10:37am Wednesday 25th April 2012
THE universities of York and Lancaster are counting down to the 48th Roses sporting head-to-head, writes Jack Bradshaw.
The largest inter-university sporting event in Europe will include more than 40 sports, while also branching out to include debating and a university challenge.
An Olympic dimension has been added to the 2012 clash.
On Friday, May 4, there will be a Roses Torch relay with York students parading a torch through the eight colleges on campus, before nine students cycle ten miles each across the Pennines to Lancaster.
York Sport president Sam Asfahani said: “Roses is the highlight of the year, and nothing compares to the feeling you get around the weekend.
“It will be a battle, as away Roses always are, but I have every confidence in the strength of our clubs.
“The torch will add a great touch to the weekend, and the latest images and designs are looking great.”
York’s British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) form has been impressive this season as they have climbed to 44th in the country, while Lancaster are not far behind in 52nd place.
In head-to-head Roses statistics, York lead Lancaster by 24 wins to 22 since the tournament’s inception in 1965, when only six sports featured.
Compared to today, it was not taken very seriously by students, rather like today’s Varsity tournament between York and Hull.
The home sides dominated the early years of the tournament and it was not until 1973 that Lancaster recorded the first away triumph.
The 1970s also saw the first – and only – draw in the tournament’s history, but the decade will be remembered for Lancastrian domination as they ran away with six tournaments.
York were the superior university during the 1990s and have won eight out of 12 events during the 21st century.
At home, York have been very strong, crushing Lancaster by more than 70 points in both 2009 and also last year, when only 3.5 points were required to win on the final day.
Away from home, however, they have had to dig deep.
Memorable away victories include the nail-biters in 2002 and 2008, when York won both tournaments by the finest of margins, 120.5-119.5 and 124-122 respectively.
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