Everything you need to know about Quidditch society

‘Quidditch isn’t just for Potter boffins’

Ashley Roberts – the Quidditch committee member who lives and breaths all things Harry Potter.
When he’s not studying Physics or having a mad one in Font, you’ll find him tearing up the field in a game of Quidditch. We talked to the second-year certified Ravenclaw about all things from real-life Quidditch tournaments to snogging Dolores Umbridge.
Ashley, Manchester Manticores very own Cedric Diggory (lets hope he doesn't meet the same fate).

Ashley, Manchester Manticores very own Cho Chang (er, did Ravenclaw actually have any other Quidditch player? We’ll just go with Cho).

With over 450 societies, signing up to play Quidditch may not be the first thing on your mind when starting at Manchester, but it’s something Ashley had always been keen to do.
He joined the Manticores in first year, so has a solid year’s experience under his broom and has competed in the Whiteknights tournament.
He’s currently helping to plan Cottonopolis – to you and me, that’s the yearly Quidditch tournament held in Manchester. With chasers, seekers, keepers and beaters all charging round one pitch on their Nimbus 2000’s – or some broom they got from OP – the game offers an intense sporting experience, even for Muggles. Ashley is both a chaser and a seeker.
According to online website Pottermore, Ashley is a certified Ravenclaw: “They are known for their intelligence, originality and acceptance. “
He stresses “Quidditch isn’t just for Potter boffins. The society is also made up of more sporty people who have come to try out an interesting alternative to the mainstream sports.”
It certainly is an interesting alternative – chasing after a player dressed in yellow with a tennis ball in a sock in their pants (also known as the Muggle equivalent of the golden snitch) offers a certain freshness over mainstream sports like football or rugby.

Some members of the Quidditch society – sadly these brooms aren’t Firebolts.

As well as boasting a solid mix of sport fans and Potter enthusiasts, Quidditch at Manchester has a strong gender mix and as such has found itself as a “fast growing sport with a wonderful community.”

In addition to Cottonopolis, the tournament held in Manchester, there are opportunities for inter-university competitions and the chance to enter national teams, though Ashley says there remains a “relaxed and tolerant atmosphere not always found in other team sports.”

A training session at Whitworth.

When asked whether he prefers Hallows or Horcruxes,  Ashley said “I would have to say Hallows… most of us at the Quidditch society rarely delve into dark magic!”

Although the Manchester Manticores aren’t in a Quidditch league yet – which, seriously, actually do exist – they finished runners up in the Pink Vampire Trophy at Whiteknights tournament last season, which if anything have some seriously funky names.

When celebrating victory though, Ashley definitely recommends Firewhisky over Butterbeer, which he labels as “disgusting stuff”.

On the note of disgusting stuff in the Potter universe, I went on to give Ashley the option of Dementor’s Kiss or a snog from Dolores Umbridge. “A disgusting, dark, ugly creature… or a Dementor. Take my soul.”

Whilst the Yule Ball may be restricted to pure fiction, she says that the Quidditch society know how to party: “We have loads of entertaining socials, which in the past has even included swing dancing.”

Swing Dancing – Quidditch societies answer to the Yule Ball.

The society runs weekly training sessions for those who do the sport for fun and those who play in matches. This offers members of the society the chance to do it just for fun or to get competitive, Hogwarts Cup style. With it being a fairly contact intensive sport, they have a weekly fitness session to make sure the seekers stay fit enough to actually catch a snitch.

What would Ashley say to someone about joining the Quidditch society? “The fantastically wacky sport of Quidditch should be top of your list.

Whether you’re a sport fanatic or hardcore Potter fan, Quidditch has something for you.” It is open to those of all abilities, from your Cormac McLaggen to your Dudley Dursley, to fans of the books and films and those who want to try something new.

The Quidditch team at Cottonopolis in Manchester.

Even if your broom doesn’t fly, and the snitch is a person running round the field dressed in yellow, and you didn’t get that Hogwarts letter years ago and still aren’t over that… the Quidditch society still offers something a little magical.

The Quidditch society is £5 to join for the year. Nimbus 2000 not included.