By Noah Vissenberg
Editor’s Note: Noah Vissenberg plays for the North Sea Nargles.
North Sea Nargles
The North Sea Nargles will be representing the Netherlands at the European Quidditch Cup (EQC) for the second time, with the first being during 2015’s Oxford-hosted edition. While they were a rookie team back then (it was their international debut), they are now established as the current Dutch champions, winning first place at both the 2017-2018 Fall League and the EQC qualifiers under the expert leadership of captain Charlie Hölscher and coach Rein Anspach. There have, however, been some roster changes between the prize–winning team and the squad heading to Pfaffenhofen: star-chasers Emrys Karlas and Can Atalay are out due to injury, leaving the team some fast point chasers down. This does not deter the team from bringing along an almost full roster as there are multiple newer players who cannot wait to prove themselves, such as the contact-heavy chaser Judith Ravenburg and wing chaser Niels Mokkenstorm.
Aside from this, the team also boasts four players who made the Dutch national team: beater Robin Mier, beater and seeker Hanna Bouma, chaser and seeker Oscar van Engelen, and utility player Bram Vries. Do not be fooled into thinking their multitude of skills makes any of them any less effective. Both seekers have proven themselves to be fast, agile, and consistent catchers, and Vries has proven himself effective and insightful in any position needed over the past few years.
|Southampton Quidditch Club|
|North Sea Nargles|
The Nargles will be facing the UK’s Southampton QC, Spain’s Lumos Compostela, and Slovakia’s Pressburg Phantoms on Day One. From these teams, Slovakia caused the most commotion: there are plenty of Dutch (ex-)national team members who would love another shot at playing the country after the tight loss at last year’s European Games. The Nargles will fight the Phantoms for their victory, and it will be an exciting match that could go either way, most likely being decided by a SWIM catch. The other two teams will be even harder for the Nargles to beat. Spain is known for being more physical in their play, which the Nargles notoriously lack, and the UK veterans Southampton QC are on a whole other level with more international experience than the Dutch team.
Day Two will bring more opportunities to play with similarly–levelled teams, such as Warsaw Mermaids, Gothenburg Griffins, and Dublin Draíochta Dragons. With a strong defense led by keeper Thijs Desain and Bram Vries leading the attack with strong drives, the chaser lineup will be in good hands. The beater lineup is equally strong, with an even balance between (ex-)national team members such as those mentioned earlier and newer players with less tournament experience. Amongst them is the recently recovered Skyler Smolders, an incredibly determined player who has shown great overall improvement lately and is certainly not to be underestimated.
All in all, the team can look forward to some exciting matches, hoping to return home with at least one win under their belt. More importantly they aim to play hard, have fun, and gain all the experience they can get.