By Misha Whittingham
March 4 saw the last round of games for the Quidditch Conference of the Northwest (QCON) leading up to the conference’s playoff weekend on March 18-19. The series saw continued parity between the majority of the conference, with no team other earning more than two wins without the aid of a forfeiture. Low numbers for both University of British Columbia Quidditch Club (UBCQC) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) additionally required QCON to allow the use of USQ gender rules, while still maintaining the rest of the Quidditch Canada (QC) rulebook.
Participating in the games that weekend were the University of Victoria (UVIC) Valkyries, Vancouver Vipertooths (VV), UBCQC, University of British Columbia (UBC) Thunderbirds Sports Club, and SFU. In addition, the Emerald City Admirals (ECA) were intended to be in attendance, but were unable to make the trip, causing them to forfeit their two games against UBCQC and VV. UBC also benefitted from forfeits this weekend, as the small rosters of UBCQC and SFU were unwilling to risk injury in what would most likely be a losing effort. As a result, the only games played by the Thunderbirds on Saturday were a 180*-10 thrashing of the Valkyries and a chaotic impromptu game against an amalgam of players from the remaining teams.
As expected, the Thunderbirds swept through the weekend’s games, albeit in a different fashion than anticipated. Their only non-forfeit QCON game was typical of how the Thunderbirds usually beat UVIC, with the teams trading a goal or two early before UBC inevitably runs away with the lead. UVIC has been unable to come close to beating the Thunderbirds for nearly four years, and that does not appear likely to change soon.
The remaining three games between UVIC, SFU, and UBCQC were considerably closer. SFU’s 180*-120 win over UVIC was especially thrilling. SFU enjoyed enough space to allow drivers Danny Ly and Raunaq Singh to pot five and seven goals, respectively. This came on the back of only three beaters, one of whom, Philomena Chenne, has only recently recovered from a concussion. Conversely, UVIC managed to solve its offensive woes with keeper-turned-beater Brett Dyck, who managed to open lanes for chasers Daniel Mecham, David Warburton, and Taisha Ferguson to convert on the attack. SFU managed to stay consistently 20 to 40 points ahead for the first 17 minutes, capitalizing on its fast transition game to pull ahead by 60 with snitch on pitch. After nearly 12 minutes of seeker play, UVIC managed to drag itself back into range just before SFU’s Jayden Driver made the catch.
While UBCQC’s win over SFU was out of snitch range, it would be hard to argue that the game was not close. SFU’s depleted beater corps was unable to keep up with the offense of its opponents, allowing chaser play to dominate the majority of the game. Offensive chances were traded between the sides with UBCQC’s keepers managing to get the upper hand in physical play and prevent some scoring chances. As a result, UBCQC built up a lead over the course of game, capitalizing on snitch play to pull ahead by 60 points. While SFU’s chasers are skilled, they were outmatched physically in the driving clinic that was the last eight minutes of the game, putting them out of range. SFU has managed to go far this season with skill at beater backing up the chaser play, but with only three beaters attending on Saturday, the team was unable to maintain that quality.
- At this point, forfeits have become commonplace in the conference’s inaugural season. This likely stems from QCON’s use of an exclusively point-based ranking system, requiring all teams have the same number of games recorded. As the season comes to a close, only two teams (ECA and UVIC) have been left without benefitting from a forfeiture. In fact, only UVIC has actually played in all nine of its registered QCON games. With the small size and lack of proximity of many teams in the conference, adjustments to the rankings system will probably have to be made to avoid the same situation playing out next season.
- Last weekend’s games gave us little new information to work with. The parity below second place in the conference continued, as did TSC’s dominance of its neighbours. The forfeit by the Admirals allowed UBCQC to leapfrog into sixth in the QCON standings, though the expected non-attendance by WWU and ECA in the playoffs and subsequent reorganization of the playoff structure means this will likely count for little. Beyond UBC likely taking first overall, not much will be predictable about the upcoming playoff weekend, which should make for an exciting end to QCON’s first season.
GP – Games Played
W – Out of SWIM Range Win – 3 points
SW – Within SWIM Range Win – 2 points
SL – Within SWIM Range Loss – 1 point
L – Out of SWIM Range Loss – 0 points
QPF – Quaffle Points For
QPA – Quaffle Points Against
QPD – Quaffle Point Differential (QPF – QPA)
SC – Snitch Catch
SC% – Snitch Catch Percentage (SC/GP)