Your guide to the weirdest and wackiest sports at Roses 2024

From octopush to chess, there’s more to roses than rugby and netball

Roses 2024 is underway, and with just under 40 sports on the schedule, there is plenty more to see than football (no offence football). So whether you’re in Lancaster, or watching on online from York, here is a guide to all the weirdest and wackiest sports at Roses 2024:

1. Octopush aka. ‘underwater hockey’

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When it comes to weird and wacky sports, it’d be rude not to mention the iconic octopush. If you enjoy hockey but it’s a little too dry for your liking, then this is definitely the sport for you! The game between York and Lancaster took place on Friday at 1.30 pm and of course York absolutely smashed it, thrashing Lancaster 3 : 10.

2. Esports

Yes, that’s right, esports are real sports and they’re serious. York and Lancaster students will battle it out on state of the art gaming PCs in an open match, playing League of Legends, Overwatch 2 and Counter Strike 2 in order to crown a worthy winner.  The tense tournament will commence at 11.30 am on Saturday for those wishing to get a piece of the action.

3. Chess and tabletop games


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While we’re on the subject of gaming, what about the classic tabletop gaming? York and Lancaster battled it out over a series of competitive tabletop games, from card games, such as Magic: The Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh!, to Wargames, such as Warhammer 40k, the event certainly had a lot going on. Unfortunately, Lancaster won this time, but there’s still hope for York on the tabletop with the chess fixture yet to be played which begins bright and early at 9am on Sunday morning.

4. Fencing

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Fencing might sound out-dated, but York’s fencing team have consistently demonstrated that this is a timeless sport that they’re clearly pros at. With 8 points to be won this isn’t a match to miss, as York and Lancaster dual it out at 11.15 am on Saturday morning.

5. Debating

A tense round of debating will take place on Sunday at 11 am in Lancaster’s Margaret Fell Lecture Theatre. Unlike several of the sports at roses, this might not involve as much chaotic shouting across the room as one might expect, but will instead demonstrate the teams abilities to defend or oppose a topic given to them, judged through their content style and strategy.

6. Latin and ballroom dancing

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For 4 points, latin and ballroom dancing will take place on Sunday at 10am. The competition will be a fantastic display of technical skill, command of rhythm and possession of talent (especially on York’s side ;)) so is definitely something to watch in Lancaster’s central hall.

7. Pole fitness

Image via Instagram

Pole dancing is becoming increasingly more popular as a sport, and York’s performance at Roses will surely demonstrate why! This is a sport which combines physical strength with an artistic flare and is judge by its difficulty, execution and performance. With York’s team having a brilliant track record at Roses, they’re clearly a performance to watch and will be competing against Lancaster at 12 pm on Saturday.

8. Karting

Motorsports might not be the first thing that comes to mind as a university sport, but it certainly is a part of Roses. Unfortunately Lancaster took the lead this year, but York were pretty hot on their tail. And no, if you’re wondering, this didn’t take place in Lancaster’s central hall but in the complex Rowrah kart track in Cumbria.

9. Ultimate frisbee

With some super tight games between York and Lancaster, with York winning the open, this fixture can only be described as intense. This Roses both teams proved anyone unsure what ultimate frisbee is, that the game is much more than throwing a frisbee around a field but is an action packed team game all about speed, stamina and tactics. If you missed it this year, ultimate frisbee is definitely one to watch in 2025!

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