Harry Potter fans are set to swoop into Sheffield next month - when the city hosts trials for quidditch, the flying broomstick game played by the boy wizard and his pals.
Organisers from the Quidditch Premier League will be coming to the city on the lookout for new players for the Yorkshire Roses, the countywide team which represents the region in a nationwide tournament based on the sport first brought to the public's attention by author JK Rowling in the Harry Potter books.
QPL director Jack Lennard said: "The Quidditch Premier League is such an exciting opportunity and development.
"It’s an opportunity for the sport to grow and gain prestige on a greater level nationally and internationally than ever before.
"It’s an opportunity for players to compete at the highest level. And, most importantly, it’s an opportunity for more people in more places to find out about this incredible sport. I can’t wait to see where the QPL can take the sport in the UK."
The QPL will organise high-level quidditch games throughout the UK and it is the first league open to players from across the country.
Eight teams from Hadrian’s Wall to the Cliffs of Dover will compete against one another to gain the title of national champions in quidditch.
Inspired by Harry Potter, there are now 20,000 competing international players, 25 competing countries and an international rulebook.
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.
The four maximum rule of quidditch states that at most there can be four players of the same gender on pitch at one time. This ensures that the game is mixed gender and inclusive to all. Quidditch has also been labelled as the ‘world’s most progressive sport.'
The Sheffield Quidditch trials will be held on February 26 from 2pm to 4pm at The Ponderosa, S3 7PZ. An additonal trial will be held in Leeds on Woodhouse Moor, LS6 on Sunday 5 February from 2pm-4pm.
HOW DOES QUIDDITCH WORK?
In the fantasy world of the Harry Potter novels and movies, quidditch is a magical competitive sport in involving flying contestants.
Matches are played between two teams of seven players riding flying broomsticks, using four balls: a Quaffle, two Bludgers, and a Golden Snitch. Six ring-shaped goals are situated atop poles of different heights, three on each side of the pitch. It is an extremely rough but very popular semi-contact sport, played by wizards and witches.
In the QPL. a quidditch team consists of 21 athletes with 7 players per team on the field at any one time. Each player has a broom between their legs. The four maximum rule of quidditch states that at most there can be four players of the same gender on pitch at one time. This ensures that the game is mixed gender and inclusive to all.
Players can be one of four positions:
* Keepers - Guard the hoops from opposing chasers and become a 4th chaser on offense.
* Chasers - Throw the quaffle through the opposite team's hoops to score goals worth 10 points.
* Beaters -Throw bludgers at the opposing team to 'knock them out' and make them return to hoops.
* Seekers - Catch the snitch (worth 30 points) to end the game.
A team of 7 will have 1 Keeper, 3 Chasers, 2 Beaters and 1 Seeker. A game of quidditch involves three types of balls:
* The Quaffle - a semi-deflated volleyball thrown through the hoops by chasers and keepers.
* Bludgers - dodgeballs thrown at other players by beaters. There are 3 bludgers on the pitch.
* The Snitch - a sock with a tennis ball in it, attached to the snitch runner's shorts. When caught by either team's seeker, the game ends
The following teams will be part of the league:
· The London Monarchs
· The Southwest Broadside
· The Southeast Knights
· The Eastern Mermaids
· The Northern Watch
· The Yorkshire Roses
· The East Midland Archers
· The West Midland Revolution