We might not be table-toppers when it comes to sport, but it’s an exciting time to be involved in the sporting scene at the University at the moment, with us coming on leaps and bounds in the national BUCS league table. We host fierce rivals Lancaster in this year’s Roses Tournament, too – and we’re out to get our trophy back!
It’s a good job then that we’ve got some really excellent facilities here at the University for the denizens of the White Rose sporting world to use. Here we take a look at what’s on offer…
The University’s sports facilities are provided and operated by York Sport. More details about facilities and prices are available on their website.
The facilities we’ve got here in North Yorkshire are split across both Heslington West and Heslington East. Although Hes East is in the middle of nowhere for anyone who doesn’t live in Goodricke, Langwith or Constantine, there is a regular free bus service; so don’t fret!
York Sport Village
The York Sport Village first opened in 2012, and it’s very impressive. It may be located right at the end of Lakeside Way at the far end of Hes East, but it’s worth the bumpy bus journey down there. The indoor facilities include:
• A 120-station fitness suite with linked-up TVs, including cardio, strength and fitness equipment.
• Three studios for classes including spinning, yoga and whatever else tickles your fancy (it’s even fully air-conditioned).
• A steam room, sauna and spa to chill out after a gym session.
• 25-metre competition swimming pool, which is one of the best of its kind in North Yorkshire. This plays home to our watersport events, as well as College swimming day. There’s also an 18-metre four lane pool, and a viewing gallery too. The seats up there are really comfortable.
• A café. Believe us, this is a lifesaver after an hour or two out in the pouring rain on the 3G (more on that below). It serves Costa coffee, sandwiches, cakes and the lark. We recommend a cappuccino and Mars Bar crispy cake as a thing that has to be experienced by everyone.
Opening along with the rest of the Village 2 years ago, the 3G is a brilliant surface to play on. It’s a great all-weather pitch, and you don’t lose half of your knee if you get tackled on it.
It’s also fully floodlit, which is nice. The only thing about the 3G is that it’s cursed. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, the 3G is always bloody freezing, and usually raining too for good measure. That doesn’t seem to affect York’s football and lacrosse sides though. They’ve been unstoppable over the last couple of years. There’s also 3 five-a-side pitches, if you fancy a kickabout.
Also opening for the start of next term is a basketball court, between Langwith and Constantine Colleges. It’s a great addition to the sporting complex at the University, and is well connected to the other facilities on Hes East.
Cycling Circuit and velodrome
Hes East also plays home to a 1 km cycling circuit, which is traffic-free. That’s nice, because you won’t find yourself on the wrong side of a Toyota Corolla.
Opening later this year is a brand new outdoor velodrome. It’s the only one of its kind in the North of England, and was jointly funded by the nice folk at the University of York and British Cycling.
The velodrome features a 250m bitumen track and 30 degree banking at either end.
Hes West Facilities
As well as the new facilities on Hes East, there’s plenty of sporting features on Hes West, many of which are currently being redeveloped to ensure that York offers some of the best facilities for students.
York Sport Centre
Not to be confused with the younger, snazzier York Sport Village on Hes East, the Sports Centre is situated behind James College and has the added bonus of not being in the middle of nowhere. Facilities at the Sports Centre include:
• A fitness and free weights gym, which was only refurbished last summer in 2013.
• A Dance Hall which, as the name suggests, is used for dancing. The fencing club also occasionally train and play their fixtures in here.
• Sports Hall, which features plenty of courts for sports including badminton, basketball, five-a-side football and volleyball. There’s also some brand new cricket nets in here, kindly paid for by the men’s cricket club with a contribution from the women’s cricket club too. The Sports Hall also has a gallery upstairs, where you can sit and watch/support/poke fun at your friends, if you’re that way inclined.
• Three squash courts for playing, well, squash.
• The Tent. It’s a great-sounding name, isn’t it? The Tent is a temporary structure, used for a range of sports including netball, basketball, volleyball, futsal and others. It’s a bit cold in winter; but it is being turned into a permanent building during 2015.
The Tennis Dome
You can’t miss this really. It’s a giant plastic bubble, covering a tennis and netball court underneath. It means that the courts are now all-weather, so they can be used throughout the winter, and the Dome was only added in April this year. It’s taken away during the summer so that the players don’t cook inside.
The New JLD
The JLD is a brand new AstroTurf which opened in May this year. It’s also floodlit, and it replaced the old JLD, which was has been replaced by the running track (read on…). The new JLD is great, and is used mainly by the hockey club, but also for football during the College Cup. If you’re wondering what JLD stands for, it’s ‘Joseph Leonard Dyke’, named after University Chancellor and FA Chairman Greg Dyke’s dad.
You heard it here first, because we’re ace like that.
Running Track and Stadium
Outside the Sports Centre, on the site of what was the Old JLD for returners, is a new county-standard athletics track, which opened for the first time this summer. It has eight lanes, and it’s used by both the University Athletics Club, and the City of York Athletics Club. The latter were recently made homeless because their Huntington Stadium home at Monks Cross (familiar to third years as the place where we gave Lancaster an absolute pasting in the rugby during Roses 2013) is being demolished to build the York Community Stadium. We don’t expect to see Usain Bolt around the joint any time soon, but you never know…
Coming soon, there will also be a 500-seat set stand and a pavilion, due to be built in 2015. We’re a little bit excited about that.
22 Acres is the affectionate name we have for the playing fields between James College and the long-lost land of Halifax College – so if you hear anyone say ‘down on the 22’, that’s what they’re talking about. There’s a huge number of football and rugby pitches on here, as well as a cricket pitch too, with a pavillion. They can become notoriously boggy, cold and miserable in the deepest depths of winter, but for most of the year they’re a great facility for us to be able to take advantage of. It’s also used by the lacrosse clubs for training, and is the site of the College Sports Day in summer.
So there you have it. That’s what we’ve got on offer for sportspeople here at the University of York. It sounds good, doesn’t it? And indeed it is. If you’re interested in getting involved in sport during your time here, then make sure to have a good look around during Freshers’ week. The staff at York Sport are friendly, and the Uni sports teams will be able to provide you with any more information you need.