Regional Quidditch Tournament Celebrates Its Fiftieth Year
by Septimus Hughes
For half a century, Quidditch-loving youngsters from all around Norfolk and Suffolk have anticipated their summer holidays with a particular event in mind: the East Anglia Summer Tournament (also known as the EAST), the final match of which always takes place during the second to last week of August.
The EAST is comprised of two separate competitions, the Norfolk Summer Tournament and the Suffolk Summer Tournament. Throughout the summer, teams compete within their own counties. The winners of each county tournament then go on to the final match of the EAST to determine which team is the best in the region. The teams who compete for this title are made up, astonishingly, of teenagers and some younger adults; it's rare to get a player older than twenty or so, according to the Head of the EAST Board of Directors, Clement March.
"It's a kids' thing, see, that's how it's always been," he says. "There's a sort of stigma attached to being an older player. You're seen as a bit of a bully – especially if there's more than one of you on the team."
Unlike in the professional leagues, the players must come from the town they play for, or at the very least live near it; there's a bit of uncertainty over this rule. "It's just to keep it what it's supposed to be," says March, "a local tourney, for local teams. If a player wants to play for the next town over, well and good. We just want to prevent kids traveling all over the country for an amateur Quidditch tournament."
There's also a limit of one team per town. For this reason, teams from larger towns often have the advantage in having more of a pool of players to select from. Most small-town teams will draw from other nearby towns to make up a decent team. But small-town teams have their own advantage: they have known their team-mates for most of their lives, which may not be the case for players from larger towns.
This year, the competition will be especially stiff. The tournament has reached its fiftieth anniversary, and the celebrations – including a gala dinner (all proceeds of which go towards the Kirley Duke and Meaghan McCormack Foundation for the Aid of Victims of Dark Magic) – have drawn attention from several professional teams' owners, who will be attending the final match in hopes of scouting some promising new recruits – most notably, Meaghan McCormack herself and her husband, Greg Cochrane, co-owners of the Pride of Portree.
Says McCormack, "I've heard of this tournament, but I've never seen it – it will be interesting. I think it's a great idea. There was nothing like that for me when I was that age. The House Cup was the closest I got!"
The final matches of the Norfolk and Suffolk tourneys are both scheduled for tomorrow, the final match of the entire tournament for Sunday next. The match is to be held on the tournament's permanent pitch on Mousehold Heath in Norwich. Anyone interested in attending any of these events should contact the EAST Headquarters in Norwich.
- The Daily Prophet, Sports Section, Thursday, 13th August, 2009
A/N: Thanks to my lovely beta, Iris, for a quick and thorough job.