Sunday, 29 April 2012

Bizarre sports at Roses 2012: Part I

In the first of a two-part mini-series, I will be casting my eye over the more unusual sports which feature in this year’s Roses tournament. I must confess I did not have a clue about a couple of them, despite being a sports fanatic. In addition, I’ll have a quick look at York’s chances in each of the events. It’s important to bear in mind that the combined points total from these unusual sports is 50, so strong performances here could decide who lifts the Carter James Trophy this year in what I fully expect will be a very close tournament.

Bizarre sport #1: Canoe Polo

Possibly the most bizarre sport to feature at Roses this year is canoe polo. Players, in a kayak, attempt to score in the goals at either end of the pool. Each team has five players, with three substitutes, and the pool must by 35m x 23m with a depth of 90cm. To deliver a pass, players can either throw the ball with their hands or propel it with their paddles, and players must release the ball after 5 seconds. The time limit for the match is 20 minutes, with halves of 10 minutes. The goal size measures 1m x 1.5m.

Players must wear helmet protection for safety as a flying paddle could do serious damage to the upper body. The obvious question many of you want to know is what happens if a player capsizes? Well, the rules state they have to leave the field of play immediately with all their equipment (if they don’t drown that is). But this is unlikely as the kayaks have a buoyancy aid attached as well as a spray deck, which stops water entering.

Both matches, taking place on Saturday evening, are worth a valuable four points to the winner. Both sides are fairly evenly matched so it’s difficult to back a winner, but it should be an interesting session and the results will decide which university goes into Sunday’s fixtures with the upper hand.

Bizarre sport #2: Water Polo

Slightly more mainstream, water polo is played in a pool 1.8 metres deep, which means players cannot stand up and must tread water to keep their heads above the surface. Each side has seven players including a goalkeeper, who guards a goal 90cm high and 3m wide, so slightly bigger than canoe polo. Outfield players must only use one hand to deliver passes and shoot, are forbidden to use their fist and the team’s possession must result in a shot within 30 seconds. Needless to say, you must have excellent stamina levels to tread water and swim long distances; most players swim over 2km in a match. At Roses, the matches will be divided into quarters lasting 8 minutes each, although they are likely to be longer than this because the clock is stopped if there is a break in play, rather like a basketball match.

It is also likely to be one of the more aggressive sports we will see over the weekend. Defenders try to rob attacking players of the ball by knocking it out of their hand, but often make contact with the opponent themselves. “Brutality fouls”, which are deliberately malicious, will lead to a sending off for 4 minutes. The rules state attempting to drown an opponent is an example of this, which is somewhat worrying.

York’s women team is almost completely new from last year, with the acquisition of 11 new players. Captain Rene Astin-Chamberlain has done a fantastic job to get the team gelling in time for their crucial match at Roses. Meanwhile, the men will be hoping to emulate their accolade of “Roses 2011 Team of the Year” as they attempt to defend their title. I expect them to win after an encouraging BUCS season. In short, both sides are relishing the upcoming challenge. Their matches, also held on Saturday evening, are worth 2 points.

Bizarre sport #3: Ultimate Frisbee

Frisbee as a sport is not yet 50 years old but it has grown rapidly in popularity over in the UK recently. The object of the game is to catch the disc within the ‘end zone’, an area of which each team of seven tries move closer towards with quick passing. Its purpose is essentially the same as rugby. The entire field is 120 yards by 40 yards, with the end zones at either end of the pitch being 25 yards long. Players must pivot themselves on the spot when they receive the disk, in a similar way to netball.

One of the main attractions of the sport is its excellent reputation for good behaviour, enabling the games to be self-refereed.  As the USA Ultimate rules state:

Highly competitive play is encouraged, but never at the expense of the bond of mutual respect between players, adherence to the agreed upon rules of the game, or the basic joy of play.

If other sports (football I’m looking at you) could follow such a code, the world would be a much better place.

As for York’s chances, I would be surprised if they managed to overcome what is a very strong Lancaster side. But that’s not to say they will be going into the weekend full of confidence. Their outdoor form has improved greatly recently, following a third place finish at this year’s Outdoor Nationals in Manchester last weekend. They also finished third in the Indoor Finals back in March, as well as defeating Hull 5-4 after going 4-0 down in the White Rose Varsity tournament. They must believe that anything can happen, and bigger upsets have happened at Roses in the past. The indoor frisbee matches take place at tea-time on Friday, with the outdoor clash at lunchtime on the Saturday.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Roses 2012: The pre-weekend skirmish

Nine. The 2012 Roses weekend showdown between York and Lancaster is now just nine days away. Getting excited? I certainly am. But believe it or not there are Roses events which are taking place before the 4-6 May slog. This is a traditional scheduling feature of the competition and this year the pre-weekend events to look out for are rowing, equestrian and cricket 2nds. Undoubtedly the most important of this trio is the rowing, with a full 20 points up for grabs. So even at this very early stage, one side could open up a handy advantage going into the weekend.

Event: Rowing    Date: Sunday 29th April    Points at stake: 20

Overview: The University of York Boat Club (UYBC) will be in action in four races this Sunday along the River Lune, which flows southwards from Cumbria, cutting through the city of Lancaster before draining into the Irish Sea near Plover Scar. The races will begin at the River Lune Aqueduct and finish near the John O’ Gaunt boat club – a distance of 700 metres. And there is already good news on the rowing front; Lancaster have forfeited the races involving the Women’s Senior VIII (4 points) and Women’s Novice IV (2 points), meaning York already leads Lancaster in Roses 2012 by 6 points.

The Lune Aqueduct, starting point for the Roses 2012 boat race

Rowing was the first ever event at Roses back in 1965 and has been one of the most captivating; going into this year’s events, York lead Lancaster by the slender margin of 20 races to 19. However, the event has not been without a fair chunk of controversy over the years. In 2008, the York men’s novice crew thought they had won, but the umpires had told them the incorrect point for the finishing line. UYBC President at the time, Jillian Tongue, was understandably furious with the poor officiating provided by Lancaster. And some current students may remember when Lancaster was awarded 12 points in 2010, after York had to pull out because the BUCS Head Regatta was held on the same weekend.

This year, with the forfeit advantage, UYBC will be clear favourites to better their Lancaster counterparts and have won their previous two races against them. In 2009, York collected 12 points to Lancaster’s 8, thanks to wins for the men’s senior IV, men’s senior VIII as well as both novice races. In 2011, both senior VIII teams triumphed in addition to the men’s senior IV and novice VIII crews as York beat Lancaster 12-8 again. Frank Flight and Philippa Maloney will have crucial roles in motivating the squad, who will also look to the talents of Oliver Degerstadt for inspiration.

Event: Equestrian    Date: Wednesday 3rd May    Points at stake: 6

Overview: At university level equestrian, riders from both teams are randomly assigned their horse and the event is divided into two challenges. ‘Dressage’ involves the riders attempting a series of movements with the horse in a 20m x 60m arena. The team which controls their horse most convincingly and accumulates the fewest penalty points is the winner. The second challenge is the exciting show jump, with the jumps in most cases being up to a metre high. Last year, York were somewhat unlucky with their horses as, between the two teams, three riders were disqualified as their horses refused to jump, meaning Lancaster edged York 4-2.

This year, the event is being held at Midgeland Riding School in Blackpool and, despite a very tough year in BUCS, club President Hannah Wigley is in optimistic mood: "We've had some fantastic individual results, including last year's A Team Captain, Kate Ward, qualifying for individual regionals, as well as our A Team beating the reigning champions, Leeds, in the closing competition of the league."

On the horses being used, Wigley admitted: "Using Lancaster's horses will give them a slight advantage as they will have gotten to know the horses through training with them. However the nature of our competitions means that you often ride horses you've never ridden before."
Roses equestrian has been a rather less controversial sport than rowing over the years, although there were issues back in 2006. Lancaster were stripped of the maximum 6 points they thought they had won from the event after it was discovered one of the umpires was unqualified and was giving the home side an excessive amount of points. Let’s hope similar issues don’t affect this year’s competition.

Event: Men’s cricket 2nds    Date: Thursday 4th May    Points at stake: 2

Overview: York’s cricket 2nd team has not played at all so far this season thanks to the wretched weather we’re getting at the moment. Nevertheless, the team are looking in decent shape as they prepare for what may be their first match against Lancaster next Thursday. Captain Ben Cooke says the team has had several indoor net sessions and a couple of fielding sessions on 22 Acres. The squad has been bolstered this year by the arrival of a number of freshers, but the team will be relying on the experience of two players in particular against Lancaster. Post-graduate student Nick Townson is an excellent top-order batsman with exquisite technique while Will Smith, the first change metronomic bowler, will surely take the wickets for York as well as being reliable with the bat.

In terms of recent history, the 2nds have been rather unlucky on several occasions. In 2006, the team lost by a single wicket in the final over of the match and were also defeated last year by three wickets. However, the current crop will have to remember the class of 2009. Stephen Walwyn and Adam Wood were the batsmen clocking up the runs to hand York victory with four wickets to spare, with Lancaster all out for just 141. This year, don’t be surprised if the match goes down to the wire.

You can find a host of Roses previews written by University of York sports clubs themselves, as well as details on the Roses Torch relay, at York Vision's Roses 2012 page: 

The view the official fixture list for Roses 2012, you can visit: 

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Minstermen primed for magnificence

It wasn’t quite the fireworks of the 6-2 win back in October, but York City’s gritty 1-0 win over Braintree yesterday was even more special for manager Gary Mills and his players. That’s because York made it through to the Blue Square Bet Premier League play-offs with one game to spare, thanks to Erik Tonne’s 75th minute strike. It means York are now four points clear of sixth-placed Kidderminster, who succumbed to a 1-0 defeat to Luton.

It seemed for all the world that the play-off dream was turning into a nightmare after successive defeats to Newport and Fleetwood at the start of this month. But since then York have gone four games unbeaten thanks some diligent defensive performances, allowing returning striker Jason Walker nick the odd goal and secure the points. This run of form defies the injury crisis the squad have faced, with goalkeeper Michael Ingham, defenders Lanre Oyebanjoa and Chris Doig, and midfielder Adriano Moke being unavailable of late.

I was at the York City press conference on Thursday and what struck me most was the calmness of manager Gary Mills during such a critical period of the season. He kept things simple, saying the players knew what was required of them and insisted injuries weren’t going to be an excuse. The death of City legend Arthur Bottom during the week undoubtedly would have had an effect; it would have spurred the players on to deliver their very best, as Bottom did so often all those years ago. As Mills said, “We will do everything possible to put a smile on his face looking down on us”.
Jason Walker's return has boosted York's promotion hopes
Importantly, Mills lavished praise on returning striker Jason Walker, who was interestingly compared to Robin Van and Lionel Messi in terms of team importance. The comparison is an accurate one; Walker has bagged 18 goals this season and his presence reassures his teammates, notably his young striking partner Ashley Chambers. The comparison I would also make, though, is between Walker and Fernando Torres. If your star striker is getting a lot of love from their manager, they are more likely to perform better. Torres has undergone a mini revival under Roberto Di Matteo, while Mills’ consistent public encouragement of Walker has boosted his confidence following a period on the sidelines.

York have been absent from the Football League for eight years. So the question is: can they get back? Well, the other teams confirmed for the play-offs are Wrexham and Mansfield. The former have been on a wretched run of late, being without a win in their last five games, falling far behind Fleetwood in the process. Their last win came on 27th March when they eventually overcame doomed Darlington 4-2 with two late goals. So I think York would fancy their chances if they face Wrexham. The team to avoid, though, are Mansfield who have won five games on the bounce, culminating in yesterday’s 2-0 triumph over Wrexham. Striker Matthew Green has 28 goals this season and will be a handful for any defence.

The other available play-off position will be taken by either Luton or Kidderminster. If favourites Luton win their match up at Gateshead on Tuesday, they will join the trio. Like York, they have built a good run recently and would be a tough team to beat over two legs. They are comparable to Fulham in many ways; they often win their home games but are happy to settle for a point away. Kidderminster score plenty, but are very leaky at the back, especially away from home. If York can up their performance levels at Bootham Crescent, then Kidderminster surely won’t be too big an obstacle to overcome.

However, if York do eventually reach Wembley, recent history suggests they are likely to leave empty-handed. In 2009, York were beaten by Stevenage 2-0 in the FA Trophy Final. The following season the Minstermen went down 3-1 to Oxford United in the play-off final after conceding two early goals and giving themselves a mountain to climb. So the ideal scenario this time around would be York winning their FA Trophy final against Newport on May 12th before going into the play-off final with a degree of confidence eight days later. York must be inspired by the determination of the 1993 side which scraped past Crewe on penalties en route to promotion to the Second Division. In fact, they have already showed us their qualities in this department over the last couple of weeks. The task now at hand is to keep the momentum going and get the job done.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

York cricketers braced for battle

With all the hype about Roses and the College Cup building rapidly, something seems to have slipped under the sporting radar at York; this Sunday heralds the start of the men’s BUCS cricket season, while the women’s season begins a week today.

Few could possibly forget the men’s 1sts sensational promotion into the BUCS Northern 2B League last season, after winning all games but one against MCC, which they drew. The team also went on a memorable run in the Cup, beating York St John by 200 runs in the quarter finals before defeating Bradford in the semis by three wickets. The journey ended in disappointment, though, as they were defeated by Liverpool in the final.

The primary target this season will be survival, but finishing in the top two, to qualify for the cup, will not be entirely out of their reach. As captain Andy Kirkwood has said, the strength in depth of the squad is such that the players will feel that anything is possible this campaign.

Players to look out for include batsman Fraser Crawford, who recorded four centuries last season en route to becoming York’s top runner scorer. There’s also the all-rounder, Joel Hughes, who is opening bowler and top order batsmen. Finally, York can call upon exciting freshers talents including Sam Illingworth, the new opening batsmen, and Rob Gillespie, the new pace bowler.

Despite this, the team have a tricky first match away to Durham 2nds, who are likely contenders to win the Northern 2B League. York’s next two fixtures are easier on paper, however, as they have home matches against Leeds 2nds and local rivals York St John 1sts.

York celebrate victory against Bradford in last year's Cup
semi-finals (Photo: Oliver Todd)

 Meanwhile, the women’s team are part of a smaller division made up of just three other teams – Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. Each team plays each other twice with the top two teams making it through to the Cup. York have a tough start to their campaign with their first two matches being away from home. First, they will travel across the Pennines to face Manchester before making the trip south to Sheffield.

Although the university women’s cricket club was set up a couple of years ago, this will be York’s first season in BUCS. Ellen Whitehead, UYWCC President, told me how keen they are to get started: “We are looking forward to starting the season and are hoping to hit the ground running this year despite being a relatively inexperienced team. As one of the only players who has played BUCS before, I am looking forward to showcasing UYWCC's new talent.”

So I would expect this new-look York side to be a surprise package for whoever they come up against. However, one face will be familiar to some opposition, namely the ex-captain of Sheffield, Rebecca Woods, who is now studying for a Masters in York.  The match in Sheffield on 2nd May, and the return match in York just four days later, will undoubtedly be feisty affairs. York will also be relying on captain Kat Young for inspiration as well as the talented Louise Verrokken Jones and Izzy Wright.

All in all, the cricketing scene at York appears to be in excellent shape going into a busy summer term, and the teams deserve as much support as possible during what should be a very successful season.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Let's join Our Greatest Team

The University of York has recently agreed to support a revolutionary exercise campaign in the year of the Olympics. The Our Greatest Team campaign aims to get people to make a pledge to do something active in 2012, be it running a marathon or trying out a new sport.  So far across the UK, an incredible 94,302 people have signed up on the Our Greatest Team website and a total of 1,209 "Community Hubs", including York, have confirmed their participation.

The campaign, driven by Olympic equipment supplier Technogym, attempts to unite the nation behind an ethos of motivation and good health, hence the slogan, "900 athletes, 60 million strong". Head of Sport at York, Keith Morris, insisted to me that this "is not a sales thing" but is solely geared towards improving the overall wellbeing of communities and helping them improve their lifestyle. And Paul Deighton, the CEO of LOCOG, said: “Technogym's initiative is a fantastic way for people to push beyond their personal best, make a difference to their lifestyle and also help support our Olympic and Paralympic athletes.” 

One of the reasons why the initiative has proved so plausible and popular is because of the social media aspect promoted by Technogym. Movergy enables you to monitor your progress and connect with trainers and others making pledges, ensuring you are on the right track to achieve your goals. You can set yourself a daily routine and check on your progress, making sure you are fulfilling your pledges. It means you feel part of something bigger, and you are contributing your bit to what should be a memorable year of sport. Meanwhile, within the York area, Keith Morris has even suggested the campaign could be incorporated into Roses this year, providing a competitive edge and an extra incentive for people to get involved.

Clearly, the Our Greatest Team campaign gels with the London 2012 aim to provide a lasting legacy for future generations, which has been its key selling point. Last month, the campaign’s publicity hit new heights when Technogym announced the election of athletes Christine Ohuruogu and Sophia Warner as the Olympian and Paralympian Wellness Ambassadors for London 2012. And as you may already know, the Games’ environmental targets include limiting waste and pollution, delivering a "low-carbon Games" and promoting biodiversity in the surrounding area. The social legacy aims to maximise opportunities for everyone such as the 2012 London Business Network and a host of strategies geared towards increasing sports participation among children.

I just hope that people will continue to strive towards a more active lifestyle when the Olympics fanfare is over; this should not be a one-off experiment. It would be fantastic if those participating in Our Greatest Team continue or if the project is imitated by others; we desperately need to create a culture of wellbeing among youngsters. Of course, there are already several schemes in place to increase physical activity such as the government’s "Be Active, Be Healthy" and the NHS’s "Go London", but these are very much based around the south-east. We need the Our Greatest Team campaign and other similar initiatives to inspire people to look after themselves throughout the UK for generations to come. Let’s join the revolution!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Best BUCS moments ... in music

I thought it would be an apt moment to briefly review the BUCS season as a whole before this blog becomes filled with Roses and the College Cup posts next term. But this review is no ordinary review. It is a review in which music captures my top five moments of the season. Enjoy!

Men’s badminton 1sts survival secured

It has been a dramatic season of badminton for the men’s 1st team. Playing in the BUCS Northern 1A league they have faced some of the region’s trickiest sides in Leeds Met 2nds and Manchester 1sts. The crucial match they faced was at the start of March when they scraped past a strong Northumbria 1sts team 5-3 to cling on to survive. But the tension didn’t end there. BUCS initially failed to award York a walkover victory against Sheffield Hallam for not fielding a team. Captain Baillie Watterson did everything he possibly could do rectify the situation and he deserves a lot of credit for that. Eventually, the BUCS authorities regained their powers of common sense and survival was secured. Just hang in long enough and you’ll get your rewards.

Women’s rugby 1sts convincingly win their league

2012 was a year to remember for the women’s 1sts rugby team. They finished at the summit of their league, winning promotion to the Northern 2A league for the first time in years. Their record was an impressive, remaining unbeaten with four wins and one draw. A remarkable goal difference of 102 was eventually accumulated, nearly five times as large as runner-up York St John 1sts. They were so superior to the other teams, they might as well have played with their eyes closed. Such form bodes well for the popularity of women’s rugby at York; they are currently the solitary side, but should the interest increase don’t be surprised to see 2nd and 3rd teams in the not too distant future.

Double promotion for women’s hockey 1sts and 2nds

Women’s hockey at York has seen almost unparalleled success across all sports clubs participating in BUCS this year. Both the 1st and 2nd teams secured promotion simultaneously, which explains why we’ve heard the champion sound on the JLD and beyond many times this term. The first team won 8 from 10 games, pipping Newcastle 2nds by a point. Their final match, a 2-0 win over Northumbria 2nds, sparked the celebrations. Meanwhile, the 2nds stormed to top spot in their division, remaining unbeaten all season with five wins and two draws. The main highlight was a thumping 7-0 win over Hull 2nds in the penultimate match of the season which effectively enabled their promotion. With such success being recorded by both sides, I suspect there was a healthy culture of victory being harboured within the club. Not a bad thing to have at all.

Lacrosse men’s 1sts reach the final of the Cup

It has been a difficult league season for the lacrosse 1sts who finished 8th out of 10 teams, losing 6 out of 9 games. But in the Cup, it was a completely different story, as the side reached the final, going beyond the limits many people thought they would reach. The journey began with a classy 11-7 win over Bangor on 22nd February, which set up a clash with rivals Hull on 22 Acres on 7th March. Hull took the lead early on but a hat-trick from Joe Tebutt and a late goal from Andy Chalmers capped a dominating display. The final was held on 15th March as York were up against the Durham 2nds. Durham eventually won 13-3, but reaching the final is an incredible result for an almost entirely new York squad from last season. Perhaps league glory will not be an unrealistic target next year.

Men’s squash 1sts finish runners up with excellent prospects next year

Northumbria 1sts won the Northern 2B division with 27 points from 10 games, but York were right on their tails throughout the season, finishing with 24 points. This tally was fully six points better than Sheffield 2nds. Captain Dave Potter has been an inspiration, crushing opponents time and again to boost his side’s hopes. Notable performances include the 5-0 whitewash triumph over Newcastle which was repeated at the end of the campaign against Leeds Met 2nds. All this suggests York are set up nicely for winning the league next season, having proved far superior than the other teams. They can surely see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Basketball Beguilement

My basketball playing days are long gone now. Back in the day when I was a southerner, I was probably one of the best players in Year 3 at King’s Somborne Primary School, Hampshire. In fact, I probably enjoyed it even more than football. But since then my basket has been rusting in the garage and my interest in the sport has dwindled. Until now.

One of my highlights since becoming sports editor last term was reporting on basketball matches at York. I remember casting my eye over the fixtures list back in February and noticing a crucial men’s 1sts cup match. Initially not expecting too much entertainment, it turned out to be one of the best matches I have covered. Since then, it has been difficult for my co-editor Sally Dolton to keep me away from the university basketball scene.

Colin Hill in action against Hull in White
Rose Varsity 2012 (Photo: Kathy Burke)
My first basketball match was an eye-opener as to what I had missed out on playing-wise over the years. York men’s 1sts were up against Sunderland 1sts at the university’s tent venue. Although the temperature was in the minus numbers, the hospitality provided for reporters was first class; President George Rowland kindly provided court-side seating bang on the half-way line and there was even a digital score board. I was left asking myself why such luxuries weren’t available elsewhere. York ended up winning the match in comfortable fashion, including a remarkable deflected basket from Dan Baark.

It dawned on me how high standards were for BUCS men’s basketball. These guys must be spending hours in the gym every week, because their fitness levels were incredible. The pace of basketball is obviously a lot faster than most sports, and I wouldn’t bet against some of these players being fitter than most players in other university BUCS teams. And on-court, you knew if you were having a stinker in front of the basket, because you would be promptly substituted by the captain.

In terms of performance, the men’s 1sts have had a mixed season. Their league displays have been disappointing, losing all their games and suffering relegation. One of these was an incredibly close game against Sheffield Hallam which ended in agony, with the victors securing their league survival. But they have enjoyed brilliant cup performances, reaching the quarter-finals of the BUCS Northern Conference Cup and also beating Hull in the one-off Varsity match.

I also had the chance to cover the women’s 1sts BUCS team, whose cup tie against Northumbria 2nds was another entertaining match decided by fine margins. I soon found out that women’s basketball is much noisier and more physical than the men’s game. Whenever one side found themselves out of possession, their bench would scream ‘Defence! Defence!’ repeatedly, which I assume is intended to put off the attackers rather than exact concentration from the defenders. In terms of physicality, there were many more fouls given by the referee for pushing, shirt tugging and also eye-watering collisions. In fact, some of these players would tower above much of the men’s 1sts team so the games tended to be quite abrasive, another thing I was not quite prepared for. The women have enjoyed a far more successful campaign than the men, finishing second in their BUCS league table behind a bullish Bradford outfit, and making it to the quarter finals of the cup.

Finally, I have also thoroughly enjoyed watching college basketball, despite it being a relatively fledgling college sport. At the moment, only two teams regularly turn up to the tent on a Sunday evening – Vanbrugh and James. Langwith, Derwent and Wentworth occasionally come down but often struggle to field five players. And many of the players that do come along primarily play football; there aren’t too many participating who specialise in basketball as their primary sport. But this is to be expected at this early stage; basketball has only recently joined the college sport programme.

Last term we saw an Adam Lewis-inspired Vanbrugh beating Langwith 21-4 and a Derwent victory over James by 24-11. But the best match in my opinion was Wentworth’s 17-16 nail-biter over James with Helge Remmers providing a fitting winner. The university’s BUCS sides should be keeping tabs on some of the players coming up through the ranks if this quality is replicated on a weekly basis, and I wouldn’t be surprised if more players bridged the gap between college and university basketball over the next few years.

So if you’re a basketball fan, I would thoroughly recommend joining your college basketball side or even the university teams. And if you’re a reporter, just sit back and enjoy!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Kevin Keegan to join York Sport

York Sport President Sam Asfahani has announced that former England manager Kevin Keegan will become part of the York Sport committee for 2012-13.

Asfahani said: “Kevin will join the committee from next academic year in a new role, Senior York Sport Officer. I am confident he will be a great addition to the team and, although I won’t be working with him, I wish him all the best for the future.”

At the moment, the committee is made up of ten students elected by the student community. The decision to add Keegan to the team will be Asfahani’s last major policy as President before Charlotte Winter takes over.

61-year-old Keegan has been out of managerial work since abandoning a second stint at Newcastle in 2008 and has worked occasionally in media during the intervening years.

Keegan has managed three professional football clubs as well
as England
Keegan said in a statement: “I cannot wait join York Sport. I want to use my experience in sport to help the committee continue the good work it has already done under Sam Asfahani.

“I’ve reached the stage in my life where I need to try something different. After visiting the university last year, I was deeply impressed and the opportunity was simply impossible to turn down.”

And Keegan already has big plans for what the committee should be doing next year: “First and foremost we need to improve our BUCS football teams. Relegation will be history for all five of them.

“I would also like to increase the number of charity events at the university, so that we are raising lots of money for worthy causes. It’s an area where many universities are ahead of us.”

Keegan’s also wants to improve the diversity of sports at the university. “I’m a big golf fan, so I would like to get a college golf programme going as well as golf training. It can only be a good thing. And on a personal level, I would also like to coach players from a range of sports. I’m an on-the-ground type of guy.”

Meanwhile, Vice-Chancellor Brian Cantor declared: “This appointment will improve York’s international reputation in sport. I hope it will be a platform upon which we can build upon for many years.”

Keegan will assume his new responsibilities when York’s next academic year begins on 8th October. He will also hold a Q&A session in the Exhibition Centre (room P/X/001) on 25th April to respond to students’ queries.

To receive the latest information about events at the University of York, visit: