Team Australia celebrates in a group photo after beating Norway in the third place game. (Photo: Quidditch Australia/Facebook)

After a stellar opening day from Australia at the final international Quidditch tournament, the Dropbears battled hard to make it to third place, falling to Germany in the semi-final on day two.

After a stellar opening day from Australia at the final international Quidditch tournament, the Dropbears battled hard to make it to third place, falling to Germany in the semi-final on day two.

Day One

*Denotes snitch catch

Australia had four matches on Day One, shutting out Switzerland in the opener (180*-0), and following that up with a 140*-40 victory over Catalonia.

The third match of the day was against Italy in a highly anticipated contest. It was a match that coming into it had all the makings of a game that would determine the top team in the group.

In what was an incredibly tight back and forth contest, with both sides looking equally matched and neither being able to open up a substantial lead, Australia would slowly claw its way to victory in a game that was dominated by the beaters on either side.

A snitch catch by Nathan Morton was thought to have given Australia the victory, and met immediately in an embrace by Luke Derrick to celebrate. After referee deliberation, it was determined that in the lead-up, Morton had illegally caught by grabbing at the clothing of the snitch runner, and play resumed at 70-50 in favour of Australia.  

With bludger control, the strategy for the Aussies was to give the squad’s seekers as much time and space as possible, choosing not to focus on the quaffle play, and instead making sure to take out the opposition seeker and beaters around the snitch.

This was because it was becoming increasingly clear this game would be decided by whoever caught the snitch. 

Almost immediately after Italy scored its seventh goal to take the score to 80-70, Gary Hague would make the snitch catch for Australia, pulling off a spectacular dive on the snitch and sealing the victory for the Dropbears, 110*-70.

The entire sub box cleared for Australia and got around Hague the second the referee called it a clean catch.

The entire team gathers around Gary Hague to celebrate after beating Italy on Day One. (Photo: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography/Facebook)

The fourth and final game of Day One would play out similarly to the first two games of the day, as Australia would beat Wales 160*-30. One notable event from this game is that Kaitlin Taylor would catch the snitch, and in doing so, is believed to be the first female to catch a snitch in Dropbears history.

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Day Two

After going four from four on Day One, Australia’s first game would be against France, in a seeding match to determine the bracketing for the finals. Australia would win 140-80*, and setting up a quarter-final match with Austria, which would finish 150-40* in favour of the Dropbears.

Up next was a semi-final match with Germany, and much like the Italy game, it was an incredibly back and forth contest with neither side able to create space on the scoreboard and command a lead.

Germany would force Australia to play defence for much of the opening few minutes, and not allowing Australia to get a sniff of offence it could do anything with. Once Australia managed to get some offence going it did not disappoint, with some excellent driving plays straight down the middle of the pitch.

The driving plays would be a key part of Australia’s offence in this game, with the likes of Cameron Walker, Gary Hague, and Max Brenner all setting up fantastic scoring opportunities.

The support play from the other quaffle players would be just as important in this, creating doubt in the mind of the Germans as to where the quaffle would end up near the hoops and who was actually going to score.

This was best shown when team captain Samantha Chittenden made an excellent play, sprinting down the pitch just to the right of the hoops and leaving herself open at that right hoop for an easy pass-off and goal on a 2v1 driving play.

Team captain Samantha Chittenden in possession of the quaffle. (Photo: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography)

Australia looked like it was starting to pull away, opening up a three goal lead at 70-40, but the scorer, Brenner, would be given a blue card for delay of game. He was determined by the referee to have deliberately put the quaffle through the hoop with unnecessary force as it sailed well off pitch, causing a brooms down for quaffle retrieval.

This would allow Germany to get back into the match, scoring two straight goals to make it 70-60, and Daniel Becker would get the winning catch, making the final score 90*-60 in favour of Germany. The Germans were through to the final against England, while Australia would play for third place against Norway.

The third place game against Norway would once again be an incredibly tight contest, with neither side able to wrestle momentum away from the other for long enough to create a massive gap on the scoreboard. The largest gap in the game was four goals in favour of Australia, until late on after the snitch had entered play, where Australia was able to create a five goal lead for about 10 seconds.

While Australia had been using the driving game for most of the tournament, things began to open up and the way Norway set-up defensively. It required more of a passing game approach from Australia, which was exhibited very well at stages throughout the match when the driving game was not an option.

Kaitlin Taylor, the first female to catch a snitch in Dropbears history, losing her mark while looking for a passing option in possession of the quaffle. (Photo: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography/Facebook)

At 90-60, Norway thought they had managed to equalise with a snitch catch, and send the game into overtime. It was ruled to be no good, disappointing a majority of the crowd, as well as the Norwegian players, who had started to celebrate.

Moments after Australia would extend the lead to 50, putting the pressure on Norway, the Norwegian seeker would catch the snitch in spectacular fashion, forcing overtime at 110-90*, with the target score set at 140.

Norway would score three more times in the match, showing it would not go down without a fight, but would fall just short. Australia would also score three more times to seal a 140-120* victory, and claim third place at the 2022 IQA European Games.

In the final, England would beat Germany in an incredibly tight back and forth contest. After Germany created a three goal lead late in the game (130-100), the England seeker would catch the snitch, tying the game, and forcing overtime with a target score of 160.

England would score the first two goals in overtime, making it 150-130, before Germany would strike back to make it 150-140.

On the ensuing play after the Germans scored, England would be made to work for the last goal, being denied twice but retaining possession, allowing for a third opportunity to score the winner.

England would create an overlap on the play after pushing the quaffle out to the left side of the pitch, leaving a player completely unmarked at the hoops for an easy pass to score the winner, ending the game at 160*-140, and making England the winners of the final international Quidditch tournament.

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