Quidditch in Cambridge

A fledgling Quidditch team has been launched in Cambridge, hoping to register the game as a Blues Sport.

Blues Catz Harry Potter Oxford quidditch St Catharine's Varsity

Pottermania has gripped the world since the publication of the first book in 1997. The final novel in the series was the fastest selling book in history.

Readers everywhere have been enchanted by wizardry, magic and Quidditch. Now, at least one of these is being brought to life by Potter enthusiastis. Sort of.

A fledgling Quidditch team has started in Cambridge following a massive surge in popularity amongst US and Canadian Universities for ‘Muggle Quidditch’.

A Muggle Quidditch game in action in the USA

Over 400 schools in the US have joined the ‘International Quidditch Association’ (IQA), including prestigious Middlebury, Vassar and Emerson Universities.

In the UK, teams are forming on University campuses nationwide, with UCL, Aberdeen and Glasgow Universities showing keen interest.

Middlebury psychology major Ellie Molyneux says, ‘Of all the things I’ve done in my four years at Middlebury, this is by far the best… I won a Jell-O wrestling contest one year, but this is far better.’ She plays for local club, the Bad Ass Muggle Flyers.

The Tab spoke to Catz undergrad Jack Williams, the driving force behind establishing a Quidditch Club here in Cambridge.

Williams reveals that plans to register the sport officially as a University Society are underway, although due to exam term stresses the idea has been put on ice until the end of term.

Aside from The Tab, Williams has been approached by The Sun, The Guardian, TalkSport radio, BBC Breakfast and ITVnews.

Jack is gunning for a Varsity match against Oxford – which already has OUQC (Oxford University Quidditch Club) and Anglia Ruskin University.

There is surprising enthusiasm for Quidditch in Oxford. One devotee writes on the OUQC Facebook group, ‘I fucking love Quidditch, allow me the banter‘.

So how does one play this seemingly impossible game without enchanted balls or magic broomsticks?

The Tab has exclusively got hold of a copy of the rulebook, which states that it is solely for the personal use of the captain and ‘may be shared with teammates or administrative individuals or groups that require it’, but not shared with the non-Quidditch-playing public.

According to the 60-page rulebook it is ‘nearly impossible’ to explain the rules to somebody ‘over 40’ and a broomstick is the most essential piece of equipment.

The broomstick must be gripped between the thighs at all times with no form of artificial attachment; McGill University’s suggestion for equipping all team-mates is BYOB – bring your own broom.

In Muggle Quidditch, Bludgers- enchanted balls in the original- are simply balls which are thrown by ‘beaters’. Any player hit by a bludger must drop the Quaffle and return to their goal hoops.

The Golden Snitch is a little more ridiculous. Seekers (the position that Harry Potter himself occupies on the Gryffindor team) must grab a tennis ball at the bottom of a sock which hangs from the shorts of a player who runs around trying to evade them.

It all looks a little silly, but aficionados insist it is a real game.




Jack Williams says, ‘it started off as a bit of a joke in the bar one evening, before a couple of us researched into the matter’ and discovered the IQA.

Now, he says, Quidditch at Cambridge is a ‘practical reality’ and assures me that once up and running, there are plans for a submission to the Blues Committee for Muggle Quidditch to become a Blues sport.

Interested readers can sign up here.