Magic in Batman’s garden as the Quidditch takes over Nottingham

The Nightmares had a bit of a mare


Broomstick straddlers wowed hundreds in Wollaton Park on the weekend for the second annual British Quidditch Cup.

Students and alumni from the University of Nottingham were among the hundreds of players who gathered in Batman’s garden.

The cup is the largest quidditch tournament in the UK dedicated to the sport adapted from J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books.

Unfortunately for the Nottingham Nightmares, their hopes of victory were stopped short when faced with the reigning champions, the Radcliffe Chimeras from Oxford University, in the quarter finals.

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Matthew Blindt, president of the University of Nottingham’s Harry Potter and Quidditch society, was sympathetic to their defeat.

The 21-year-old mathematical physics student said: “The Chimeras were the number one seed.

“We weren’t expected to beat them but we held our own against them.

“It was a good game. I enjoyed it and I’m glad to have got this far.”

Whilst we haven’t quite yet discovered how to sidestep that little thing called gravity, the players still have to place a ‘broomstick’ in-between their legs at all times whilst on the pitch.

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At first glance, it could be argued Quidditch may just seem like a bunch of people prancing about and the seeker trying to gain the golden snitch first – the logistics of which are lost on me. However, it is certainly not for the faint hearted, as a full contact sport numerous injuries are reported at the end of each match.

It’s described to be “like rugby mixed with dodgeball” by Ms Maidment, an alumni of the Nottingham Nightmares

Matthew, of Beeston, said: “One of our first practices every year, with new people, is almost just us wrestling on the floor trying to rip the ball out of each other’s hands.”

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Indeed it was evident at the tournament how heated, despite the rain, play had become with broken ‘broomsticks’ scattered around the pitches.

This aggression and physical side doesn’t seem to deter Environmental science student Kat Jack.

The 20-year-old said: “I may be quite a petite girl but it doesn’t put me off getting involved and in the mix of things.”

She added: “I found out about the sport when I was in sixth form and it was just starting to kick off in America.

“Then when it came to applying for universities I saw that Nottingham had a quidditch society and that may have influenced me putting it as my first choice of university.”

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Third-year maths student Jazzy Drew said she was glad to finally pick up the courage to take part in the sport.

The 21-year-old said: “I think I was the first person to sign up in our year.

“I was alright but found it a bit intimidating so I spent most of last year shying away from it. But then, last year, I got involved in a game against Derby and since then I haven’t looked back.

“Some got involved in it because of Harry Potter but some people here just saw us play and thought that looks like a really cool sport.”

Photo credit to Lisa Gilligan Lee