Roses 2019: my experience

by Tom Scott

What is Roses?

When you first start studying in Lancaster you’re likely to hear talk of ‘Roses’, especially if you’ve joined a sports team or are friends with someone who has. Roses is a huge sporting competition that’s held every year, pitting Lancaster teams against their University of York counterparts, it’s been referred to as the biggest varsity competition in Europe and has been running for over fifty years.

It’s safe to say that the entire student body is taken over by Roses fever each year at the start of term three when the competition is running. Students who aren’t competing show up in hordes to support their teams, and there are loads of opportunities to get involved with student media coverage of the weekend if that’s your kind of thing. The weekend is a massive highlight in the academic year for everyone involved. This year (2019) was my second Roses, and the first year that I competed, I’ll be talking about my experience below.

My experience

A football match at War of the Roses

In my first year, Roses was hosted by Lancaster, and as I hadn't joined a team yet I was just spectating. The weather was so good that there was no excuse to stay inside, and what seemed like the entire University were sat on the grass banks cheering on the big fixtures. I had such a great time watching Lancaster secure victory that I decided I needed to get properly involved with a team for my second year.

This year I joined the Lancaster Fish, the University's Ultimate Frisbee team, which I'm sure you already know if you've read my other blog posts, seems to be all I talk about nowadays. Throughout training sessions for the entire year, there'd be constant mention of Roses looming on the horizon, which meant when the competition finally came around we were ready to smash York. Tragically, it didn't work out quite as planned, with the Frisbee teams ending up drawn on points after all of the fixtures. The games were really close across all categories with some teams only winning by a single point that could easily be put down to wind direction.

As well as having a great time on the pitch, the best part of the weekend is just getting to escape from incoming exam stress with your team for a weekend. We all headed up to York, this year's hosts, on a 7am bus and after days full of running around then slept on lecture theatre floors for two consecutive nights. Even though it left some of our players a bit grouchy it was definitely some great team bonding.

Once our games were finished we were free to kick back and enjoy watching the rest of Team Lancaster play their fixtures. We had to wrap up quite warm though as last year's sun didn't make a reappearance; clearly, even the weather prefers a red rose. The final night of Roses was, of course, celebrated in style, although I don't think the University would publish my article if I went into too much detail, so you'll have to come to Roses next year and experience it for yourself.

Sport at Lancaster

Three students celebrate victory in War of the Roses

Since getting involved, I’ve realised that the sports scene at Lancaster has a friendly atmosphere and is really easy to get into. Joining a team introduces you to a whole new group of people, and gives you a chance to have a break from academic life with a bit of exercise, plus, most of the teams run regular socials which are always a laugh.

I’d recommend every new student coming to Lancaster gives at least one team a try, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it anywhere near as much as I do, and now I can’t wait to compete in Roses 2020 and hopefully secure a Lancaster home victory!