Velociraptors QC 260* – 60 Brizzlebears
Head Referee: Steve Cockram
Assistant Referees: Scarlet Hughes, Ashara Peiris, Eamon Harrison
Snitch Referee: Nicole Stone
Snitch Runner: Sean Lee
In a final that few predicted, Velociraptors QC continued their winning streak with a convincing victory over the Brizzlebears, claiming the BQC title and in the process becoming the first ever community team and Northern team to do so.
Having cruised through the tournament, only ending a single game in snitch range, Velociraptors QC came into the BQC 2017 final as a seemingly unstoppable juggernaut. The Brizzlebears journey to the final on the other hand came by the skin of their teeth. The jovial Bristolians scraped through their quarter final, besting Durhamstrang in double overtime, with a SWIM catch against Holyrood Hippogriffs in the semi-final securing the Bear’s final berth.
Despite the apparent air of inevitability, the BQC 2017 final was far from a one-sided affair. Be it down to the Raptors showing signs of tiredness from their admittedly harder side of the bracket, or the Bears playing with a newfound level of maturity and discipline, from brooms up the game was a tight matchup and the Bears managed to hold their own against the ‘community superteam’ the Velociraptors.
Sophie Craig of Velociraptors opened the scoring in the final. Craig received a pass behind the hoops from Ben Morton and showed her old side what they were missing on the grandest stage of the season to put the Raptors up 10-0. Not deterred, the Bears soon responded with breakout chaser Viral Patel completing a dunked finish to level the score ten a piece. With Ash Cooper and Ollie Brigden trading tackles in the quaffle game, and Lucy Q matching up against Aaron Brett Miller in the beating game, a very matched opening lead to some nervy looking faces on the Velociraptors sidelines.
It took an uncharacteristically slack pass from the Brizzlebears to give the Raptors the impetus they needed to start pulling away with the game. A long pass by the Bears towards the Raptors hoops was intercepted by Sophie Craig, leading to a quick break and hoop from Andrew Hull to take the Raptors up by ten. After this the Raptors seemed to gain some momentum, and with Bears struggling to shut down the Raptors’ passing the Raptors steadily increased the scoreline in their favour. Captain Tom Heynes scored the hoop to bring the Raptors up and out of range, however shortly after a no bludgers situation for the Bears gave them a window back into the match. Josh Blannin and Sam Senior made the most of it bringing the score back to 60-20 and most importantly making sure the game didn’t slip into the one-sided affair it looked like it may be on paper.
With James Thanganadan awarded a card for a foul on Tom Ower a moment of ingenuity brought huge cheers from the crowd and pulled the Bears back into overtime range at the 14 minute mark. Having been fouled Ower retained the quaffle on brooms up but under pressure by an armed Dan Trick he kicked the quaffle towards the Raptors hoops where Ower’s pass was scooped up and converted by Viral Patel. Just for a moment, as unlikely as it seemed, the momentum was with the Bristol team off the back of two consecutive hoops.
In a match littered with some moments of lovely passing and great tackles around the hoops from both teams, the Raptors must have been rueing their missed opportunities. Their profligacy and the Bear’s stout defense meant they couldn’t quite establish a strong lead and with snitch Sean Lee imminent the Bears once more attacked the Raptors hoops. The Bears beaters kept Velociraptor Dan Trick occupied long enough to allow the Bears to drive in another goal, making the score 60-40 right before snitch on pitch.
However, a quick Raptors counter ended in Ashley Cooper converting 10 points for his side, and as soon as Ollie Brigden stepped out of his keeper zone, reclaiming the quaffle and resuming play, Lucy Q beat him from behind, leaving Cooper to simply sweep up the quaffle for another hoop. Lucy Q’s headsup play proved the turning point, taking the Raptors just out of overtime range before the seeker floor was over and putting the Raptors into a commanding position for snitch on pitch play.
Dom Ayre and Ben Morton stepped up as starting seekers, but with the Bears just out of range Ayre was left without an opportunity to make a catch, instead having to play defense. As the Bears chose against focusing their beaters solely on the quaffle game to try and creep back into range, the Raptors mercilessly continued to put hoop after hoop past the weakened quaffle defense of the Bristol team. The Bears continued to fight though, and an excellent tackle from Emma Isle denied Tom Heynes of another goal during a no bludger opportunity but the Raptors had established a comfortable lead, and the Bears were left with too much to do to get back into range with a tiring squad. Although Raptors seemed to struggle to catch the snitch, seemingly throwing their entire bench at Sean Lee in the hopes of making the winning grab, the game which had started so promisingly was over in all but name.
With multiple different Raptors donning the yellow headband in what essentially became a prolonged victory lap, it fell to Tom Heynes to catch snitch Sean Lee and bring an end to proceedings, making the final score 260* - 60. Although by the end the game had become somewhat of a blowout, the score was inflated by a strong showing from snitch Sean Lee, and was not truly reflective of the challenge that the Brizzlebears had posed. However in Velociraptors QC, BQC 2017 has a worthy winner who played fantastic fast flowing quidditch, and with the Northern community team being crowned champions, BQC had a new winner for only the third ever time and the very first winner from the North.
Article by Tash Ferenczy and Simon Bidwell.
Photos by Sam Instone.