THE University of York relinquished their grip on the Carter James Trophy as they lost their annual Roses Tournament against Lancaster University.

Across 44 sports taking place in 116 events over three days, hosts Lancaster triumphed 156.5-131.5. It means Lancaster, on 23 wins, are only one behind York in the overall tournament standings.

York began Friday’s opening-day action in sensational style as the badminton contingent won all their matches to put the visitors 12-6 up.

Lancaster regained some control with results in the rugby union sevens, netball and an incredible cricket men’s firsts match, before the evening pub sports.

York lost a captivating women’s darts match 5-4 against vastly superior opposition but, in front of a huge crowd, York did win the men’s darts match 5-3 thanks to the composure of Kris Hilliam in the final game.

The end of Friday’s play saw Lancaster open up a 43-28 lead.

With more than half the points at stake on the Saturday, the Red Rose chose their moment to step up a gear, with success in the valuable archery, climbing and dance events.

However, York whitewashed Lancaster in every men’s rugby match, demonstrating the university’s strength in depth.

Meanwhile, the two York tennis teams, sailing crew and runners recorded excellent wins to exact revenge for the previous year.

Perhaps most impressive of all was the fact York overcame the three Lancaster teams – men’s hockey thirds, Lancaster Bombers and mixed trampolining – who had previously been unbeaten in the history of the tournament.

York also triumphed in the last event of the day, the men’s water polo, which saw all the away supporters gleefully jump into the pool to celebrate with the players.

However, by the end of Saturday, Lancaster led 133-107, which meant only 13.5 more points were required on Sunday to pass the winning post.

On Sunday, the points were shared in the fencing and basketball, including a thrilling 64-58 Lancaster victory in the men’s basketball match in front of a huge crowd.

Unfortunately, York failed to win any of the football matches including a 3-1 defeat in the men’s firsts match, which ultimately confirmed Lancaster’s Roses victory.

However, there was success for York’s cycling and women’s lacrosse teams, as well as York Students’ Union president Tim Ellis, who won the showpiece croquet match.

York Sport president Sam Asfahani said he was “proud of the York clubs’ efforts” in the contest.