“Quidditch is a real, hard-hitting sport”

We spoke to the Nottingham student selected to play for Great Britain’s Quidditch team

What are you doing this summer? Work experience? Internships? Nothing? How about going to Canada to play Quidditch for Britain?

That’s what Nottingham fresher Craig Midwinter will be doing after he was selected in the 42 man squad for the 2014 Global Games.

The competition will see Quidditch enthusiasts from Great Britain, Australia and the USA compete in perhaps the most important international sporting tournament this summer.

Craig in action

Craig in action

So how did a mere fresher find himself representing his country in one of the western world’s fastest growing sports?

“I first started playing when I visited a friend at Keele University before I came to Nottingham,” he said. “I then got involved with the Quidditch Society here, which is a really great way to meet new people.

“I’ve always been quite athletic and I’ve done a lot of sport before, so I went to an open trial session for the Global Games with around 130 people and got picked for the squad.

“I’m not in the final 21 but I’ve made the total 42 man squad.”

Although he’s is listed as a Beater, Craig is a bit of a “utility man” and can play Chaser and Seeker too.

craig quid 2

Without magical flying broomsticks and bludgers, there are a few differences from J. K. Rowling’s creation in this real-life, Muggle version.

“We use deflated dodgeballs,” Craig said. “And if the beaters manage to hit someone with it then that person has to drop the ball, dismount their broom and run back to the hoops.”

As a result, there are a lot more physical demands to the game than you’d expect to see over at the Hogwarts playing fields. The snitch – a human dressed in gold who runs around until someone catches him – needs to be fit and fast, while Beaters need to be strong and have good tactical positioning.

As well as that, Chasers need to be good at tackling and Keepers have to be fast and possess the ability to control the field.

You’d think that die-hard Potter fans would be somewhat annoyed by the differences between the real-life game and the magic version, but not all Quidditch players are big fans of the books.

“A lot of people who play Quidditch aren’t necessarily avid Harry Potter fans. The first few times the game was played they wore robes but they quickly realised that’s a pretty stupid idea and stopped doing it.”

“People often see Quidditch as a bit of a joke,” said Craig. “But it is a real, hard-hitting sport.”

"It's a real, hard-hitting sport"

“It’s a real, hard-hitting sport”

In fact, it’s so aggressive that the first thing new players are taught is how to fall safely and how to tackle (you’re supposed to hit someone higher than in rugby because of, you know, that wooden stick between the legs).

That doesn’t always prevent injuries, though. Craig has broken in his leg twice in eighteen months, although one of them was entirely his fault for not falling properly.

Unfortunately, the GB Team needs to raise some money in order to go to Canada this summer. With flights and accommodations costing £1,5000, many members of the squad are going to struggle to make it.

There will be an exhibition fair in Oxford from 31 May to June 1 and some of the players are going to try and raise money by climbing some of the UK’s biggest mountains, but Craig is doubtful whether he’ll be able to go.

For more information, go to http://www.quidditchuk.com/ and join the UoN Quidditch Facebook page