Scotland’s first national quidditch team is set to compete in the Quidditch Premier League - and one potential player says it’s not all about Harry Potter.
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The elite league that represents the muggle version of the sport in the United Kingdom will have a team representing Scotland, the country where the inventor of the game was born, for the first time.
Inspired by J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, quidditch has developed into its own sport, with 20,000 competing international players in 25 competing countries.
Try-outs for the Scottish Thistles will be held in spring next year and one hopeful says you don’t have to be a big Potter fan to play.
Kieran Newton, 21, has been playing quidditch for more than a year and is “very excited” about the first Scottish team to enter the premier league.
The intern at technology company IBM was introduced to the sport while studying at Edinburgh Napier University
He said: “It’s such great fun and I am really looking forward to next season starting.
“My friend at university asked me if I wanted to play a game, and I just thought ‘oh that’s not even real.’
“But I went along and I loved it from the first minute - it’s a brilliant game.
“I am not a mad Harry Potter fan - I have seen the films and read some of the books - I guess I enjoy it as much as the next person, but I enjoy Quidditch for the sport.
“It’s a great way to keep fit and everyone is really nice.
“There is a real mix of people who play.
“There are some die-hard fans, who go along because of Harry Potter, and then realise it’s not as Harry Potter based as they first thought, and end up staying anyway.
“And then there are people like me who just come along to keep fit and enjoy it.”
And now Kieran, who has played rugby since he was a child, is looking forward to trying out for next year’s team.
He says that he much prefers quidditch to rugby these days, despite his friend thinking it was a bit “weird” to begin with.
He added: “I love the professionalism of quidditch and the fact we will now be able to complete at that UK level and have something to strive towards each year.
“There are more teams coming up all the time and I think it’s starting to become a big thing.
“I definitely prefer Quidditch now - it’s a lot harder but a lot more fun.
“Most of my friends to begin with thought it was weird but now they see how much joy it brings me. “
Alongside the Scottish Thistles, Wales’ first national quidditch team, the Welsh Dragons, will also be entering the league.
The ten teams from across the UK will compete to become national champions of the sport.
Jack Lennard, the league’s director, said: “To now have Welsh and Scottish national teams is incredible, and I hope it really galvanises engagement with the sport there.”
A quidditch team consists of 21 athletes with seven players per team on the field at any one time.
Each player has a broom between their legs and consists of one keeper, three chasers, two beaters and one seeker.
The four maximum rule of quidditch states that at most there can be four players of the same gender on pitch at one time.
In the real version of the game, the snitch is a tennis ball in a sock attached to a person running around the field.
Just like in the fictional version, if the seeker catches the snitch then the game ends and their team wins the game.