Last weekend was the annual War of the Roses between Lancaster University and York University. Every year, the two Universities take turns hosting this traditional competition. During the War of the Roses, all the sports teams from the two schools compete against each other for points, and at the end of the weekend one University wins over all.
The football (soccer) team had three games across the weekend. There were two indoor matches on Saturday and an outdoor match on Sunday. Saturday morning we showed up for the indoor matches; all of us were very nervous as this was the biggest weekend of our season. We were very excited as many fans showed up to cheer us on, dressed in red for Lancaster and having rehearsed chants for us. The first team made our way upstairs to watch the seconds play and the game was underway. It was very intense, and both teams were putting everything they had into the match. Eventually though, Lancaster went up, and never looked back after our first goal. The second team demolished York 8-0; we were clearly the more talented team. Then it was the first’s turn to play. I had been told York would play physical, but I was surprised when one of their players full on tackled me, dropping me to the gym floor. That sent a spark off in me and the game suddenly became more intense. At half-time, we were only up 1-0. But, in the second half we began to pull away. This seemed to anger the York players and they started to play even dirtier. I felt as though I was playing ice hockey the way they tried to slam us into the walls; thankfully, the Lancaster team isn’t made of wimps and we fought right back. We won the game 6-0, and both teams had a great celebration afterwards.
The rest of the day was spent watching the rugby games. All three men’s rugby teams lost, but that did nothing to spoil the fun of the day. For one thing, the Lancaster rugby women won by a huge margin. Also, the weather was beautiful, and there were stands selling delicious burgers and ice cream, adding to the great party atmosphere. The men’s rugby alumni also returned for the event, and they proved to be an entertaining group. While York University’s alumni were all dressed smartly in suits, our alumni showed up dressed as women. As idiotic and embarrassing as they looked, a bunch of large British men running around in satin dresses was also very funny. By the time all the rugby games were over, we made our way back to our rooms to get some rest for our match the next day.
Finally, the big day had arrived. We were confident we could beat York after our success the previous day, but we also knew they would come out even harder today. Again, we had a large number of fans cheering us on from the sidelines. Claire scored the first goal for Lancaster; beating the keeper and sliding it perfectly into the net. We went wild! The game continued to be very close, although Lancaster definitely had the better play (we really did even though I am biased). The second goal didn’t come until the second half when I chipped the keeper on a breakaway. Our amazing defenders were able to hold York off, and the game ended 2-0. The celebration was quite the event. Our fans ran onto the field spraying beer all over us and huddled us into a circle chanting La-la-la-Lancaster! Definitely not the type of celebrations we have in America. In the end, Lancaster won the War of the Roses overall, making the rose red for 2012. The women’s football team received a special award for winning all three games and not allowing a single goal against. It was without a doubt one of the best weekends here!