Your Sporting Memories: 60th Anniversary

To celebrate Roses 2023, and in collaboration with the 60th Anniversary Celebrations at the university, we look back at some of your sporting memories from the University of York.

The Roses Sporting Event is an annual sports competition between the University of York and Lancaster University and began in 1965. It has since grown into one of the largest and most anticipated student sporting events in the UK. The event was created by a group of students from both Lancaster and York who wanted to create a friendly but competitive environment for the two universities to compete against each other in various sporting activities. Typically held over a weekend in May, each university takes turns to host the event.

Fencing at Roses 2022 Lancaster

“At last year’s Roses – our first and last for many third years due to Covid – my favourite moment was the very last point. Four matches had been going on simultaneously but as they all finished, one by one people would crowd round to watch the others and cheer on our teammates. It was down to the last team – the women’s 2s – who were on their last few points. We all cast aside thoughts of our own matches to catch this critical moment: the last point of the match! The sound of all four teams shouting and cheering in unison was phenomenal – and the feeling when we won the last point and everyone crowded round once the match was over, jumping and cheering, overcome with joy, is one that will always make me smile.

To me the fencing club is a wonderful band of misfits. Everyone who is a bit different; a bit nerdy, passionate, quirky, from every different background you can imagine and with every different interest. University is a place for every type of person, and a time for finding your people. I knew from the first socials, being welcomed into the group, having in-jokes with the others, and finding myself motivated to go to sessions, not just for the sport but for the friends, that I had found my people.” – Orlagh

University Challenge at Roses

“Whilst I was YUSU Academic Officer I changed the way we selected the University Challenge team, from setting the test questions as an exam to holding a live event where hopefuls competed for a place on the team. I was lucky to be able to host these for a couple of years and it was sufficiently successful that we were asked to put on an exhibition match against Lancaster at Roses. In 2017 we held it in Hendrix Hall on the Saturday evening. The Courtyard bar was open next door and there was a constant stream of people bringing in pitchers of beer before we started. The room was packed with Roses spectators and participants from other sports. It was a sensational atmosphere with one of the rowdiest crowds I’ve ever seen. I had a ball doing my best Paxman impersonation, and it was wonderful to see something that wasn’t exactly a sport but was a fantastic competitive event to be able to take part in Roses.” – Graeme

Roses 1975

“1975 Roses 2nd XV Rugby. We won 7-3 against Lancaster and I scored the game’s only try, and my own try as a York student. I remember well a long night in Derwent bar, celebrating in true rugby fashion.”

Roses 2013 Sailing – Capsize in the final race decider

“Drama on the water as the Roses 2013 Sailing Competition went to a final race decider. Both teams were sailing at the top of their game in really tough conditions. It was too close to call at the midway stage of the last race when a big gust hit and a Lancaster boat capsized onto a York boat! York went on to take the win and maintain our winning streak.”

Ballroom & Latin, Dancesport Society

“I did ballroom and latin dancing with the Dancesport society for a few years, including competing in Latin at Roses 2011. I also ended up competing in the ex-student category in 2014 with the YUSU Activities Officer as we were both in Lancaster spectating and York didn’t have enough couples – we had 5 minutes to put together a routine and finished with a medal by virtue of there being more medal places than couples! I hosted the Roses ballroom and latin competitions in York between 2015 and 2019. My favourite was in 2015 when my twin brother (who was a student at Lancaster) brought over a dance band to play the music of the legendary British band leader Jack Hylton. Lancaster University was given his archive after his death and they had a project to digitise the music. After the competitive dances finished the band set up and I joined them on trumpet whilst they played for the competitors and spectators for a social dance. It was a wonderful thing to do and a great opportunity for socialising between the two rival teams.” – Graeme 

Barbell Club

“My favourite memory of sport at York is being part of the Barbell club. We did a barbell personal best day and all chose some lifts we had been working on, and wanted to try and go for a personal best in. We all got involved with helping each other and cheering each other on. It was really fun!” – Lizzy

UYNC until I die!

“One of my favourite memories of York was being on the Netball club – it played a huge part in my experience both socially and fitness wise. I’m getting married soon and my maid of honour is actually one of my netball team members. I am definitely still UYNC until I die!” – Melanie

Korfball Fancy Dress Tournament 2022

“During my time at York I was part of the Korfball society. I didn’t take part in many games but in my final year, we went to a themed fancy dress Korfball tournament in Manchester – each team had to dress as a different zoo animal! It was a great, fun, relaxed tournament.

There was even a prize for the best dressed team. Some people played in inflatable outfits, like an inflatable giraffe. We were penguins!” – Cassie

College Sport
“I played a lot of college sport for Halifax – volleyball for 5 years and hockey for 6 years, along with one day tournaments and occasionally summer sports such as rounders. My favourite memory was the college hockey cup in 2012. We had been strong in the league that year, but really shone in the cup – small teams playing across a third of a pitch leading to a very fast paced and unpredictable spectacle. I played for our 2s team and we eventually beat our own 1s in the final. I scored seven goals against Goodricke 2s when we beat them 11-1, which led to a York Vision headline of, “Osborn in seventh heaven” – an unusual feat for a YUSU Academic Officer to get on the back pages!” – Graeme

Post-degree Cycle Tour across North America

“After completing my Master’s degree at the University of York, I returned home to Ottawa, Canada. The following summer I bought a good road bike and embarked upon a trip across western Canada. My aim was to reach the Pacific Coast. I made it to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan but had to cut it short and take a coach the rest of the way to attend my best friend’s wedding on the west coast. Eternally grateful to Tony, retired miner, for fixing my broken chain in Saskatchewan, and to Mike’s Bike Shop in Brandon, Manitoba for the hub-removal tool they gave me, which allowed me to replace broken spokes.” – Mike

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  1. I have very fond memories of being part of the University of York Ultimate Frisbee Team during the 1998 Roses in Lancaster. A beautiful sunny day, an easy win over Lancaster, good company and lots of fun. Although I trained hard and participated in other University Teams such as the University Swimming Team, 25 years later it is the Ultimate Frisbee Team that sticks in the memory … perhaps it was the Hawaiian shirts! University is such an important time in one’s life, it’s crucial to have fun and create strong and lasting memories.

  2. I was part of the team that initiated the Roses weekend in 1965: delighted to see how it has prospered

    1. John – I remember the inaugural weekend 1965. Well done on taking that initiative. I don’t think there was much more than football at the beginning.

  3. York Ladies Rugby Team 1980 Roses match – for some reason we played at the beginning of the summer term – probably because it was postponed – my memory is an honorable draw for the inaugural match!

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