by Andrea Hill | February 25th, 2012
The University of Leicester quidditch team is traveling to Keele University on March 10 to play the United Kingdom’s first-ever IQA-regulation matches.
Both teams have already been featured in their local newspapers, and are hoping to gain a wider audience by promoting this event to national media outlets.
Some U.K. teams—including Oxford University, University of York, and University of Nottingham—have previously competed in well-publicized matches. However, the Leicester-Keele matches will be the first in the region to closely follow the rules laid out in the IQA’s most recent rulebook.
Robert Barringer, president of Keele quidditch and founder of Quidditch U.K., a Facebook networking group for people in the region who want to get involved with the magical sport, said the official matches are the first step towards getting people in the U.K. to see quidditch as a real sport.
“We have some brilliant people working for quidditch in the U.K. at the moment, and we’re really excited about seeing where it can go,” Barringer said. “We just need to work together a hell of a lot and get as much attention on it as possible.”
Neither Leicester nor Keele have previous experience competing against other teams. However, players on both sides are hoping that friendly competition will soon become common place.
“We’re hoping that via this match and the attention we bring we’ll prompt other teams to do the same, [to] have the gusto to play each other and the courage to do something abnormal and absurd,” Barringer said.
Regardless of who wins the match, the publicity generated is expected to benefit both teams. But that hasn’t stopped some friendly competition from surfacing.
“I get the feeling that Keele versus Leicester may become a tradition in quidditch,” Barringer said. “Much like Oxford vs Cambridge in the rowing.”