Saturday, February 28, 2015

Catalan Teams Battle For EQC Spot

By Marc Garganté

On March 1, Catalonia will see its first national tournament in which all three teams within the territory will compete for the only spot in this year’s European Quidditch Cup (EQC).

This day marks a milestone for Catalonia’s quidditch scenario. For a year and a half, the only presence of quidditch in the area was the Barcelona Eagles, who, apart from the occasional friendly games with nearby Toulouse, had to pursue competition in various tournaments abroad. Since August of last year, however, this has changed. Now, Catalonia has two more teams actively contributing to the development of the league.

This brings moral strength to the young Associació de Quidditch de Catalunya (AQC) because it places the final stone for the definitive consolidation of the newly-formed teams and allows AQC to start off with solid ground beneath its brooms. The tournament also fulfills the final requirement for AQC to become a full-member league, boosting its members implication and motivation to push it forward. Acting completely as an independent National Governing Body (NGB) will also help clear any doubts that could still exist about the legitimacy of the NGBs in the Iberian Peninsula, which will be strengthened by Team Catalunya next July at the European Games.

The three AQC teams attending are the Barcelona Eagles Quidditch Team, Wyverns Quidditch Team (Barcelona), and Nightmare Grims – Quidditch Camp de Tarragona (Tarragona).

The Barcelona Eagles are the most experienced out of the trio. They have competed in the Brussels Muscles Invitational, EQC II, the Tournoi International de La Violette, and (of course) the Barcelona Moustaches Time, and they have participated in several other tournaments as supporting staff or mercenaries.The Eagles influenced the creation of both the Grims and the Wyverns, and the Eagles’ experience will give them the edge over these two teams. Despite their lack of effectiveness in past tournaments, the Eagles are still seen as the favorites for two reasons: they’re the first team in the territory, and the competing three teams have never really met on the field. Because of their results in previous events, the Eagles will defend their reputation with a competitive 18-player squad in their efforts to claim the champion title.

The Nightmare Grims are the clear runner-up team. Founded last August, the team has experienced an exponential evolutiondefinitely the best seen in Catalonia or Spain until now (Eagles included)that was put to the test last January in Toulouse. The Grims have used the on-field experience they got at Toulouse to prepare themselves for the face-off against their neighbors, whom they are looking to defeat, or at least leave with a bloody nose (in the figurative sense, of course). They possess a good spirit of never surrendering, and their beater game is surely going to make their rivals break a sweat.

The Wyverns are the rookies in this tournament. They have the typical weaknesses of a newly established team: not fully accustomed to rules, little experience, and a lack of strength in numbers. Despite these shortcomings, however, they are surprisingly strong and fast. This gave their opponents a tough time during friendlies last December. The Wyverns came out of the egg not long ago and are now putting in some serious intentions for their future. This tournament will help consolidate the team. Whatever the outcome, the Wyverns’ undoubted potential gives everyone a hunch that they will be giving quidditch hell to their opponents next season. 

AQC also invited three guest teams to the tournament: Toulouse Muggle Quidditch, Bizkaia Boggarts Quidditch Taldea (Basque Country, Spain), and Imperius Zaragoza (Spain). These teams have been invited due to good relationship within the quidditch community and proximity. In the case of the two latter teams, the invitation gives them the chance to play their first quidditch game as a team. Neither of them have been able to play outside their training sessions yet, mainly due to a small amount of players and being founded very recently. By inviting them, the tournament directors hope to increase their players implication, knowledge, and experience regarding quidditch. The Ratpenats Noctem (Valencia, Spain) were also invited under the same premise but could not make it in the end.

The AQC and guest teams will play apart from each other to have more balanced confrontations and give fair ground for the AQC teams trying to obtain the title of Catalan Champions. The games will be live-recapped by the AQC’s Communication Department and by La Casa del Quidditch, an independent blog.

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