TURNS out Quidditch isn’t just for Harry Potter aficionados any more.
The sport made famous by the JK Rowling books has become a popular real-life pastime for students in Portsmouth over the years.
And now budding seekers and chasers across the city have the chance to get involved as the university opens its club out to the community.
Non-students are invited to join Strikers Quidditch’s weekly training sessions, which take place on Sunday afternoons in Milton Park.
Quidditch coach and University of Portsmouth graduate Jack Latoy said: ‘I am really excited to be taking the next big step for Quidditch in the Portsmouth area.
‘Inviting the community to join us will do great things for the club and allow us to share our amazing sport with even more people.’
Since it was first introduced in the Harry Potter books, Quidditch has developed into a mixed gender, full contact sport played across the world.
Teams can play up to seven players at a time, battling to put the quaffle ball through one of three opposition’s hoops for 10 points.
Players must also avoid three dodgeballs, known as bludgers, and will be removed temporarily from the game if they are hit.
And instead of the magic levitating broomsticks, players compete while holding a PVC stick between their legs.
Seekers must try to catch the golden snitch – a ball attached to the shorts of the ‘snitch runner’ to end the game and earn their team an extra 30 points.
Jack added: ‘Quidditch is made unique through its gender rules and inclusivity.
‘What makes it great to play however is the pace and style of gameplay.
‘Quidditch is one of the fastest sports you can play but does not require a ridiculous level of fitness.
‘The variety of positions playing on the same pitch makes it unpredictable, highly tactical and means there is a role for everyone.’
Strikers Quidditch, which began within the university, will select a competitive team from both student and community players this year.
The team came 19th at the British Quidditch Club earlier this year, and have their first tournament of the season in Southampton later this month.
Jaelithe Swan, president of the University of Portsmouth Quidditch Club, said she was ‘really excited’ to welcome in members of the community.
She added: ‘We’re looking forward to getting to know new players, and showing new members what the sport is all about.’
Training sessions take place on Sundays from 2pm to 5pm.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.