International Weekend Wrap-Up – October 15-16

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Contributions by Elizabeth Barcelos, Chula Bruggeling, David Chapman, Alberto Coronado, Yeray Espinosa Cuevas, Briana Earhart, Jack Lennard, Ashara Peiris, and Carrie Soukup

The Quidditch Post is trying out something new this season. There’s a lot going on in the world of quidditch on any particular weekend, and most of us only see the stories immediately relevant to our regions. However, it can be very interesting to look outside of our own bubble every once in a while and take a look at the rest of the global community. You might discover interesting formats, learn about developments around the world, or simply have some interesting knowledge you can surprise your friends with next training.

Canada – Trick or Beat
The Trick or Beat developmental tournament at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, AB featured five developmental-level teams: the Edmonton Aurors, the University of Calgary Mudbloods, the Calgary Kelpies, the Central Alberta Centaurs, and the debuting University of Alberta Quidditch Club.

The event kicked off with a bracing group warm-up, in the form of having to clear the pitch of 10-15 cm of recently accumulated snow. Once the snow was gone, play began with a full-contact game between the Edmonton Aurors QC roster and the Calgary Mavericks. This was not a regulation Quidditch Canada game, and the Aurors lent a number of players to the Mavericks to make the game more balanced and fun.

The remainder of the day was a round robin developmental event, with no “championship” game. The newly-formed U of A team showed a great deal of potential, boosted by the fact that several experienced players are currently attending the school, and join in shared practices with the Aurors. The Centaurs continued to show improvement, catching their first win of the season against the Mudbloods, and posted their best performance against the Aurors.

Bad luck – and bad weather – had all three non-Edmonton teams playing significantly short-handed. This was less of an issue for the 12 more experienced Kelpies, but the 10 Centaurs and eight Mudbloods worked hard to meet the challenge.

To summarise: scores were secondary, and icy determination (no snow pun intended) was the theme of the day.

Clearing the snow from pitches | Photo Credit: David Chapman

US: South – Midknight Cup

  1. University of Miami
  2. Gainesville Siege
  3. Florida State University Quidditch (FSU)

Despite opposing teams thinking they could outnumber Miami’s limited strength, the reigning champions of the South won with a small roster by deploying an outstanding defense and great physicality. Siege, a new community team, looked like a potential contender in the South and could possibly be able to compete with Miami and Florida’s Finest (absent from this tournament) as one of Florida’s best teams as the season goes on and the team builds confidence. FSU was easily the biggest surprise of the tournament and is definitely a team to watch in the future. The players may be young and inexperienced, but they showed vast amounts of potential.

All of the official games were well-reffed, and both refs that were field tested performed well. Hopefully they both pass, as the lack of certified head refs (HRs) is a huge problem in the South right now. This put Siege in a difficult position, as the team carried the weight of supplying HRs.

It will be interesting to see how well Miami, Finest, and Siege (the current top three Florida teams) fare at Wolf Pack Classic in two weeks against teams outside of their region. The teams are all in different pools and have the potential of meeting in bracket play, so there is a good chance for a juicy encounter or two later in the weekend.

US: Southwest – Texas A&M Classic
Texas Cavalry had a really good flow and game plan this weekend. It is clear that Calvary has a pool of talented players who have some impressive chemistry for a community team. The team’s long list of subs fit well into their positions, and everyone knew their responsibilities. Cavalry’s defense was nearly impenetrable, even if it lost bludger control. The beaters played extremely aggressively, often bringing both up on offense to clear out the point chaser and beater. The field awareness of the beaters is something to note; they see you coming from a mile away. Cavalry has a chance to build a position as one of the top teams in the region – a goal it will certainly be aiming for.

Heat in the middle of the day definitely affected a lot of teams, but this is standard in Texas. Lone Star Quidditch Club (LSQC), playing with only 10 people, still got to the quarterfinals against Cavalry, after a close loss to Texas State University – San Marcos; even short-handed, LSQC secured fifth seed going into bracket play.

Texas State is back and strong. Suffering an injury in the middle of the day, Texas State utilized the depth of its bench to help the team through. The referees were particularly eyes-up all tournament, giving a lot of cards; at the same time, the officiating was (mostly) consistent until the referees began to tire. This leads us to one of the biggest issues of the tournament: it simply ran out of referees. Two of the HRs were player coaches, and their two respective teams went to the finals. This resulted in a delay of matches, which caused the tournament to end around midnight. Granted, this scramble for referees could just be because it’s early in the season, but it sparked a lengthy forum discussion after the tournament about the need for volunteers to step up in the region.

Silver Phoenix also impressed. The team’s game against the University of Texas at San Antonio Club Quidditch went into overtime and was one of the more impressive displays of quidditch in this early-season period. Silver Phoenix has undergone incredibly rigorous training, and it shows. The team went 2-2 in pool play and lost against Texas Quidditch and SHSU Quidditch by 40 before the snitch. Silver Phoenix will be encouraged by these results, and its development over the course of the season will be an intriguing path to follow.

The final saw Cavalry beat Texas State convincingly, 160*-90.

Norway – Oslo Open

  1. NTNUI Rumpeldunk
  2. OSI Vikings 1
  3. Katta Rampeldank

Oslo Open was supposed to be Norway’s qualifier for the European Quidditch Cup (EQC), but in the end the only teams interested in competing for those spots were NTNUI Rumpeldunk and OSI Vikings. Since Norway only has two spots, the Norwegian Quidditch Association (NRF) announced last Thursday that both teams would receive the EQC spots, no matter the outcome of the tournament.

In the end, it turned out that it wouldn’t have mattered anyway; OSI reached the Oslo Open finals for the first time, while NTNUI won the tournament for the third time in a row by beating OSI 90*-20, making them perhaps the only team in Europe to have won a major national tournament three times.

Third place meanwhile went to Katta Rampeldank, who defeated OSI Viqueens, OSI’s second team, with a score of 170*-70.

Turkey – Turkish Quidditch Cup

  1. ODTÜ Hippogriffs or METU Unicorns
  2. ODTÜ Hippogriffs or METU Unicorns
  3. İTÜ Honeybees

Turkish Quidditch Cup seemed rather chaotic and unorganised. Turkey’s NGB has a formal league structure, collects extensive data and statistics on games, and smoothly runs tournaments such as Intergalaktik Cup, so it was a bit of a surprise to find that Turkish Quidditch Cup was delayed so much by long breaks between slots (for no readily apparent reason) that in the end, the finals had to be called off entirely; the local football team was already waiting by the field to get ready for their football game.

The final, between METU Unicorns and ODTÜ Hippogriffs is expected to be played at a later date, but no concrete plans have been made for that yet. Third place went to İTÜ Honeybees, who defeated Bilkent Foxes.

UK – Highlander Cup IV

  1. Bangor Broken Broomsticks
  2. London Unspeakables
  3. Holyrood Hippogriffs Firsts

Highlander was a tournament with a level of parity that was wholly unexpected prior to the tournament. With Durhamstrang placing third at the British Quidditch Cup 2016, they were expected to comfortably win the tournament. However, a weakened Durham squad and stellar performances by Bangor Broken Broomsticks and the Holyrood Hippogriffs Firsts meant they were both able to triumph over Durham, leaving Durhamstrang with only victories against London Unspeakables (which was in SWIM range), Hippogriffs Seconds, and St Andrews Snidgets. Bangor showed that they wouldn’t settle for another second place at Highlander, defeating Durhamstrang once and London twice, only losing to the Hippogriffs. In the end, stellar seeking performances from Callum Lake helped make the difference for Bangor; Lake caught the snitch against Durhamstrang and again in the final, winning the title in a match against London that ended 80*-40. It will be a delightful result for a resurgent Bangor, after a couple of seasons out in the cold compared to their place at the top of UK quidditch during the early years of the sport in the region.

The first and second placed Bangor Broken Broomsticks and London Unspeakables at Highlander IV | Photo Credit: Claire Purslow

Overall, the tournament was a huge success for the top four teams, with every game between them being in SWIM range. This will be a hugely encouraging sign for London in particular, who were coming off the back of a rebuilding season and ended up repeating their second-place finish that they managed two years ago. If they can keep this up, London will be a serious threat at Southern Cup.

For the remaining two teams, St Andrews will have to be disappointed with only a single victory against the Hippogriffs Seconds (albeit a very confident victory). It seems that this formerly successful team will have some trouble this year unless they can manage to improve their recruitment. Similarly, it seems as though the Hippogriffs Seconds will have a tough year;  however, if their aim is for development and not for victory, then they may be able to do sufficiently well.

UK – South West League
The newly-formed South West League kicked off in style with two fixtures in Bristol and one in Falmouth. The Bristol Brizzlebears established their dominance in the league with a confident win of 160*-10 over the newly-formed Bathilisks QC, the latter having recently dropped from Southern Cup 2016 to focus on smaller regional events that will better aid their development. Meanwhile, the Bristol Brizzlepuffs’ second team, the Brizzlebees, lost to a strong Exeter squad, who are fresh from their rebranding as the Exeter Eagles. With the Bears focusing on seizing one of the three EQC 2017 places available at Southern Cup in a couple of weeks’ time, there is a danger that the attention necessary to keep the club’s second team in its reputable position of strength will be diverted to the Bears as they push for glory on the continental stage.

Meanwhile, the Swansea Seven Swans gave the Falmouth Falcons a scare; the Falcons narrowly defeated the Swans with a score of 60*-30. Swansea has never proved a serious threat to top teams in the past, so perhaps they will continue to surprise, and teams playing them at Southern Cup in a fortnight should be wary. That said, the strength of Falmouth is also unclear, and we look forward to seeing them take on their old foes Bristol in Southampton at the regional championship.

The league gained significant national media coverage and looks to be an exciting development opportunity, especially with new team the Worcester Saucerors joining the fray in the next round of matches. However, with some of the teams struggling due to injury and gender constraints, it remains to be seen whether more stringent mercenary policies will be implemented for games taking place later in the season.

International Weekend Wrap-Up is a roundup of quidditch tournaments our correspondents attended last weekend. Are you going to be at a tournament and want to make sure it gets featured in International Weekend Wrap-Up? You can send in your short submissions to quidditchpost@gmail.com.