14 Mar 2017

Winner crowned in UK quidditch comp

10:56 am on 14 March 2017

With poles instead of broomsticks between their legs, competitors battle it out in a sport usually reserved for witches and wizards.

UCLA vs Arkansas at the Quidditch World Cup 7 on April 6th 2014 in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

The Quidditch World Cup in 2014. UCLA vs Arkansas Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Ben Holland Photography

They were competing for the fourth annual British Quidditch Cup - a tournament inspired by the magical Harry Potter universe created by author JK Rowling.

But, the sport has had to be modified to allow for the limitations of ordinary mortals, known in Rowling's books as 'Muggles'.

Instead of flying through the air on broomsticks, these competitors run around the pitch holding on tightly to their poles.

"It's a mixed gender, multi-national sport - it's played in over 20 countries worldwide," Tom Heynes, a player for the Velociraptors team, said during the weekend tournament in the central English county of Staffordshire.

"It's basically a mix of rugby, dodgeball, little bits of handball thrown in there.

"The best way to describe it is organised chaos. It's just a bit hectic on pitch but it's fantastic."

Teams are made up of seven players who try to score by throwing a ball through hoops while seeking the snitch - a small, winged golden ball in the Harry Potter books but on this pitch a tennis ball in a yellow sock dangling from the back of one of the players.

Some 32 teams from across Britain took part in the weekend event, organised by QuidditchUK.

"There is no one good Quidditch player. Some of the smallest girls, they can be incredible, and likewise you've got some stereotypical rugby guys who also will be really good," tournament organiser and quidditch player Beth Thompson said.

"Any body type, any personality, as long as you can throw and catch."

The Velociraptors took the cup, beating the Bristol Brizzlebears 260-60.

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