International Weekend Wrap-Up – October 21-23

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Contributions by Ajantha Abey, Emma Bramwell, Chula Bruggeling, Serena Cheong, Yeray Espinosa Cuevas, Los Angeles Gambits Quidditch, and Katelyn Stubberfield.

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.

This week’s installment, the second of its kind, covers events in Australia, Canada, Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US.

Australia: NSW – Triwizard State Finals

  1. University of Sydney Unspeakables
  2. University of New South Wales Snapes on a Plane
  3. Western Sydney Quidditch Club (WSQC)

With the Australian season running January to December, many of the Australian leagues are coming to an end. Quidditch New South Wales held its State Finals this past weekend, featuring the last two sets of games for each team for the season’s league before bracket elimination play and finals.

By the end of the league, each team had played 20 games over the course of the season, with WSQC finishing top of the league, undefeated. They were followed by Australian National University (ANU) Owls, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Snapes on a Plane, and University of Sydney Unspeakables.

Both upper-bracket semifinals were incredibly close games, and both arguably upsets. ANU defeated UNSW at last month’s Triwiz. UNSW have been declining towards this end of the year, especially missing key state team players Rajtilak Kapoor and Andrew Culf (also a Dropbear), but nevertheless pulled off a narrow victory against ANU in this tournament. Meanwhile, the Unspeakables played a tight and clinical game against WSQC, who did not relinquish their first place lightly; however, as they have a history of doing, WSQC ended up losing the game in SWIM range. This sent UNSW and the Unspeakables on to the finals, while WSQC and ANU played a closely-contested third place play off, ultimately won by WSQC.

In the end, the finals were a blow out. UNSW had outrun themselves during the previous matches and were missing key players, while the Unspeakables played clinically and dominated possession for almost the entire game. A major driving threat for the Unspeakables was Gary Hague, who scored a rapid fire series of goals at the start to put his team comfortably out of range early. The Unspeakables ultimately won the finals with a score of 180-50*.

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University of Sydney Unspeakables brooms up against UNSW Snapes on a Plane for the grand final | Photo Credit: Courtney Buckley, courtesy of Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography

Australia: WA – Emma Watson Fantasy Tournament

  1. Blue Team
  2. White Team
  3. Purple Team

The last event of the Western Australian Quidditch Association (WAQA) season was a fantasy tournament to conclude the end of their inaugural league games. The Emma Watson Fantasy is now in its third rendition, named in 2012 after the Harry Potter actor considered inspirational to the tournament founders. Players can use the tournament as last-chance tournament practice before QUAFL, the Australian Quidditch national championship.

Teams were drafted by non-playing captains in a standard snake draft, resulting in some of the most equal teams Perth has seen at their Fantasies. However, teams were smaller than anticipated, and the warmer weather (about 30 degrees Celsius) made it a difficult weekend for teams. Due to this, WAQA implemented a half-time system where teams had a five-minute break after 17 minutes of play, with games resumed with snitch on pitch. It was hard to guess a winner before the weekend, but Blue Team eventually came away victorious in the final over White Team 160*-60.

Canada – Royal City Invitational

  1. Valhalla Quidditch
  2. Guelph Quidditch
  3. McGill Quidditch

Featuring most of the top teams in eastern Canada (with both University of Ottawa teams noticeably absent), the Royal City Invitational was hosted at University of Guelph on Saturday, Oct. 22. After going undefeated through pool play, Valhalla took home its second consecutive title at the Royal City Invitational with a 110*-60 win over the host, Guelph.

Valhalla, a community team from the Great Toronto Area (GTA), is considered one of the front-runners for the eastern championship title next month. The team showed this dominance in Guelph, as it not only went undefeated, but had perfect snitch-catch record. McGill, the runner-up in last season’s national championship, had a dominating performance this past weekend as well, only losing to Valhalla in pool play. Guelph continued from its strong showing last season to take first in its pool.

With under a month left before regional championships, this tournament is a strong indicator of how these teams will perform on Nov. 12 and 13. Of course, the eastern regional and national champions, the uOttawa GeeGees, should not be overlooked and are one of the heavy favourites to win the regional championship.

Denmark – Harry Potter Festival
This past weekend saw the first quidditch event by IQA rules in Denmark. During the yearly Harry Potter Festival in Odense, delegates from the national teams of the UK and Norway faced off in a series of exposition matches, officiated by Dave Goddin, Nicole Hammer, and Pauline Raes, with Gust Lumbeeck as snitch.

Of the three exposition matches, the first two went to the UK, with scores of 180*-30 and 90-80*, respectively. Norway managed to grab the third and last victory, however, with a SWIM catch, ending the game 110*-100.

TeamUK and Team Norway at the Harry Potter Festival in Denmark | Photo courtesy of James Thanangadan

The Netherlands – Unofficial Dutch Quidditch League Gameday
Current standings:

  1. Dom Tower Dementors
  2. Wageningen Werewolves
  3. North Sea Nargles

On Sunday, Oct. 23, the Netherlands saw its first League Gameday. Though this first league was ultimately unable to be official due to a lack of referees, it was clear that all three participating teams took the day seriously and did their best on field.

The North Sea Nargles, on paper the biggest team, were missing many of their veteran players and brought a lot of newer additions. Combined with a couple of unfortunate injuries during the day, the Nargles were unable to win either of their games and are currently in last place for the league.

The Wageningen Werewolves were the smallest team present, with a total of 10 players, only three of whom were male, making substitutions difficult; one of the male players is a beater, another the Werewolves’ primary keeper, and the third both seeker and one of their top-scoring chasers. Add another chaser who has only just been allowed to play sports again after a hand injury at World Cup, and all in all the team managed rather decently with one game won, and the other one lost in SWIM range.

At the end of the day, in first place were the Dom Tower Dementors, the newest of the three teams. Making good use of some secondary players, the Dementors were the largest team at the event and gave a clear showing of their combined strength. After easily winning their first game against the Nargles, they then went on to face the Werewolves, a game they won in SWIM range.

Wageningen Werewolves brooms up | Photo Credit: Bruggeling Quidditch Photography

Spain – National Quidditch League (Galician League)
Current standings:

  1. Lumos Compostela
  2. Pontevedra Q.C.
  3. Lucus Centauri
  4. Dementores
  5. Dinosaur’s Army

On Sunday, Oct. 23, the first fixture of the second Galician League was played in Pontevedra, home of the current champions. These games demonstrated the quick growth of Lumos Compostela, who won all three of their games, making them the first leaders of this season’s Galician League.

Scores:

Lumos Compostela 220*-40 Lucus Centauri
Lumos Compostela 160*-60 Pontevedra Q.C.
Pontevedra Q.C. 170-40* Dinosaur’s Army
Lumos Compostela 210-40* Dinosaur’s Army
Pontevedra Q.C. 250*-90 Lucus Centauri
Lucus Centauri 220-120* Dinosaur’s Army

UK – East Midlands Cup

  1. Keele Squirrels
  2. Loughborough Longshots
  3. Nottingham Nightmares

The East Midlands Cup takes place every year around this time in Loughborough, hosted by the Loughborough Longshots. Pitched as a “Freshers Tournament,” the competition aims to introduce newer players (some of whom have only been to a few training sessions) to competitive quidditch and the other teams in the region to prepare for Northern Cup 2016 (Nov. 12-13 in Durham).

Although a few experienced players do take part in the tournament to offer guidance and support on pitch to the newer players, teams typically build their squad of 21 around their new players and those who only competed in one or two tournaments in the previous season. The “Fresher of the Tournament” title is awarded at the end of the tournament, and it was given to University of Leicester Quidditch Club’s Katie Dickens this year. The strong performance of both the Keele Squirrels and the Loughborough Longshots will be taken as a warning shot to those writing off the teams in favour of Velociraptors QC as Northern Cup 2016 approaches, while teams like the Nottingham Nightmares will be more fired up than ever to take one of the three available EQC places up for grabs at the tournament.

US: West – Second Annual Gauntlet Throwdown

  1. Lost Angeles Gambits
  2. The Lost Boys
  3. Long Beach Funky Quaffles

The Gauntlet Throwdown is an annual unofficial tournament hosted by the Los Angeles Gambits at the start of the season to give Western teams a chance to introduce their new players to the sport and try new lines in a pressure-free yet still competitive setting. Last year’s tournament was won by the event’s host, and the Gambits took this year’s first place trophy as well in an intense overtime match against their crosstown rivals, the Lost Boys.

The breakout story of the tournament was the Long Beach Funky Quaffles’ third-place finish. The team didn’t make the national championships last season, but this weekend Long Beach held the Lost Boys in snitch range in pool play and were only just out of range against the Gambits.

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.