by Andrea Hill | October 23rd, 2011
A handful of Australian teams are training hard in preparation for the nation’s first-ever quidditch tournament happening next month.
The Quidditch Universities of Australia Federation League Cup — or QUAFL Cup, as it is known — will see five teams from across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory competing in Sydney on Sat. Nov. 26.
It’s an exciting prospect for Australian teams, said Morgyn Benstead member of the Australian National University team and one of the tournament organizers.
“When we started at the beginning of this year we never thought we’d get to play on this level,” Benstead said. “Now we’re starting to plan to go to the 2013 World Cup.”
Despite teams’ enthusiasm, tournament organization has been a bit of a struggle the past few months, in part because most Australian teams are so new to the sport.
“Given that none of us have ever played intervarsity quidditch, we all have our own little modifications to the rules, and it’s been hard even identifying those, let alone standardising them,” Benstead said.
Benstead said it was also difficult to attract a large number of teams to the tournament. Australia only has eight active teams and two of these are in Queensland, which is a bit of a trek away from Sydney.
Organizers hoped they could persuade teams to make the journey to Australia’s capital city the weekend of Nov. 26 because a Sydney museum is running a Harry Potter exhibit at that time, but even this added incentive could not get the cash-strapped Queensland teams on the road.
With little more than a month until the tournament kicks off, tournament organizers are now turning their attention to promotion. Advertising the event has been delayed for several weeks because teams were having difficulty securing a venue. A field at University of New South Wales has only recently been confirmed.
Justin Chau, main tournament organizer and captain of the University of New South Wales team, said teams are also now looking for tournament sponsors and appealing to schools for funding.
For more information about the QUAFL Cup, visit the Facebook event page.