By Gavin Hughes
Editor’s Note: The author played for the Glasgow Grim Reapers at the tournament.
On Sunday, Feb. 11, at the University of St. Andrews, teams from each of Scotland’s four quidditch clubs came together for the fourth annual Scottish Cup. The tournament saw the return of Edinburgh’s Holyrood Hippogriffs, the Saint Andrews Snidgets, and the University of Stirling’s Dumyat Dragons, but it was debutants the Glasgow Grim Reapers who took home the trophy, going undefeated throughout the day.
Saint Andrews 150*- 40 Stirling
Glasgow 70*- 50 Edinburgh
Glasgow 150* – 10 Stirling
Edinburgh 140* – 30 Saint Andrews
Edinburgh 130* – 20 Stirling
Glasgow 130* – 0 Saint Andrews
- Glasgow Grim Reapers (3 wins)
- Holyrood Hippogriffs Seconds (2 wins)
- Saint Andrews Snidgets (1 win)
- Stirling Dumyat Dragons (0 wins)
Glasgow Grim Reapers
The Grim Reapers brought a small squad of only 11 players to the Scottish Cup, but that 11 included former captain and mainstay Alice Ravier and Northern Cup breakthrough star Julen Sempere, along with the timely additions of Falmouth Falcons captain Gavin Hughes and Chema Hidalgo-Lopez of the Barcelona Eagles, neither of whom were eligible to play for the Reapers at the Northern Cup. They played a slow–tempo game, relying on aggressive beater play from Hidalgo-Lopez and Sempere to create sudden, high-percentage scoring opportunities and then killing the flow until the next opening presented itself. This proved effective against Stirling and Saint Andrews, who both struggled to find any attacking rhythm against Glasgow, as reflected in their low goal tallies. Their biggest challenge of the day came from the Holyrood Hippogriffs Seconds, who had a catch disallowed before Hidalgo-Lopez caught from behind for Glasgow and sealed the game 70*-50. Victory here will surely embolden the Reapers, who are among the contenders to medal at the Development Cup only a year on from the club’s inception.
Holyrood Hippogriffs Seconds
The Edinburgh side came to Saint Andrews as cautious favourites to win the competition, and despite their narrow loss to the Glasgow Grim Reapers, they racked up convincing victories over Stirling and Saint Andrews. They brought the largest squad to the tournament and as such could afford to play a faster-paced, more cavalier game.
The relentless press and napalm from Gary Cassidy and Nicolás Casillas Del Val created ample turnovers and no-bludger opportunities for powerful keeper Matthew Hamilton to capitalize upon, and he finished the day as one of the tournament’s most prolific goal scorers. Holyrood Hippogriffs Firsts veteran Kelsey Silberman also made an appearance, and her scrappy point chasing and intelligent defensive organization helped to stop Glasgow from carving up the Edinburgh defence as they did with the other teams. Second might not be the position the Hippogriffs were hoping for, but they showed tactical depth and adaptability that will serve them well against stiffer competition at British Quidditch Cup 2018.
Saint Andrews Snidgets
The Snidgets entered their home tournament as the dark horse — not expected to beat Glasgow or Edinburgh, but with victory still considered an outside possibility. Unfortunately, they failed to deliver on their promise, suffering harsh defeats to both clubs, and notching their only victory against minnows Dumyat Dragons. They clearly felt the absence of experienced former Loughborough Longshots beater Callum Scott, as they tried to play the napalm-heavy beater game for which they have become known, but with no other aggressive beaters to call upon, Tev Wallace had to switch from the chaser game. This left their quaffle attack without much sting, particularly after keeper and key player Jack Nord picked up a tournament-ending injury against Edinburgh. A valiant turn from captain Kit Smith stopped their quaffle defence from completely collapsing under pressure from the Glasgow and Edinburgh beaters, and the team was able to showcase their chaser talent more freely against the weaker Stirling lineup, but overall this was a disappointing performance for the Fife side. It may leave them with some trepidation for Development Cup 2018, though a medal still isn’t out of the question.
University of Stirling’s Dumyat Dragons
Stirling’s day went exactly as predicted: they lost all of their games out of range. They struggled to even bring a squad to the tournament, requiring mercs in order to field a legal starting lineup. Nevertheless, for a team with the odds stacked so heavily against them, they performed respectably, breaking their (admittedly low) club scoring record. They suffered in the bludger game especially, with some of their ill-disciplined merc beaters affording costly penalties, but at times their quaffle players went underestimated. The gritty tackling and ripping of Marco Lombardi stopped the more complacent opposition drives dead, while Preston Poltergeists transfer Rebecca Norman kept their defence well regimented. Ultimately, however, Stirling’s game was disjointed and marred by sheer inexperience, and the Dumyat Dragons never looked to remotely threaten any of their opponents, with the exception of a brief spell of dominance over Saint Andrews. Looking to Dev Cup, the Dragons have picked up three new players via transfers, which captain Marco Lombardi said he believes will offer them “a solid group to build a team on.” He concedes that success remains a longshot, but insists that his team could surprise.