The end of term is nigh and there is a certain intensity to life at Shrewsbury at present. This intensity is also to be observed in the Town itself, which is preparing for the Food Festival. Indeed if Shrewsbury was a city we could call it an Intentscity! Every square inch of grass appears to be swallowed by a canvas sprawl. The Super Marquees are coming and with them some very bad puns!
“Wait rose!” I heard Brian the gardener saying to a rose that looks like it will have finished flowering before Saturday. “Ahh the currants are sans berries,” said Monsieur Portier as he viewed his currant bushes! “Tess goes to ballet every Saturday,” I heard a parent say to her friends, the Morrisons!
Hmmm… moving on!
The reason for all the tents, marquees and teepees is of course the fact that Shrewsbury is once again hosting the Quidditch World Cup. Headmaster Mark Turner was delighted that Shrewsbury had been chosen to host the World Cup. “I am delighted that Shrewsbury has been chosen to host the World Cup,” he said, adding, “It says something about the status of Shrewsbury in the sporting world that we have been asked to stage an event of this magnitude”. He went on to add; “I always enjoyed my time as a seeker and I want to teach the world to play Quidditch. By 2020 I would like to see all schools having a suitable arena and a Quidditch team.” It should be noted that Mark Turner won a Blue in Quidditch at Oxford and is regarded as one of the great seekers in the modern game.
It also says something about the quality of the grounds and playing fields. Head Groundsman Andy Richards was very proud of the fact that his work had been rewarded with such an illustrious event. “It’s magic,” he said. He went on to say, “I have actually been more worried about the amount of air space we will need, as RAF Shawbury and Cosford are not far away and it could be carnage if the Red Arrows are flying past on a training mission. I have been in contact with air traffic control and they have assured me that they will ensure that there are no interruptions to play.”
So which teams have made it through the qualifying rounds? To play Quidditch at a high level involves a level of imagination not displayed at many educational institutions and so you will not be surprised to hear that Shrewsbury is one of the few schools to have entered the competition. Certainly we are the only school left in the under-18 age group and in a remarkable set of results we find that the last four teams left in the competition are actually Shrewsbury School House teams. The results in the senior competition that I accessed off the World Cup website are as follows:
• Norway defeated Ivory Coast 340-100
• Bulgaria defeated New Zealand 410-170
• Japan defeated Poland 350-140
• Nigeria defeated Fiji 400-160
• the USA defeated Jamaica 240-230
• Liechtenstein defeated Chad 470-330
• Haiti was disqualified against Brazil when Haitian beater Jean-Baptiste Bloncourt caught the snitch
• Wales defeated Germany 330-100
In the quarter-finals, Bulgaria defeated Norway 170-20, Japan defeated Nigeria 270-100, the USA defeated Liechtenstein 450-290 and Brazil defeated Wales 460-300. I am afraid we will not know the semi-final scores until after this edition of the eNewsletter has been published.
The Gryffindor Quidditch team is the house team of Port Hill house. It has won the House Cup at least four times and has been captained by Ed Barnard, James Warburg, Angelina Jolie, and Harry Potter. Interestingly, a member of the Barnard family has held every one of the positions on the team. Helen was a Chaser and a substitute Seeker, Andy was a Seeker, Ed and Steve were Beaters, and Mike was the Keeper.
Awen Blandford told me that she enjoys ‘seeking’ even more than playing the cello and is concerned she may not have enough time to pursue both passions. “There is something so wonderful about flying fast on a broomstick” she told me.
Harry Sergeant is also a Quidditch aficionado. “My parents named me after Harry Potter and I feel his presence when I fly,” he said.
Quidditch World cup fans Rory Dootson and Alex Powell are really looking forward to watching the final tomorrow. “We are really looking forward to watching the final tomorrow” they said.
The Port Hill Team will be against RavenbrookClaw. They have won the competition six times and are desperate to win it again this year for retiring Coach and Head of House Professor Desmond Hann, who himself took over from Filius Flitwick. There team compromises Chasers: Joe Bell, Greg Bunting and Ed Paul, Beaters: Tom Knight and Roan Kirkby, Seeker: Edie Whittingham, Goalkeeper: Katie Elcock.
The other semi-final is between Slitheringrams and the girls and boys from HuffleSidneyScallypuff. This is an interesting match and hard to call, as both teams have won the trophy three times. They met at the same stage last year and it was the longest match ever dreamt of at Shrewsbury School. At this juncture the teams have not been announced.
Quidditch is always a vibrant and colourful spectacle and I hope those of who have managed to get tickets will enjoy the matches. One of Zimbabwe’s greatest players Henry ‘I’ll go on longer’ Olonga is here to watch, although sadly his side will not be represented in the tournament. On the final day of the tournament there will be a march past at 4.45pm of all the Shrewsbury under-18 players who have been involved in the game this year. They will be presented to one of the all-time greats Mr Harry Potter.
Of course a number of names from the past and present will be here supporting their teams. I am hoping to see them at the end of Tournament Ball where they will hopefully spill their secrets to me over a glass of butter beer!