By Marco Anglano and Fabrizio Delle Grazie
So far, the highest level Italian quidditch tournament was the Torneo Nazionale AIQ, with three editions, in 2014 (winner: Lunatica Quidditch Club), 2015 (GreenTauros Quidditch Torino), and 2016 (Virtute Romana Quidditch). For the 2016-17 season, the Associazione Italiana Quidditch (AIQ) has decided to reorganize this event, creating the Lega Quidditch (Quidditch League).
The Lega Quidditch consists of three interregional tournaments called Girone Verde, Girone Bianco, and Girone Rosso (Green, White, and Red, referring to the Italian tricolour) and a national event at the end, which is called Coppa Italiana (Italian Cup).
The Italian quidditch community has responded positively to this initiative, and since Sept. 30, 2016 Italy counts 18 AIQ teams: 17 official and one emerging team, not considering another five or six developing teams that could become official during the season (only teams that become official before Sept. 30, 2016 can attend the League). In contrast, last May the number of official teams at Torneo Nazionale 2016 in Vignola was only eight.
Thanks to this new league, Italy will be able to have a more reliable ranking than one which consider just a single tournament. This will certainly affect the qualification for the 2018 European Quidditch Cup (EQC), but there’s not yet any official news from AIQ.
The Girone Bianco was the first event in the new Lega Quidditch and took place on Nov. 19, in Imola, near Bologna. The 5 attending teams were, in order of final ranking:
- Smashing Frogs – Clanis Quidditch (Foiano della Chiana)
- Siena Ghibellines Quidditch Club (Siena)
- Hinkypunks Bologna Quidditch (Bologna)
- Imola Hurricane Quidditch (Imola)
- Perugia Gryphons – Muggle Quidditch (Perugia)
The final rankings of the Lega Quidditch’s first tournament surprised almost everyone. Smashing Frogs – Clanis Quidditch have won their first official tournament played, showing a tactical intelligence both in quaffle and bludger game that is usually unexpected from a recently officialized team.
Siena Ghibellines, Hinkypunks Bologna, and Smashing Frogs complicated the rankings, arriving together at the top with 12 points. QPD has rewarded Smashing Frogs, while the other two teams are equal in terms of QPD and thus it has been necessary to take into account the snitch catches. Both teams have shown some improvement from the last national tournament, which will make the games against them more unpredictable.
Imola Hurricane Quidditch and Perugia Gryphons – Muggle Quidditch – both debuting in this tournament and with a small roster – have showed a lack of tactics and fundamentals that have permitted the other three teams to take the distance in the final ranking, but have showed to have the potential to surprise in the Coppa Italiana next May, with some interesting players that could be the key of their improvement in the next months.
The next event will be the Girone Rosso, which will be played on Dec. 18 in Lecce. The six attending teams will be:
- Cerberus Quidditch – Bari (Bari)
- Lunatica Quidditch Club (Brindisi)
- Pescara Spartans Quidditch (Pescara)
- Tarantulae Quidditch Lecce (Lecce)
- Virtute Romana Quidditch (Rome)
After the Girone Bianco, the Girone Rosso will be the next one to be held in Italy. Five teams will compete for the finale victory. Among them there will be the winner of the last National Championship but also lots of new teams in the Italian quidditch landscape.
Pescara Spartans Quidditch were born a few weeks ago from the split of a previous team. Although their name brings to mind cruel battles and fierce warriors, their players are interested in social training, integrative, and supportive activities. It is the most heterogeneous team in Italy, their players coming from seven different countries and speaking five different languages. They play shoulder to shoulder, just like the Spartans in battle, but with more than one aim.
Cerberus Quidditch Bari is a new team born from an older team in Bari, when some players decided to start playing competitive quidditch. Officially born in May 2016, they are looking forward to take part in an official game after months of training. Maybe not the strongest team, but surely the most motivated.
Lunatica Quidditch Club is one of the oldest teams in Italy. They were born in 2012 and has won the National Championship 2014 and got second place in the National Championship 2015. Always working hard, their players are steadily improving their skills in order to face any challenger in any tournament.
Tarantulae Quidditch Lecce is a new team made of old players. In July 2016, they decided to join their forces to create a stronger team, with aims much bigger than their previous ones. This will be their first official tournament, so they will be able to show what they have learned until now.
Last but not least, Virtute Romana Quidditch were born in summer 2014. Lead by the wise Minerva’s owl, their players patiently took part in the National Championship 2015, ending in fifth place. Next they took part in the 2016 European Quidditch Cup, gaining the 10th place. Shortly after they won the National Championship 2016. Based on previous results, on paper they seem the most likely team to win the Girone Rosso.
Last will be the Girone Verde, which will take place in March 2017 and with an as of yet undecided location. The six attending teams will be:
- Aquilæ Tridentum Quidditch (Trento)
- Bombarda Brixia Quidditch Club (Brescia)
- Cinghiali Volanti Genova Quidditch (Genoa)
- GreenTauros Quidditch Torino (Turin)
- Milano Meneghins Quidditch (Milan)
- Milano Pink Unicorns (Milan)
Coppa Italiana will conclude the Lega Quidditch in May 2017, just two months after EQC 2017. It will be interesting to see Italian quidditch develop over the next few months, and to compare the results of the league and Coppa Italiana with those at EQC.