The 51st annual Roses tournament began last night with queues for Fight Night stretching from Central Hall to Le Page Court.
The night began with a screening of the Roses 2015 Official Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgQjIEHboZ0
This was followed by a street and contemporary routine by the university dance society. Then Cass Brown, York Sports President, took to the ring to welcome everyone to the tournament. The event was hosted by Joe Butterfield, president of the University’s Taekwondo society. The opening exhibition matches saw three consecutive wins for Yorkshire’s blue corner. First, York St. John student William Pugh Cook beat Hull’s Matthew Gee by technical knockout. The second match saw Sam Kirk, also of YSJ, beat James Milton of Lancaster by another technical knockout. The third match was fought by Adam Flattery and Tom Duffy. Flattery, of York, won by unanimous vote.
The introduction for the first Roses match began, but Butterfield announced a last minute change. The final exhibition fight that followed was the first ever all-female bout in opening ceremony history. It was also the debut of both competitors. Lauren Hall from Exhall, fighting in the blue corner, beat Samantha Brown of Hull.
After this, the Roses matches got underway, beginning with an impressively long entrance from Lancaster’s Dylan ‘the Natural’ Cheema. The match was fought by the incoming president of the University of York Boxing Club, Aaron Dougherty. The two were well matched, but it was Cheema who took the point.
The second Roses match was fought by Oliver Farrar of York and Lancaster’s Rosen Manev, ending with a split decision in favour of Farrar. He said,
I honestly don’t think it could have been much better. It’s so easy to panic under the pressure but I think every single boxer managed to stay calm and fought with good style and good form giving everyone a high quality performance. The other teams are only going to do as well or better and make this year an amazing tournament. The atmosphere was truly incredible. Thank you to everyone cheering for us out there!
The third match was fought between York’s Daniel Aaron and Daniel James. A very close match led to yet another split decision in support of Aaron. At this point, Butterfield reminded the crowd that the scores stood at 2 – 1 to York. The last fight saw Lancaster’s Joe Hollinshead take on Laurie Twine, who was beaten by knockout despite a strong start.
Butterfield announced, “It’s a split point. Everyone wins!”
Cass Brown then introduced the guest speakers, university chancellor and FA chair Greg Dyke, alumni and journalist Steve Richards, and England Football Manager Roy Hodgson. Hodgson was received well by the students and left to a standing ovation.
Cass Brown concluded the evening by thanking the speakers and all of the students involved with Roses. Finally she wished everybody luck for the rest of the weekend. The ceremony continued outside with another showcase by the York Dance Society, followed by Student Activities Officer Chris Wall who welcomed Hodgson, Dyke and Richards to the stage to officially open Roses 2015.