London Quidditch are looking to improve on the European stage as they prepare for the preliminary qualifiers in Manchester this weekend.
The second London-based team to blossom from the sport made famous in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books have always dominated the domestic stage – finishing no lower than third in tournaments played up and down the country.
However, when taking part in a European Quidditch Cup in Belgium last year the Clapham-based side finished 17th out of 32 and club treasurer Ollie Farrell, 24, said the side are keen to improve in this year’s event.
He said: “We were drawn into quite a tough group, there was a team from Belgium who are one of the best in Europe as well as a good team from Germany called Bohn.
“The top two teams go into the upper bracket and the bottom two go into the lower bracket and it was a big shoot-out between us and Bohn for who would finish second in the group
“We lost that game meaning we went into the lower bracket which meant the highest we could finish was 17th.
“We won the lower bracket, but it didn’t make up for losing the initial big shout out.
“You can always train harder and be better than everyone else but I don’t think we would blame bad luck for not getting through I think it was more something we can work on – obviously you don’t want to draw Barcelona in the first round.”
The preliminary qualifiers are taking place in Manchester over the weekend and London Quidditch are sending two teams to the north-west in hope of qualifying for the European Quidditch Cup in Ghent, Belgium in May.
Mr Farrell said: “We train midweekly every week and then we will train on Saturdays for four- or five-hour sessions leading up to tournaments so at the moment we have been training every other week and at the weekend which we will be doing leading up to the tournament and afterwards it will be once a month.
“People are travelling quite far to train, so we want to make it worthwhile.
“Training is going well, we are looking good and the club has expanded so hopefully onwards and upwards – as long as we qualify.”
Mr Farrell studied Natural Sciences at Durham University for four years as part of an integrated masters degree and currently works in audit. It was at Durham that he got into the game of Quidditch.
He said: “It’s something different, when I first started it was because my roommate was friends with some people who were going down to play Quidditch and obviously when you hear that you have to go down and see it to believe it.
“It’s becoming a lot more stand alone, obviously you are going to get people interested in the Harry Potter aspect of it, this is my sixth season and I do personally like it but we do have players who have never read the books or seen any of the films.
“There are different levels for different people depending what they want to get out of the game.”
Further information from London Quidditch Club including how you can get involved can be found on the club’s Facebook page.