Rise – Ballycastle Making Amends
Falcons Fall Flat Versus Magnificent Montrose
Harpies Fly True
Welcome back to Quaffles & Bludgers for another fantastic two weeks of British & Irish Quidditch that saw a vast amount of movement in the run up to the most active day in the Quidditch Year – The Boxing Day Extravaganza! Seeing much movement on the table in a space of two weeks is always an exciting affair, and as always it is my personal pleasure to bring it to yourself for your entertainment.
We begin this week’s summary with a luck at the Appleby Arrows, finding success throughout the earlier season yet coming up against some fierce opposition in the likes of the Falmouth Falcons and the Pride of Portree in the last few weeks. Regardless, Week 11 saw them continue their scintillating form against an unlucky Tutshill team who nearly put them to the sword with a great scoreline and total domination from their Chasers. It was only a late game catch of the Snitch that let the waning Arrows snatch up the Snitch from their opponents, taking a close game for themselves and buying them some more points on the board. Appleby 350 – 260 Tutshill!
Our next game saw the Chudley Cannons take on Banchory, the old whipping team against the rowdy Bangers saw a very close game between the pair, no more than around 13 scores separating them at any point It was only when Chudley – with some fantastic flight by their seeker – took the snitch that they secured a well earned, well deserved win for themselves in the Winter rain. Chudley 670 – 320 Banchory!
After this particular display over in far sunnier Kenmare saw a resurgent Ballycastle who seemed to have remembered how to play come back into the thick of things, putting Kenmare to the sword in an absolute domination that saw Ballycastle beat Kenmare by a tidy scoreline within the hour. Ballycastle 390 – 130 Kenmare!
Elsewhere, the Holyhead Harpies, favorites to take the season this year led a fantastic display against a wanting Puddlemere United, driving home enough points to keep them at a stalemate, even though it left them defensively vulnerable to Seeker catches. Perhaps part of some extravagant display by the Harpies, it oft’ seemed that they decided to not shoot on occasions where scores would have been available for them, instead keeping Puddlemere in the game only for their fantastic Seeking efforts from one Kelsey Galloway to net them a well deserved win. Holyhead Harpies 300 – 150 Puddlemere United. A close occasion!
In news regarding Puddlemere and Holyhead, it seems that some action between the French and the British League continues to heat up. With reports that the Ballycastle Bats have sent offers to Adam Fletcher, Quincy Villeneuve and Lood Reinach, looking to bolster their side it is not surprising that further reports both rumored and confirmed have come from both lines of the sport. Puddlemere reportedly have also thrown their hat into contention for Quincy Villeneuve and Lood Reinach, eager to bring the two star players – both voted two of the best players in the world by the International Wizarding Quidditch Federation IWQF – to their club. Reports from the Parisian Hellhounds is that Lood Reinach was found laughing over his contract offer, whist Villeneuve’s own offer was reportedly ‘binned’ at the mere mention of the pair playing for the mighty United.
Meanwhile Parisian Hellhound manager Mattias Chigadze was recently questioned by French Newspaper ‘La Quaff’ on his own thoughts on the transfer window and the knowledge that multiple English teams were looking to take players from the European Leagues. His response raised many eyebrows, with the Georgian Native responding. “It is obvious that other lesser leagues would look to take players from our nation; ours is a place where Quidditch is played with finesse and style. Our club game produces the best players across the world. It is no wonder that others yearn to have French Quality in their teams.’ When asked if he had any interest in any British players, the man laughed softly before – in his typical boldness, many times given the short end of the stick from the Hellhounds’ board for releasing transfer prospects of his own volition, the man responded. “I don’t think much about British Quidditch. There is one Hot Prospect with their all female team; that Vitrac girl. Werewolf oui, but very good non? I would offer her 7500 galleons per month for her to come to Paris I think. Maybe you will see some action in that direction non?”
The comments left many of Holyhead’s fans frothing at the mouth at the man’s comments, the team already having had some of their best players in recent times poached by French sides, with the last steal coming from the Provence Princes after they captured the signature of ‘Georgina Bryn Hill’ who went on to join a resplendent Paris side in their 780 – 120 demolition of Holyhead in the 2019 European Cup Final. Regardless, it is hard after watching Persephone Vitrac’s fine performances in her first year of Professional Quidditch to not want to see her lining up with Villeneuve and learning from who many argue is the ‘Greatest Chaser to Ever Live’.
With our eyes shifting back to the week’s news on Quidditch, we turn now to the Caerphilly Catapults and their unlucky loss to the WImbourne Wasps. Caerphilly holding complete dominance over the game were unfortunately unable to get the points they needed to keep a Snitch win from granting the lacking Wasps side from taking their victory, and so lost a well fought, well deserved victory to a quite frankly terrible WImbourne side whose Chasers would have done just as well staying at home rather than playing the game. Wasps 150 – 130 Caerphilly!
Elsewhere we watch as Portree played out a very close and very intense game of Quidditch with the Wigtown Wanderers, who despite some lacking performances in the league so far played a very mature, very brave game against the Pride – who have risen above to fight for a top four spot and a position at the upper crust of the league itself. With some fantastic play from Wigtown, largely neutering the usually clinical Portree side from an impressive Chasing Kingdom over the opposition, Portree’s fantastic Seeking pulled them through, granting them another hard earned – if close – victory over the opposition. Portree 260 – 240 Wigtown!
Our final game of the day is one of pure excitement, as the Falmouth Falcons under Barry Fletcher’s stern management took on a confident Montrose side who flew out with a desire to win and a Chaser arm to make it happen. With clinical finishing and some aggressive beater tactics taken from the very playbook of dirty tactics – which we do believe might have been patented by Barry Fletcher himself in his younger years as a Coach the Magpies managed to steal a beautiful win from the Falcons, flying true against the larger birds and scoring a minnows victory with a scoreline to reflect their fantastic play. Falmouth 350 – 630 Montrose!
Moving onto Matchweek 12 was almost like we were watching another sport to be frank, as many teams this week didn’t seem to turn on with the Christmas season approaching! This lead to what can only be described as an incredible week, with movement all across the table both up and down, heating up the league as Boxing Day looms and glory awaits.
The week started with a world class performance by the Holyhead Harpies against league contenders in Appleby, forcing them to take the role of a lesser club that they had been stuck in for the last few years of their time in the league. Taking a massive score deficit after an outstanding performance by Persephone Vitrac – having around 82% score participation in the game and running a Chasing Kingdom over the Appleby Arrows – the Arrows struggled to claw themselves back, falling behind ever further as the Silver Wolf as many fans have begun to nickname her screamed up towards their hoops with terrifying speed, hitting her mark. With the Snitch caught by the Harpies in the 37th minute of the game, Vitrac’s domination was ended and kept the Harpies from burying Appleby’s hopes of a victory going into the most important part of the first half of the season, and in many’s eyes could almost be regarded as a consolation prize for their morale. Holyhead Harpies 350 – 70!
Meanwhile a resplendent Portree side came into contact with the dreaded Falmouth Falcons fresh off of a defeat from Week 11. The Falcons and Barry Fletcher at their helm weren’t eager to repeat such an event, with their international beating pair in Darragh Daly (IRE) and Jasper Baxter (ENG) taking the sword to the Portree chasers, leaving two of the three injured and out of play for the next two weeks. With Falmouth as aggressive as we are used to seeing them, they stole the game from Portree, though it remained a hotly contested issue with all the penalties the Beaters were giving away from their reckless, frankly dangerous play. Falmouth 350 – 200 Portree!
Across the country came another uncontested game it almost seemed as the Ballycastle Bats came out flying from the gloom of their past defeats, their season having been spent in the relegation dance rather than pressuring rivals Falmouth and Holyhead for the top spot. Taking position against a usually good Montrose side, Ballycastle left them looking like school children as a star studded side finally showed off what their paychecks bought, the team utterly dismantling the Magpies to lead their way into Boxing Day with a win and momentum on their side. Ballycastle 520 – 60 Montrose!
Elsewhere on the other end of the Quidditch spectrum came a finely contested game of sport between a good looking Chudley side against the Tutshill Tornadoes, the pair playing closely with each other. Tutshill however had done their homework, deciding against the typical strategy of most teams against Chudley and actually trying rather than playing around with the usual minnows, finding Chudley hungry for a victory, the pair matching each other play for play. It was only when Tutshill managed to get hold of the Snitch that they managed to find victory in the game, stealing it from what could have been the first gameweek before Boxing Day that Chudley had come away with a win in the last twenty years. Tutshill 670 – 490 Cannons!
Turning our attention across the country we might have finally found an example of a game where both teams didn’t want to play, with Caerphilly and Puddlemere – both sides lacking in the morale department after poor play for the last few weeks costing them a few victories – barely making any movements on the pitch, looking lackluster. With outrage from the fans who paid for tickets to watch the display, and those who believe that the season is still all to play for there isn’t much else to say about the farce of this game, except that I personally would enjoy if the Department of Sports and Games looked into this match in particular with some hefty fines for the preservation of Quidditch’s integrity. A farce ended after two hours of dreadful sport. Caerphilly 190 – 60 Puddlemere.
With two more games to go, I was worried that I might be greeted with more dreadful sport to be played but was pleasantly surprised as I was greeted to a rip roaring game between the WImbourne Wasps and the Kenmare Kestrels, both sides eager to go into the Boxing Day weekend with as much of an advantage over the competition as they could get. With a closely run contest that never exceeded more than 12 scores between each team, the Kestrels finally closed the game out with a brilliant Snitch catch at three in the morning, awakening many fans to the roaring of those still conscious and aware of the fantastic game they were watching. 690 Kenmare – 450 Wimbourne!
At last, to close out our fantastic summary of all the goings on in the British & Irish League we find ourselves at Banchory’s newly rebuilt stadium, the smallest in the league at the moment thanks to some planning complications. With the Bangers and Wigtown taking to the air we were unsurprised to see an exciting game of Quidditch, washing the bad taste of Caerphilly and Puddlemere’s joke of a display in an exhilarating showdown between two teams who acted like they had nothing to lose and everything to gain. Finally a Snitch catch by the Bangers took the victory, but not before the two teams had shown off a masterclass in both attacking and defensive discipline. Banchory 360 – 120 Wigtown.
That closes out our exciting summary of the last two weeks of Quidditch action, but we look forward to giving you all the scoop on Boxing Day’s excitement as no less than 7 different teams compete for a place in the top 4! Thank you for reading, and have a very merry Christmas from all of us here!