For the first time in the club’s history, the Macarthur Weasleys won all 3 of their NSW State Quidditch League matches last weekend.
Round 1 Results:
Weasleys 150* – UTS Opaleyes 100
Weasleys 120* – Hills/Horntails 30
Weasleys 220* – Uni of Sydney Unforgivables 30
This exciting feat was achieved despite several setbacks currently ailing the Weasleys squad. With powerful sibling duo Madeline & Bonnie Chamberlain absent, Ashleigh Fenech injured, and casual stand-in Maya Andrew unavailable, the Weasleys were left with only 3 female players. This meant the trio would be unable to substitute off after snitch release. Arlyta Andrew, Heather Bowie and Fiona Byrne did a magnificent job to stay on pitch for so long. (Now is the perfect time to mention that the Weasleys are looking for more female or non-male players! Please join us!!)
Another setback for the Weasleys was a shortage of experienced beaters. Ricky Andrew (Weasleys Best Utility and joint Best Rookie of 2017) is in his final month of being sidelined by a fractured shoulder. Jason Harris (Weasleys Best Beater of 2017) was forced to be mostly absent with Tournament Director duties, while team co-founder Arfy Papadam was also unavailable. This left Jason Taylor and Jason Barr to take the reins of beater responsibilities, whilst slotting in chasers Arlyta Andrew, Jono Buiaroski and Aaron Dodd as beater subs. They did an amazing job!
The Weasleys are well known for their “let’s just have fun” ethos, however in 2018 have opted to place a larger emphasis on gameplay and strategy. To that end, Arlyta Andrew was voted in to continue her role as Head Coach for 2018 earlier this year, and forged a new coaching team inviting Michael Moustakas and Arfy Papadam to join her in assistant coaching roles. The Weasleys are more determined than ever to improve their game on pitch, with a heavy training schedule which started early January.
The Weasleys were also bolstered by the return of David Morrin (Weasleys Best Keeper 2017) who had been unavailable for play since last October, and also welcomed veteran player Matt Armstrong (formerly from ANU & UQ) to add some great Keeper depth to the squad.
Things were also made easier for the Weasleys by the new divisional split introduced in the NSW Quidditch League this year. The Weasleys were placed in Division 2 along with UTS Opaleyes, UNSW Snapes on a Plane, University of Sydney Unbreakables & Unforgivables, Wollongong Warriors and Hills/Horntails, while top dogs ANU Owls, Sydney City Serpents, Western Sydney Spartans, USYD Unspeakables, Macquarie Marauders and Newcastle Fireballs fight it out for the main prize.
The first match of the Division 2 state season saw the Weasleys matched up against the UTS Opaleyes. This was always going to be the Weasleys’ hardest match of the day; UTS is a team that has traditionally defeated the Weasleys by large margins over the years. In fact the last time the Weasleys defeated UTS was back in August 2014, when both teams were still relatively new to state tournament play. But the 2018 UTS squad boasts a lot of newbies, with many experienced players having left after last year’s season, and the club struggled to field a full team in the pre-season. This presented the Weasleys with their best chance yet to defeat this great club.
The Weasleys started strong against UTS, advancing to a 110-30 lead just after the 20-minute mark. However things started to fall apart with snitch Alex Cunningham proving very difficult to catch, and the strain on our minimal gender ratio really set in. The Opaleyes took advantage scoring a string of 4 unanswered goals to put them back into snitch range. Luckily, seeker Arlyta Andrew was finally able to snag the snitch for a 150*-100 victory. Thus was our first win against UTS in almost 4 years.
Our second match was up against Hills/Horntails, a hybrid of the states’ 2 newest community teams. While HiHo boast a few experienced players, they haven’t had much pitch time as a unit and struggled on the day with a small squad. The Weasleys took a strong early lead of 50-10, though HiHo threatened back to 50-30 with 2 quick goals care of their strong Hippogriffs chaser contingent. But with their depth of subs the Weasleys were able to power away with 4 unanswered goals and a very quick snitch catch to Arlyta Andrew, winning 120*-30.
The Weasleys’ final match pitted them against Unforgivables, the University of Sydney’s C team. With a team mostly made of fresh faced newbies, the young Unforgivables were no match for the experience of the Weasleys squad. Goalscoring credits were shared by most chasers in the Weasleys lineup, with newest player (and card-prone) James Fenech catching the snitch. Weasleys racked up a 220*-30 win, with the highest amount of points achieved by any team across both divisions all day.
The Weasleys would like to take this opportunity to farewell Nick, who will be relocating to another city for work. Nick has been with the Weasleys for just over a year and played his 20th Weasleys match against the Unforgivables. He will be missed, we wish him all the best, and hope he rejoins when he moves back to Sydney!
We’d also like to congratulate Arlyta Andrew and Jason Taylor who earlier this year surpassed the milestone of 50 matches played with the Weasleys.
The next NSW Quidditch League tournament will be held at Macquarie University on Sunday May 20th, where the Weasleys hope to be back at full strength.
Round 1 Weasleys roster: