By François Carabin
Editor’s Note: François Carabin plays for Quidditch Lionel-Groulx.
At the halfway point of the Five Houses Cup (La Coupe des Cinq Maisons), the standings are far from being set in stone. In fact, two teams have six points, while another has five, with one game back. The importance of the snitch catch in the points system accounts for this, as catching the snitch adds a very important bonus point in the standings.
So far, Quidditch Montmorency has used this rule to its full potential; the team has indeed caught four snitches out of the four games it has played. With a record of 1-3, one would expect Montmorency to be far from the top of the table, but the team’s four bonus points have kept it close.
The table shows the dominance of Maisonneuve midway through the season. Mainly made up of Université de Montréal (UdeM) players who played for Maisonneuve prior to this season, Maisonneuve has had an easy time passing the quaffle around less experienced teams like Montmorency and Vieux-Montreal/St-Laurent to take big leads. However, it has had less success catching the snitch, keeping Maisonneuve within relatively close distance. Had the team made more snitch catches, its lead would be insurmountable.
In second place (so far) is Quidditch Lionel-Groulx (QLG), with six points and a decent points differential. QLG’s snitch catch percentage is also not perfect, but still sits at a 50 percent catch rate, in large part due to the great seeking ability of Laurence Bilodeau. Unfortunately, one of her catches led to a slim five-point defeat to Maisonneuve. Of the five teams, QLG has been the team coping with low roster numbers the most, with two of its four games having been played with minimal substitutions. However, its speed and communication has enabled it to win games despite its lack in players.
Montmorency has shown some promise, but it has also exhibited structural disorganization, particularly in its offensive build-ups. Its seeking game has been very efficient, but Montmorency will have to play as a team to bring the quaffle up the field. Defensively, its beaters intensely protect the front of the hoops, though once players get past the hoops with speed, Montmorency has been easier to score against.
CFQC played only two games (the third was a forfeit), which currently puts it in fourth place, but it has been the best team thus far. Fielding a mix of CFQC and McGill University players, CFQC used its speed and physicality to dance around opposing defenders. Vincent Blondin and Norbert Buenio have been the main forces in its scoring game. The team’s beating game has also kept teams from scoring with aggressive play and accuracy, so expect CFQC to cruise to a first or second-place finish.
In last place is CEGEP team Vieux-Montreal/St-Laurent (VM/St-L). As expected of the team with least experience, it has a hard time keeping up with the level of play. It has, however, used this experience to improve as a team. Vieux-Montreal/St-Laurent’s last game against a tired QLG saw the CEGEP team get its first bonus point. With two games remaining before the playoffs, if VM/St-L can use the experience of the UdeM players who play for it, including keeper Rithy Min, it could contend for a playoff spot.
Overall, the standings have not been out of the ordinary. The bonus points have added uncertainty to the table – as shown by the lack of snitch catches from Maisonneuve and the abundance of snitch catches from Montmorency – but the final results show no big surprises.
The presence of UdeM and McGill players has undoubtedly raised the stakes. It has made life harder for the less experienced teams, but has solidified the level of play. The higher level of competition as a result of these more experienced players will definitely help the younger players get used to the pace of higher-level quidditch.
The size of the field has also been a factor in these games. As it is much smaller compared to a standard-sized quidditch pitch, the size of the Ministry of Cricket and Other Homeless Sports’ fields has created a much faster game. As such, a moment of carelessness will lead to a goal much more often than in quidditch played on a larger pitch.
Next weekend will see the last regular games before the final tournament on March 25, where one team will be eliminated from the playoffs. Then, two semifinals will lead to a final that will crown the Five Houses Cup champion.
All Five Houses Cup results:
Maisonneuve 140-45* Montmorency
CFQC 170-115* QLG
Montmorency 105*-60 VM/St-L
QLG 140-65* Montmorency
CFQC 215*-10 VM/St-L
Maisonneuve 110-105* QLG
Maisonneuve 140-55* Montmorency
QLG 170-65* VM/St-L
Maisonneuve 25*-0 CFQC (forfeit)