by Arjen van Assem, Charles Dezlein, Emrys Karlas, Marit Epskamp, and Lizzie Meijer
It’s almost time for the inaugural Dutch National Quidditch Cup 2015, where three teams will fight for the title of the best quidditch team in the Netherlands. The sport is still very young in the Netherlands, and this is the first official national cup to be held in the country. The sport’s presence there is increasing rapidly, so in the future one may expect more widespread competitions.
The tournament will be held the weekend of 21 Nov. in Wageningen, the Netherlands, at Sports Centre de Bongerd, the university’s sports centre. At the cup – called QuidDutch for short – attending teams will battle for fame and bragging rights. The European Quidditch Cup 2016 (EQC) spots for the Netherlands will be determined during the Benelux Cup, a tournament that is organized by Quidditch Benelux, the informal unified league of the Belgian Quidditch Federation, Muggle Quidditch Nederland, and the Luxembourgish Quidditch Federation. The Netherlands’ practice of delegating spots is different than Belgian Muggle Quidditch, which instructs that spots were to have been decided during the Belgian Quidditch Cup on 8 Nov. The decision to postpone that selection was made because Dutch quidditch is developing at a rapid rate, with hopes that more teams might be operational in a few months and in time for Benelux Cup 2016, as well as because Benelux Cup will offer a more competitive setting with more teams.
Though this might take some pressure to perform away from the Dutch teams, the tension is still very high, because a new team has been added to the mix: the Dom Tower Dementors. Though the teams have already had a chance to flex their muscles during the friendlies in Wageningen earlier this month, they are still very eager to position themselves as high as possible on the food chain.
Dom Tower Dementors
Though they are the new kids on the block, the Dementors from Utrecht have already proven themselves by beating all the other teams at the friendlies three weeks prior to QuidDutch. This does not come as a complete surprise since the Dementors are the result of a merger between two teams from Utrecht and a few players from other places in the country who already have a lot of experience from last year’s tournaments. The team that has merged with the Dementors for the upcoming competition is the long-struggling NILS Lions Squad. Though that team has been around for some time, it has never really taken off. A third of the Dementors competed in Sarteano as part of the Dutch National Team, with a notable name in this category being team captain and keeper Nick van Klaveren; Finn Den Boeft gained some valuable experience with the Wageningen Werewolves at EQC last year but is now on the roster for the Dementors. His agility makes him a utility player who can be played as a joker card for all positions. With the newer players, some experienced players from across the country, and a tight training schedule, the Dementors stand a good chance of winning the cup. However, nothing is certain now that their element of surprise has worn off, and the other two teams will be prepared.
North Sea Nargles
The Nargles are the oldest team in the Netherlands. With players drawn from the two major cities of Amsterdam and Leiden, the Nargles are also the biggest team in the Netherlands, which is why it’s remarkable that – though similar to other attending teams – they are bringing a small roster of only 11 players. Opponents should watch out for their seeker Hanna Bouma, who caught most of the Dutch snitch catches in Sarteano over the summer and doubles as a scrappy beater. The team has always been a solid faction in Dutch quidditch. With a limited number of new members and quite a few players with plenty of experience, the Nargles are a force to be reckoned with. They are known for their surprising performances, but will they surprise again?
|North Sea Nargles at Benelux Cup 2015 | Photo credit: Nick van Klaveren|
The newcomers of last year’s season surprised us all with their rapid increase in skill. They were, however, at the level of the Nargles in a short time. A few new players have joined them since and some experienced players have left, so the real question is whether the team has grown as fast as last year. Though they finished last during the friendlies earlier this season, they are still considered to have a really good chance at winning the cup, especially now that their new players have had a baptism by fire. Their notable players are Charles El-Zeind, who is capable of running through anyone who crosses his path, and Linda Hooijschuur, who played for the Werewolves at EQC 2015 and who, in the role of seeker, will give Bouma a run for her money.
|Wageningen Werewolves at EQC 2015 | Photo credit: Vivian Konijnenberg|
Ultimately, there isn’t a single team with who emerge as clear favourites for winning the cup, which makes it all the more interesting to see what happens. Since there are only three teams, the cup will consist out of just one pool on one pitch, and it will give spectators and analysts the advantage of not having to miss a single match. Expect this to be the start of a new chapter for quidditch in the region, joining the rest of continental Europe in the rapid development of the sport.