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Roses Unlocked: Roses 2021 will go ahead

Labelled as "Roses Unlocked", this year’s Roses will be comprised of digitally-assisted events and a Pentathlon Team Event which respective teams can partake in separately

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Image Credit: Luke Snell

Nouse can now reveal that the much anticipated (and much missed) Roses sporting varsity will take place this year, despite Covid restrictions. However, due to these restrictions, the tournament will look significantly different to previous non-Covid years. As such, this year’s Roses is labelled Roses Unlocked; a hybridised Roses, which will feature a mixture of digitally-assisted events, or fixtures, and a Pentathlon Team Event. Roses Unlocked will take place between 30 April and 02 May, in Week 2 of Summer Term.

This different structure allows respective York and Lancaster teams to compete amongst themselves, removing the need to travel between institutions. This year’s model allows for more freedom than last year’s digital Roses, which consisted of individual-based physical activity and charity fundraising. Last year’s tournament saw York’s win for the second year running with 2337 points.

The digitally-assisted fixtures can take place online, or with digital assistance in-person. Only members of specific sporting groups will be able to participate, and the events will be hosted separately at their respective institutions. After these fixtures take place, scores will be either submitted digitally or the event will be streamed live. The events will be streamed live in YUSU venues across campus, where possible.

The Pentathlon Event is aimed towards sports that cannot take place due the close-contact needed with an opposing team, such as rugby or football. To ensure that all can participate, clubs will be able to enter a team in a multi-discipline challenge, which will reportedly include events such as swimming, running and cycling, as these sports can be carried out on a more individual basis. Once teams have completed their challenges, they will be matched against the equivalent Lancaster team and the winner of the most events will take the points for that fixture.

Both Lancaster Students’ Union (LUSU) and YUSU have worked to create a Roses which can easily adapt to the ever-changing reality of the pandemic. If the Government’s roadmap is a success, Roses Unlocked will go ahead as planned. If guidelines change, all activities can go ahead completely digitally.

In a statement to Nouse, Maddi Cannell, York Sport President, emphasised the value of this year’s Roses, stating: “after being forced to cancel last year’s event, it was so important to me that we were able to deliver a competition this year, whilst ensuring the safety of the student body.

“My driver for physical activity over the last 12 months has been - if sport is allowed and safe we will do everything we can to make it happen. Roses will look different because of the pandemic, but competition between York and Lancaster is at the heart of the event delivery. I am really proud that we are one of a handful of Student Unions who have risen to the Challenge of holding a Covid-secure Varsity event, and I hope students are excited by the news!”

Roses Unlocked has been supported by York alumni and YuFund. The funding raised during last November’s Giving Day will also support the tournament. YUSU have extended their thanks to OPPA (the University of York’s Office of Philanthropic Partnerships and Alumni) for working with them to ensure that Roses Unlocked can go ahead.

Nouse were not the first to announce Roses Unlocked - the beady-eyed among you may have noticed that on YUSU's latest Instagram post, the beginning letter of each sentence in the image description spelt out ROSES UNLOCKED. It took Nouse a bit too long to work this one out...

Details of the events taking place will be shared closer to the time.

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