Quidditch speed demons the Melbourne Manticores are scoring with quaffles, bludgers and stopping the snitch (a super-fast person) every Saturday. JK Rowlings' fictional game has been adapted to real-life grounds across Melbourne with chasers, beaters and keepers in a competitive match organised by the Victorian Quidditch Association – and there are associations across Australia, for those who have been in the dark.
Founder of the VQA is 23-year-old Emily Davies from Wandin, who had joined in a mock game that was held at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at the IMAX and later stumbled across the International Quidditch Association. She registered her interest at starting a team, learned the rules with some friends and started up a Facebook page. "The first year was a bit hit and miss with mostly the few regulars showing up," she admits, "but then last July we got asked to compete in the 'Quidditch Olympics' in Oxford, England. We competed against England, France America and Canada and got bronze."
Davies, together with teammates Kat Young and Michael Butera, got a squad together for the National Championships QUAFL at the University of Sydney in December 2012. "We were expected to come last against the force of the many NSW rivals but we ended up surprising them by coming fourth out of 12 teams," she says. "This year we've had such a huge amount of interest that we could no longer accept players into the Melbourne Manticores. We now have the Blackburn Basalisks, the Wrackspurts and the Monash Muggles – these three teams are accepting new members.
Emma Morris is a certified Quidditch Head Referree from Mount Waverley. "I got into it because I have always loved Harry Potter," says the 24-year-old, "but many of our players don't actually like Harry Potter – they just love the sport. Within three weeks of my first 'Come and Try' day I travelled to Canberra for Quidditch Camp. I'm in the process of becoming internationally certified and joining the Referee Development Team for the International Quidditch Association."
To join a team, join the Victorian Quidditch Association group on Facebook – young and old are equally welcome. "We'll update you with upcoming events and put you onto our captains to start playing," says Davies.
'Come and Try' days are the first and third Saturday of each month. They also hold workshops for "safe tackling" and similar.