Name: Matthew Murrell
Team: Radcliffe Chimeras
Position: Beater, Chaser and Seeker
How did you discover Quidditch?
I was first dragged along to Quidditch by some friends in Oxford when I was up visiting last year. I was on my way home and they mentioned that they were going to Quidditch training in conversation, and I was instantly intrigued.
What convinced you to stay?
Mostly the people. I really love playing Quidditch, but it’d be nowhere near as fun if it weren’t for all of the amazing friends that I’ve made playing Quidditch.
Summarise your playing style in three words.
Versatile, aggressive, determined.
What makes a good player in your position?
Since I play three out of four positions, this is a pretty tricky question. I’d say that overall, the most important element for any position is awareness. As a Beater, you often have to make difficult decisions about which players to beat/mark, and as a Chaser you always have to be on the lookout for passing opportunities, places to cut through the oppositions defence and, of course, for Bludgers. As a Seeker, it is important to be aware of the score and the opposing Seeker’s tactics, in order to adjust your playing style to catch the Snitch.
You recently took part in a snitch academy. Why did you do it, and what did it involve?
The Snitch Academy is basically a day full of different exercises that help prepare a player to play as the role of snitch. You are graded on each one, from a fail – Gold grade, and if you pass, you become an officially certified IQA Snitch, and are then eligible to Snitch in IQA official tournaments and matches. I decided to become a snitch because it seems like a really fun role to play. There were a lot of exercises to get through, but my favourite one was the endurance arena. In this exercise the Snitch is confined to a 6x6m box, and has to survive as long as they can without being caught by the Seekers, who enter the arena at regular intervals. It was a really good exercise for practicing holding off or outmanoeuvring Seekers, whilst also staying aware of potential attacks from other Seekers. Having been a seeker against Nicole, a Snitch from Reading, a few times, and seeing all of the tricks that she played, such as hiding, wearing decoy snitch balls, or even bringing extra snitches onto the pitch to work as buffers, I began to appreciate how fun and imaginative you can be with the role, and just really wanted the chance to be a part of it.
What’s your favourite match that you’ve played in?
I think that my favourite match was during the Whiteknights tournament, in which the Quidlings (Oxford’s second team) had a few players who couldn’t make the second day matches, so I was allowed to play on their team to make up the numbers. I really enjoy a challenging match and playing as an underdog, so when The Quidlings played against Southampton, it was pretty amazing. They’re a really strong team, and it was so much fun.
What’s your must-see match at the BQC?:
Keele vs Bangor (of course). They’re both really strong teams, and although Keele beat Bangor the last time they played, that was over 6 months ago, and both teams have improved massively. It’s a match that could really easily go either way.
What tactical advice do you have for new players in your position?
I think that you really just need to get stuck into game situations, and try and find your own unique style of playing. Practice makes perfect.
Who is your Quidditch idol?
Umm, if I had to pick somebody it’d either be Ashley Cooper (the current Oxford Captain) or Robert Dugald (Southampton Star Player). They can both play pretty much all of the positions, the same as I do, though they’ve both been playing a lot longer than I have, and have a lot of experience in the game.
Why should people play Quidditch?
Because it’s awesome. The game is awesome, the community is awesome, the tournaments are awesome. I think that everybody should at least give it a try, it really is just so much fun.