26 July 2016
by Sian Cain

Australian Dropbears defeat US team to win Quidditch World Cup

Australia celebrating their victory in the Quidditch World Cup final in Frankfurt, Germany.

In a magical turn of events, Australia won the Quidditch World Cup – a sport inspired by the game played by Harry Potter – after defeating the US team in Frankfurt on Sunday.

Adapted from the fantasy sport played in JK Rowling’s books, the “muggle” version of quidditch uses elements of rugby, dodgeball and tag. There are seven players on each team, five balls and six goal hoops. Each match begins with the referee shouting “Brooms up!” It ends when the “snitch” has been caught, giving the successful team 30 points. A tiny, flying golden ball in the books, in reality the snitch is a tennis ball attached to a player’s shorts.

Australia’s team, The Dropbears – named after a fictional native animal invented to scare tourists – beat the US 150 to 130 after catching the snitch.

“Over the last year, coach Gen Gibson has worked this team from the ground up, with the express purpose of taking on the best team in the world,” reads a statement on the Quidditch Australia Facebook page. “Today, we showed the world our strength and determination, but more importantly our love for this sport and community.”

Australia defeated Germany, France and Canada to reach the final against the US team, who won the previous two World Cups in 2012 and 2014, and have never lost an international game. The UK took third place, defeating Canada 190 to 60.

Twenty-one teams played in the tournament, including Mexico, South Korea and Catalonia. Uganda’s team, which was set to be the first African squad to play in the World Cup after a Kickstarter campaign raised €10,000 (£8,300) for them to attend, never reached Frankfurt due to visa complications.

A full contact game, quidditch is unusual in that teams are mixed gender, with rules dictating there can be no more than four players identifying as the same gender playing for each team.

It is estimated that there are 10,000 quidditch players around the world, with 2,000 in the UK, the majority playing for university teams. A love for Harry Potter is not required to play – the UK captain recently said that he knew players who hated the books, while Australia’s team captain James Mortensen told the ABC in March that he started playing to impress a girl: “I started dating a girl and she said: ‘Look, I play this sport, I reckon you might enjoy it.’ And I thought: ‘Well, I reckon I might like to impress you.’ And I fell in love with it.”