Thursday, 31 May 2012

Survey Surprise

The results everybody had been anticipating were finally released last week as York discovered the results of a pilot survey – the National Benchmarking Service for Higher Education Sport Centres. As York Vision reported on Tuesday, the news was resoundingly positive as average satisfaction levels with the university’s sports facilities were 4.13 out of 5. This is an impressive score considering the fact the York Sport Village, which will undoubtedly boost the profile of sport at York in every respect, is yet to open. As I outlined in my post back in March overviewing the survey, the results will be highly useful to those managing university sport around the country. We now know exactly who uses the facilities, what they deem to be important and, most significantly, how highly they rate certain aspects of our sport centre.
York's sport facilities are of excellent standard

Let’s start with looking at who uses York’s facilities. Well, around 60% are male and second years comprise a third of users; the highest proportion out of any year group. 34% used fitness equipment on their visit, which is encouraging considering how much better the gym opportunities will be in the new Sports Village. And as expected, the majority accessed the sports centre straight from home, often by walking, thanks to its central location. It will be interesting to see how much this will change next year as the Sports Village is located in Heslington East, away from the main campus.
 In terms of satisfaction levels, York's performance across each category was highly consistent. There was an incredibly high rate of satisfaction with the availability of activities at convenient times and the ease of booking, which shows how well run the facilities are. In addition, there was glowing praise for the helpfulness of staff, the quality of coaching instruction and the cleanliness of changing rooms and activity space. All of these were highly placed in terms of importance. Overall, when asked how likely one would recommend the facilities to a friend, most people (22.7%) gave a solid 8/10.

Although satisfaction levels were never below 60% for any category, there are certainly areas to work on. The main one is membership value for money, but this should be immediately rectified with the new Sports Village (see fitness suite tour above). Significantly, a whopping 70% of respondents said this was “very important” for any sports facility, but only 66.5% were ultimately satisfied. But with York Sport Village membership being just £29 for students, including pool & spa and fitness suite & classes, York will surely improve. Also, with most members currently visiting the current sports centre just once a week, the average may well increase to two or three by next year given the attractions of these new offers.

In short, the survey could not have come at a better time for York Sport. The results show exactly where York’s strengths and weaknesses lie with the current sports centre, which enables effective planning ahead for the new Sports Village. Then, in a year’s time, we will hopefully see the benefits of the £10 million investment.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Rowing above their weight

Founded in October 1963 along with the University of York itself, UYBC (University of York Boat Club) is arguably one of our most treasured sports clubs. They have been highly popular with the student community for many a year and competed in all manner of events across the UK. But what has set it apart from most other university boat clubs is its remarkable ability to succeed at the highest level against universities which receive vast amounts of cash and support for coaching and equipment.

Over the last two years, York Sport under the presidency of Sam Asfahani have worked extremely hard to address UYBC's greatest challenge since it was created; providing sufficient funding. For example, the squads have benefited from Easter training camps and just last month a received a useful £4,000 grant from the York Annual Fund for a new coxless pairs rowing boat. This comes in addition to roughly £4,000 of funding the club receives every year from YUSU. However, the problem is that this is still a modest amount to cover all of UYBC’s needs; most new boats cost in excess of £20,000, half of the rowing machines lie broken in the boathouse and only one part-time coach is available to train the entire senior squad. At present, the novices have no coach and must rely on the guidance of the seniors. Compare this to Newcastle University and it puts things into perspective. NUBC have at least 50 boats of all types and boast coaches for every squad, men’s and women’s, seniors and novices. They also have access to the the Hudson 8+ boats which are among the best around. But of course they have received huge amounts of funding which a university of York’s size simply cannot afford.
UYBC in action during the White Rose Head in January

UYBC’s recent record shows how much the squads have overachieved given their tight budget, as the club have gone from strength to strength. They started the season well, with both men’s and women’s coxed fours posting fast times in the Annual York Small Boats event. Then the club excelled in the White Rose Head event on the River Ouse against the universities of Leeds, York St John and Sheffield Hallam. And just last Saturday, both the novice and senior 8s reached their respective finals in the Nottingham City Regatta. The novices in particular have impressed hugely over the course of the season and will be ones to watch next year. In addition to Saturday’s performance, the novice 8s reached the semi-finals of the BUCS Regatta in Nottingham and their exceptional performance ranked them inside the top ten university novice crews in the UK.

Meanwhile, the senior squad finished second at the BUCS Head Race in Peterborough back in March, as the coxed 4s claimed their first BUCS medal. Then, in the BUCS race at Nottingham, the crew finished a respectable fifth against strong opposition. The team have also confirmed their status as the fastest crew in Yorkshire, following the Head of the River Race in London over Easter. Finishing 78th against crews from all over the UK, UYBC comfortably beat both York City Rowing Club and Leeds University, and were not too far behind heavyweights Southampton and Bristol. Men’s seniors captain Sam Agass was not lying when he said it was: “The best result the club has had in at least the last 10 years and without doubt the most impressive result from the entire club this season.”

Moving forward, UYBC have two outstanding talents for the future in Tom Eames and Matt Bowman who are enrolled on the University of York’s Sports Scholarship Programme. The pair have already represented Great Britain at junior level and are hoping to do so for the under-23 category. Their experiences this season will undoubtedly stand them in good stead for next year, when an influx of new talent will bolster the ranks once again. The challenge in the meantime is to finish the season strongly and hopefully qualify for the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta at the end of June. UYBC have not made an appearance at the event for seven years but came close last year when they were the fastest non-qualifiers. They produced their strongest performance since 2006 but finished 15th fastest out of the 46 crews pushing for qualification, which was just short of the mark. With this year’s success they will surely go one better and compete in the two student races; the Temple Challenge Cup and the Prince Albert Cup. In short, UYBC are in shipshape condition and there could not be a better time to be involved. I am confident the squad will continue to surprise the top clubs in the country with more sterling performances.

All reports on UYBC's races, and other rowing features, can be found at:

Saturday, 19 May 2012

College Cup 2012: The story so far - Part II

Part II of my College Cup so far mini-series includes arguably the best-performing college and the worst. It also involves the two teams who I think will eventually face each other in the final – James 1sts and Vanbrugh 1sts. And at the end of this post, I have included a few College Cup 2012 stats, for those of you who enjoy a bit of number-crunching.

College: JAMES

Tournament form: 6/10

The James 1st team are a formidable bunch who I expect will go all the way to the final. They are strong in all departments, boasting the attacking flair of Tom Clarke, the midfield energy of Richard Baxter and the defensive nous of Oscar Lynch. Their opening match was a hard-fought win over their main Group A rivals Alcuin 1sts, followed by an annihilation of Wentworth 2nds. If you are a James fan, you just hope they haven’t peaked too soon in the tournament and that they can maintain their exceptional start.
Clarke celebrates with his teammates after scoring a hat-trick
against Wentworth 2nds (Photo: Oliver Todd)

Meanwhile, the 2nds secured a brilliant 1-0 win over a sluggish Halifax 1sts in their opening match. They took advantage of one of their few clear sights of goal, which is what you must do when you accept your opponents will have the majority of possession. However, they were brought back down to Earth yesterday with a 2-1 defeat to Vanbrugh 3rds. Despite this, I expect them to win their next two games and go into their final match against Goodricke 1sts with a real chance of qualification.

It has been a difficult start for the 3rds, though, who sit at the bottom of Group A along with Wentworth 1sts. It’s not that they have played especially badly; they have lost both games by the odd goal. They seemed to tire in the second half against Goodricke but probably still deserved a point, while their defeat against Halifax 3rds could have been a different story had Johnny Williamson not hit the bar with his penalty. Fine margins.


Tournament form: 4/10

The college of Langwith have had a mixed start to the Cup, winning one game from a possible four. The 1sts should have beaten Alcuin 2nds; had Andy Hutt not fluffed his lines and made it 2-0 they would have surely won all three points. As it was, they conceded a late equaliser. On Monday, they were never really in the game against Vanbrugh 1sts and were lucky to only lose 3-0. I don’t think they will make it to the cup quarter finals, but should secure a place in the Plate.
Langwith 2nds celebrate their only win for the college so far,
against Wentworth 1sts (Photo: TK Rohit)

The second team have enjoyed more success than their first team cousins in Group 1. Their narrow defeat to Derwent 1sts demonstrated the incredible energy levels the side had to match one of the tournament favourites for long periods. They nearly found an equaliser in the second half too, as Will Prescott’s long throw-ins were proving troublesome. Their win against Wentworth 2nds was quite simply crucial if they are to have any hope of qualification. I cannot see them finishing in the top two, though, so once again for a Langwith team, Plate qualification would be the realistic target.


Tournament form: 9/10

Phil Taylor orchestrates another Vanbrugh 1sts attack
(Photo: Tom Wooldridge)
If you are a Vanbrite (like me) you’ll be pretty damn pleased with the progress of the three teams so far. Out of the six games played, five wins have been notched; the best record of any college. The 1sts have barely broken sweat yet have recorded back-to-back 3-0 wins, against Derwent 3rds and Langwith 1sts. Phil Taylor looks calm and composed in midfield and, although Elliot Rous-Ross is yet to score, I’m sure he will find his form come the end of the group stages. The full backs also look really dangerous marauding forward; teams must learn how to stop Rob Rix or else risk being completely swamped down their right. Should Vanbrugh top Group 4, their chances in the quarter finals are looking good with Derwent 2nds being deducted two points in Group 3.

The only defeat suffered by a Vanbrugh side thus far has been the 2nds' 3-2 reverse against Halifax 4ths. In truth, they should have been at least three or four goals up before they crumbled spectacularly late on. But the side recovered with a steady performance on Thursday against Goodricke 3rds. Their next match is against Wentworth 2nds which should prepare them nicely for the clash with Alcuin 1sts and then James 1sts. It’s a very tough group, but Alcuin have been far from convincing so I will back Vanbrugh to sneak in behind James.

The way things are looking for the 3rds, they could well face their 1sts cousins in the quarter finals. The team secured a narrow 1-0 win against Derwent 2nds with a goal out of nowhere, and their defending in that match was magnificent. And they produced another gritty, determined performance yesterday beating James 2nds thanks to James Robinson’s late winner. The team seem to have the ability to soak up pressure and take their chances at the other end, and things are going for them so far. Also, manager Mike Sutcliffe is always extremely vocal on the touchline and always lets his players know if standards are slipping, which is a sign of a great leader.


Tournament form: 2/10

It has been a difficult tournament for the post-graduates, who have recorded five defeats out of six for their three teams so far, the worst record of any college. The 1sts have lost both their matches in Group 1 thus far, despite the best efforts of star player and captain Wayne Paes in midfield. They have put up a good fight in their matches, but defeats to Halifax 3rds and Langwith 2nds were games they would have been looking to win. They now face an uphill struggle to even qualify for the Plate.
Unhappy Wentworth faces after their shock 2-1 defeat to
Halifax 3rds (Photo: Tom Wooldridge)

Wentworth 2nds have notched the college’s only victory in the Cup, a 3-0 win over Goodricke 2nds, but the 8-0 defeat to James 1sts will have rocked confidence. However, they must hope that James will play just as well against the other teams and that they recover their form quickly.

Wentworth 3rds have had a tricky time of late as well, being without a goal in their two defeats against Halifax 2nds and Derwent 3rds. They need to make sure their next encounter against Vanbrugh 1sts isn’t a cricket score and that they can recover to perhaps nick a Plate position.

College Cup 2012: In numbers

Total games: 24

Total goals: 73

Most group goals: 25 (Group 2)

Fewest group goals: 14 (Group 1)

Top scorer: Tom Clarke (4 goals)

Total draws: 1 (Langwith 1sts 1-1 Alcuin 2nds)

Highest college win tally: 6 (Halifax)

Highest college win percentage: 83.3% (Vanbrugh)

Teams yet to concede: 3 (Vanbrugh 1sts; Derwent 1sts; Goodricke 1sts)

Friday, 18 May 2012

College Cup 2012: The story so far - Part I

So as we come to the end of the second week of College Cup action, it’s time we take stock of what has happened. Rather than look at the tournament in a group-by-group basis, I will examine how each college is performing as a whole. If I were a player, I would quite like to be in either Vanbrugh or Halifax right now; most of their teams are performing very well indeed and the mood in the training sessions must be pretty upbeat. At the other end of the scale, being a Wentworth fan must be a painful experience with all three teams struggling. In terms of the destiny of the cup, I will stick my neck out and predict a Vanbrugh 1sts vs James 1sts final. If you think differently, let me know what you think!

College: ALCUIN

Tournament form: 4/10

The three Alcuin teams have had a mixed bag of results so far in the College Cup. In Group 2, the 1sts put up a good fight against a fearful James 1sts side last week, but eventually lost 3-1. Marshall was in fine form, almost single-handedly keeping his side in the match against James' stella attacking force. Then yesterday, they rode their luck a couple of times before seeing off underdogs Halifax 4ths. I was particularly impressed with Will Taylor down the left; he appeared their only useful outlet. Their match against Vanbrugh 2nds on 28th May will probably decide who finishes second behind James 1sts.

Alcuin 1sts are by no means guaranteed progress
The 2nds are still awaiting their first victory after drawing 1-1 against Langwith 1sts and losing 3-2 against Halifax 2nds. In the latter match, Scholz impressed with his finishing, bagging two goals to complete the comeback to 2-2, but Alcuin were desperately unlucky to be undone by a Stevenson wondergoal with minutes remaining. I think they may struggle to qualify for the Cup after that result.

And things aren't looking terribly good for the 3rds either; they were on the end of a 2-0 defeat to Goodricke’s first string last Thursday before being crushed by Halifax 6-1 today. Their aim will be to qualify for the plate, but for them to be a realistic chance they will have to beat an in-form Vanbrugh 3rds in their next match.

College: DERWENT

Tournament form: 4/10

It has been an underwhelming tournament so far for Derwent. In Group 1, despite winning both their games, Derwent 1sts are clearly not firing on all cylinders just yet. A nervy 1-0 win over Langwith 2nds was followed by another similar performance against Goodricke 2nds. But the main thing is that they have been very solid defensively, giving away very few chances. I expect as the tournament progresses they will become more clinical up front; their next match against James 3rds could be the platform for that.
Derwent 1sts are yet to reach their full potential

However, things could be worse as the 2nds have shown. The team have had a torrid tournament so far in Group 3, sitting on minus two points for not sending a referee to the Alcuin 2nds-Halifax 2nds match, losing 1-0 to Vanbrugh 3rds and then again today against Goodricke 1sts. Their hopes for cup qualification look all but over, and it will be a big ask to even get into the Plate.

Derwent 3rds have had a decent start to their campaign in Group 4, recording a vital 1-0 win over Wentworth 3rds after being overpowered by Vanbrugh 1sts 3-0. Their next match against Alcuin 2nds will be the critical fixture for me; if they lose that then I can’t see them progressing in the Cup.


Tournament form: 7/10

The men from Heslington East have produced some impressive performances so far in this year’s tournament. The 1sts beat Alcuin 3rds with some attractive play, a refreshing break from the long balls we so often see on the JLD. Then their 1-0 win over Derwent 2nds today epitomised the team’s excellent work-rate. They are now in an excellent position to reach the quarter finals, but will need to pass the Halifax 1sts test in their next match to stay on track.
Goodricke 1sts look in good shape after two matches

The 2nds can be also pleased with their record so far in Group 1. A 1-0 defeat to Derwent 1sts is nothing to be ashamed of, while their win over James 3rds was characterised by a gutsy second half display, capped by a marvellous Joe Mann finish. Their next match is against Wentworth 1sts who are in trouble after two defeats, and I will back them to finish second behind Derwent if they keep their form up.

But things aren’t looking so rosy for Goodricke 3rds, the only side from the college I have worries about. To be beaten 3-0 by Wentworth 2nds will raise a few concerns, especially the manner of defeat; when the early goal went in, heads seemed to drop. The team were more solid yesterday against Vanbrugh 2nds but rarely troubled Tom Williams and lost 2-0.

College: HALIFAX

Tournament form: 8/10

What a tournament this college is having. Although the 1sts surprisingly lost to James 2nds last week, they responded in style today with a 6-1 thrashing of Alcuin 3rds. With so many university players in their team, including the likes of Dan Turley and Ash Daly, it was inevitable they would find their stride sooner rather than later. The result has come at the perfect time as Goodricke 1sts are their next opposition on Monday, and they will be no pushovers.

The 2nds have enjoyed a 100 per cent start in Group 4, crushing Wentworth 3rds 5-0 which showcased the talents of Jake Mundy and Fraser Moyle in attack. When your team is hungry for goals like that it really breeds confidence throughout the XI. Their 3-2 win over Alcuin 2nds was a test of character; they should have been out of sight but had to swallow an Alcuin comeback, only to strike a late winner. They should reach the quarter finals without too much trouble and could give Vanbrugh 1sts a run for their money in the final group game.
Halifax 2nds have won both of their opening two matches

It’s been a great time for the 3rds as well, who have been workmanlike and professional. They won the first game of the College Cup – a surprise 2-1 win over Wentworth 1sts – followed by a narrow 1-0 win over James 3rds, thanks in part to Shin Murata’s heroics in goal. Can they qualify? Well, Goodricke 2nds will be the major opposition of course, who they face on 1st June. But what may count in their favour is that they face Derwent 1sts in their last group game, and Derwent may have already qualified by then.

Finally, the 4ths can be proud of their efforts so far. Their comeback victory against Vanbrugh 2nds was nothing short of sensational and they were unlucky to lose to Alcuin 1sts yesterday. I have been highly impressed with Alec Rieck – shouldn’t he be in the 2nds or 3rds? He’s big, strong and a handful for defenders. Their long ball game seems to be paying dividends on such a bouncy surface as well. I expect them to finish fourth to qualify for the plate, which would constitute a highly successful tournament.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The college sport spectacle

The summer term at the University of York is of course extremely busy as we revise, revise and revise some more. But with the BUCS season now largely finished, it is also a hugely exciting time for college sport, which is in full bloom.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the football College Cup has returned to the JLD and so far, we’ve had a highly intriguing tournament. There have been numerous giant killings, from the first match when Halifax 3rds scored twice late on to devastate Wentworth 1sts, to Halifax 4ths shocking a strong Vanbrugh 2nds and tournament favourites Halifax 1sts flopping against James 2nds. Almost every match has seen huge crowds gathered on the touchlines to get behind their college, which is why they are usually such great events to report on. The introduction of vuvuzelas this year by Derwent has generated a great atmosphere and I’m sure we’ll be seeing the likes of the Vanbrugh and Derwent ducks quacking their support soon.
Many college sport events are better attended than BUCS
(Photo: Adam Green)

But of course, football is not the only sport in the world. The hockey College Cup made an exciting debut on Saturday with goals flying in left, right and centre; in total, we saw a remarkable 67 goals scored across the six matches. The outstanding result in Group 1 was Goodricke 1sts’ thrashing of Langwith 2nds 11-2, while in Group 2 a Graeme Osborn-inspired Halifax 2nds could not stop James 1sts winning 7-5 in a thrilling contest. The great thing about the tournament is that it encourages beginners to participate in competitive sport. That’s because no men’s 1sts, 2nds or women’s 1sts players are allowed to play. In terms of the destiny of the title, Halifax and James will be the colleges to beat as their squad size and strength far outstrip the other colleges. However, both of their first teams have been a little leaky in defence, conceding eight goals between them on Saturday, so the other college first teams will definitely fancy their chances in attack.

The summer term also sees the return of cricket and rounders, which are played on weekdays except Wednesdays. Both kick off at 5:30pm on 22 Acres and are about to enter their third week of action, although there have been disruptions caused by heavy rain. In addition, college tennis has returned to our courts on Monday evenings from 5pm. The matches are arguably more exciting to watch than BUCS, because the quick format allows for all ties to be completed in under three hours. Each tie comprises three mixed doubles matches which are just one set long, and all eight colleges are participating which is great to see. At the moment, Vanbrugh and Langwith are battling it out for top spot and their match against each other tomorrow at approximately 6:30pm will be one to watch.

Although the college netball season has finished, we still have a number of sports which are continuing their season from the spring term, notably badminton, table tennis and squash. In the badminton, Langwith’s captain Andrew Grantham will be adamant his side can finish the season on a high, and his on-court his partnership with Huang Ting Ang is always a joy to watch. Like cricket, the squash is played out on weekdays except Wednesdays, while table tennis takes place on Fridays. Vanbrugh vs Halifax looks likely to provide the best entertainment from 6:30pm.

In summary, if you have never tried sport out at York before now is a great time to do so at college level. With so many on offer this term, there’s bound to be something which floats your boat! Meanwhile, for us reporters, it’s a great time to just sit back and enjoy the spectacle.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Roses 2012: An experience to remember

Roses 2012 lived up to all the hype as Lancaster University served up a delicious weekend of sporting drama which will live long in the memory of those participating and reporting. Quite simply, the stage could not have been more perfectly set. Lancaster’s brand new £20 million Sports Centre was replete with the finest sports halls, swimming pool, squash courts, you name it. Even better, the balcony on top was the perfect vantage point at which to overlook the pristine rugby pitches. And that’s not to mention he fantastic weather which graced the majority of the tournament.

Before the tournament, I made Lancaster the favourites based upon the fact they were going to enjoy home advantage, which has proved to be so decisive over the years. Before this year, only four times out of 23 away tournaments had York been successful, although two of those came in the last five events. However, York’s slightly superior BUCS ranking – 44th to Lancaster’s 52nd – made it not entirely certain Lancaster would cruise to victory. In the end, apart from a bad start on Friday morning, Lancaster always possessed a comfortable advantage and triumphed 158.5 – 131.5.
The balcony view from Lancaster's new Sports Centre

After my first day in Lancaster, I soon realised why the home team almost always wins. First of all, you as the away team probably have to get up at some ungodly hour in the morning to arrive on time (which makes York’s badminton successes on Friday morning all the more impressive). And unless you want to pay extortionate accommodation expenses, the away clubs are usually forced to sleep in chilly lecture theatres on hard, unwelcoming floors, which even sleeping bags struggle to defend against. Every so often you are woken up by people crashing into the hall after a night out, someone suffering from a giggling fit, or even hiccupping. Regarding nights out, I’ve heard that all the York football teams went out on the Saturday night; no surprise then that they were winless the following day.

Simply put, by 8 o’clock the next morning, getting up and feeling 100% for your next match can be tricky. And even replenishing your lost energy can be a challenge. You are unlikely to have access to such simple provisions as a fridge or microwave, making you almost wholly reliant on pasties from Greggs. What at first seemed to be a brilliant source of food was actually downward dietary spiral. By contrast, the home teams can cook a filling, healthy dinner, stick a bit of Mozart on in the evening to unwind and have a peaceful night’s sleep on their luxurious mattresses in their warm and cosy student homes. OK, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration, but you get my point.
The York women's darts team line up before their epic match

Despite this inherent disadvantage, the quality of some matches we saw over the weekend was incredible. I said after the women’s darts match that it was one of the best atmospheres I had ever reported on, only for that to be bettered by the men’s match straight afterwards. The intense pressure even got to Alex “The Arm” Harrison, who lost his tie, but York eventually triumphed thanks to the heroics of Kris Hilliam. Then on Saturday evening, we had the memorable water polo match where the York fans put the Lancaster fans to shame with some ingenious chants, before leaping into the pool to celebrate with the players. Finally, on Sunday, you could not take your eyes off a brilliant men’s basketball match which York lost by six points, even though Lancaster had already won Roses by that point.

I could go on for ever about how many other great moments there were at Roses this year. Although the result was not what we wanted, it was a pleasure to be involved in the largest, and best, inter-university sports tournament in Europe. If you want to relive all the highs and lows of the tournament and ponder over some magnificent, insightful analysis, look out for York Vision’s special 16-page Roses pullout. Savour it.

You can also read full Roses match reports on York Vision's Roses 2012 page

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Bizarre sports at Roses 2012: Part II

Bizarre sport #4: Clay Pigeon Shooting

Clay pigeon shooting features in Roses 2012 on Saturday morning, being worth the full four points, with the match taking place at the Crabtree Clays. For Roses 2011, YUSU provided the shooting club with £1,000 of funds to take part. That is exactly four times higher than what LUSU are providing LUSC (Lancaster University Shooting Club) this year, although they did receive over £700 earlier this year to improve their coaching.

The teams will begin by shooting 100 Bird English Sporting and 100 Bird Team Flush. These are the most popular forms of the sport, with objects being thrown at a variety of heights and trajectories. The throws attempt to represent the movement of not just pigeons, but also pheasants, pigeons and ducks.

Only the top eight shooters from each side will be participating. York’s top eight shooters are as follows: Jack Amos, Charlotte Williams, Martin McClenaghan, Jordan Gillies, Ben Watkins, Jimmy, Ryan Hartwell and Harrison Spain. The team have had a decent season in BUCS, finishing in 10th position, whereas Lancaster slumped in 25th.

But beware! In the latest LUSC newsletter, they already know that York are residing in the George Fox building:

We thought it might be a nice idea to introduce ourselves to them during the night :-) Any ideas for a funny “welcome” are highly appreciated! (Ideas that involve loaded shotguns won’t be considered...)

Bizarre sport #5: Climbing

There are three different categories in competitive climbing – lead, speed and bouldering. At Roses, the climbing category will be bouldering, which is without ropes and involves technical, short climbs on a wall 4.5 metres high. The challenge will last approximately two hours and the climbers must complete as many of the problems as they can, and fill in the score sheet afterwards. Throughout the route, judges check the players are not taking short-cuts or cheating in any way. It is probably the most intensive, includes the most difficult obstacles and is also the most exciting to watch from a spectator point of view.

Three York teams are participating on Saturday which will each have two men and one woman. Only the A and B teams’ results count in terms of points, which total a very important 18 altogether. In short, the mountaineering club at York has some excellent climbers who are hitting their peak going into this year’s tournament. Points will surely be secured by the A team, which is particularly strong, and their preparation has been going according to plan at the local wall in Acomb, according to Mountaineering President, Susie Riketts.

Bizarre sport #6: Ballroom Dancing

Recreational dancing has of course been around for hundreds of years, but only in the last half-century has it been considered as something with a competitive dimension – known as“dancesport”. Despite this, it lingers on the margins and is unlikely to feature in the Olympics any time soon.

On Saturday, there will be 9 points up for grabs just for the dancing events, across a variety of categories. It includes beginner events for ballroom dancing and Latin dancing, which are worth a point each. There will also be the more advanced forms of these as well as ballet, modern, tapdance and contemporary dance.

Candidates will be assessed across a wide range of criteria, including poise, posture, timing, foot and leg action, and presentation. York can only hope that the judges are unbiased in their decision-making, because controversy has hit Roses in the past in similar sports, notably equestrian back in 2006.