Thursday, April 16, 2015

Onward to Oxford: Radcliffe Chimeras

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 Luke Twist and Abby Whiteley, captain and captain elect respectively of the Radcliffe Chimeras.

Photo Courtesy of University of Nottingham
Quidditch Post: The Radcliffe Chimeras are, of course, the defending European Champions. Do you think the experience from last year will have any impact as the team prepares for EQC 2015?
Luke: Definitely, last EQC was a fantastic experience, turning up with such a small squad and bringing home the gold felt great! We learned so much from the whole trip, and being part of the only UK club to have competed on a European stage will without a doubt help us to better prepare for the challenges ahead this time.

QP: You all had been relatively unchallenged this season until falling to Southampton Quidditch Club 1 (SQC1) at the British Quidditch Cup (BQC)? What did you all take away from that loss?
Luke: We've definitely taken a lot from the loss. Admittedly, it was hard for us, especially after being so far ahead in the game. But SQC1 was a great opponent and we still had loads of fun at BQC! I'm certain we'll bounce back stronger than ever at EQC!

QP: What are your goals for EQC?
Luke: As a team, our goals for EQC are to have a lot of fun playing some damn sexy quidditch and catching up with all of our awesome European friends and making some new ones too... And of course we're also hoping to defend our title of European Champions!

QP: Who are some of your team’s key players who might not have been noticed this season?
Abby: I think Mark Richards is hugely underrated. He is a superb chaser, fast and agile and really great at making tackles, but he has only played with the Chimeras at the British Quidditch Cup so far. All of our chasers are fantastic, but I think Mark has been unfairly overlooked so far. Alice Walker, who evolved from the Oxford Quidlings at the same time as Mark, is also an integral part of our beater lineup and played marvellously at BQC. The fact that both of them are so brilliant after only joining in October is a real credit to their talent and dedication.

QP: Are there particular teams you hope to play against at EQC?
Abby: All of them! However, I think we are most interested in playing the Paris Titans. The former configuration of this squad, Paris Phénix, was the defending champion we played in the final last year, and I know the Titans are itching for a rematch. I would love to see our two squads, who have developed so much since that time, clash again. I think Paris Frog would also give us a great match; they beat both us and the Quidlings last EQC, which we never really redressed. They will be meeting the Quidlings again this year in pool play, and I think the Chimeras would love to test their mettle against them once more.

QP: Do you feel like there is extra pressure on your team to take home the Cup since you guys won’t be traveling to the tournament?
Abby: I think there is huge pressure on us to take home the Cup, but that mostly comes from being the defending champions, and a powerful desire to redress the errors made at BQC, rather than our geographical advantage. EQC is occurring out of our term time so the Chimeras have to travel just like any other UK team to the tournament, and, although we will be on home turf, I think we will reap minimal benefits on-pitch.

QP: Is there anything else I should know about the Chimeras?
Abby: I hope that people know and remember that, although we play hard and we play to win, we are still just a group of friends playing a sport we love. I think the humanity of teams can get lost in the hubbub of expectation and competition, and I just want people to know that, although we are fierce opponents, we have a great love and respect for the community, and everyone is delighted to finally be able to welcome all our European friends to our home. This respect extends to the Quidlings too, without whom we could never be the team that we are, and we are all incredibly excited to see how the Quidlings fare on-pitch. We will be cheering for each other from the sidelines!

QP: Thank you for your time.
Abby: Thanks very much!

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