athletics, Canoeing, Judo, etc.

    It’s important to note that we fund any student athlete in BUCS. For example next year our Golf club will not be competing in BUCS but we will be funding individuals who wish to compete.

    So even if there isn’t a club, or you play an individual sport, please contact us to see if we can help with your competitions.

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  7. Thanks for clearing that up Sam.

    Apologies for any confusion.

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  8. Important to remember that BUCS isn’t the be all and end all of sport at university. Less widely played sports and activities like aikido, octopush, cave, capoeira etc etc etc are tremendously valuable to sports in York as for one they get people who wouldn’t necessarily get the chance to play uni level sport involved. Also, they’re full of people who are often very talented at their sport & would love to play in BUCS were it possible.

    BUCS is amazing but it’s important to remember the sports not involved in the system! Try something new when you come to uni.

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  9. For any freshers interested in playing university rugby see:

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  10. Our equestrian teams also compete in BUCS…

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