Despite sharing the points with Lancaster in both the A and B team events for earning the joint highest individual scores, both of York’s bouldering teams were defeated overall as Lancaster proved too strong in the Sports Hall.
Bouldering is the closest any sport has ever come to being a chess match. Competitors fight as much in the mind as they do on the rocks and up the walls.
Each group and team has two hours to complete twenty “problems”. These problems involve scaling walls by climbing on the specific coloured stones for that specific climb. Competitors are allowed as many attempts at each problem as they require to complete them, but more points are awarded for finishing it in less attempts.
The mood in the Climbing Area of the Lancaster Sports Hall can only be described as being “zen”. House music pumped around the room as climbers clambered around the room, being interrupted sporadically by the polite applause of the crowd whenever anyone managed to successfully complete a problem.
For the A Team, Matthew Clark earned York a share of the points with an impressive score of 187 out of a possible 200.
“This was my third Roses.” Clark said after the A team match had finished. “We won last year but were destroyed the year before that. Bouldering can be very stressful, it’s more about not making mistakes than going for speed.”
The York strategy seemed to be to complete as many of the easier problems early, in order to have more time to spend on the more difficult problems towards the end.
Although this strategy worked for Clark, as well as Dave Mayes, who finished joint first against his Lancaster opponent in the B Team match, York were unable to outscore Lancaster. Despite a score of 465 out of a possible 600, the York A team was defeated.
When asked which board game he believed bouldering to be most similar to, Clark also came to the conclusion that was essentially “the climbing version of chess”.