The History of the Horntail Strikers

Now half way through their 4th season, Portsmouth Quidditch is looking stronger than ever. Read on to find out where it all began.

Portsmouth’s quidditch team originated with the University of Portsmouth club in 2014, who trained for three years as a student-only group until Strikers Quidditch opened up to the community.

The Horntail Strikers attended their first tournament, Southern Cup 2015, with a modest contingent of 12 players, playing Southampton, Warwick, Swansea and the Oxford Quidlings and successfully scoring in every match. The Strikers then continued to compete at Whiteknights 2016 later in the season.

The Strikers returned to Southern Cup in 2016 and secured a second-seeded spot at the 2017 British Quidditch Cup after a cheeky snitch catch from team Captain Jack Latoy against the tenacious Bristol Bees. Later in the season the team placed 19th at BQC, finishing 3rd in the lower bracket after a 160*-20 victory against the Sheffield Squids.

In addition to the regional and national tournaments of the 2016-17 season, the Strikers also attended a Southwest League match hosted by the Exeter Eagles, took part in and won Concrete Cup hosted by the Norwich Nifflers, and concluded the season with a valiant appearance at Whiteknights with a minimal but impactful 9 players.

The team also boasted getting 4 players on the Southeast Knights regional team of the Quidditch Premier League in the league’s first year.

The team recently placed 8th in Southern Cup 2017, once against securing a second-seeded spot at BQC after a long, muddy weekend. This season, Portsmouth has also joined the expanded Southwest League. You can keep up to date with the team’s latest fixtures and results by following our blog.

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Strikers Impress at “This Girl Can” Dodgeball Tournament

Strikers recently participated in a charity This Girl Can dodgeball tournament hosted by the University of Portsmouth Dodgeball Club, the Purple Cobras.

The friendly tournament was open to University of Portsmouth students and graduates, with or without dodgeball experience. Spread across two weekly sessions, the tournament gave our student Strikers the chance to utilise their dodgeball skills and help raise money for charity.

Strikers came second in the tournament, missing out on first place against the Dodgeball Club Firsts.

The tournament raised a total of £106.83, which will go towards an elected female related charity.

Strikers’ member Sophie Ward took part in both weeks and said: “The tournament was really fun! I really liked the girls and it was nice playing matches with people who wanted to beat us – it was challenging and different to quidditch training. It was difficult not to bring aspects of beating into the game though, like using full contact elements when running for the balls at the beginning!”

This Girl Can is a Sport England campaign celebrating active women across the UK and encouraging girls to get active however they can – be it through team sports, running, classes or more. This Girl Can Week took place November 20th-26th 2017 and saw women taking part in new activities and sports across the country.

University of Portsmouth Quidditch Club President Jaelithe said, “We encourage every one of our girls to do their best – and it was great to see them getting active and using their passion for sports outside of our sessions.”

Quidditch is considered one of the few truly gender inclusive sports available, with a gender rule allowing no more than 4 people of the same gender on pitch at once. Often described as revolutionary, the rule gives non-male players a vital role in the sport.

“Our girl’s excellent performance is really testament to the Strikers Quidditch training ethos,” says Strikers Quidditch Director Jack Latoy. “For us the gender rule isn’t ‘4 men play the game and we need 3 girls for gender’. We don’t just ‘have girls on pitch’. Our girls train hard, play harder, and do us proud.”

We’d like to thank the Dodgeball Club for hosting us, and hope to see you at training soon!

Photo credit: Tom Mcdonald: Magic Memories Photos

Strikers Storm Southern Cup 2017!

Our first team, the Portsmouth Horntail Strikers, played a grueling Southern Cup 2017 last weekend.

Contending with 8 inch deep mud and icy intermittent rain, Portsmouth battled it out against the might of the Southampton first team, the comparatively inexperienced but highly physical Bathilisks and old friends of the team The Norwich Nifflers.

Portsmouth’s first performance of the group stages was a difficult game against rivals and eventual tournament winners, Southampton firsts. Portsmouth played an uncharacteristically poor game here, eventually conceding a heavy 210*-10 defeat. While a significant loss was always on the cards playing into SQC’s incredibly experienced and talented line up, the huge differential is also indicative of Portsmouth’s slow adaptation to the playing conditions and some players being unaccustomed to such one sided matches and how to play them. It was not all doom and gloom however, Portsmouth conceded the least points against SQC with Bath and Norwich losing by 350 and 260 points respectively.

Following an important team talk, Portsmouth marched into its next match with the Norwich Nifflers, determined to put in a game winning performance better representative of their quality. While Norwich have significantly picked up their game from previous years, this match was still likely to go in Portsmouth’s favour. As it was, Norwich played a smart, ultra-compact defense which, coupled with the quagmire pitch, served to prevent many Portsmouth goal attempts. Simply, as Portsmouth would drive the ball forwards they would have to go through a defender who would in turn slide into and knock over the hoop the player was attempting to score in. The final score was a comfortable 100*-10 win for Portsmouth, a score which would have likely been higher another day as the mud slowed down play. While Norwich showed a strong defense, they lacked direction in their offence and were reluctant to commit to contact. If Norwich can fix these issues they will be stronger contenders in future.

The final game on the Saturday was between Portsmouth and Bath. This highly physical match up saw a larger onus on smaller players than usual producing big hits as larger players struggled to gain traction in the deepening mud. This led to large amounts of scrappy, frantic play on both teams’ hoops which Portsmouth tended to win out on as their beaters put in a dominant, napalm heavy display and the chasers landed tackle after tackle on defense. On a firm pitch Portsmouth’s more mature play style would have likely shone through and secured them a comfortable victory, as it was Bath’s more direct strategies played well to the treacherous conditions and managed to keep them in contention to win from behind until the last minutes of the game. The final score was 90*-30 to Portsmouth, putting the Strikers on the road to BQC.

At the end of day 1 Portsmouth had secured their place at BQC and found themselves in the upper bracket, placing 9th out of 21 teams. Generally you would expect positions 6-10 to be the second seeded teams of the tournament but instead Portsmouth found themselves in strange company. A vastly improved Reading squad managed to pull a win from behind against Swansea to take their upper bracket slot and Bristol Bees defeated Falmouth in an unprecedented win for the plucky second team. Portsmouth may have placed as high as 6th on another day but the poor pitch quality prevented them from racking up as high of a “points difference per minute” as other teams on firmer pitches. In order to achieve their goal of attending BQC as a second seeded team Portsmouth would have take one more win. The game would be against the Reading Knights, a team that had caught to win against Portsmouth from behind only weeks before.

On Sunday morning Portsmouth met Reading on the remnants of one of the previous day’s pitches, a ruined field veiled by a thin film of frost. Both teams knew what was on the line in this game and gave their all throughout. Over the course of the match Portsmouth’s smaller squad suffered heavily from niggling injuries which led to the eventual loss of several players in the latter stages. Both team’s beaters were well matched and chasers hit each other hard. In the male chasing there was little in it either way however Portsmouth’s girls put in a massive effort and were instrumental in propping up a flagging team. The quaffle score was 50-40 to Reading before the catch however should have been 50-50 or even 50-30 to Portsmouth as video footage shows an outrageously embarrassing moment for one of the goal refs as they are seen chatting to a member of the crowd and missing a beautiful long range shot from Dan Morgan through the centre hoop. This oversight led to a Reading counterattack ultimately leading to a further goal for the Knights. Fortunately, Ryan Ellwood made the crucial snitch catch to end the game at 70*-50 for Portsmouth and making the team’s progression at BQC that much easier!

This win threw Portsmouth into their final game of the tournament, a 130-30* loss to SQC in the team’s second meeting. While this was another heavy loss, the score margins were half that of the previous days game and Portsmouth played with ambition and quality throughout. While Portsmouth scored no points in the quaffle game, this was in no part down to their quality of play or effort. The mud coupled with SQC’s well drilled defense ended many excellent scoring attempts and fatigue began to slow the Portsmouth defensive response. Portsmouth can hold their heads up proud though! Not only was their score margin with SQC almost the same as the Bristol Bears (BQC 2017 second place) whose game ended 130*-10, they also managed to catch the snitch deep into the opposition half from under the noses of both Team UK Beaters and Seekers. The catch providing a sweet, if small, victory to end the tournament.

Overall Portsmouth placed 8th at Southern Cup 2017 in an exceptionally fun but taxing tournament. Now the team is resting up before beginning preparations for their upcoming Southwest League Match with the Bristol Bears and getting in shape for BQC 2018 and beyond! The team would like to extend special thanks to all of the referees and snitches who made our games possible and of course the organising committee for the tournament who did a fantastic job across the weekend. Particular thanks go out to Nicole Stone and Lauren Sterry for some exceptional refereeing and snitch running.

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Strikers Quidditch Attend Reading SWL Fixture

On Saturday 21st of October 2017, Strikers Quidditch took a small squad of 8 people to Reading to participate in friendly games with the Reading Knights, Bathilisks and Bristol Bees quidditch teams.

Portsmouth arrived on location at 9am, having mostly risen at 5am that morning, for a bleary eyed game with hosts the Reading Knights. Reading surprised Portsmouth by playing well above the standard expected after last BQC, winning the game by snitch catch 70* to Portsmouth’s 60. Tiredness seemed to affect the Strikers in this first game with a few defensive plays falling apart and some offensive plays being thrown away needlessly, a lack of non-male players also upset the teams performance as with snitch on pitch they entirely lost their ability to substitute. However, despite these factors emphasis should not be taken away from the vast improvements in the Reading squad which they will surely bring to bare come Southern cup this November.

Portsmouth’s next game was a classic showdown with the Bristol Bees. Portsmouth won this game in these team’s fourth meeting in less than 2 years 170* – 80. This was an exceptionally high scoring game possibly owing to the disparity between each teams more experienced players and new talent with the old guard able to exploit gaps created by the newer player’s inexperience. Hopefully this game will have provided invaluable experience for both teams to bring to bare in the coming season.

The final game of the day was Portsmouth versus Bathilisks. This game saw a depleted Bath side playing without their experienced backbone players Thomas Newton and Anthony Tatman who instead head reffed and snitched respectively. Without this leadership on pitch a Bath squad that had looked like a strong physical side earlier in the day immediately went 50 – 0 down against a Portsmouth side that had definitely woken up. Unable to bring their physicality to bare, Bath eventually lost 180* – 10 in a game with more cards given to Bath than any other team Portsmouth has ever seen. If Bath can keep their heads they look like a strong squad going forward but it would be hard to call based on the inconsistent performances seen over the weekend.
Officially this occasion was the Bristol versus Bath South West League fixture which Bath won in comfortable games for them. A special mention should go out to Tristan Harris for his efforts as head referee for the official matches played on this day.

Quidditch Premier League – The Round Up

Over the summer three of the Portsmouth team shed their usual purple and black colours to play in the blue and grey of the Southeast knights regional team for the inaugural Quidditch Premier League.

The Quidditch Premier League saw regional managers select 8 squads of 30 players at 16 tryouts across the country. Once the teams had been selected the League began in earnest with the four southern and northern teams battling it out in three seeding fixtures and then a final championship. The Southeast Knights were undefeated in seeding, winning all nine of their matches with the London Monarchs, Southwest Broadside and Eastern Mermaids. The Monarchs provided stiff opposition with some of the matches being exceptionally close in the early stages however the Knights always went on to win the games out of snitch range.

The championship games were hosted at the fantastic 17,000 seat stadium of Craven Park in Hull. At the championship Northern teams faced Southern teams for the first time and everyone was looking forward to the highly likely final match between the Southeast and their undefeated rivals in the North, the West Midlands Revolution. As Predicted both the Southeast and West Midlands Marched to the final undefeated across 3 games. The Southeast won all of these comfortably defeating the Yorkshire Roses 200*-30, the Eastern Mermaids 180-60* and the East Midlands Archers 210*-30. Meanwhile Revolution faced a difficult match in semi finals playing against the strong favourites for an upset game, the London Monarchs. Monarchs put up a good fight but in the end Revolution took the game with the final score line at 140*-30 to the Revolution.

As the sun set and the flood lights came on at Craven Park the stage was set for the final showdown. Southeast versus West Midlands for the QPL trophy. The Southeast took an early lead only to be overtaken by the West Midlands who capitalised on their momentum to open their lead up to 30 points. Southeast held on though, keeping the game within swim up to and beyond seekers being released. In the end though, after an incredibly tense game, Revolution’s formidable seeking line up came through as Morton caught making the final score 140*-70 to the West Midlands.

Despite falling short at the last hurdle all of the players from Portsmouth had a great time throughout the Quidditch Premier League. Keep checking our blog to see their thoughts and reactions to the QPL soon!

Revolution win

Portsmouth's Premier Community Team