Category Archives: News

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.

Strikers Quidditch Opens Training to Community

With quidditch in the UK adapting to take on more community players, Strikers Quidditch in Portsmouth are opening up to non-students this season.

Portsmouth’s team, the Horntail Strikers, placed 19th at this year’s British Quidditch Cup after coming 3rd in the Consolation Bracket at the tournament in Rugeley. The team will now be made up of both community and student members, with training sessions available to the community from September 2017.

Delivered by Portsmouth Quidditch Coach and Sport and Exercise Science Graduate Jack Latoy, Strikers’ community sessions will be held on Sundays, 2-5pm at Milton Park.

Portsmouth Quidditch originated with the University of Portsmouth Quidditch Club, who will be continuing to offer training to students throughout the academic year. Club members will now have the opportunity to take part in training sessions with community team members.

Despite the fast paced nature of quidditch, the sport offers on-pitch roles to people with varying levels of fitness. With a variety of positions and tactics, the game has something to offer even the newest players. Members have the opportunity to take part competitively at various tournaments across the year, or use their training as an opportunity to keep fit and socialise.

“Quidditch is made unique through its gender rules and inclusiveness,” explains Jack. “What makes it great to play however is the pace and style of gameplay. Quidditch is one of the fastest sports you can play but does not require a ridiculous level of fitness. Quidditch is a contact sport yet playable with either very high or very low levels of contact. The variety of positions playing on the same pitch in quidditch makes it unpredictable, highly tactical and means there is a role for everyone.”

Interested? Why not check out How to Play.

Strikers beginners’ sessions will take place at Milton Park on Sundays 24th September and 1st October, 2-5pm. All equipment is provided. Attendees are advised to wear clothing suitable for outdoor sport, and bring jumpers/warm clothing for after the session. Clothes are liable to get muddy.

You can contact us at Strikers Quidditch via our facebook or twitter, or email us at portsmouthquidditch@gmail.com

Alternatively, to get in touch with the University of Portsmouth Quidditch Club, see their facebook, twitter, instagram or website, or contact them at quidditch@upsu.net

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Sessions times are subject to change in winter months.

Header photo credit: Rowena Haigh 

Strikers Quidditch Attends Whirlwind Tornadoes Training

Strikers Quidditch Coach Jack Latoy and Assistant Coach Jaelithe Swan joined the Tornadoes Quidditch Club on the second day of their training weekend in Reading last Sunday.

Training was delivered by Tornadoes’ Coach El Zukowicz, who believes that it is important for teams to open training to non-members.

“I encourage the sharing of drills and play styles between teams,” El explains. “This helps improve the overall skill level and quality of quidditch in the UK. Tornadoes open training went well! We went over a lot of basic skills but those undervalued ‘tricks’ can be game changing if you practice and utilise them.”

The Tornadoes placed 6th at the British Quidditch Cup this year, and offered an open training weekend across the 29th and 30th of July.

The two-day training session focused on beating, with an emphasis on tactics and strategy within the team. Exploring a variety of game play situations, training was beneficial to beaters and chasers alike.

The next Tornadoes training weekend is set to take place in August.

Moving into his fourth year of coaching the Portsmouth team, Jack says the training was hugely beneficial.

“It was great to have the opportunity to train with such a high caliber team as the Tornadoes!” he says. “I really enjoyed watching how other coaches and teams operate and know it will help me to improve my own coaching and play.”

Jaelithe, who is President of the University of Portsmouth Quidditch Club, says that it was extremely useful to see how other teams conduct their training.

“University based teams have a tendency to miss out on coaching over the years as players graduate and leave,” she explains. “It was great to see how an established community team trains, and we hope to utilise the skills we learnt with the Tornadoes and incorporate some of the teaching style into our own sessions for the coming season.”

We’d like to thank the Tornadoes team for hosting us, and look forward to the chance to train with you more in future!

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Coach Jack and Assistant Coach Jaelithe on route to Tornadoes Training