White rose defeats resurgent Lancaster to claim Varsity victory
Image: Ben Wright
This years Roses was one of the closest in recent memory. York finished the weekend with 206.5 points, while Lancaster trailed behind with 159.5, although neither side knew who would triumph until the Sunday afternoon. Prior to the weekend, Lancaster were in the lead with a fine margin, of 26-25, following a series of successes in the ‘pre’ events, highlighted by a 12-point haul in the canoeing. Elsewhere, York dominated the equestrian, but fell behind in ultimate frisbee. By the time that the Roses weekend started proper, the two universities were almost on an equal footing, and the stage was set for an exciting few days.
It was unclear who would come out the winner by the end, although York were ready to play to the ever favourable advantage of playing on home soil. The Friday of Roses ended with a score of 45 – 36 in York’s favour. Throughout the day, Heslington West was slowly invaded by a tide of Lancastrian students, back after two years. While they wandered confused, navigating around the various bird species on campus, York took the lead in a number of the events, including futsal and American football. An astonishing atmosphere at the Arena served the basketball showdown of Friday night, where York pulled off an improbable comeback to win 50-47. Because of this, spectators and athletes of York alike went into Saturday in buoyant and optimistic mood.
Shock results included volleyball and swimming, where Lancaster achieved unlikely victories. York’s men’s 1s volleyball team fell to Lancaster in a harrowing defeat as the fixture came down to the fifth set, where they forfeited a generous lead to lose 15-12. Nonetheless, Saturday witnessed success in a range of sports for York, including pole, lacrosse and eSports. Although Lancaster were always hot on our heels, with victories in a number of swim events and a clean sweep in the men’s rugby. At the end of the day, York led 140-119. The consensus on campus was that anything could happen on the Sunday; it was too close to call. Lancaster were presented with a recoverable 21 points deficit at the start of the morning, and opened proceedings positively with victories in badminton and netball.
Wins in the dance competitions, as well as successes in squash, meant that York were now in pole position to claim the Varsity. A win in badminton was enough to push the home host university over the line and secure a victory for Roses 2017. York won the majority of the remaining fixtures of the day to create an exaggerated scoreline. The final contest of the weekend sawYork triumph 25-12 in the rugby men’s 1s in front of a mammoth crowd. The weekend rounded off with the closing ceremony, at which sport president Isaac Beevor was given the honour of hosting aloft the James-Carter Trophy to celebrate York’s victory.