HE picked up a broomstick in 2011 to have a crack at the game made famous by the Harry Potter book and film series.
Now five years later, Kensington resident James Hyder is ready to represent Australia at an international quidditch competition.
Australia’s national quidditch team The Dropbears will compete against teams from the US, UK and France.
Hyder is the only player from WA to be selected to compete with The Dropbears when they vie for the gold medal at the competition in Frankfurt, Germany this July.
“It’s an honour to be chosen to compete at such a high level, and I’m grateful for being chosen to represent Australia for the second time,” Hyder said.
“Last time, in 2014, we didn’t really have high expectations going in, but we were able to walk away with a silver medal.
“Competing on an international level is a lot of pressure, but it’s exhilarating.”
Harry Potter fans will recognise the rules of the game, but with a lack of magic in the real world, there are some differences.
“Instead of flying, we can stiff arm, bump, wrap or tackle members of the opposition which makes quidditch a very physical game similar to rugby or AFL, but with the added difficulty of completing these actions while remaining on your broom,” Hyder said.
The magical golden snitch – which flies amongst the field until it is caught by a seeker – is replaced by an impartial snitch runner.
“The snitch runner wears the snitch shorts, and is an unbiased member of the referee team,” Hyder said.
“The snitch itself is a single tag weighted with a tennis ball and attached to the back of the snitch runner’s shorts, catching it earns a team 30 points rather than the 150 in the books.”
Hyder plays in a local club as well as training with the national team and said the whole community was very welcoming.
“I have a large number of friends across Australia and internationally because of quidditch, there’s a good mixture of friendship and competitive spirit,” he said.
Hyder will travel to Frankfurt for the international competition on July 23-24.
Positions and rules
An unmagical game of quidditch still encompasses the positions of one keeper, three chasers, two beaters and a seeker.
The quaffle is a partially deflated volleyball, which is used by the chasers and keeper and will score 10 points when it goes through the front or back of any three of the offensive hoops.
The three hoops are set up at each end of the field, similar to football posts.
In the fantasy series, bludgers refer to rogue balls that beaters fight off from hitting teammates.
But without magic, a bludger is a dodgeball that can be thrown at any player and temporarily remove them from play.
Matches go for 25-35 minutes, but can depend on when the snitch is caught.