Time for muggles and magicfolk from across the county to fire up their broomsticks as quidditch comes to Sussex.
The sport made famous by Harry Potter and his wizarding pals has been picked up by former police officer, bodyguard to the stars and Worthing resident John Keeley, who is on the hunt for instructors.
“What I want to do is get the people who usually wouldn’t get into sport to get off their sofas,” he said.
“We have got something that appeals to people’s greater interests, while promoting fitness and activity. Even people who aren’t necessarily very fit can play.”
John is looking for 20 sports instructors, who will be trained by members of the sport’s UK governing body, Quidditch UK.
Once up to speed, the plan is to have instructors operate independent schools across Sussex, provide classes in schools and develop a competitive element.
The deadline for entries is November 16, with plans to have the scheme off the ground in the new year.
“The overall aim is to open a school league, adult league and at least three Sussex teams who can compete in open competitions around the world,” John said.
“I want to make it into a core sport. If you take the Harry Potter bit of it out, it is a proper sport.”
John described quidditch as a full-contact sport bringing together elements of rugby and water polo, but on land.
Each team has seven players: three chasers, two beaters, one keeper and a seeker – the position mastered by Mr Potter himself – who enters later in the game.
They each sit on ‘broomsticks’, which entails holding a pole between one’s legs, and score points by throwing the quaffle through three rings at either end of the pitch.
Part-way through the game a player dressed in gold is released onto the pitch – the golden snitch. One minute later the chaser enters the game and hunts the snitch down in pursuit of 30 points and the conclusion of the game.
Further intrigue is added by the fact the snitch can go anywhere, be that into the crowd or even outside the stadium.
John said the sport will be fully inclusive, taking in all genders and including mixed gender teams. The aim is to have fun, he said, and through having fun the fitness and learning can come ‘as if by accident’.
His own expertise comes from 20 years in the police force, a lifetime of martial arts and a stint as private security to stars including Roger Federer and Keanu Reeves – both ‘extremely nice guys’, he said.
Anybody interested in joining John as an instructor, or sponsoring the venture, can contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org
In March John turned his hand to another cinematic classic by joining Silver Sabres, an academy teaching the art of light sabre fighting á la Star Wars. The Herald covered it at the time, here: VIDEO: Science fiction helps save medieval art
Last November a new Harry Potter-themed shop opened in Brighton: Treat for Potter fans as wizarding shop opens in Brighton