Photo Credit: Ajantha Abey Quidditch Photography.
By Luke Derrick
The Australian team arrived in Frankfurt on Sunday, a whole week before World Cup was scheduled to take place. It felt crazy that it was finally happening; something that we had spent over four months training for was finally about to happen. I had put in hours of work with this team and hundreds of hours of my own time working directly towards this tournament. I believed we could win; I knew it would be hard, but I believed that we could do it.
First we had the exhibition game against Germany, which was fun and a bit of a confidence boost. We knew lots of teams didn’t think we were going to be able to deal with the European teams, considering we are so isolated and the European teams had just had EQC and the European games the year before. Headed into World Cup, Australia knew it needed to go out and prove that it was going to be able to compete with the best, and I believe this expo game was a perfect representation of that.
Playing our pool play games was a roller coaster for me. Our game against Belgium was by far the toughest, and it was only made tougher due to the fact that we weren’t just trying to win but we were also trying to maximize our point differential in order to boost our seeding (which we didn’t end up getting when Belgium pulled the snitch to make it 130-70*). The other two games were a lot of fun, with both the Irish (260*-0) and Slovakian (230*-10) teams putting up a good fight and providing great competition for the Dropbears.
When we were seeded as fifth, we knew we were in for a tough ride. I know that I personally fell back on the mentality of one of my fellow beaters, Hannah Monty: “Don’t worry about who we are playing; just win every game. It doesn’t matter who we play so long as we win.” We came together as a team and braved every game as it came along. The match against France (110*-60) was incredibly tough, and I know the French would have given the USA a great game as well. I only wish France had had the opportunity to play for a medal, as I know going into that game I was worried about that possibility for our team. Our game against Canada (80*-40) felt lighter; we had come out of our toughest game yet, and we were ready for more. At no point in the semifinal game did I feel like we were going to lose. At that point, it just felt as though we were destined to create a rematch of the 2014 Global Games finals, and we did.
Going into the American game, I felt like Australia sensed the possibility of victory but was worried about what had happened in the finals last time. I am just speaking for myself here, but I wanted to play hard and give the US a truly competitive game. The worst thing that could have happened would have been a repeat of last time. But as soon as we scored that first goal—followed quickly by the second—everyone on the bench could feel the possibility of a win. From then on, I didn’t feel like any of us doubted we could do it. We were up against the USA, some of the best players in the world, and we were keeping even with them, keeping it in range like we’d known and hoped it probably could be.
I know people will ask, so here are my opinions on the catches. I don’t remember seeing Margo’s catch, so I can’t comment on anything more than what is shown on the livestream. Charging is a rule I am not very confident about, so I cannot comment on that either. And in terms of our snitch catch—in all honesty, I have no idea whether Dameon was beat or not. I wasn’t looking in that exact direction at the time, so again I only have film to judge from. When I asked him on the field, he said he hadn’t felt anything, and when I asked Max, Max firmly believed he had beat him. So was he beat? I’m not sure. Was Max beat before he released? I’m not sure. But either way, it doesn’t matter now. I guess what matters is that Australia won the snitch catch lottery, which is sad for the USA, a team that played a great game and deserved to win just as much as we did. Once a game is in snitch range, anything can happen, and this time the world ended up with a new World Champion (150*-130).
That’s something I think all members of the Dropbears are still in awe over. We actually did what we set out to do six months ago. So many people didn’t believe in us, and I still can’t believe that it happened. It feels so surreal, so amazing, and so great. And yet it did happen and nothing can change that. We will forever be in the history books, and that’s more than any of us could have ever asked for from this sport.
I just want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our supporters and all of the other teams that supported us throughout World Cup weekend. You were all so enthusiastic, and having you backing us felt so amazing. Similarly, thank you to all the teams who also played over the weekend; you gave your all in every game, and it was a pleasure to play you.
Each member of the US national team is a legend and a champion; being able to go head-to-head against them was everything I hoped it would be. To the USA: thank you for giving your all and making the finals a fun rematch. I enjoyed hanging out with those of you who I managed to talk to, and I can’t wait to play you again. I certainly believe the next World Cup will be a blast.