First Swiss League Games

By Olivia Blum

Editor’s Note: Olivia Blum plays for Turicum Thunderbirds.

It’s been a little bit over a year since the Swiss Quidditch Association was founded and on Sunday, March 25, it held its first official League Games in Zurich, Switzerland. The Swiss NGB has been growing steadily and to date it counts five clubs: Turicum Thunderbirds, who will participate in this year’s EQC in Group B with Ghent Gargoyles, METU Unicorns and HogYork Horntails; Basel Basilisks; Pilatus Patronus – Quidditch Lucerne; Hippogreife Hägendorf; and Berner Boggarts. As with any developing region, finding and keeping members is challenging and the Swiss teams are not immune to this struggle. Because of this, the three teams of Hägendorf, Bern, and Lucerne banded together on March 25 and formed a mercenary team under the colorful name “Hippobogalatus”, or just “Green Team.”

Turicum Thunderbirds vs. Basel Basilisks (70*-10)

The day kicked off with a match between the host, Turicum, and Basel Basilisks. Right from the start the Thunderbirds dominated the game through coach Claudia Leuch’s well-coordinated beater game (Leuch had previously played for the Norwegian club NTNUI Rumpeldunk) and with two goals just a few minutes after brooms up. After the initial shock, Basel gained momentum, held off multiple attacks by playing a strong defense, and managed to score their first goal. But the Thunderbirds were relentless and after a yellow card for Basel for moving a hoop, the Thunderbirds scored their third goal. An impressive sprint across the pitch by Thunderbird chaser Flavia Luz followed and another goal was scored for the hosts. When the snitch was released the scoreboard read 40-10 for the Thunderbirds. An intense snitch game followed, the two seekers Kaspar Oplatka (Thunderbirds) and Samson Rentsch (Basilisks) went into full offensive, and finally the light-footed Thunderbird seeker Oplatka won out and made the catch after 20 minutes and 13 seconds of gameplay. The catch was declared good by freshlyappointed head referee Thomas Berglitsch. The final score read 70*-10 for Turicum Thunderbirds.

Turicum Thunderbirds after their victory at the Swiss Championship in 2017 | Photo Credit: Filip Holecek

Turicum Thunderbirds vs. Green Team (160*-10)

The second game was between the mercenary team Green Team and Turicum Thunderbirds. It was clear that Green Team had a major disadvantage in this game; not being used to playing together, their overall coordination was severely lacking in this first game, which facilitated the Thunderbirds’ victory massively. Right after brooms up, the Thunderbird chasers Yann Hermann and Merlin Studer, known for their speed and accuracy, tricked the mixed defense through great passing and scored the first goal. Then a streak of six goals for the Thunderbirds followed, its only interruption a yellow card a for a Green Team player. Finally, Green Team found each other and thanks to their aggressive bludger game they managed to get their first quaffle through the opposing hoop. Unfortunately, the merc team could not carry on their momentum and Thunderbirds took over again, scoring multiple goals. During the game the referee had to give out two penalties for illegal substitutions. This was mostly a result of both teams having players who had never actually played quidditch before, but who held their ground surprisingly well. These penalties did nothing to stop the teams’ motivation. The Thunderbirds transformed this motivation into an incredible 12-goal lead before their seeker Oplatka caught the snitch. The game ended with a score of 160*-10 for Turicum. This already confirmed the Thunderbirds as the winners of the day, however the most exciting game was still to come.

Green Team vs. Basel Basilisks (160*-120)

The last game of the day was between the Basel Basilisks and the Green Team. In the first few minutes of the game, Basilisks’ Severin Wyss transformed three great chances into goals. This was mostly due to Green Team chasers still having trouble finding each other. It looked like the mercenary team was once again struggling to get into the game. However, suddenly they seemed to have flipped a switch and through a great passing game scored their first goal. From there on the game became messy and confusing: Basel scored their fourth and fifth goal, where it seemed like there was some confusion in the Green Team’s defense as to where the quaffle was, because both Basel’s offensive and Green’s defense seemed very uncoordinated. Shortly thereafter, one of Basilisks’ chasers got his first yellow card for illegal contact from behind and this initiated a string of cards on both sides, resulting in both teams having to play the last part of the game with one player less due to two red cards for stacked yellows. This led the other players on the pitch to play even more aggressively. Meanwhile, Green Team caught up to the Basilisks and for a short moment the lead went back and forth between the teams. When the first red card was called, the score was 70-60 for Basel and the snitch was already on pitch. For a while it seemed as if the game would never end and no team could gain a decisive advantage. Only after 34 minutes of intense fighting and some bruising due to an unfortunate crash between a Green Team beater and one of their own chasers, the game ended. The final score was 160*-120 for Green Team.

Basel Basilisks in a huddle before a game at the Swiss League in 2018 | Photo Credit: Felix Schwan