The red rose bloomed brightly with the sweet smell of success at the weekend as Lancaster University triumphed over old rivals York in the annual war of the Roses.
Victory was particularly sweet this year as the contest was fittingly on home turf for the 50th year of the tournament and for Lancaster University’s 50th anniversary.
The highly popular sporting tournament, which includes everything from ballroom dancing to American football, resulted in a 183.5 win for Lancaster, with York reaching a creditable 142.5 points.
It means the long-standing clash stands at York 25, Lancaster 24, with one draw.
And at the end of the Students’ Union-organised event Lancaster lifted the Carter James Trophy, presented by Lancaster Vice Chancellor Prof Mark E. Smith.
Chancellor Sir Chris Bonington, attending his last Roses event as Chancellor, also presented several trophies.
The Roses got under way on Friday evening with a student-led opening ceremony on the rugby pitch.
Olympic gold medallist and Lancaster University alumnus Jason Queally was back on home territory on Saturday morning to launch a community bike ride.
One of several specially organised events to coincide with the annual Roses battle, the three-level cycle ride was designed to attract community participation.
Former Olympic track cyclist Jason spent time chatting with participants before riding out part-way with all three categories (18 miles, six miles and 1.8 miles) in the staggered start event. He then completed the 1.8 mile ride, which was led by Lancaster University students.
Jason, who is originally from Caton, said: “It’s great to be back on campus again and it’s great to support a community event of this calibre.”
Jason later led a highly successful and interactive question and answer session at the sports centre.
During the weekend 3,000 competitors took part in 120 fixtures covering 40 different activities.
Word filtered through that Lancaster had won by mid-afternoon on the Sunday, when the women’s basketball team clinched the four points needed to take the certain lead.
Event project manager James Marenghi was thrilled that everything went off so smoothly.
He said: “Everyone did really well and we were particularly pleased to see wins for the netball, badminton and lacrosse teams this year.
“The atmosphere in the swimming pool area on the Saturday was really amazing as people had gathered to watch the water polo and swimming events.
“For us particularly it was really great to see so many people on campus to support the teams – staff, alumni and members of the local community.
“It was the best community presence we have ever had for Roses.”
Lancaster Vice Chancellor Prof Mark E. Smith said: “This was a truly excellent Roses event. The camaraderie, the highly detailed organisation and, of course, Lancaster’s win in its 50th year made it all so very special and memorable.
“Well done Lancaster and our thanks to the Students’ Union for staging such a spectacular event.”