Harry Potter fans - and lovers of unusual sports - can try their hand at broomstick-based action as the Quidditch Premier League seeks new players in the region.
A muggle version of the sport which is played by Harry Potter and his schoolmates at the fictitious Hogwarts in J .K. Rowling’s books, has grown in popularity to the point there are 20,000 competing international players, 25 competing countries, and an international rulebook
Now the Quidditch Premier League (QPL) has been set up to create a new tournament structure for the best players in the UK.
Eight teams from Hadrian’s Wall to the Cliffs of Dover will compete against one another to gain the title of national champions in quidditch.
The teams will be open to any player in the UK, with the Northern Watch team, headed by manager Eddie Bruce, representing the North East region.
Thomas Ffiske, PR and communications director for the league, said: "In recent years the sport has seen more acceptance across the country as more and more players are becoming aware of the sport.
"It’s been fun promoting quidditch throughout the UK, and showing people how it is being treated seriously by a vibrant and wonderful community.
"We’ve seen some fantastic progress over the last few years, and we are pushing hard to continue our expansion across the world. But ultimately, it’s the enthusiasm and collaboration of the quidditch community which helped it grow so much, and we hope to serve its members through the establishment of the Quidditch Premier League."
League director Jack Lennard added: "The Quidditch Premier League is such an exciting opportunity and development.
"It’s an opportunity for the sport to grow and gain prestige on a greater level nationally and internationally than ever before.
"It’s an opportunity for players to compete at the highest level. And, most importantly, it’s an opportunity for more people in more places to find out about this incredible sport. I can’t wait to see where the QPL can take the sport in the UK."
Try outs for the North East take place in Durham at The Sands (DH1 1LH) on Saturday February 25 from 12:30pm - 3:30pm.
There are also try-outs in Manchester at Platt Fields (M14 6LA) on Sunday February 5 from 12:30pm - 3:30pm.
About the Quidditch Premier League
The Quidditch Premier League (QPL) will bring a new level of competitive play to the summer months in the United Kingdom. The league will begin in late May 2017 and end in late August 2017.
The QPL will have regional divisions with teams competing against each other in a regular schedule. Each fixture will comprise of three matches, where each team plays the other three teams in the division. The QPL season will conclude with a scintillating championship, bringing the top teams from each division together to crown a champion.
How does quidditch work?
A quidditch team consists of 21 athletes with 7 players per team on the field at any one time. Each player has a broom between their legs.
The four maximum rule of quidditch states that at most there can be four players of the same gender on pitch at one time. This ensures that the game is mixed gender and inclusive to all.
Players can be one of four positions:
· Keepers - Guard the hoops from opposing chasers and become a 4th chaser on offense.
· Chasers - Throw the quaffle through the opposite team's hoops to score goals worth 10 points.
· Beaters -Throw bludgers at the opposing team to 'knock them out' and make them return to hoops.
· Seekers - Catch the snitch (worth 30 points) to end the game.
A team of 7 will have 1 Keeper, 3 Chasers, 2 Beaters and 1 Seeker. A game of quidditch involves three types of balls:
· The Quaffle - a semi-deflated volleyball thrown through the hoops by chasers and keepers.
· Bludgers - dodgeballs thrown at other players by beaters. There are 3 bludgers on the pitch.
· The Snitch - a sock with a tennis ball in it, attached to the snitch runner's shorts. When caught by either team's seeker, the game ends
The following teams will be part of the league:
· The London Monarchs
· The Southwest Broadside
· The Southeast Knights
· The Eastern Mermaids
· The Northern Watch
· The Yorkshire Roses
· The East Midland Archers
· The West Midland Revolution