Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Quidditch Road: Nantes and Lille Black Snitches

By Laurens Grinwis Plaat Stultjes
Last year, the 2013-14 European Quidditch Cup was played in Brussels, Belgium. In April, the European Quidditch Cup of this season will happen in Oxford, UK. So I was wondering how are the teams that competed last year doing? And how did they even start with quidditch in the first place? Welcome to The Quidditch Road. For today, I sat down with Maëva Lucas (Nantes Quidditch) and Rachel Duel (Lille Black Snitches).

Nantes Quidditch
Nantes Quidditch was founded in January 2011 by Elodie Laruelle, who was a student at the time.
Laruelle heard about this strange, funny, and interesting sport  that was being played in the United States. She wanted to give it a shot and try to bring something new to the French sports panorama; moreover, she wanted to prove that she could do this from scratch.
Nantes’ debut match was at the first ever European Quidditch Cup (EQC) in Oct. 2012, where its first opponents were the Milano Meneghins, the only non-French team at the tournament. Like many first-year teams, Nantes lost its debut match 90-40*. Nantes finished fifth out of sixth in the tournament.
The team returned to the European scene at the 2013-14 European Quidditch Cup in Brussels, belgium. With no games played in the 2013-14 season, it sure was going to be hard for Nantes. Nantes was in a group with the Brussels Qwaffles, NTNUI Rumpeldunk, and the Barcelona Eagles. The team finished last in that group with a 0-3 record and a QPD of -180. In the overall standings after Day One, Nantes was in 11th out of 12th, just ahead of the Lille Black Snitches. Nantes lost its first bracket game against debut rivals Milano Meneghins, 80*-0. Game. Set. Match. Once again, Nantes finished in the penultimate place in a European Cup.
Since last year’s tournament, Nantes has worked hard to prepare for the upcoming EQC.
“We have intensified our level of training to be able to stand up and make up for our lost time as new teams developed and got a bigger experience,”  said Maëva Lucas, the current Nantes captain. "Most of us at the last EQC were not great sportsmen and sportswomen. We also got the chance to welcome to our ranks players who used to play in other sports clubs and asked them to help bring new exercises to training to get better. I think we took the best of both worlds: the experiences of the oldest players and the new ones to build up this new team. The team is made up of 1/2 of newbies, but they can surprise with a bit of work.”
Lucas was particularly vocal about the skills of David Chenard, a key player for Nantes.
“He started as a chaser and recently became also a beater,” Lucas said. “I'd say that in the friendly game we played against Toulouse Quidditch in May 2014, his speed and ability to ruse was definitely a thing that helped us score.”
Will Chenard and the ‘best of both worlds’ help Nantes succeed at EQC? After a promising showing at the Coupe the France, where Nantes finished fourth, it seems likely. Fun fact: Nantes will be one of the four teams that will be at the European Quidditch Cup for the third time.
Location: Nantes, France
Record last season: 0 - 5
Record this season: 4 – 6
Year founded: 2011
Size of club: ~18
Coach: Anaïs Monnier
Captain: Maëva Lucas
Key player: David Chennard (chaser & beater)
  • ??th place, Tournoi de la Violette
  • 4th place, 2014 Coupe de France
  • 11th place, 2014 European Quidditch Cup
  • 5th place, 2012 European Quidditch Championships

Lille Black Snitches
The Black Snitches (Lille Muggle Quidditch) were founded in June 2012 by Mickaël Druart, the president of the Lille Harry Potter Club.  Managing the club didn’t work out well for him, so Rachel Duel and Quentin Lescroart took over. They changed the name from Lille Muggle Quidditch to "Black Snitches" in Nov. 2012, and recruiting started during a Harry Potter Event at the Wattrelos Museum for Lille3000.
Lille made its debut at Geek Faëries, a French geek festival, when it played against Paris Frog on Sept. 20, 2013. It later played Paris Phénix at this friendly tournament; it lost both games, but even experienced teams can lose to Frog and Phénix.
A few months later, on Nov. 23, 2013, Lille drove up to Brussels to play in the first ‘official’ tournament of the 2013-14 season: Brussels Muscles Invitational. It lost to the Barcelona Eagles (50* - 90^) after going into overtime. In the loser’s bracket, Lille finally managed to get its first win ever, against the Belgian Qwaffles (50* - 30). That game was followed once again with a promising win against Toulouse (110*-30), but its run was stopped by Phénix 20 - 80*.
In Feb. 2014, Lille returned to Brussels, knowing it had to play against the Radcliffe Chimeras, Paris Frog, and Paris Phénix. It had never managed to defeat any of these teams before, and everyone knew Lille wouldn’t properly get out of this alive. With an 0-3 record and a QPD of -190, the prediction came true. Not only that, most of the team got injured, causing Lille to forfeit on Day Two. Lille came in last place at the 2014 European Quidditch Championship.
“We recruited many people, so it helped us to not be ‘overtired’ on the pitch,” said Rachel Duel. “We also changed our captain. There have been so many drastic changes this season. We finally have the self-confidence and the strategies.”
It almost proved this at Coupe de France, but Lille just missed out on fourth place place and failed to qualify for EQC.
“It affected the team really badly because we already had planned everything for EQC2015, like our finances and strategies,” said Duel. “It's really hard to motivate the whole team after such a disappointment, but we are starting a brand new program for the North Cup to boost everyone.”
The North Cup will happen on March 15,  2015.
Location: Lille, France
Record last season: 3 - 7
Record this season: 4 – 3 (without Violette)
Year founded: 2012
Size of club: ~17
Coach: Elie Paquiet
Captain: Thomas Huglo
Key player: Thomas Huglo
  • ??th place, Tournoi de la Violette
  • 6th place, 2014 Coupe de France
  • 12th place, 2014 European Quidditch Cup
  • 2nd place, Recontre Inter-Equipes
  • 4th place, Brussels Muscles Invitational
  • 3th place, Geek Faëries 2013

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