TeamUK

TeamUK is the pinnacle of quidditch in the United Kingdom. The players are more than that - they are athletes and activists, and their dedication to represent the UK on pitch internationally knows no bounds. 


In 2012, TeamUK hosted the first ever international tournament, the Summer Games, in Oxford. TeamUK came last, but the event kickstarted quidditch in the UK and led to an explosion of growth and development. 


In 2014, TeamUK travelled to Vancouver, Canada to compete in the IQA Global Games. The team came fourth, beating previous rivals France but losing out to Australia, Canada and the United States. 


Whilst the date and location of the next international competition has not yet been announced by the International Quidditch Association, TeamUK has a responsibility to attend all opportunities to represent the dedication and dynamism of quidditch in the United Kingdom.


The 21


TeamUK - Although finishing outside of the medal positions was disappointing for TeamUK, they nevertheless showed that they had the talent and tactics to match up to the best teams in the world. Quoted as giving Team USA their hardest beater match, and narrowly missing victories against the second and third place teams Australia and Canada, there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that UK quidditch is a force to be reckoned with. The full squad from 2014 are listed below. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.


Reserves
Ellie Aean, Lucy Barrington, Anna Barton, Lee Baughan, Jordan Beresford, Simon Bidwell, Dan Bridges, Alice Faux-Nightingale, Abbi Harris, Emily Hayes, Sally Higginson*, Ben Honey, Ollie Hymers*, William Johnson, Tom Jones, Holly Kerslake, Lee Marsh, John Martin, Craig Midwinter, Matthew Murrell*, Emma Nicholson, Emily Oughtibridge, Melanie Piper, Nicole Stone

*indicates a player who was chosen for the initial 21, but unfortunately could not make Global Games so gave up their space on the 21 for a team-mate


All text and photo edits for TeamUK by Zoe Ford.


Global Games 2014

With a disappointing impression made from the 2012 IQA Summer Games, TeamUK prepared for the 2014 Global Games with a lot to prove. Head Coach Ben Morton began the process in February 2014, and was quickly joined by Captain Ashley Cooper, then-captain of the European and British Championship-winning Radcliffe Chimeras. From over one hundred and twenty prospectives, two weekends of tryouts reduced the pool to a squad of forty-two. This squad underwent regular and intense training sessions, allowing the leadership to mould from it the roster of twenty-one who would compete at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex, British Columbia, Canada on July 19th 2014.

Morton and Cooper are leaders of great vision, and TeamUK arrived in Burnaby with the highest of hopes, believing it was their time to take the world by storm, and knock the United States off their pedestal at the top of the international game. As it happened, this was not to be, but the TeamUK journey was still a remarkable one. Opening with a solid 90-50* victory against an intelligent and resilient Belgian team, TeamUK then faced a game which was the biggest of each of its players’ lives: the USA. To report that TeamUK lost 150*-0 is to flatter their opponents. The UK team dominated bludger possession throughout the game, and were unlucky not to take an early lead as some excellent last-ditch tackles from the USA outdid a fine UK passing game, before the reigning world champions pushed through a never-daunted UK defence with some excellent passing. Although behind, the UK refused to ever go for the snitch, demanding a fine catch from US seeker Sam Roitblat to secure his team’s victory.

Proud of their performance against the USA, if a little disappointed with the scoreline, TeamUK faced the prospect of a rematch to compete for the title if they could win their remaining games. Unfortunately, a slow start against Canada left them always trailing in a game they eventually lost 100*-20, meaning only victory against Australia and an advantageous series of results elsewhere could see them through to the final. The Australian game began well, and although the Drop Bears pulled ahead, one of the finest snitch grabs of the weekend from the UK’s Dugald took the game to overtime at 50*-50. Devastatingly for TeamUK, however, it was the Australians who secured the catch in an otherwise scoreless overtime to inflict a 50*-80^ defeat on the UK and put them out of the running for gold.

With morale low and tears shed by more than one of the UK players, it was no mean feat for Morton and Cooper to rally the team and ensure they finished the competition on the best footing they could. With their next game against the underdog story of the tournament, ten-player Mexico, the UK had to ensure they made their mark as the day closed. Mexico started the game on equal footing, but a switch had flipped in the UK’s minds, and they surged as the momentum swing their way, with Jemma Thripp leading a charge that culminated in a 140*-40 victory for the British team. With only a devastating defeat in their last game against France able to keep them out of the third place playoff, TeamUK nevertheless felt that beating their local rivals and securing another win was important as they went into their last round-robin game. After Dale King-Evans opened the scoring for the UK, France pushed to a twenty point lead, and although the scores remained close for a while, a heroic performance from captain Ash Cooper, playing through a fractured wrist for his team, inspired the UK to claw the game back under their control. When Alex Greenhalgh secured victory with a diving snitch catch, the final score was 130*-50.

Going into the third place playoff against a Canada side who had soundly beaten them earlier in the day, UK spirits were high. The team knew they had played well enough to earn a medal, and had every intention of proving it with a final victory. That drive was visible in the way the team started the game, roaring to a thirty point lead with a performance that saw keeper Andrew Hull shut out the Canadian offence with ferocious tenacity. Unfortunately, however, the effort the UK had put into the day began to show, and although they remained on top of the game, they could not prevent their opponents from clawing back into snitch range. British hearts were shattered as, ahead on pitch, the snitch was grabbed from under their noses for the Canadians to secure bronze with a 60*-40 victory.

Both sincere pride and bitter disappointment washed over a highly-emotional team as the day came to a close with a 210*-0 victory for the USA over Australia in the final. On the one hand, TeamUK had beyond doubt given the USA their hardest game of the day, had missed out on several games only by the narrowest of margins, were one of the most popular teams, and had remained unbroken despite some poor results and misfortune. However, they had achieved far less than they had set out to, and everyone on the team knew that their potential went so much further than their results. More than anything, however, one feeling was rife throughout TeamUK. They would do better next time. The UK players left Canada with 2016 already in their minds, and with the confidence that, at least, they had left a far better impression than their predecessors in 2012.

James Burnett


The Squad

Ben Morton - Coach

Called out as the most dapper coach present in Canada, Morton’s style on and off the pitch were perfectly gauged to ensure his team stayed motivated throughout a gruelling and occasionally heartbreaking tournament. His dedication and efforts all through the months of team selection and training will never be forgotten by those who recognise that the 2014 Global Games was the event to truly put the UK on the quidditch map. Photo credit to the IQA Twitter.

Ashley Cooper - Captain

Always one to lead by example, the TeamUK captain put everything on the line to give the best performance possible. Despite taking an early injury, he played on, demonstrating his strength and skill in both an attacking and defensive chaser game. Cooper’s leadership off the pitch remained inspirational, encouraging the squad to dig deep and fight hard, whatever the situation they were in. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Abigail Whiteley

Renowned in the UK as being the queen of point-chasing, Whitely followed this reputation through in Canada. No keeper went unmarked on their keeper zone line when she was on the pitch, and she would face off any chaser, no matter their size. Matched with a ferocious tenacity to cling to any quaffle near her, this determined chaser certainly made her mark. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Alex Greenhalgh

With TeamUK taking three talented keepers to Canada, there was plenty of opportunities for Greenhalgh to shine without his normal green headband. Even as a fearsome chaser he held a tight defense, and he also took the chance to seek. A successful catch against Team France ensured the UK’s progression to the 3rd place play off, from which he should take great pride. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Andrew Hull

An imposing silhouette to any team’s line-up, Hull was dominant on pitch in Burnaby. Holding together an impressive defense, he was also confident leading charges and counter attacks, scoring several hoops for TeamUK. This stalwart keeper kept momentum and ambition high both on the pitch and from the sidelines. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Connor Simpson

Confidence on pitch is something which is key for any beater, and it is certainly something Simpson had. He was always in control of his play on pitch, making him a reassuring presence for any partner. Moving easily through all areas of the pitch, his speed and strength lent him an edge over opposing beater pairs. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Dale King-Evans

After Global Games, King-Evans has a global reputation - and rightly so. Impressing everyone as both a chaser and a beater, their physicality was matched with incredible agility and skill. A stand-out player for TeamUK, driving through hoops and holding together a brilliant bludger game, their’s is a name to be remembered. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Elisabeth Jørstad

Making her mark from the off as someone capable of throwing big tackles, Jørstad took on players much larger than herself at Global Games. This tenacity made her a key component of TeamUK’s defense, but her speed and agility also meant she was important for driving attacks, always finding the best position for a pass and shot at the hoops. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

James Burnett

As the TeamUK beater coach, Burnett is arguably responsible for developing and maintaining for what was often the best beater game on show at Global Games. When on pitch, they were dominant in their possession and maintenance of bludger control, defending both the hoops and their partner. This control of play made them one of the team’s most valuable assets. Photo credit to Amy Maidment

Jan Mikolajczak

With speed and an excellent defensive tackle in his favour, Mikolajczak fought hard in every play at Global Games. He worked well with every chaser combination on pitch, never letting his energy down and maintaining pressure on the opposing team. This chasing style allowed TeamUK to make many successful quaffle plays. Photo credit to Ross Palmer.

Jemma Thripp

Known in the UK as someone who can catch anything, Thripp certainly demonstrated this skill in Canada. However, it was not just her hoops that made her an impressive player on pitch, she also handed out some ferocious tackles, putting her heart and soul into defending TeamUK’s half of the pitch - and very successfully. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Jessica O'Neill

A nigh-on impenetrable defensive beater, O’Neill held together TeamUK from the back whenever she was on pitch. She was also unafraid to step forwards and take on any attacks head-on, shutting them down before they really had a chance to get going. This budding talent blossomed in Canada, impressing all on the world stage. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Kai Shaw

One of the most agile players in TeamUK, Shaw often seemed to fly around the pitch. Plucking balls from the air to stop the opposing team from having an easy passing game and leaping to avoid losing the quaffle, his athleticism and nimbleness added a new dimension to TeamUK’s game in Canada, often giving them the edge in tough plays. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Luke Twist

Instantly recogniseable on pitch, Twist needed mere moments before being known for a lot more than his height and blue hair. A formidable attacking player, he also defended his hoops and laid everything on the line to keep the scoreline in the UK’s favour. He will certainly be a figure remembered and renowned for his skill. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Rix Dishington

If there’s one thing Dishington can’t do, it’s give up. Whether she was shutting down an attack with a few impeccably timed beats, or clinging to a bludger and refusing to be shaken by even beaters much larger than her, Dishington never gave up on or off pitch. She kept morale and talent high with her unstoppable will. Photo credit to Pauline Schena.

Rebecca McLaughlin

Fast, athletic, and aggressive: just three words that could be used to describe McLaughlin’s contribution to the beater game of TeamUK. An obvious pick for their first starting line up, she was unafraid to challenge opposing beaters or stop oncoming chasers in their tracks. She also has the impressive accolade of being the only female snitch at Global Games. Photo credit to Janet Hoffar.

Robert Young

The only returning player from the 2012 TeamUK team, Young was certainly not in any sense reminiscent of the old team. Playing hard and fast despite having a broken nose, he threw himself into every match with incredible energy. Young played as both chaser and seeker for TeamUK, scoring points in both roles with enviable gravity-defying style. Photo credit to Janet Hoffar.

Sam Davies

Blink, and you would’ve missed him. One of the swiftest movers on the team, Davies made easy work of retrieving any loose bludgers on pitch, whilst also delivering pretty much unblockable or uncatchable beats on his opponents. Key in both defense and midfield attack, this speedy beater made an impressive global debut. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Tom Heynes

Throwing big tackles in every game, Heynes put everything into all of his actions at Global Games. Strong in all aspects of his play, he scored a number of hoops for TeamUK and was also instrumental in keeping a tight and physical defense. His skill in stopping players in their tracks certainly attracted the attention of many, including lots of sports photographers. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Tom Norton

Ever popular off the pitch, it was Norton’s talent on it that really caught the eyes of players from around the world. Tenacious in whatever role he was undertaking, his focus and passion were unfaltering throughout the day. As the youngest member of the squad, the world will definitely be seeing more of him. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Travis Manuel

Often seen leading a charge on pitch due to his lightning speed, Manuel kept up the pace for every moment he was on pitch. When not on the attack, he was a tireless point defender, no matter how many times an opposing team tried to beat him away. This determination and stamina often gave TeamUK the time they needed to ready for the next play. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.

Warren McFadyen

Sometimes it seems like bludgers literally cannot hit this man. Other times, it seems like people with quaffles can’t get past him. McFadyen displayed both these qualities and more in Canada, working seamlessly with his team-mates and always finding the space he needed to be to make, receive, or intercept a pass. Photo credit to Amy Maidment.