By Paulina Hausner
Quidditch in central Europe has a rather short history compared to other regions. Nevertheless, teams from this part of the continent are getting better year by year and the community is visibly expanding. Just recently, first steps were made towards the creation of the first–ever team in Hungary, Budapest Bears, and also new teams in the Czech Republic (Phoenixes Pilsen) and Poland (SkyWeavers Łódź). With so many teams eager to meet each other on the pitch it is not surprising that new tournaments are appearing on the quidditch map too. After Slavic Cup’s second edition in Warsaw this May and the success of last year’s Golden Nut in Ljubljana, Slovenia, it was now time for Slovakia to host a tournament. In Bratislava on the third weekend of August on the Slovak University of Technology’s pitches, the Pressburg Phantoms prepared yet another opportunity for some good games to happen. The trophy went to Vienna Vanguards, who continue to dominate the region after winning Slavic Cup and the Austrian Quidditch Cup in 2017. How the Austrian Quidditch Cup 2018 will go, shall be seen on Nov. 24th in Vienna. The games were also a great opportunity to see how well teams such as Danube Direwolves, Pressburg Phantoms, and Aemona Argonauts improved since we saw them in May in Warsaw.
Most of the teams participating come from the area, but Bratislava also welcomed guests all the way from the Netherlands. The event attracted players from all over the world; 19 people from 10 different teams and seven different countries such as Madrid Lynx and London Unspeakables played in the tournament. Eight teams signed up to compete, with three of them being mercenary teams: Czercs, a Czech merc team; the Wanderdracorns, a Polish merc team consisting of players from Wrocław Wanderers, Kraków Dragons, and Poznań Capricorns; and the aforementioned Buckriders, a Dutch merc team.
The teams were drawn into two groups. Group A consisted of The Buckriders, Danube Direwolves, Graz Grimms, and Pressburg Phantoms. Group B included Aemona Argonauts, Czercs, Vienna Vanguards, and Wanderdracorns. The whole tournament had a bracket system. On Day One, the groups played in a round-robin system according to which they were matched on Day Two. That way, the fourth–placed team from one group played against the first-placed team from the other, while the second-placed played against the third-placed and vice versa.
- Vienna Vanguards
- Danube Direwolves
- Aemona Argonauts
- Pressburg Phantoms
- Graz Grimms
- The Buckriders
Vienna Vanguards, Austria’s best team and winner of May’s Slavic Cup, yet again demonstrated their great skills. They won all their games with at least a 70–point advantage and caught all snitches, most of them thanks to their seeker Sascha Grimm. However, there is a strong opponent growing right in their neighbourhood.
The other Austrian team, Danube Direwolves, got the silver medal. After losing their first game against the Buckriders on Saturday morning 110*–90, they won all their matches, with the exception of the last. In the final game of the tournament, they lost to Vanguards 130*–40. It shows the great work they continue to do after their third-place finishes at the Austrian Quidditch Cup and at Slavic Cup.
Fifth place in the final ranking is held by the Graz Grimms, the final Austrian team in the tournament. The team did not manage to beat the Direwolves again, after beating them in November last year. Nevertheless, they managed to win twice against the Dutch Buckriders, 130*–60 on Day One and 120*–40 on Day Two, and also against the Polish Wanderdracorns 90–70*.
Slovenian team Aemona Argonauts continue to chase after the Austrians in the tournament rankings. After third place at Golden Nut last year, which was won by Vanguards, and fifth place in Warsaw, they managed to get to the podium losing only against Direwolves 90*-50 and Vanguards 140*-60.
Pressburg Phantoms, the hosts of the tournament, finished fourth. This was a great opportunity for them to compete against other teams as currently they are the only quidditch team in their country. They hope that with such an international event they will bring more attention to quidditch in Slovakia, maybe gaining new members or even another team. Their place in the ranking was a sign of big improvement after their eighth–place finish at Slavic Cup this year.
The tournament’s three merc teams presented a similar set of skills. The Buckriders were a great surprise for everyone and their attendance at Broomtislava was a really nice opportunity to see a Dutch team in this part of Europe. They definitely brought some variety to the games. In their first game, they won against Danube Direwolves 110*–90 and won again on Day Two against the Czercs 130*–80. Wanderdracorns managed to win only their last game against Czercs 100*–90, who had beaten them in their first match 150°*–130*°.
The tournament was a great summer event full of positive energy and great people. It is also worth pointing out that it was planned and hosted very well with detailed information not only about the games but also about the city given to players, volunteers, and spectators. Many people are planning to come back and bring their friends as everyone was commenting on how nice a weekend it was. So let us hope that we will all see each other next year to bring even more quidditch fever to Bratislava and the whole of Slovakia. Ahoj!
Editors Note: The date of the Austrian Quidditch Cup was amended to Nov. 24th 2018 and has been changed in this article to reflect that (16/10/2018)