Image: Warwick Quadball / Izzy Brown

Exploring quadball: The inclusive, yet competitive, sport inspired by the wizarding world

It is likely that you or your friends have stumbled upon a Warwick Quadball training session; perhaps you’ve seen students running around Claycroft field throwing balls through hoops, or you were sent the University of Warwick TikTok which portrayed quadball as quidditch for muggles.

Izzy Brown, Warwick Quadball’s current team captain, spoke to The Boar about the society’s importance, quadball, and why it is essential that the sport has a place on campus.

Quadball, which Brown described as a “mixture of rugby, dodgeball, and netball”, sees seven players take to the pitch at a time. According to Brown, the aims of the sport are to score as many goals as possible, “avoid being hit by dodgeballs”, and catch a snitch. It is an intense, physical game with matches lasting up to 45 minutes.

At a time, there are three chasers, a keeper, and two beaters on the pitch. At 20 minutes both the seeker and the snitch join the game. One Warwick game saw their star seeker Mattie Pyall catch the snitch in only 12 seconds.

Next term Warwick Quadball will separate from Warwick Harry Potter Society

It appears that quadball is a less magical version of quidditch; one that involves PVC poles rather than flying broomsticks, a volleyball instead of a quaffle, and a neutral referee that sprints across the grass playing the role of the floating golden snitch.

In 2022, QuidditchUK renamed itself to QuadballUK and next term Warwick Quadball will separate from Warwick Harry Potter Society.

It is evident that quadball is establishing itself independently from quidditch and the Harry Potter franchise. This is not only down to the growth of the sport, but also due to its desire to distance itself from J.K. Rowling and her controversial views on trans rights.

Brown spoke on how it’s “a lot easier for [the society] to be separate from [J.K. Rowling]”, emphasising how much time quadball spends trying to “justify [its] existence on campus”.

When Brown began as a fresher at Warwick in 2020, they “wanted to play a full contact sport”, however as a non-binary student were “conscious of the fact that [they] didn’t want to play women’s rugby”.

Brown said that Warwick Quadball was “easily the most welcoming environment that [they’ve] ever walked into”

Quadball is the world’s only full contact, fully gender-inclusive sport and Brown said that Warwick Quadball was “easily the most welcoming environment that [they’ve] ever walked into”. They added, it’s a “sport where self-identification is encouraged”.

On their website, Warwick Quadball condemns Rowling and denies association with the Harry Potter franchise. Brown was quick to confirm these facts, emphasising that all the society’s charity work “goes towards transgender charities”. Currently, they are supporting AKT, an LGBT+ youth homelessness charity.

The “versatile and gender-inclusive” nature of quadball has been recognised by Enrich Education, the official education partner of QuadballUK. Enrich Education aims to bring quadball to schools, especially as numerous primary schools move towards having non-gendered PE lessons.

Brown spoke on how the number of schools including quadball, or “kidditch” as it is referred to when played by children, in their curriculums is increasing. Recently, Warwick Quadball was invited to Joseph Cash Primary School in Coventry to lead a session.

Brown described how four members went and “ran a two-hour session for sixty kids”, stating how enthusiastic and excited the children were to be participating in the lesson.

While inclusivity is at the core of Warwick Quadball, it is also a highly competitive environment

While inclusivity is at the core of Warwick Quadball, it is also a highly competitive environment. Laughing, Brown told The Boar that new members sometimes only realise this upon arrival at their first training session when they are told to run “two laps around the pitch, [and put] mouthguards in”.

Warwick competes in the University League and attends three tournaments each year: the Southern Development Cup, the Southern Cup, and the British Cup. Following a triumphant British Cup last year, Brown described how the Warwick squad have “a lot of eyes on [them]”.

Even while speaking about the pressure that comes with captaining the squad, the joy that Brown finds in competing with Warwick Quadball was evident. Their face lit up when talking about the upcoming British Cup – where the Community League and University League come together. In the past Warwick members have been scouted for community clubs, and national teams, at this event.

Brown added how they want to make the tournament memorable for the freshers in the squad. Fresher intake “differs every year” but this year the club has had a “solid six or seven” new members. To bigger sports societies, this number seems small; however, when you consider that a quadball squad can only have 21 members you recognise that these freshers are a third of the team.

Warwick Quadball players do not solely compete for the University, a few weeks ago four players travelled to Barcelona to play for London clubs

Warwick Quadball players do not solely compete for the University, a few weeks ago four players travelled to Barcelona to play for London clubs. At this event in Barcelona, over 1000 quadball players were present. The biggest event in the quadball calendar is the World Cup, which occurs every two years.

Discussions with Brown moved onto the inner workings of the society. Currently, it is under the society federation rather than the sports federation, but they hope to eventually be considered as a Warwick sport.

The exec, however, are hesitant about making this move as they fear that the expensive sports federation fee could cause issues for their society. Brown says that “QuadballUK are currently in the process of applying to be a BUCS sport”. When this application is successful, and quadball has its own BUCS league, Warwick Quadball will apply to be a Team Warwick sport.

Like other sports societies on campus, Warwick Quadball hold their own socials which are what people would “associate with sports club socials”.

These include, but are not limited to, tours, circles, balls, and games nights. In term three, there is a focus on welfare with a weekly meet up where no one is allowed to discuss deadlines, exams, or dissertations.

Additionally, the society is sponsored by Kasbah, an extremely popular nightclub amongst Warwick students, and members benefit from free and discounted tickets.

Brown was proud to say that the exec “exist to facilitate [their members] rather than the other way round”; it is the members that are at the heart of Warwick Quadball and their voices are always considered.

This year Warwick Quadball will celebrate its 10th anniversary, they are holding a large party in June and have their own “special anniversary kit [they’ve] designed with Akuma”. Those who join in term three can get involved in these celebrations which alumni will be attending.

Quadball is a place where its members belong, no matter who they are, or what sports they’ve previously played

Conversing with Brown highlighted how important quadball is. Many see it as being for Harry Potter fans who fancy living out their dreams of Hogwarts, but for those involved it is something entirely different; it’s a place where they belong, no matter who they are, or what sports they’ve previously played.

Brown spoke on how Warwick Quadball is looking for more female and non-binary members as these individuals are often put off by it being a mixed-gender, full-contact sport. They said that the society has a key “focus on safety” and that no one should fear coming to quadball training.

Furthermore, Brown encouraged anyone looking to join the quadball community to “come along and give it a go”. They noted how “it can be really scary joining any new society”, encouraging those that are interested to message their Instagram @warwickquadball.

Warwick Quadball will be free to join from September. The club does not hold try outs, and all members are guaranteed minutes on the pitch at tournaments.


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