As part of our efforts to preview all 32 teams competing in the European Quidditch Cup (EQC), the Quidditch Post is chatting with representatives from each team. Today we spoke with Nathan Jones, captain of the Falmouth Falcons.
Quidditch Post: Falmouth was one of the last two teams to qualify for EQC, only gaining a slot when no other team filled the "other" slots. What does it mean for the team to have the opportunity to compete?
Nathan: To be honest, it means an awful lot. It's only been a year since we competed in our first tournament, and the team has come leaps and bounds. This EQC spot just proves to the rest of the UK what I have always known: that Falmouth is becoming a force to be reckoned with. At times it's been a struggle to get the team to realise its own quality, and I think the qualification will help the players realise that if they keep pushing forward as hard as they have been, then it's possible that this team could become something that's really special.
QP: What are your goals for EQC?
Nathan: First and foremost, our goal is to learn. There is going to be a wealth of talent at EQC, and we hope to use our experience there to develop ourselves as a team. As for ranking-based goals, we are pretty open-minded. To say that we are happy wherever we finish is not true, as we always strive to win regardless of the quality of the opposition. It just wouldn't be in our nature not to strive for the best possible outcome. A lot of teams will be expecting us to simply roll over due to the nature of how we qualified, but that could be their downfall. We have defied expectations in the past, and we won't be stopping that now!
QP: As far as the experience, what do you hope the team takes away?
Nathan: I suppose the most important thing to take from it will be the big game experience. Knowing how to handle the pressure of a large-scale tournament and how to compete against the bigger teams is what separates a top 10 team from a real contender. We want to be real contenders, and as such are going to have to learn how to play in the big matches. From a slightly less competitive perspective, I hope my players have a great time. They have all worked so hard this year and really deserve to have a great experience.
QP: Are there particular teams you hope to play?
Nathan: There's the usual British teams that we hope to rematch with, the foremost of which is probably the London Unspeakables, who we have a really strong relationship/rivalry with. We are also looking forward to facing the unknown in a host of European teams we don't have any experience of. Oh, and Paris Frog; we have heard the team is very good, and we love to play the best.
QP: Who would you say are some of Falmouth’s key players?
Nathan: There's an obvious answer there in Alex Brown. He's fast and clever in his seeking, and I know that if we hold teams within SWIM, we always have a good chance of coming out on top. But over the last couple of tournaments, there has been a real upturn in quality amongst a large proportion of our team. Conor Watson, after switching to keeper, has become a real dynamic player who is able to influence plays at any time. Liam Parr, if he can stop following my lead and getting injured constantly, is capable of banging in hoops. On the beater front, Alicia Ackroyd had a really amazing British Quidditch Cup to add to some already talented beaters in our squad. However, the way we play quidditch relies on there being a high standard throughout the team, and as such key players become less important in comparison to cohesion. I know it sounds cheesy, but it's true; any player on our squad is capable of positively influencing the outcome of games on their day.
QP: How would you describe the team's style?
Nathan: I would probably have to say instinctive. We rely on everyone to know where their teammates are at all times, which means we can pick out gaps in a defence and capitalise on them quickly. We probably spend less time near the hoops than most other British teams, but if we're there, then there's a good chance we are going to score. It's a style that is developing at all times, and we are hoping that EQC gives us a chance to test it out against a wider variety of opposition.
QP: Falmouth is one of the most isolated teams in the UK; do you think that has any impact on the team?
Nathan: At the start, yes. It took at least six months for us to get enough tournament experience to be competitive, but now that we have got that it really doesn't impact us on pitch. In the last couple of months, we have been to Southampton, Oxford, Nottingham, and even Edinburgh. We have a fantastic president who works in conjunction with the committee and ensures that we never miss out on playing opportunities. Ultimately, that combats any disadvantages we may suffer from due to our location.
QP: Anything else you think our readers should know about Falmouth?
Nathan: Not particularly. We're a friendly bunch, so if they do have any questions, come visit us at EQC; we can usually be found at our small Cornish camp that we always set up at tournaments!
QP: Thanks, Nathan; we appreciate your time.
Nathan: No problem. Any time.