On Saturday March 16th, the Leeds Griffins achieved victory over Derby Union in the first Quidditch match ever held on Leeds soil. The match was a best of three games, wherein the Griffins beat the Derby team, 110 – 10 and 160 – 20, and caught the snitch (worth 30 points) in both games.
Leeds started off well, with Will Heath scoring the first goal of the afternoon, but after an incident with a broken broom by Leeds chaser James Mee, Derby soon scored the second. This second goal caused the Leeds players to strengthen their defences; Leeds refused to let Derby near the hoops and successfully forced them back whenever they came close to scoring. Leeds keeper Japloe Sneh and chaser Heath provided an indestructible defence, not being afraid to tackle the opposing players and take the Quaffle by force.
Leeds dominated Bludger possession, which regularly helped the chasers gain possession of the Quaffle and keep gameplay in Derby’s half. The Leeds beaters were also very good at keeping the third Bludger away from the Derby beaters (often sending it to Leeds’ side of the pitch) and being ready to beat the opposing beaters when they gained possession of a Bludger.
Play was concentrated near Derby’s defending hoops, with Leeds quickly learning how to break the Derby defence. This led to Leeds chasers such as Travis Manuel scoring goal after goal, and not giving Derby the opportunity to recover before being on the attack again.
The Leeds team provided a snitch for each game, with Sam Greenwood and James Mee volunteering to fulfil the role.
Head referee, Claire Cholewa, praised both teams on their performances, and how they coped with the slippery playing conditions due to the mud, which resulted in players occasionally fouling by accidently dismounting their brooms.
Despite losing both games, the Derby team were adamant that they thoroughly enjoyed the day, which ended with a social in the pub for the two teams. Matthew Guenzel , captain of Derby Union and Head of Gameplay at Quidditch UK, thanked the Leeds Griffins for their hospitality, praising the team by saying that they had “fantastic players and an incredible team spirit.”
Of the exhausting match, Lauren Lefevre – Leeds beater – said “The team is going from strength to strength and it is definitely due to all the hard work that the coaches and the team have put in.” Troy Hill, Leeds beater and chaser, added that the training the coaches (Claire Cholewa, Alice Mulvena, and Gemma Woodward) put the team through really paid off, and that it being the first home match and having home support added an extra dimension of excitement for the Leeds players.
The match attracted quite a crowd in Hyde Park, with spectators ranging from members of the public who normally pass the team practising on Saturday afternoons, to children dressed as Harry Potter in robes, who were given the chance to play with a Quaffle and broom. It was also an opportunity for fundraising for the society, having a cake sale at the same time.
Leeds Griffins would like to thank everyone who came to spectate, helped manage the cake sale, or provided additional support by refereeing. The Leeds players were: Holly Collins, Emily Cowling, Sam Greenwood, Will Heath, Troy Hill, Sian Hopper, Lauren Lefevre, Kasia Malczuk, Travis Manuel, James Mee, Alice Palmer, Rhiannon Pickard, Kati Sarah, and Japloe Sneh.