The (One-Arm) Wrap – NQL Round 2 Division 1

The second competitive round of NQL saw most teams play against the last of their divisional opponents, giving us a very good idea of where each team stands. QA Today asked some of our readers to talk about some of the games they participated in – as players, referees, or even just spectating – to give the rest of the community a glimpse of just how close the competition is in each Division. Here are some of the games in Division One, you can read all about Division Two here.

The Macarthur Weasleys beat us to the punch and have already published an article about their games for the day, which you can find here.

University of Sydney Unspeakables 70* – 30 Sydney City Serpents

Cameron Caccamo – Manager, Sydney City Serpents

The University of Sydney Unspeakables have, for the first time, defeated reigning NSW Champions Sydney City Serpents in an absolute thriller. USyd’s Alex Cunningham caught the snitch shortly after the snitch entered the game, giving USyd a 70*-30 victory and first place in the NQL Divison 1 rankings.

From brooms-up it was clear this would be a very physical game, with an opening drive from Brandon Frison barely stopped by a bludgerless Serpents defence. USyd continued to pepper the Serpents defence with drive after drive, with Keepers Max Brenner and Nicholas Albornoz working in tandem with point-Chasers Frison and Cooper Fitzgerald to muscle their way through to score. The Serpents defence, with the inclusion of Raj Kapoor and Luke Derrick returning to Beating, did well to restrict USyd to just four goals.

USyd were just as strong on defence, with a star-studded Serpents line-up finding it difficult to execute under such pressure. Samantha Chittenden was especially unrelenting, leading the way to restrict the Serpents to the lowest score of the season.

The Beating game was glorious to watch, with Derrick and Harry Jones having another scintillating face-off to the delight of the crowd. USyd’s Breanna Lee also showed off excellent defensive skill against a far more experienced player in Rhiannon Gordon, consistently denying her a bludger late in the game as the Serpents threw everything at USyd to regain bludger control just before snitch-on-pitch.

This top-of-the-table clash was the third heart-stopping encounter between these two teams I’ve been a part of, and the first one the Unspeakables have been able to clutch out. The roar from the sidelines and the jubilation from USyd after the catch was called showed just how much this win meant to them. With so much history between the two sides, you can guarantee that this rivalry will continue to throw up classic games like this one.

Ana Barciela – Captain, Macquarie Marauders (AR for this game)

There’s nothing worse than refereeing a game as exhilarating as Unspeakables vs Serpents, as you do not get to properly appreciate the high quality of their game play. The clash between, in my opinion, the two top teams in New South Wales, is always anyone’s game, and twenty-plus of adrenaline for both players and spectators.

I can mostly comment on beater play, as that was what I was watching, though it seems to me as it was what controlled the game. Every goal seemed to stem from the chasers perfectly reading and taking advantage of an opening made by the beater battle. This game saw the return of Luke Derrick to his main position, which gave us beautiful moments of Derrick v Harry Jones, a fight of both strategy and skill, and mostly even throughout the game. You could tell that Derrick hadn’t been beating for a while, but even on an off day he still sits comfortable amongst the best. However, Dropbear reserve Jones is one of the players that can, and will, challenge him, as we very well saw in incredible plays that felt impossible to referee with how quickly the beats were being thrown around.

Of course, this was only made possible by the high calibre beater rotations on both sides, to clean up or back up the havoc these two can cause. There is strong talent on both sides, that may not always be noticed due to their main beater’s shadows but having to watch solely beater play it was very apparent that those two players are not the sole reason behind both team’s general beater dominance.

Recent addition to the Unspeakables, Harry Huang, proved he deserved the upgrade, fearlessly challenging the opposition in their zone, and participating in a good number of possession changes. On the Serpents side, Rhiannon Gordon refuses to stop improving, covering for chaotic plays at moments, and leading successful beater attacks in others.

This is all I can say from an AR’s perspective, but I do hope to be a spectator for the rematch of this game!

Newcastle Fireballs 70* – 40 Macquarie Marauders

Ana Barciela – Captain, Macquarie Marauders

Macquarie and Newcastle are destined to be each other’s closest games this season, as this game has shown. The game was low scoring, due to a combination of Newcastle’s physical defence making it hard for Macquarie’s still unpolished offense to score, and in return Macquarie’s successful implementation of the Baylor defense (three players each guarding a hoop, fourth is a roving point defender) forcing Newcastle out of their usual offensive game and making it harder, though not impossible, for them to score. An unfortunate – from our perspective, of course – goal from Newcastle right before Macquarie’s snitch catch send the game into overtime (I’m sensing a trend starting for Mac?). Overtime started in Macquarie’s favour, with the team gaining possession of the quaffle and holding tight onto it, relying on the snitch catch to win the game. With intense beater battles around the snitch, it was anyone’s game for a while – until a red card deprived Macquarie of one of their beaters, making defending their seeker and beating the oppositions nearly impossible. The game ended with a catch from Newcastle, bringing the score to a tight 70*-40.

University of Sydney Unspeakables 220* – 90 Australian National University Owls

Cooper Fitzgerald – University of Sydney Unspeakables

The game started slow. Both sides were relatively unable to score on set defences, however were both provided with numerous attempts to fast break, and most were capitalised on. When snitch came on pitch the score was 60-60, with either side looking like they could win. However, when USyd scored a few quick goals the momentum heavily in their favour. ANU started to defensive seek, however USYD kept dragging away – by the time USYD caught, fifteen minutes after the snitch entered the game, the quaffle score was out to 190-90.

Western Sydney Spartans 140* – 20 Macquarie Marauders

Ana Barciela – Captain, Macquarie Marauders

Macquarie vs Western Sydney was an interesting game to play. After being pushed into double-overtime last time we played each other (in the April Friendlies round), WSQC came in meaning business. The game started off quite competitive, with Macquarie focusing mainly on defence, in a successful manner as the score was 60-20 when the snitch came on. Macquarie chose the defensive seeking approach, which some might question as the margin kept widening as time went by. It was a choice made thinking of team morale, as we preferred to soldier on instead of accepting defeat and ending the game. However, Macquarie should have been less conservative in the beater game and pushed for more goal opportunities, as WSQC’s experience, not only in the game but in playing long periods of time, allowed them to slip through our tired defence and put more points on the board. Still, the Marauders kept defending, pushing the game beyond 30 minutes, until the eventual catch by Western Sydney ended the game at 140*-20.