Web Exclusives Freshers

Sports Clubs: An A to Z Guide

Thinking of joining a sports club at university? Here's our A to Z guide of what York Sport has to offer

Archive This article is from our archive and might not display correctly. Download PDF
York may not be one of the country's leading lights in terms of sporting prowess, but there's no shortage of dedicated, hard-working, and (above all!) fun clubs to join - plus, plenty of success stories to be told. All clubs will be at Freshers Fair in October, and more contact details can be found on YUSU's website.

Aikido is one of many forms of Japanese martial arts that are available at York. However, it differs from that of Judo and Karate because it goes beyond self-defence as it incorporates a philosophy and religious beliefs into its practise in order to harmonise the spirit. In terms of the self-defence aspect, Aikido's main difference to other martial arts is that the aim is to defend oneself whilst protecting their attacker from injury, which is nice. Instead of opposing an attack head on, the force is redirected through throws and joint locks, which require very little strength.

American Football
The York Centurions American Football team has enjoyed a successful beginning to life since its inception a few years ago. The team is now well established and made the playoffs in only their second season, before joining the newly established BUCS American Football league last year. The Centurions are a large team with well over 50 players and coaches, which is essential as American Football is a sport focussed on a real team effort. Players of all abilities and experience are welcome to join up.

Open to archers of all abilities, the Archery Club shoot both indoors and outdoors over the course of the year. Archery also plays an important part in Roses, with the various novice and senior squads all competing for points against Lancaster, as well as competing in various other local and inter-university competitions.

Whether you are a serious long distance runner, looking to dominate the track, or just want to go for a casual job to stay fit, this club has something for everyone. Training sessions take place either on campus or at the local Athletics Centre, with something happening on pretty much every day of the week. At only a fiver to become a member, Athletics is an absolute bargain. Club runs on Tuesday and Thursday nights are one of the most attended weekly club sessions.

As one of the university's more popular clubs, badminton teams operate and compete at both college and university level with competitive matched being held each week in teams of two doubles pairings and two single players. There are three open badminton sessions each week, which is open to all levels of skill and all equipment is provided. College teams compete in winter and spring term each week in a league system to claim the termly title. The university side have three men's teams and two women's teams competing in BUCS leagues, as well as the BUCS Northern Conference Cup.

After both the men's and women's teams impressed in 2011/12, the Basketball Club suffered last year after losing some of their key players. The men's team were unfortunate to be on the wrong end of some very tight scorelines last season, while the women's team improved as the season went on and would have finished higher if it weren't for a points deduction. Fast-paced and unpredictable, basketball is always worth a watch!

Image: Philippa Grafton.
Image: Philippa Grafton.

Ben Lairig (Fellwalking / Winter Mountaineering)
The fellwalking and winter mountaineering club is open to anybody who enjoys walking, whether you want to spend a day out in Yorkshire's rolling hills or escape for the weekend. They run weekend long trips and have recently been to the Lake District, Snowdownia and Scotland. There are also winter walking opportunities as they run a winter skills course with a qualified guide.

Boat Club
The University's Boat Club has had a fantastic year and is one of the largest sports clubs on campus. At last year's fresher's fair 563 rowers signed up. They also received a £10,000 grant from Sport England in recognition of their outstanding progress. They will be looking to follow up their successful year by recruiting new rowers to the novice squads. At Henley this year the women's fours squad reached the semi-finals and the men's novice eights were victorious at the York Regatta. It was a very strong year for the Boat Club and they will be looking to build on their remarkable success, they welcome complete beginners and are happy to cater to anybody who has a passion for rowing.

Boxing Club
For the Boxing Society, the year ended in exhilarating fashion, when The Lounge hosted their inaugural Exhibition Night. The event was considered an outstanding success, with a crowd of around four hundred enjoying some high quality action. The club hope to maintain their momentum, by joining the Amateur Boxing Association of England, the ABAE, which will mean the club will be able to compete in BUCS, as well as Roses further down the line. On top of this, another Exhibition night could potentially take place in the Spring term, allowing the new freshers to really strut their stuff.

York's Canoe Club took the headlines in a peculiar style in summer term when their win over Lancaster provided York with the perfect score to win Roses as a whole, building on the sport's Olympic legacy. Going by the witty acronym of YUCC, the Canoe Club relish diving head-first (well, maybe not literally) into white-water rivers or sea and surf conditions, or even just playboating at their favourite spots. Welcoming all abilities, the club supplies equipment for river trips every Saturday and in the summer months they turn to dam release rivers and the beach for surfing. Swell.

Canoe Polo
Canoe polo, in accordance with trading standards, is exactly what it says on the tin. The sport is an amalgamation of water polo and basketball, but in a canoe; two teams of five players must work the ball into a net that's two metres above the water. With weekly training for those of any experience, the club spends the first two terms playing in a local pool before they venture out onto the Ouse when the water turns warmer. Competitive fixtures take place throughout the year in BUCS and Yorkshire leagues, epitomised by their big clash against Lancaster in Roses.

Capoeira first began in Brazil in the early 16th Century as a game which incorporated martial arts, dance and music. It incorporates a number of moves, including acrobatics, defense and a variety of kicks. At the heart of all of this is the 'ginga', which is the starting point for all different moves. Capoeira is a sport which everyone interprets in their own way, and there is no need to be strong or acrobatic to take part. Everyone is welcome to join and take part in this unique and fun Brazilian pastime.

Cave & Potholing Club
Having been in operation for over thirty years, YUCPC is firmly established as a top club at York. Caving normally takes place in the Yorkshire Dales, but the club also organise regular trips to the UK's other caving areas such as the Peak District, South Wales, and the Mendip Hills in Somerset. The club go on trips almost every weekend, and our well known as an extremely tight-knit and inclusive bunch. No prior experience is required and membership costs £15, so is affordable.

Cheerleading (York Hornets)
Two squads of 2013 national champions, eleven trophies in one year, three dance teams, a music video and an events squad performing both in the city and on campus have made the York Hornets Cheerleaders one of the most successful sports clubs on campus. Welcoming those with all levels of experience and of both genders, the Hornets are looking to repeat on their successes of last year as well as maintain their reputation for consistently ridiculous Wednesday socials.

Clay Pigeon Shooting
The club is open to members of any experience and even those who just want to come and have a go. Weekly shoots take place at Park Lodge shooting ground (with travel provided by the club) and the club owns two of its own guns for those who aren't armed, with tuition offered by two qualified instructors. New members receive a full safety talk and supervision from licensed members. Students who are licensed and want to bring their guns with them to university can store them locally at York Guns. Shooters good enough to make the squad attend additional Saturday sessions and compete against local teams and universities.

Cricket - Men's
Last season was not exactly a vintage one for the men's firsts, traditionally a very good side who have often experienced great success. They finished bottom of the Northern 2B league and were subsequently relegated, it was an unfortunate result after they won the league two seasons ago. However, they are still an excellent side and the men's seconds had a far better season and won their Roses match comfortably. Rain may often hamper cricket in the North but all of the men's teams have great spirit and passion for the game. If you love cricket and still want to play at a competitive level, York's men's team will be looking to recruit new players to move on from last season.

Cricket - Women's
The women's cricket team had their most successful season to date last year. They won their first ever BUCS match and completed home and away victories against Sheffield University. They finished third in the league and managed two wins, two draws and two losses from the entire season. After a record intake of freshers last season, the women's team will be looking to build on their success and they are happy to welcome cricket players of all abilities. Last year's team had a number of players who had never played cricket before but by the end of the season were representing York in BUCS. Even if you have never played before but have always loved cricket, York's women's team are a passionate and friendly side who are determined to continue their outstanding progress.

The cycling club are coming off one of their most successful years, with cycling high on the public agenda following the brilliance of Team GB and Team Sky, York's cyclists found themselves with record numbers of students signing up at last year's freshers fairs. The completion of the new cycling track on Hes East as well as the hope that an outdoors velodrome will be joining it in the near future gives budding cyclists plenty of opportunities to hone their skills. The club whitewashed Lancaster at Roses last year and are going from strength to strength. They welcome everyone from casual cyclists to those who wish to compete in BUCS.

The atmosphere at a university darts match is a pretty unique experience as far as campus sport goes. Their raucous clashes with Lancaster at Roses have become legendary, with York's men currently holding the bragging rights after a memorable match this year. They also reached the national Unicup finals last year, while the women's side have also made huge improvements over the last couple of years.

Fencing Club
York Fencing is one of the biggest and most successful clubs on campus. Fencing comes in three different disciplines - foil, epee and sabre. Each different form of the sport has slightly different rules and takes a variety of skills. Fencing is a great way to keep fit whilst also having fun, and the club train up to four times a week. York are fortunate to have players who are ranked and compete nationally, and everyone is welcome to join and begin training with the foil, regardless of their level of experience in fencing.

Like meatballs and Ikea, floorball is an import from Sweden and, in its simplest definition, it is much like indoor hockey. However, much of the equipment is different despite the game running on a similar system to hockey. Like indoor hockey, there are no boundaries in play and the ball can be played off the wall and (like ice hockey and lacrosse) the boundary extends behind the goal. However, wooden sticks and a solid ball are replaced by plastic sticks and a hollow plastic ball to make play extremely fast whilst rules allowing moderate contact make this sport perfect for the competitive student.

Football - Men's
UYAFC is one of the biggest clubs on campus, with four teams representing the Black and Gold in BUCS competition as well as in Varsity and Roses. Their whitewash at Varsity last year was one of the highlights for York, though they were unable to replicate that success at Roses. While the first team were extremely unlucky to miss out on promotion, falling foul of the weather and the quirks of the league table system, the second and third string sides both enjoyed fine campaigns.

Image: Agatha Torrance.
Image: Agatha Torrance.

Football - Women's
They finished first in the league last season after an incredibly successful year and were undefeated throughout the BUCS competition. After agony in Varsity where they were the victims of poor organisation and dodgy referring, they bounced back at Roses with a thrilling 3-1 win. They have the potential for even more success this year and will be looking to bolster their squad with a new intake of freshers, with a UYWAFC second team to be introduced this season. A few of their big names from last year have now graduated so there is plenty of opportunity for new blood.

Futsal made history last year as they became the first York side ever to win a BUCS Premier League title. For anyone unfamiliar, futsal is a variation of five-a-side indoor football, which makes for some thrilling and breathless viewing. The team's success last year saw them reach the semi final of the national BUCS tournament, before representing Great Britain at the European Championships in Malaga this summer. This year will also see a female futsal side competing in BUCS.

As a sport, gliding is great fun for those who enjoy getting up and into the air. The club is aimed at a variety of abilities, and aims to get students air-borne and enjoying the wonderful expanse that is the North Yorkshire landscape. Membership costs around £20, so is relatively good value, and the club has sessions on most weekends. The club want to get as many people as possible in the air, and with instructors and supervisors at the airfield, this is made incredibly easy.

The University of York Golf Club train regularly at the local golf course in Fulford, which offers a high quality golfing experience and is renowned as one of the best courses in Europe. Don your chinos and polo shirt, grab your irons, and hit the course for fun, friendship and laughs of all levels. The club meet regularly and are well known for their friendly atmosphere and classy stash.

Gymnastics Club
The Gymnastics club, which trains twice a week in the Dance Studio, for people of varying degrees of ability and flexibility. The society is well equipped, meaning that members can enjoy numerous different pieces of apparatus, including the pommel horse, spring board, trampette and flip machine. This means members are able to try a wide variety of gymnastic, or train and hone their skills on a specific piece of apparatus.

One of the larger clubs on campus, UYHC boasts spirited comradery and an epic social life that make being a part of the club unforgettable. To the extent that one member of the club has UYHC tattooed on his foot. The club has five teams competing against other universities in BUCS and also play in a local league against local clubs. The squads are at their best during Roses as the sport drew huge crowds on the JLD, whilst the indoor hockey provided the one of the best atmospheres of the entire weekend as hockey proved to be one of York's most successful sports. Hockey is also very popular at college level with a league competition played in winter and spring term.

JiuJitsu is one of the most famous martial arts in the world. Originating in Japan, it began amongst the Samurai as a way of defending against an attacker who was armoured and carried a weapon. Jiujitsu focuses on moves which involve throwing and locking against opponents to defend against attacks; the main idea is to use an opponent's own energy, force and power against them. The emphasis is on skilful and quick movement rather than strength, so you can defend yourself against any opponent regardless of their own size and strength.

Judo, is a modern martial art and sport, which developed in the late 19th Century from the ancient way of the Samurai, jiu jitsu. The combat mainly involves taking down an opponent, using throws, before attempting to pin them to the ground. Freshers can enjoy the experience of Charles Ashby, who has 35 years of training and competition experience. The society regularly provides opportunities to do gradings, to advance up the ladder of arse-kickery. Freshers can also rest assured that at the socials that the society go on, they will never be on the losing side if a fight does break out...

Karate is the well known Japanese martial art which most students will already have dabbled in when they were 6 or 7 years old. University is the perfect place to give karate, which teaches both attack and self-defence, another go, in a more mature and friendly environment. UYKC provides gradings, an exam where martial artists get the chance to earn a new shiny belt, three times a year, meaning that after three terms, you could be a meer grading away from the infamous black belt. After three months of teaching, Karate provides the chance to begin helping other less experienced students as well.

UYKC caters for all ability levels - from beginners to some of the most talented young racers in the country. As well as regularly travelling to circuits for a racing session, the club competes in British University Karting Championship at some of the country's top tracks. With karts that can reach upwards of 70mph, this is the club to join if you still dream of being the next Lewis Hamilton or Jenson Button.

Kendo, "the way of the sword", is the art of Japanese fencing. Developed from traditional Japanese techniques, it is both physically and mentally challenging, combining strong martial arts values with physical elements.

Last year was a truly remarkable one for UYLC. Two table-topping teams, two BUCS Cup finals, and a couple of massive victories at Roses made them one of the most successful outfits on campus. Full equipment and twice weekly training is provided by the largest mixed gender club at York, plus the standard Wednesday night socials and annual tour. With two women's teams, a men's team and various development squads, UYLC is the perfect club for both beginners and lacrosse veterans.

MMA & Thai Boxing
This diverse club, is an ideal place to go if you are looking for both fitness and to learn or improve on a new skill. A twenty pound termly fee, gets you access to four sessions a week, split between fitness, and the three principal disciplines of MMA; Muay Thai, Freestyle Wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. The classes are taught primarily by Rich Cadden, who is a two-time Thai Boxing World Champion, and the owner of Chokdee York, who fought in the Boxing Club's exhibition MMA match.

Mountaineering Club
The Mountaineering Club predominantly focuses on rock climbing and bouldering within the British Isles and Europe. They run outdoor trips every Sunday to the crags in the Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District during the term. If the weather intervenes they also have trips to the Red Goat Climbing Centre during the week. They hold trips abroad during the Easter break and have previously been to Spain, Slovenia, and Italy. They hold winter skills courses and first aid training during the summer term as well.

It was a solid season for the women's netball squads last year, the 1sts team finished third in the Northern 4B league and despite losses at Varsity and Roses against sides in much higher leagues, they have progressed impressively. The 2nds and 3rds squads were very impressive at Varsity and and 2nds were excellent in BUCS finishing in second place. Netball is a fantastic sport to watch, it's fast paced and there's always a brilliant atmosphere. The team itself are approachable and friendly and keen to welcome anyone who enjoys netball and wants to continue playing competitively.

Image: Agatha Torrance.
Image: Agatha Torrance.

Octopush Club
A sport that is effectively underwater hockey, Octopush is on the rise at York. Renowned for many years as one of the friendliest and most inclusive clubs with no intimidating culture forced upon newbies, Octopush is a must, even if you just one to give it a go for one session (it's free to try). This club are pushing the boundaries in terms of achievements, having had a breakthrough last year at Nationals, but are keen to stress that this is a sport for all abilities. Training sessions happen around three times a week and are a good opportunity to increase personal underwater stamina and fitness.

The University of York Orienteering Club, a relatively new club, are growing fast. Orienteering is a challenging outdoor adventure sport that exercises both mind and body. The aim is to navigate in sequence between control points marked on a map and work out the best route to complete the course in the quickest time. It doesn't matter how young, old, fit or unfit you are as you can run, walk or jog the course and progress at your own pace. The club provides weekly training on or near campus and organise regular weekend trips and events across the country.

Whilst polo is a sport mostly associated with the gentry (ie those that wear red chinos and tweed), York's polo club does not fall under the elitist stereotype that many would label players of the sport. The club welcomes all abilities (and classes) and train on Wednesday afternoons and Saturday mornings throughout the year at the White Rose Polo Club. Seriously, you can be a complete beginner - you don't even have to have any riding experience. All that you need to play is a pair of boots with a heel, a drive to learn and a relative sense of balance and good humour.

Pool and Snooker
Pool and snooker are games which offer something for everyone, and everyone is welcome to join up. The University's pool and snooker facilities are based in D Bar in Derwent College, providing the ideal setting for everyone to come along, have some fun and meet new people. The teams train on a regular basis and are a source of immense fun. Pool also provides real excitement during the Roses tournament, and regular socials really are quite memorable occasions! Whether you're the next Ronnie O'Sullivan or you've never even picked a cue up before, everyone is welcome to come and join up, have some great fun and meet other students.

York finished very strongly in their BUCS league this year; they won their last home competition comfortably and have shown some excellent form throughout the year. They put in a brilliant performance in Roses which saw them earn York their first points of the tournament. In BUCS they focus predominantly on dressage and show jumping but do go on longer rides which are open to riders of all ages, abilities and gender. They accept all levels of riders and provide equipment if needed. Based primarily at the Naburn Grange Riding Center, they saw an intake of over 300 riders at the freshers fair last year and are keen to boost these numbers and continue their good performance in BUCS.

Rugby - Men's
One of the University's biggest and most successful clubs. Last year saw UYRUFC's first XV claim a well-earned promotion to the BUCS Premier League after a hugely successful season, which also included a training session with England legends Will Greenwood and Austin Healy. On top of that, the Rugby Club has developed a useful habit of whitewashing Lancaster at Roses, the latest in a string of fine results being the 57-14 demolition at Huntington Stadium.

Rugby - Women's
It's been an interesting couple of years for UYWRUFC. Having been promoted in 2012, last season saw them come up against some high calibre opposition and often on the end of some heavy defeats. Despite results, though, the team came on leaps and bounds, as they proved with one of the highlights of Roses 2013. Having been comfortably beaten the year before, York's ladies put in a display of remarkable grit and skill to win 15-5 on home soil.

Sailing and Windsurfing
Sailing out of Beaver Sailing Club, 40 minutes outside York, YUSWC provided one of the great success stories of last year for York Sport. A place in the BUSA National Championships made it a hugely enjoyable year for the club, just rewards for their dedication over the course of the year - be prepared for early mornings and freezing cold water! Sailing also provided one of the highlights of Roses, with Lancaster's boat dramatically capsizing in the final race to hand York victory.

If you're something of a thrill-seeker then York's Skydiving Club might be the one for you. The club organises transport to local dropzones every weekend to allow members to become fully qualified skydivers, with many going on to compete in the national championships. They also run an annual trip to SkydiveSpain. For UYSC, the sky is quite literally the limit!

Snowsports (YUsnow)
Specialising in all kinds of snowsports, YUSnow is one of the most highly-regarded and highly-organised clubs on the campus. Training takes place each week for those of any ability, along with their mandatory themed social each Wednesday. But their big event of the year is always the end-of-year trip to a top skiing destination on the continent. Their last trip was to Val Thorens in the French Alps, the highest ski resort in Europe at a 2300m altitude. And, as always, club members of any ability are welcome to come along, even if it is just for mulled wine and a face tan.

Squash Club
With a glittering history, squash is renowned as one of the university's most successful clubs. With a number of players who have played at incredibly high levels, the club has a competitive, yet friendly environment. Along with great team banter and socials, one can be guaranteed some top quality games or a casual knock about if that takes your fancy. In BUCS, the club has been very successful in recent years, and is looking to push on to even greater success this season.

Sub Aqua
York's Sub Aqua Club, YUSAC, enjoys an affiliation with York University Athletics Union and is a branch of BSAC, which is Britain's national governing body for recreational diving. The facilities at York allow students to dive in a safe and top-class diving atmosphere. The club enjoyed plenty of success last year, with many of its members gaining new qualifications during their time with the Club. Practice sessions are run each Thursday, and everyone is welcome to join, find out more about Sub Aqua and meet new people whilst doing so.

York University's Surfing club is the perfect place for experienced surfers, or for students who would like to try it out for the first time. Catching and riding on a wave is great fun, and everyone, of all abilities is welcome to join up and take part in the excitement. The club surfs across the country, on both the east and west coasts. There are also trips to Newquay and abroad to Morocco, and the club also has superbly eventful bi-weekly socials too!

Swimming and Water Polo Club
A club well worth joining after they benefited hugely from the new facilities at the York Sport Village. Having punched above their weight for years, UYSWC are now set to cement their place as one of the most successful clubs on campus. Last year was an excellent one for the club, with the swimming and water polo squads both excelling, culminating in an unbeaten Roses Saturday in the intoxicating heat of the Heslington East pool.

Image: Lily Grant.
Image: Lily Grant.

Table Tennis
While this club didn't have its most successful year last season, Table Tennis is still a great club to get involved in. Hosting a number of light sessions for those who just want a casual knock about, and more serious training sessions for those pushing for first team places, this is a club that caters for all abilities. Show off your slice or top spin at an affordable price, and if you think you've got what it takes you might just become a big hit in the BUCS leagues...

The Taekwondo club is a relatively new club at York and offers training of the highest quality. The student run martial arts club works together with International Taekwon-Do Federation instructors to offer weekly training. Head instructors are Francesco Spinelli, a fifth degree black belt and International Instructor, and Wojtek Zurek, a third degree black belt Instructor, have extensive teaching, training and competitive experience. The club is friendly, and meets twice a week to train. Whether you have never competed, or have years of experience under your proverbial belt, this is a sport for all who want to push themselves in a mental and physical challenge.

Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Chu'an is an internal martial art, originating in China, which helps to develop both the self-defence and the fitness of the practitioner. The martial art is practiced in five differing styles, Chen, Yang, Hao, Wu and Sun, the earliest of which can trace its origins back to the sixteenth century. Tai Chi Chu'an is diverse, in that the fitness side of the martial art can be totally separated from the self-defence aspect. This means that students wanting to get into a new skill, can find plenty of reasons to join the Tai Chi Chu'an club.

UYTC is the perfect club to join for anyone interested in tennis, whether that is simply to have a quick practice or to play more competitive games against fellow students. The Tennis Club currently has four teams in total - three men's and one women's - who compete in the BUCS league against other universities. Regardless of ability level, everyone is welcome to join and the club provides free tennis balls and coaching sessions. UYTC is renowned for its outrageously epic regular socials and it has also been dubbed as the friendliest sports club on campus. With British Tennis on a real high at the moment, it is the perfect time to join up and take part.

Catering to beginners, experts, and everything in between, the Trampolining Club provides the opportunity to learn and practice new skills. They compete in several national competitions over the course of the year, as well as Varsity and Roses. After the points were shared in Hull last year, the White Rose team claimed victory three months later against their Lancaster rivals (a note for would-be sports reporters - make sure your maths skills are up to scratch when covering trampolining!)

Started last year on the back of the success of the Brownlee brothers at London 2012, the Triathlon Club allows members to be part of the Athletics, Swimming, and Cycling Clubs, as well as holding additional training sessions on top of that.

More commonly recognised as Ultimate Frisbee, this is a non-contact game that requires maximum agility, technique and vision. The sport combines the scoring methods of rugby with many of the tactics of football, but with the use of a Frisbee instead. Two teams at opposite ends must try and work the Frisbee up the pitch and score in their opponent's end zone by catching the Frisbee within the zone. This high intensity game in becoming increasingly popular in York and each year the club hosts an Ultimate tournament against local universities, clubs and teams of alumni from across the North. With some silly team names, this event is a great watch whilst being a highly-coveted event in the local region's Ultimate calendar.

This high-octane sport provided some of the most anxious and edgy fixtures at Roses this year; just ask our Sports Editor (George was never the same after that). Volleyball is one of the most diverse sports clubs on campus and it's a great place to meet new people from different cultures, but who all share the same interest. The club has two teams of each gender competing in BUCS leagues and cup tournaments, whilst mixed teams are formed for special competitions like Varsity and Roses.

Have we missed your club off, or does your club's profile need updating? Email sport@nouse.co.uk to update your listing.

You Might Also Like...

Leave a comment

Your name from your Google account will be published alongside the comment, and your name, email address and IP address will be stored in our database to help us combat spam. Comments from outside the university require moderator approval to reduce spam, but Nouse accepts no responsibility for reviewing content comments on our site

Disclaimer: this page is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.