by Inke Gieghase and Sherrie Talgeri
On Nov. 8, the first Belgian Quidditch Cup was held in Mons. Ten teams from all over Belgium competed against each other in an impressive tournament that showcased the increasing quality of Belgian quidditch like never before.Some of the teams at the tournament have played and trained together for more than two years, but some teams have only just started out. Nevertheless, everyone put on an impressive show by playing the best game they could. More than 20 games were played and more than 100 players participated.
Besides being a grand tournament that would determine the best team in Belgium, the Belgian Quidditch Cup (BelQC) was also the qualifier for the European Quidditch Cup 2016 (EQC 2016), which will be held in Gallipoli, Italy sometime between April 2 and 26. It is not yet determined how many spots Belgium will get at this year’s EQC, so some teams are tensely awaiting the verdict.
With teams of all skill levels competing at the tournament, there were some differences in the quality of gameplay, but the perseverance of all teams was to be envied. They all put up their best game despite some having small squads and injured or exhausted players. Nothing stopped them from keeping their heads high and putting the quaffle through the hoops.
|Kimberly De Deyne (left) and Jorge Diaz (right) | Photo credit: Jelmer Lokman|
Teams with a wealth of experience like the Deurne Dodo Quidditch Club’s A team and the Brussels Qwaffles showed some beautiful gameplay full of well-thought-out tactics, agile breakthroughs, walls of beaters that were hard to dodge, and some unbelievable snitch catches. However, not only experienced teams showed the best of themselves.
Teams like the Bruges Bridgebacks and Leviathan Quidditch Liège, who have only been a part of the quidditch world for less than two months, showcased the best of themselves. The Bruges Bridgebacks impressed everyone with their strong, defensive beater game and fast chaser game, holding the Ghent Gargoyles in SWIM range for most of their match. The Bridgebacks came to the Cup with the intention of learning and measuring themselves against the other teams and went back home ranked sixth. They are definitely a team to watch out for.
Even though the Leviathans had only been practising for a month and a half, they were able to place above the UMonsters and the Hasselt Horntails. The Leviathans have some really fast chasers and a strong defensive beater game, enabling them to produce some good passing so that the quaffle moves down the field quickly; they also have a strong defense before the hoops.
|Jérôme Noiret (left) and Bradley Velghe (right) | Photo credit: Jelmer Lokman|
Les Dracognards and the Gargoyles are teams that have grown rapidly. The Dracognards particularly have managed to put themselves on the map. With an unbelievably fast passing game, good positioning, and strong beaters, they were able to score frequently.
The Gargoyles used some really great tactics and utilised an offensive chaser behind their opponent’s hoops a fair amount of the time to score points. Their beater squad has some real potential, and the team’s fourth place finish was well deserved.
Deurne Dodo’s B team is following in the footsteps of its big brother. It has players with an inexhaustible stamina, including chasers who run up and down the field with lots of determination, beaters who know how the game is played, and seekers who never give up.
The UMonsters Quidditch Team is a team with a lot of potential. It brought chasers who have a lot of stamina and are quite fast, and its beaters know how to stand their ground. If its individual players are able to combine forces, they will definitely end up higher in the rankings next time.
|Pieter Goossens (left) and Emile Aerts (right) | Photo credit: Jelmer Lokman|
The Leuven Leprechauns and the Hasselt Horntails both came with small squads, having nine and eight players respectively. The Leprechauns have a couple of really fast chasers who were hard to keep away from the hoops, and their beaters know how the game is played. The Horntails struggled with exhaustion but tried to play the best they could. They managed to show some good plays but still have a lot to learn.
The overall gameplay was really impressive and definitely showed that teams in Belgium have grown immensely in the past year.
|The final standings | Photo credit: Belgian Quidditch Federation|
Analysis of the top three teams
- Deurne Dodo Quidditch Club’s A team
- Brussels Qwaffles
- Les Dracognards
Deurne Dodo Quidditch Club’s A team’s success can be attributed to its highly developed tactics, stamina, and extremely aggressive beating game. Although bludger supremacy was not always maintained, the Dodo A team was still able to keep the other teams from scoring, and most of the time it did not take it very long to get supremacy back. Its chaser game is at least as impressive as its beater game, if not more. The A team’s has agile chasers with great positioning, and they are hard to keep up with. Communication is key in quidditch, and these players have shown that they are aware of this fact, rapidly switching between defence and offence. Beaters and chasers work together as a well-oiled machine, and the icing on the cake was the A team’s strong seekers, who managed to catch the snitch in nearly all of their games.
The Qwaffles came with a full roster, so they were able to maintain strong gameplay throughout the tournament with not many signs of exhaustion. The Qwaffles’ defensive beater game is one of their main strengths, maintaining bludger supremacy and hindering the chasers of the opposing team. Damien Leclaire and Yuuki Tsoukalidis really impressed. Their chaser game is really well-balanced and they communicate very well with each other. Their tactics are tuned to the abilities of their chasers in a manner that fits them perfectly and their overall teamwork is beautiful to behold. The Qwaffles’ seeking was very effective, and they managed to catch the snitch in all but two of their games. Although their gameplay was really strong, it was not strong enough to surpass the gameplay of the Dodo A team, as they were not able to score in the finals. But the Qwaffles did not give up and kept fighting until the very end, something we can only cheer for.
Les Dracognards utilised their large roster effectively, subbing often to maintain a high level of energy on pitch. This showed in their chaser game, as they moved over the field smoothly and with a lot of drive and strength, not having to worry about a lack of subs. Their passing game was also good; Camille Frippiat and Marine Larouillère gave excellent performances, especially considering the short time they have both been playing. In terms of beaters, they mostly used one defensive beater and one extremely aggressive beater who did not lose their bludger easily. If they did, it was harder for the chasers to accomplish fast breakthroughs, but they still managed to score, with or without a beater protecting them. Their seekers played very well; Nicolas Hanot, Quentin Lescroart and Adrien Marangon were not afraid to dive for the snitch and were able to catch it nearly every time. Les Dracognards came to BelQC with the aim of a podium finish, which they certainly fulfilled. Furthermore, as the youngest team of the top three, they definitely still have a lot of potential for growth.
Nov. 8 was a day that showed how enormously Belgian quidditch has grown. 10 teams have proven at the first Belgian Quidditch Cup that they all have their own strengths, and this event has definitely put Belgian quidditch on the map. There is a lot of potential, and the teams only keep growing, which is very promising for quidditch in Belgium. The teams have also shown that they know what quidditch is really about: friendship, fair play, and a strong community.