Harry Potter game Quidditch is new keep fit craze

Ghillie Dhu staff Stephanie Finlay and Carol Hickman get ready for their Halloween event. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Ghillie Dhu staff Stephanie Finlay and Carol Hickman get ready for their Halloween event. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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A NEW team sport is sweeping the Capital – and for those who take part it’s simply magical!

In the Harry Potter books and films, Quidditch is a fast-paced aerial game played on broomsticks by teams of boisterous would-be sorcerers.

Edinburgh University students play Quidditch. Picture: Dan Phillips

Edinburgh University students play Quidditch. Picture: Dan Phillips

However, we can reveal the death-defying contact sport has now swept into reality and is increasingly being played by keep-fit fanatics across the Capital.

Played on the ground, Golden Snitch-chasing players lodge their brooms between their thighs, and score by sticking the ball in netball goals.

One of our finest teams is the Holyrood Hippogriffs, official Quidditch team of the Edinburgh University Harry Potter Society.

They will be flying down to Oxford next month to take part in the inaugural British Quidditch Cup, where 16 teams will battle it out to be named UK champions.

Team captain Johnney Rhodes, 20, a third-year history and politics student, said the team regularly attracts attention during its twice weekly practices on the Meadows.

The Portobello-based Harry Potter fan said: “It’s great fun, and we always have lots of spectators and people taking pictures and even filming us. They’re generally really nice, they’re just interested in what we’re doing – as you would be if you saw a lot of people running around on broomsticks!

“We just use leg power to get our broomsticks round the pitch, and we’ve had to be a bit creative with the different types of ball as they don’t really float either. In our games, the Golden Snitch is actually a person who can run and hide pretty much anywhere they like. ”

He said his teammates can’t wait until they are competing to be named best in the UK.

“It’s going to be brilliant, we’re all really excited,” he said. “We play against more local teams quite regularly, most recently the St Andrews Snidgets, who we drew with one game each.”

But amateurs who wish to try the sport out may want to head along to the Ghillie Dhu today, for a Hallowe’en-themed Harry Potter event.

Bar manager and event organiser Stephanie Finlay, 25, said: “Everyone always says our auditorium is like Hogwarts and when we were trying to think up a fun event for the whole family at Hallowe’en, this seemed like the perfect idea.”

The International Quidditch Association was formed in 2010 to promote the “sport” globally. A spokesman for the organisation said players have Edinburgh-based author JK Rowling to thank for their vigorous pastime.

He added: “While the game can appear chaotic to the casual observer, once familiar with the basic rules, Quidditch is an exciting sport to watch and even more exciting to play.”

jen.lavery@edinburghnews.com