This year’s British Quidditch Cup was held in the town of Rugeley on the 19th and 20th of March. The Chimeras came to BQC with a title to reclaim and determination in their hearts. The Quidlings on the other hand came looking for more valuable tournament experience against teams they had not met before.
The Chimeras’ group stage went fantastically, with not a single hoop conceded. The Quidlings had a tougher time overall, but got off to a phenomenal start by beating SQC2, which brought a warmth to all of OUQC’s hearts and proved them to be one of the best second teams in the country.
On the second day the Quidlings had another long anticipated game as they squared up against Cambridge. They had unfortunately suffered some injuries on the first day and were no longer at full strength. They still gave it their all, but in the end Cambridge pulled ahead and knocked the Quidlings out of the tournament.
The Chimeras’ first game on Day Two was against the Holyrood Hippogriffs, who they had already faced the previous day, and they once again played a flawless game of quidditch. Next, the difficulty ramped up as they came to play the Loughborough Longshots. This saw the Chimeras concede their first hoop of the tournament in a tough match, but the Chimeras eventually proved the better team. Up next was Durhamstrang, who the Chimeras had played multiple times this season already. This match went no differently, although it was a close and tense. This led the Chimeras to the final, where they faced Warwick Quidditch Club after a shocking semifinal where Warwick knocked out the Northern favourites, Nottingham Nightmares. The match was long and intense, with Warwick holding the Chimeras within overtime range for a while, but slowly but surely the Chimeras soon pulled ahead and won after many disallowed snitch catches.
A special mention must be made here to the weather, which saw fit to not rain on us that weekend, as well as the Brownie Man who once again made a strong appearance.
The Chimeras headed home with their medals and trophy with heads held high, content in the knowledge that they had decisively won the tournament. For many of them it would be their last official event with OUQC, so it was extra special for that reason.
It was soon time to hold the third annual Valentines Cup. Once again this would be in Oxford, and it took place on the 6th and 7th February. The tournament was a huge success as always. Everybody left happy with their experience, despite (as normal for quidditch tournaments) a large dose of rain and cold. The tournament size was the same as last time, with 20 teams and 340 players, but past experience allowed the tournament organisers to hold a much smoother experience this time.
The eventual winners were captained by Louis Lermytte and unfortunately contained no OUQC members, but they played fantastically and deserved the win very much. A special mention must be made to the legendary ‘Derby Brownie Man’, who brought 700 chocolate brownies to the event and made it even more special.
This was a single day of friendly matches between Oxford, Durham, and Keele, who each brought both their first and second teams. It took place in Durham on the 30th January. This was quite a journey for both Oxford and Keele and everyone felt the toll, but the journey was worth it as it turned out to be a delightful day of quidditch. The experience was dampened slightly by the biting wind and sticking mud, and fading light and injuries sustained by Keele caused the final two games to be called off. The Chimeras emerged victorious, handily defeating the Keele Krakens and Durhamstrang. The Quidlings had a tougher time and lost to both Durhamstrang and the Durham Direwolves.
The prevailing reaction after the event was one of “that was fun, let’s never do it again”
This year the Christmas Cup was hosted by Warwick University Quidditch Club, and took place in the city of Coventry. Once again this was a fantasy tournament aimed at inexperienced players and a large percentage of places were set aside specifically for players in their first year of quidditch.
Except for the bitter cold and rain the tournament went without a hitch, with the winners and many of the top teams containing notable OUQC players.
The time of year had come again when big UK tournaments would start again. The first one for Oxford was the Southern Cup, hosted in Oxford on the 14th and 15th of November. It saw 17 teams from across the south of the UK battle for a place at BQC and EQC that year.
Due to there being an odd number of teams, the Chimeras drew a group of five teams rather than the usual four on the first day. The group contained Cambridge, which allowed for a replay of the Varsity match, with the Chimeras again coming out very much on top. The rest of the day’s games went similarly, with the Chimeras dominating their group. Unbelievably, the Chimeras ended the first day with not a single hoop scored against them.
The Quidlings had a tougher time, drawing Southampton and Warwick in their group, two of the strongest teams of the tournament. Their problems were compounded almost immediately by injuries to many of the quaffle players, including all of their primary keepers. It came to a head during the relentless pounding received from Southampton, in that former beater and now general utility player, David Dlaka was forced to keep for the entire match. The Quidlings were battered and bruised almost beyond recognition, but they retained their spirits and went forward to the second day with the heads still held high.
Unfortunately, the next day held more disappointment for Quidlings. Although they were looking forward to their lower bracket games, the passage of time was against them and their second game was cancelled to allow the final to happen. It was a disappointing end to the tournament, but there is no doubt that the Quidlings will be back stronger than ever next time.
The second day had some exciting games in store for the Chimeras. Their first game was against Southampton’s second team, SQC2. It was a game marred by excessive cards, but the play was generally fair and good natured. The next game was against the Brizzlebears, who had just played a magnificent game against Falmouth and won in double overtime. Oxford and Bristol of course have a good history, and this game was probably the friendliest of the tournament, although that is not to say that the teams didn’t play their absolute hardest. The Chimeras emerged victorious, but it was the closest so far.
The final was between the Radcliffe Chimeras and Warwick Quidditch Club. Warwick had been playing on excellent form all weekend, and had beaten SQC1 twice before. Both teams went in knowing it would be an exceedingly hard match. It didn’t disappoint, with excellent plays by both teams and the points remaining within SWIM range throughout. The Chimeras utilised the devastating force of playing Luke Twist as a seeker, and he amazed everyone by catching the snitch multiple times, although each was called not good. It then came to Ashley Cooper to finally catch the snitch cleanly and win the tournament.
Because the Quidlings needed to get some match experience before the big tournaments started, and because the Bristol Brizzlepuffs are such a magnificently welcoming team, on the 31st of October 2015 the Quidlings (and a few Chimeras to make up numbers) travelled to Bristol for some fun, chilled out Quidditch. The ‘tournament’ was named El Dossico, and will hopefully become a regular fixture.
The games were fun and relaxed. The Bristol Brizzlepuffs had recently gained enough players to form two teams, the Brizzlebears and the Brizzlebees, where the Bears were mostly the Brizzlepuffs from last year and the Bees were mostly new players. On that day each team were due to play each other twice. As it happened though, time ran out and not all of the matches happened.
The Quidlings performed far above expectations by winning all of their games. The game against the Brizzlebears was close however, and provided a good introduction to playing against an established and competent team.
Something to note is the Hooch Initiative, a QuidditchUK plan in which established teams would coached the leadership of newer teams to get them off of the ground and running in the right direction. The Quidlings’ Hooch team was the Bristol Brizzlepuffs, and the teams have remained close ever since. After the matches that day, most of the Oxford players stayed in Bristol for a special Halloween party with the Brizzlepuffs.
To kick the new season off with a bang, a friendly tournament was organised for the 17th of October featuring four of the best teams in UK: Warwick Quidditch Club, Durhamstrang, SQC1, and the Radcliffe Chimeras.
The tournament took place at Warwick University and was a single day of six matches, or three matches each. The standard of play from every team was high, even though there were many new players or recent promotions playing due to it being the start of the season. In the end it turned out to be a very close tournament, with no team winning all their games, which just went to show the closeness in standard of the top UK teams.
The day started for the Chimeras with a match against Warwick University Quidditch Club. Many of the Chimeras were a bit rusty after the long summer and had not had any proper training sessions together before the tournament, so this was certainly a baptism of fire for the newer team members. The match got off to a shaky start, with both teams taking a while to get into the game. The final score was 170*-70 to the Radcliffe Chimeras.
The second match was against Durhamstrang, and the Chimeras knew going in that it would be a tough match. Durham were suffering from a lack of players and this led to them getting tired, which allowed to Chimeras to get through their otherwise excellent defence. The final score was 120*-30 to the Radcliffe Chimeras.
For their final match, the Chimeras faced off against Southampton in another episode of the classic rivals match. The Chimeras may have been significantly smaller in numbers, but they were determined to give a good fight. The gameplay was tense, with no goals scored until five minutes in. At the time the snitch came out the scores were tied at 50 each. The game didn’t last long after that however, with a fast snitch catch by Southampton. The final score was 80*-50 to SQC1.
It looked like Southampton were going to walk home with the tournament win, until Durham played a magnificent game and beat them 70*-30. This meant that no team had won all of their games, and the Chimeras and Southampton were tied at two games each. It therefore came down to Quaffle Point Difference, and in this respect the Chimeras were victorious. The Chimeras could once again hold their heads high to celebrate their first tournament win since Southern Cup almost a year before.
Finally, the event of the year arrived. On the 18th and 19th of April, Oxford played host to the largest quidditch tournament event ever held outside of the US, with 32 teams coming from 11 different countries all over Europe.
EQC 2015 was a huge success, both in terms of its organisation, result, and the amount of fun had by all those involved. Both Oxford teams played extraordinarily well and achieved great results.
On the first day, the Quidlings entered their group with Paris Frog, the Deurne Dodos, and the Quidditch Hussars from Poland. This turned out to be a very tough group. Paris Frog were a very strong team displaying both physicality and technicality, and the Deurne Dodos were, despite being mostly teenagers, a formidable group of quidditch players. Both these teams proved too much for the Quidlings to overcome. They did, however, win their match against the Quidditch Hussars however, leaving them with a score placing them at the top of the lower bracket for Day Two.
The Chimeras, on the other hand, found in their group the North Sea Nargles from the Netherlands, the London Unspeakables, and the Italian Green-Tauros Quidditch Torino. The Chimeras excelled by winning all three games that day by a large margin, setting them firmly in the top bracket and in good stead for the next day.
The next day, the Quidlings arrived oblivious to the kind of day they would be in for. Their first match was against the Vienna Vanguards from Austria, whom they beat swiftly. Next up were the Barcelona Eagles from Spain. This game turned out to be more of a fight, with the points at 80-80 before the Quidlings caught the snitch to win the game. This put the Quidlings right on track to face the METU Unicorns of Turkey, a new team who had been highly anticipated and had oh-so-pretty jerseys. This turned out the be the closest game the Quidlings had that day, with the Quidlings 30 points up when the Unicorns caught the snitch to take it to overtime. Once in overtime the Unicorns scored once before the time limit ran out with them 10 points ahead, winning the Unicorns the game.
The Quidlings could no longer make the final of the lower bracket, but they still had the 3rd place playoff to come. This turned out to be against Nantes Quidditch. It was another game to remember, with the Quidlings behind but still in snitch range when Nantes caught to win the 3rd place playoff. So the Quidlings came out 4th in the lower bracket, or 20th out of 32 overall. Not a bad result, especially as the Quidlings were the only secondary team in the competition, going up against the best each country had to offer. All of the Quidlings could hold their head high that day. It was a fantastic end to the year.
Meanwhile, the Chimeras first faced off against and overcame the Lille Black Snitches, followed by the Deurne Dodos. Although it looked bleak at one point, the Chimeras avenged the Quidlings’ defeat the previous day to win by a large margin. The next game was against SQC1, and many were nervous going in, but the Chimeras had learnt from their last meeting and achieved a spectacular victory to put them into the final.
The final was against the Paris Titans from France. It proved to be exactly the match that people expected, with breathtaking Quidditch being played by both teams. Unfortunately for Britain, the Titans were too strong for the Chimeras and won conclusively. It was over at last, and out of the smoke the Chimeras arose, not as the champions, but 2nd in Europe. Although the Chimeras might no longer have been either the British or European champions, they had grown and risen as a team and shown themselves to still be at the very forefront of European quidditch.
The 7th and 8th of March saw the second instalment of the British Quidditch Cup. It took place at Wollaton Hall in Nottingham and was organised by QuidditchUK. The tournament was rife with upsets and excitement right from the very start, and was for many the highlight of that Quidditch season so far.
The single greatest thing that was learnt from that event was that teams in the UK were finally maturing and evening out in skill. No longer was there a set ranking of the UK teams, with the Chimeras sitting unassailably at the top. Now any team could be under threat from those considered close to them in skill.
The Quidlings, by chance, found their group stage to be very similar to the Nightmarish Tournament earlier that season. They played the Leeds Griffins, Leicester Thestrals, and Falmouth Falcons. The Quidlings battled hard and beat Leeds and Leicester once again, but Falmouth proved slightly too much of a match for them. Despite the loss, they came first in their group and this placed them in good stead for the next day.
Unfortunately, a feeling of dismay greeted them on Day Two when they discovered that for their first knockout match they had been drawn against Falmouth again. With everyone steeling themselves for a bitter fight the match begun. Although the Quidlings remained up on quaffle points, it was Falmouth that once again emerged victorious, winning by a snitch catch. The Quidlings were disheartened, but the tournament was not yet over and they were now able to turn their attention to the other matches going on around them.
The Chimeras on the other hand went into the tournament the favourites to win. They drew a relatively simple group of the Bristol Brizzlepuffs, Norwich Nifflers, and St Andrews Snidgets, and won all of their matches with the highest possible QPD (Quaffle Point Differential).
On the second day the Chimeras played as well as they had on the first, easily beating the teams of Warwick Quidditch Club, the Nottingham Nightmares, and Loughborough Longshots, to advance to the final, where they once again met SQC1. The final was shaping up to be another exciting match between the two best teams in the UK, and also long time rivals.
The final did not disappoint, with the Chimeras pulling ahead in quaffle points and initially out of snitch range. Southampton, with spectacular defence and offence, then managed to pull back into snitch range and quickly catch the snitch to send the game to overtime. Southampton then continued their drive and caught the snitch again to win the match.
The Chimeras’ reign was finally over. They were no longer the British Champions. Everyone went home feeling slightly down, but spirits would soon rise with EQC just around the corner.
Now it was time for the long awaited Valentines Cup II: Revenge of the Quove. The second instalment of the hugely successful Valentines Cup series, and still featuring the pair sign up system. This one would be even bigger, with 20 teams and over 300 UK and international quidditch players swarming to the Horspath sports grounds in Oxford on the 7th and 8th of February.
One thing that struck everyone present at this tournament was the quality of play, particularly from those newer players who had only come to the sport a few months ago. This proved that the sport was growing and evolving, and seeing new and veteran players alongside one another was a glorious sight.
OUQC once again showed our ability to run a huge and successful tournament, with all tournament planning and most of the on-site organisation being done by OUQC members. The fact that there were no major problems at all during the weekend showed the skill of the tournament management.
On the 24th of January, the Brizzlepuffs journeyed the short distance from Bristol to Oxford to take on the Quidlings in a Challenge Shield fixture. What followed was a fun day of quidditch in the old fashioned style of a single best of three match.
The Quidlings initially pulled ahead by winning the first game, but the Brizzlepuffs pulled back with an amazing snitch catch to take the second game. It all came down to the final, but the Quidlings prevailed in the end to take the day.
Matches like this were a great help in the development of the Quidlings. Giving them valuable experience and proving to them that they could win. When it came to BQC and EQC they would need everything they had.
Also on the 29th of November, at the beginning of the first day of the Christmas Cup, the Radcliffe Chimeras played Cambridge’s quidditch team in the inaugural quidditch Varsity match. Two OUQC alumni, Angus Barry and Steffan Danino, moved to Cambridge after leaving Oxford, and once there they naturally started a quidditch team.
The Cambridge team was inexperienced, and the final score of the match was a resounding 230*-0 to the Chimeras, but competition was not the point of this meeting. The point was to meet the Cambridge team and to hopefully start a tradition of a yearly Varsity match. All in all, everyone had a fun time and it was a perfect start to the Christmas Cup.
To make Christmas a bit more quidditchy, OUQC decided to host yet another tournament, this time aimed specifically at inexperienced players. It was held at the Horspath sports grounds in Oxford on the 29th and 30th of November. A certain number of places was set aside specifically for players who were new to the sport. The captaincy positions were also exclusive to those with no previous experience of leadership.
The tournament went well, with the only major setback proving to be a lack of time. Due to fading light the final was abandoned and two teams were announced as shared victors. The success of this tournament cemented OUQC’s place as one of the best and certainly the most prolific club when it came organising and hosting tournaments.
A cold morning in Nottingham on the 23rd of November saw a small tournament of only four teams; specifically, those that had been knocked out in the quarterfinals of BQC: the Quidlings, Leicester Thestrals, Leeds Griffins, and the hosts, the Nottingham Nightmares. Being a small tournament of slightly less fearsome teams, this presented a good opportunity for the Quidlings, who had learnt a lot from Southern Cup and now wanted to apply their new skills.
The Quidlings played all three other teams, beating the Griffins and the Nightmares, but losing to the Thestrals. Fortuitously however, due to Leicester’s performance in their other games, the final ended up being between the Quidlings and the Nightmares, with the Quidlings once again prevailing and securing them their first ever tournament win.
This win was even more important than simply being the first tournament win. It would later emerge that it secured the Quidlings a place at the 2015 European Quidditch Cup.
The inaugural Southern Cup was hosted in Southampton on the 8th and 9th of November and was a tournament for eight teams from across southern Britain, including both the Chimeras and Quidlings.
The first day was pool play and unfortunately saw some of the worst weather experienced by many of the players in their quidditch careers. It was especially tough on the Quidlings, as many of them they had only started the sport that term and this was their first tournament. The Chimeras easily dominated their group and saw themselves in a good position for the next day. The Quidlings had more difficulty due to their inexperience and because their group contained the host team of Southampton, although they managed to rally to defeat one team from their group.
The next day unfortunately saw the Quidlings get knocked out early on. From there they directed all their efforts towards cheering on the Chimeras. The final was the Radcliffe Chimeras against the Southampton first team, SQC1. It was a tense match, with dirty play from the Southampton side earning one of their players a red card. Despite all of that the Chimeras continued to hold up their impressive record by emerging victorious.
Still on a high from EQC, OUQC set about hosting a mercenary tournament – the Valentines Cup – in South Parks, Oxford. This took place on the 22nd and 23rd of February 2014, and was the largest tournament of this nature to take place outside the United States, with over 160 players taking part. Valentines Cup had a twist as well (no pun intended), in that players would sign up and be picked as pairs. The format proved incredibly successful, and the tournament was a huge hit with the quidditch community.
The two main organisers of this event, Luke Twist and Jan Mikolajczak, were later that term nominated as Radcliffe Chimeras captain and club president respectively. This followed the announcement that Ashley Cooper would not be continuing his time as either of these roles. The captaincy of the Quidlings was taken over by Jack Lennard.
It was on the 1st and 2nd of February 2014 that the two teams of Oxford University Quidditch Club played their first international matches. Travelling to Brussels to take part in the 2014 European Quidditch Cup (EQC), they hoped to make their mark on the world of international quidditch.
The Quidlings won two of their three group games, almost securing a space at the IQA World Cup, before losing out to Lunatica Quidditch of Brindisi in the play-off match. The Chimeras on the other hand lived up to their feared reputation, only losing one game, against Paris Frog of France.
The final was played against Paris Phénix, another French team. Despite the setback of their keeper, Luke Twist, getting a red card in the last few minutes of the match, the Chimeras powered on the defeat Paris Phénix 100*-30 with a spectacular snitch grab from volunteer seeker Steffan Danino. The Chimeras therefore claimed the title of 2014 European Champions.
The next big step in the history and development of OUQC was the British Quidditch Cup (BQC). Held in Oxford over two days on the 9th and 10th October 2013, BQC was the biggest Quidditch tournament to date outside of the US. Sixteen teams, including both the Chimeras and the Quidlings, participated.
The Chimeras qualified through the group stages by beating London, Nottingham and Derby, and the Quidlings, after losing their first match against Leicester, battled through to the quarter-finals with wins against Chester and Norwich.
The Quidlings were defeated by Southampton in their quarterfinal, although it was generally agreed that they had put in a fantastic performance and had a lot to be proud of, especially for such a new team. Meanwhile, the Chimeras defeated Leeds in their quarterfinal, moving on to face Southampton in the semis.
Having watched the Quidlings defeat earlier in the day, the Chimeras had something to prove, and came out fighting against Southampton. Despite Southampton being a strong team the Chimeras managed to find some holes in their back line, and won the match 110*-0 to gain vengeance for the Quidlings.
The final was played against Avada Keeledavra, one of the oldest teams in UK Quidditch and a formidable opponent. Yet the Chimeras rose to the challenge, and proved their fearsome reputation once again. As the light faded, Keele made the decision to end the match on their own terms, making a ‘suicide’ snitch grab to end the game with the score at 110-60* to the Chimeras. The Chimeras can proudly claim to be the first ever British National Quidditch Champions!
The next big challenge for the team was the Whiteknights Tournament, held in Reading on 24th and 25th June 2013. It was at this point the Oxford team decided to split in two, officially naming the first team the ‘Radcliffe Chimeras’ and also forming the ‘Oxford Quidlings’ as a second team. Captaincy of the Quidlings was given to experienced player, Quinn Western. The aim was that the Quidlings would allow new players to gain tournament experience without the pressure of upholding the Chimeras’ unbeaten record. A record that, it turned out, was about to be broken.
Bangor University’s team, the Bangor Broken Broomsticks, pulled out an amazing performance on the first day of the tournament, scoring a goal to take them into snitch range and catching the snitch almost simultaneously to defeat the Chimeras 110*-100. Luckily, this was a pool play match and the Chimeras went on to defeat the three other teams in their pool (Reading, Southampton and the Quidlings), leading them to play Bangor again the next day for a rematch in the final. The Chimeras, spurred on by their first experience of defeat, went on to win the final 180*-30.
The Whiteknights Tournament also signalled a change in the executive committee structure of OUQC. Angus Barry, the captain of the original Worcester Quidditch Team and founder of Oxford Quidditch, stepped down to be replaced by the club’s first president, Ashley Cooper.
In the Trinity term of 2013, the Oxford team travelled to Nottingham for a friendly match, playing a combination of Nottingham rules and IQA standard Quidditch, and also travelled to London to play against the London community team, the Unspeakables. Oxford won both these matches by three games to none, and had a great time playing competitive quidditch in the sunshine for once!
In March 2013, the team embarked upon their first tournament, travelling for almost 11 hours in a cramped minibus to play at the Highlander Tournament, hosted by the Edinburgh’s quidditch team, the Holyrood Hippogriffs. Team morale was high and, in the worst conditions they had ever played in, including rain, mud, snow, and the freezing cold, Oxford succeeded in winning the tournament. To get there they defeated Keele, Bangor and St Andrews in pool play and then beat Bangor again in the final by 120 points to 40. Both matches against Bangor ended without a snitch catch due to the pitch being declared unplayable.
Inspired by such an exhilarating tournament, Oxford went on to arrange their first match with another university, playing against Reading in University Parks on 24th November 2012. Oxford fielded a larger than average squad of 19 players and, in less than perfect conditions of torrential rain and mud, beat Reading in three straight games.
A few months later, Oxford played Leicester, again in University Parks and again in adverse conditions, with this time being in the freezing cold. Oxford again won three games in a row. These victories signalled the beginning of an impressive unbeaten streak for the Oxford team, one that would last well into the next year.
Over the summer in 2012, to coincide with the Olympic Torch passing through Oxford, two Oxford players, Angus Barry and Ashleigh Parry, joined with other players from around the country to form Team UK and compete in an international quidditch competition: the Summer Games. A competition that would later become the regular international tournament, Global Games.
This was played in Oxford and saw teams from Australia, France, Canada and the US. compete with Team UK for the glory of a gold medal. That honour eventually went to the S, who resoundingly beat every other team in the tournament, with France coming in second and Australia surprising everyone by coming in third despite having the smallest team.
Spurred by this growth, the first Quidditch House Cup was held in 2012, in which four teams were fielded to represent each of the Harry Potter houses. The trophy for this competition was the burnt ashes of all of the many brooms that had been broken over the course of the previous matches. The winners of this highly sought prize were the Hufflepuff team.
The House Cup also featured the first ‘Quoscars’ for achievements such as “most valuable player” and “most enthusiastic” (with winners being given Toblerone by the slightly Toblerone-obsessed captain of the time).
Since then, quidditch in Oxford has grown massively. Play quickly moved from Worcester College to the University Parks, as the Worcester groundsmen decided they weren’t all that fond of quidditch being played on their carefully tended lawns. Additionally, other colleges got involved in playing – notably at that point University College and Mansfield College.
Meanwhile, the rules were evolving with play, until the standard rulebook of the International Quidditch Association (IQA) was officially adopted during Trinity (summer) term of 2012.
Quidditch in Oxford was started on 20th November 2011 by Angus Barry, with a match between Worcester College and St Edmund Hall held in the extensive grounds of Worcester College. Rules were (very) close to non-existent, and St Edmund Hall won most of the games that were played.