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Roses 2019: What is it, and why are we bringing it home?

Roses are red, you know…

Roses is the annual sports tournament that sees the University of York and Lancaster University go head to head to claim the Carter-James Trophy! The tournament is heading into its 54th year and includes fixtures that range from rugby union and football to underwater hockey and e-Sports.

Let's bring this bad boy home


The rivalry between York and Lancaster is deeply historical, spanning centuries, and it's rooted back in the 15th Century. The rivalry is still there, today – rightly so, might I add.

The rivalry is so serious, in fact, that I'm sure if you wrote a UCAS application for Lancaster University, and your personal statement included the phrase "York are scum," then I'm fairly certain you'd be given an unconditional offer on the spot. Fairly certain, that is…

Stemming from the houses of York and Lancaster clashing in the Wars of the Roses, between 1455-1485, with House York sparking a civil war against the Royal family of Plantagenet, or, House Lancaster. Think Game of Thrones, but with fewer dragons, and a genuinely compelling plot. York were defeated, of course they were, and Lancaster reigned supreme, with Henry VII, or, Henry Tudor coming to power.

History Lesson Over

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The men's volleyball team are hopeful to repeat their success of Roses 2017…

The rivalry is still strong to this day, and we keep it alight through the annual Roses competition. Roses is obviously derived from the name "Wars of the Roses," so clearly someone was slightly bitter about the Wars…

Roses is the largest varsity in Europe, and that's because of the monumental support that both universities bring to the table, and the standard of the sports that are performed, too. Roses was one of the reasons I chose to come to Lancaster University, because uni is all about living life, and experiencing new things, and Roses looks and sounds incredible.

I'm a first year, so I've never even been to Roses before, so it's a bit stupid that I'm bigging it up, right? Normally, I'm not sold on an idea until I've actually experienced it, but Roses is something different entirely. Roses has gotten members of my team so excited, it's insane. Players who are doing Masters or even PhD courses, who should have more important things to focus on (if we're being honest) are entirely devoted to getting to Roses and kicking York's arse; which we will do, might I add.

Seeing how much it means to these older students really ignites some competitive streak in me, and seeing everybody working together to the same goal is incredible. We may study different subjects, and speak in different languages, but we're pushing to the same objective, and that really is inspiring. The sense of community that Roses creates is just incredible; I've certainly never felt anything this electric before, and I'd be surprised if most other students don't feel the same way.

It's not ALL about the sports

Yes, Roses is a weekend full of sporting competitions, but at the end of the day, it's more than a weekend tournament. This is the culmination of months, even years, of training, and it boils down to each sports team playing one game against York, and that's it. If you win, you win; if you lose, you lose. No do-overs, no Time Stone to rewrite events (nice little Avengers reference for you). Pure adrenaline, focus, and commitment are what it takes to succeed at Roses. But it's so much more.

The sense of togetherness created by this upcoming varsity is something else, entirely. The two universities are rallying together, and hyping up their own respective teams, and pulling supporters together. It's incredibly serious. But it's about coming together to celebrate this age-old rivalry, and to play some incredibly high-level sports, and to support our university, and ultimately, to support our friends.

My team is my family, and if we win then we win as a family, and if we lose then we lose as a family. And then we go out and get hammered as a family.

Quite literally: win or lose, we're on the booze.

Roses brings together two great universities (even if York are scum) to play some great sport, and enjoy a weekend of competitiveness and rivalry, and celebration of sport as a whole. Emotions are gonna be running high, and there's lots at stake. This is the end of most teams' sporting season, and everybody wants to go out on a high; not to mention those students for whom this will be their final Roses!

What's the Format?

Roses 2019 kicks off on Friday 3rd of May, at the University of York, with the opening ceremony taking place at 7pm on Friday evening; events will be live-streamed from across the weekend – the link for which is:

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The men's swimming came 1st and 2nd in every event except two, in which they came 1st and 3rd, in 2018

Current Standings

Lots of events have already taken place in the lead up to the Roses weekend; the results of which are below:


York: 4

Lancaster: 0


York: 4

Lancaster: 0


York: 4

Lancaster: 0


York: 4

Lancaster: 0


York: 1

Lancaster: 0


York: 0

Lancaster: 2


York: 0

Lancaster: 1


York: 0

Lancaster: 1


York: 0

Lancaster: 1


York: 0

Lancaster: 1


York: 0

Lancaster: 4

York Running Total: 17 points

Lancaster Running Total: 11 points

So there you have it; currently York is in the lead, but with a total of 51 sports in the whole Roses competition, Lancaster will have plenty of opportunities to make up the difference in the coming weekend.

What Else?

Light it up on Sunday night!

But it's not just sporting fixtures that are on over the weekend. York's Student Union are holding a Roses night out in one of their Union clubs on Saturday night (tickets can be bought here:, but if you'd rather have celebratory (or commiseratory) drinks in Lancaster, then The Sugarhouse is hosting a Roses evening on Sunday night (tickets found here:

Lucky for you, it's a bank holiday, so you've got all of Monday to recover from the partying of the night before.


Roses 2019 is going to be covered over live-stream (the link's above) and also by our very own Bailrigg FM, so make sure you tune in over the weekend to keep up to date with fixtures, and to prove to LUSU that Bailrigg FM is a valuable student service – not that I'm bitter about its forced relocation to an online service…

Roses is going to be explosive this year; if you're not there in person then make sure to keep posted with all the results of the fixtures! The timetable of events can be found on the Roses 2019 website.

Roses are red – let's bring this trophy home, shall we?