Friday, January 20, 2017

International Weekend Wrap-Up - January 7-8 and 14-15

Contributions by Lena Mandahus, Alicia Mills, Cameron VomBaur, Chula Bruggeling, and Yeray Espinosa Cuevas. There is a lot going on in the world of quidditch on any particular weekend, and most of us only see the stories immediately relevant to our regions. However, it can be very interesting to look outside of our own bubble every once in a while and take a look at the rest of the global community. To that end, each week the Quidditch Post collects information about tournaments and events that happened during the weekend around the world. After a bit of a break for most quidditch regions, we are now returning to our regular schedule of International Weekend Wrap-Ups. This installment will cover two weeks of events instead of one, due to the lower frequency of events this time of year. We cover the Czech Republic’s First Prague Quidditch Derby, the German Winter Games, the Andalusian League in Spain, the Tegan and Sara Invitational in USQ West, and Canada’s Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them.

Germany – German Winter Games
This past weekend, the German Winter Games (Deutsche Quidditch Winterspiele [DQWS]) were held in Munich. Eighteen teams from all over Germany participated in order to qualify for three German spots at the European Quidditch Cup (EQC) taking place in Mechelen, Belgium at the end of March. The Winter Games lived up to its name; heavy snowfall over the weekend meant that many of the volunteers had to shovel snow so that the pitches could be played on, and one of the games even had to be stopped mid-game due to a snow storm. Just like at World Cup this summer, Sportdeutschland.TV provided a livestream of one of the pitches, all of which can now be found on their website.
The three teams qualifying for EQC are Rheinos Bonn, Three River Dragons Passau, and Darmstadt Athenas. In the two semifinal matches, the Three River Dragons won 90*-30 against Ruhr Phoenix, and Rheinos Bonn defeated Darmstadt Athenas 110*-50. Possibly the most exciting match of the weekend was the third place game between Darmstadt Athenas and Ruhr Phoenix, as this was the game that decided the last team qualifying for EQC. Darmstadt Athenas won 120*-40, leaving Ruhr Phoenix in fourth place. The final itself was another tense game with multiple cards on Passau’s side, ending in a 80*-40 Rheinos Bonn win against Passau.

Looping Lux Leipzig (fifth place) during one of DQWS’s frequent snowstorms | Photo Credit: Van Klaveren Quidditch Photography

Czech Republic – First Prague Quidditch Derby
Despite the frigid -8°C weather, Prague held its first quidditch game on Saturday, Jan. 7 between The United Unicorns Prague and Prague Pegasus. After a short training and brief rules session, the game began. The skill level on the field was quite balanced, as both teams, created rather recently, were playing their first match ever. Pegasus’ depth was its key to victory as the team prevailed 120*-50 after a catch by the Unicorns was declared no good by the French referee visiting from Titans Paris. Spain – Andalusian League
1. Malaka Vikings (2-0, +410)
2. Thestrals Granada (1-1, -10)
3. Sevilla Warriors (0-0, 0)
4. Almería Basilisks (0-2, -400) The Andalusian League started this weekend in Granada, with three of the four teams in action. The Malaka Vikings showed that they are still by far the best team in the region and won their two games (230*-30 against Thestrals Granada and 290*-20 against Almería Basilisks). The other game was a 260*-70 Thestrals Granada win against Almería Basilisks. USQ West – The Tegan and Sara Invitational
1. Los Angeles Gambits
2. The Lost Boys The Fighting Farmers of Arizona hosted the Tegan and Sara Invitational in Sacramento, California on Jan. 14, with seven teams in attendance after no replacement could be found for the Silicon Valley Vipers. Six of the seven teams qualified for US Quidditch Cup 9, and are in contention to earn tickets to Kissimmee, Florida this year. While the Los Angeles Gambits and Lost Boys remained apparent locks to finish toward the top of the West region, other teams in attendance had some questions answered in one of the few remaining tournaments before the West Regional Championship (WRC). Crimson Elite competed without keeper George Williams for the first time since he returned to Salt Lake City at the start of the 2015-16 season. With Williams patrolling the sideline in street clothes, keepers Nate Western and Luke Steining stepped up to fill his shoes. Western in particular had an impressive tournament, displaying selfless dishes and drive-killing tackles that have eluded him in the past. If Gina Allyn and brother Matthew Williams continue to keep goals coming for Crimson, the program may not perform as poorly without Williams as many may expect. While a 90-50* loss to the Gambits went as expected, a 90*-40 win over the Fighting Farmers demonstrated that, with their strong seeking game, Crimson Elite is as capable as always of winning in-range games, this time with a snitch grab from Nathan Liou. Utah State (USQC) managed to put up a second in-range game against the Lost Boys, but predictably fell again to a Justin Fernandez snitch grab, 110*-50. With Kyle Epsteen for Lost Boys and Utah State’s Paul Davis both present in this match after being absent from their Next Best West encounter in November, the level of play was slightly raised, but the result was virtually identical. Out-of-range victories over the Silicon Valley Skrewts and the California Dobbys (140*-50 and 150-110*, respectively) were far from dominant, with USQC allowing both teams to score in bunches to keep the game from being put away. The Fighting Farmers and Silicon Valley Skrewts started the day with a thrilling match. After a 70*-50 loss to Lost Boys at Next Best West, the Farmers looked very impressive with big new additions in Tommy Brown, Rich Hatch, Ben Harding, Dan Marovich, and Shane Bouchard. However, it took a snitch grab in regulation from Belmina Mehmedagić to send them into overtime against the Skrewts, and a frantic goal from Bouchard on the first possession of double overtime to secure the win, 130*-120. While the Skrewts can certainly never be counted out in the West, especially with Willis Miles’ phenomenal havoc-wreaking day, it was a surprise to see the Farmers have a relatively underwhelming performance against them. Their rematch against the Lost Boys was an ugly 120*-10 loss, and one has to wonder how the mercurial squad will fare in crucial matches at WRC and US Quidditch Cup 10. Beyond the Lost Boys’ early mild scare from USQC, the two tournament favorites (Lost Boys and LA Gambits) faced little drama and expended little energy in reaching the final, setting the stage for the first USQ official game between the regional titans since November 2015. Nearly every goal was a vicious, hard-earned dunk, with each team trading scores and keeping the game tied or within one goal for the majority of the match. Eventually, a Margo Aleman catch put an end to the very even contest, 110*-80 in favor of the Gambits. While the Lost Boys showed they still are contenders for the regional championship, and may also have a fuller roster there, the Gambits are planning to bring a stronger roster to Peoria, Arizona, and remain the favorites to three-peat as West regional champions. Canada – Fantastic Beats and Where to Find Them
Snow-covered pitches were not enough to stop Alberta players as they all drove down to Calgary to play in the first indoor developmental league tournament of 2017. The Calgary Kelpies hosted a development level tournament featuring the Edmonton Aurors, University of Calgary (UofC) Mudbloods, the Calgary Kelpies, and players from Red Deer filling in other rosters. The teams played in a double round robin format before the finale, where the Edmonton Aurors walked away undefeated after winning 140-90* against the Calgary Kelpies. Kelpies took second, winning two of their games over the UofC Mudbloods 120-90* and 130-60*. Mudbloods, on the other hand, ended their day with the highest snitch catch count of the day, having caught the snitch in all four games in their round robin play.

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Edmonton Aurors after their tournament win | Photo Credit: JYK Photography
Indoor tournaments tend to run a little differently than outdoor ones; the pitch size is reduced to accommodate gym size. The soft boundary is then turned into the hard boundary for space and safety reasons to prevent players from potentially running into the walls. Low contact developmental league rules remain the same, meaning wrapping is allowed, but tackles to the ground will be carded. As a result, turnovers are more frequent, giving teams different scoring opportunities. Bludger superiority becomes a lot more relied upon in gym spaces since chasers tend to drive more to the hoops since the distance is shorter. International Weekend Wrap-Up is a roundup of quidditch tournaments our correspondents attended last weekend. Were you at a tournament and want to make sure it gets featured in International Weekend Wrap-Up? You can send in your short submissions to until Tuesday.

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