By Keith Jones
The first ever Vietnamese Quidditch Cup (VQC) was held in Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), the second city of Vietnam, on the November 10th Weekend. Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, was the center of quidditch development in the country when it hosted the Asian Quidditch Cup back in 2017, as well having the oldest surviving quidditch club established in 2015 – the Hanoi Draco Dormiens. Nevertheless, Saigon, the second city of Vietnam, created history for being the host for the VQC, with Hiep Nguyen, Le Tran Hoang Duy and Kim Anh being the main organisers in this fantastic event. The tournament followed the IQA rules with some minor changes: a 30-minute time limit of game time with snitch handicaps occurring every three minutes instead of five minutes.
The one-day tournament consisted of six matches where each of the three participating Vietnamese teams would play each other team twice, and the team with the most wins would be crowded national champions of Vietnam. The schedule was three matches, lunch, then another three matches. While two teams played against each other, the third team would be referee team. Linh Nguyen, Keith Jones and Camila Cortea were Head Referees. The three participating teams were The Hanoi Draco Dormiens (the Dormiens), The Owls-Tigers United (the Owls-Tigers), and the Saigon Dragonflies (the Dragonflies).
The Dormiens team comprised of 17 players, mostly from Hanoi, along with two mercenary players from Malaysia. Their colours were purple. It appeared that the Dormiens would most likely be the winners as they were most experienced and oldest team in Vietnam with Team Vietnam players on the roster.
The Dragonflies team comprised of 21 players, mostly from Ho Chi Minh City, along with two mercenary players from Hong Kong. Their colours were red and green. During the tournament it was likely the Dragonflies would be facing quite a challenge since they are the newest team in the country.
The Owls-Tigers team comprised of 16 players, with players from both Hanoi and Saigon, along with one Japanese-based player. Some of their players have been playing for a few years, while some are quite new. Their colours were black.
The first match was the Dragonflies against the Owls-Tigers, which started off evenly matched; but gradually the Owls-Tigers started to outpace the Dragonflies, thus leading the Dragonflies to catch the snitch (cold catch), earning the Owls-tigers a win. This resulted in a score of 90*-130. The next game saw the Owls-Tigers against Dormiens. Both teams were cautious at first, watching the other team, until they reached the halfway line before sprinting to score. Gradually, the Owls-Tigers couldn’t keep up with a freshly rested, ready, and alert Dormiens team and lost that match (40-150*). Round 3 saw the Dragonflies and the Dormiens square off. Just like the previous game where the Owls-Tigers felt drained, so did the Dormiens. The match resulted in heart-pounding stakes, with either side making or breaking. In a surprise upset, the Dragonflies’ seeker, Luan Minn, managed to catch the snitch, and victory went to the Dragonflies. The underdogs had narrowly beaten the more established and experienced Dormiens with a score of 60*-40.
After lunch saw another round of three games, with the first being the Dormiens playing against Owls-Tigers. The stakes were high for this match as both teams already had one win; another win would result with one of them being most likely crowded the champions of VQC. It was a very tight and determined match on both sides with chasers driving fast and beaters putting up a solid defence. It was also frustrating as with two snitch catches being ruled out as no good before the third one resulted in the Owls-Tigers catching the snitch and winning with a score of 160*-80. Next was the Dragonflies versus the Owls-Tigers, with odds of the latter winning this match despite them being tired from their previous match. It became a match of attrition as neither team managed to catch the snitch. The game ended when the 30 minute time limit passed with Owls-Tigers winning with the most points (130-90). That win sealed the fate that Owls-Tigers were the winners of VQC. The last match was between the Dragonflies and the Dormiens, which resulted with no snitch catch again as the game ended when the 30 minute time limit was up. The Dormiens won with a score of 140-60.
The final rankings of the VQC were:
- Owls-Tigers United (3 wins, 1 loss)
- Hanoi Draco Dormiens (2 wins, 2 losses)
- Saigon Dragonflies (1 win, 3 losses)
The first ever Vietnamese Quidditch Cup generated a lot of hype in Vietnam. Hiep Nguyen, the tournament director, believes in the growth of quidditch throughout Vietnam and sending a team to the United States for the World Cup. The tournament showcased the passion and commitment of the Vietnamese community. All the participating teams and the merc players from Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan enjoyed the first ever well-organised national tournament in South-east Asia as well as feeling the dynastic spirit of Ho Chin Minh City during the weekend.