Falcons put on strong display at European Quidditch Championships

Callum McKay

IMG_5379The Easter break may have been a quiet time for most sports societies, but for the Falmouth Falcons Quidditch team it marked the start of the European Quidditch Championships in Oxford.

Following a respectful top 10 finish at the British Championships in March, Falmouth were looking to make their debut performance against Europe’s finest one that they and their opponents would remember. The group stages immediately proved a tough challenge as Falmouth met national league leaders from Germany and Austria, and Europe’s third ranked team, the Lyon Crookshanks. The Falcons got their group stage off to a strong start with a dominant 170-0 victory over Germany’s Black Forest Bowtruckles, with goals from team captain Nathan Jones, leading by example in his last official match as Falmouth captain, and chasers Conor Watson and Tyler Mills. A snitch catch closed out an impressive opening performance. The dominant form continued in the second group game with a 170-40 win over the Vienna Vanguards, with Jones and Watson scoring a further five goals each, plus four from Oscar Lozada. The final group game against the Lyon Crookshanks saw Falmouth engage in a gruelling contest against Europe’s third best team, whose class showed from the outset. Within minutes Falmouth were 50 points down and pressurised by the French side’s strong offence. But the Falcons showed great determination and clawed back to take a 10 point lead. However, after two failed snitch catches by Lyon, the third attempt proved enough to snatch a 70-90 victory, dropping Falmouth to second in the group at the end of the day, but they had done enough to qualify for the knockout stages.

Falmouth’s knockout match saw them drawn against the University in Oslo Quidditch team.  Crowds were on their feet in another intense, close match. Falmouth fought hard with Jones and Watson racking up a further 8 goals between them. Time and again the Falcons caught up before Oslo pulled away again, but according to supporter Peter Kimball-Evans, “defeat was never certain and victory was always possible”. In the end though, the Norwegian team were just too far out of reach, before victory was sealed with a snitch catch to end the game 90-180, and end Falmouth’s progress in the competition. It may not have been the finish to the tournament the team was hoping for, but their strong performances against some of the sport’s top ranked teams showcased Falmouth’s ability to take on Europe’s finest and beat them. Head Coach Tamara Morriss said, “We left each game knowing that we had played great Quidditch and whether we won or lost we came out of those matches with ideas on how we could improve”. Morriss described her team as having transformed from being the underdogs to a team who were not to be underestimated in the space of a season, due to the dedication of the team and the leadership of Nathan Jones. As a team still working on gaining competition experience after its first full competitive year, it was an impressive display and a solid foundation for the Falcons to improve over the coming seasons.

The reigning champions Paris Titans defeated the Radcliffe Chimeras 150-80 to retain the trophy for a second year.