The Northern and Southern Cups are the two major regional quidditch tournaments of the United Kingdom. Organised by QuidditchUK, the tournaments serve both as qualification prerequisites for other tournaments, such as the European Quidditch Cup and the British Quidditch cup alongside being their own stand alone tournaments. Regionals are often considered the most important tournaments of the year, after the British Quidditch Cup. As of the 2016-17 season, these regional tournaments served as qualifiers for the latter tournament, as there were now more teams in the United Kingdom than its national championship could support. Those teams that fail to qualify for BQC each season compete in the Development Cup instead.
Locations of the Northern (blue) and Southern (red) Cups
The idea for a regional tournament originally came from Southampton Quidditch Club, who devised an independently organised Southern Cup, which was due to take place in February 2014. Inspired by this, Keele Quidditch Club created a counterpart "Northern Squirrel Cup" open to all the teams who were not invited to the Southern Cup (on the basis of geographical location). Due to adverse weather conditions, the Southern Cup's expected debut was cancelled, but the Northern Cup went ahead as planned in March. Eight teams competed, with Bangor Broken Broomsticks winning the tournament after beating Nottingham in the final. The Southern Cup eventually went ahead in November of that year—the next quidditch season—where another eight teams competed. Southampton, the hosts, were defeated in the final by Radcliffe Chimeras.
Seeing the initial success of these tournaments, QuidditchUK, the United Kingdom's governing body for quidditch, took both tournaments under their control, in time for the 2015–16 season. These tournaments were organised by QuidditchUK and a committee selected by them, rather than by any specific club. Similarly, no club officially hosted either tournament, though both locations were situated nearby to established QuidditchUK teams. The Northern Cup was hosted at Belmont Community School in Durham on 31 October–1 November, while the Southern Cup took place at Horspath Athletics Ground in Oxford, on 14–15 November. The latter had played host to several tournaments in the past, including the 2015 European Quidditch Cup.
In 2017 both the Northern and Southern Cups were used as qualifiers for the British Quidditch Cup, with the top 16 teams from each tournament moving on to regionals. Although both Cups are going to continue to select the top 32 teams in the UK, it is currently unannounced whether the places for nationals will be distributed equally or some form of weighted distribution will be used.
Qualification for either tournament is based solely on the geographical location of the team. A theoretical horizontal line is drawn at latitude 52.632000 (52°37′55.2″), dictating that any teams based south of that line compete at the Southern Cup, and all north at the Northern Cup. At this time there is no additional criteria; any team registered with QuidditchUK is eligible to play, regardless of experience or skill level.
Traditionally, the tournaments have consisted of pool play, followed by bracket play, in a standard knockout tournament structure. The exact format however is flexible, due to the varying number of teams competing in each iteration of the cups. The top two teams from each group move through to the upper bracket while the rest play in the consolation bracket. In order to balance group play and allow for more representative bracket play a seeding system is used.
All teams are split into three categories: first seeds, second seeds and unseeded teams. How teams are seeded depends on where they came at last years nationals and how many groups there are in the competition. Each group is randomly allocated a first and second seeded team, then the unseeded teams are randomly allocated a group.
The teams final standing in tournaments affects their seeding for the upcoming British Quidditch Cup. The top four teams are placed in the first seed, the fifth to eighth teams are second seeded, and any other qualifying teams are unseeded.
The second Northern Cup was held on 31 October 2015 in Belmont. Fourteen teams competed after the withdrawal of the Preston Poltergeists. After two days of competitive games, composed of pool play and both upper and Consolation brackets, the final standings were as follows:
The third Northern Cup returned to Belmont on 12 November 2016. Twenty teams competed over the weekend. On the first day, five groups of four played each other, with the two highest ranked teams from each group moving into the upper bracket while the rest competed in the Consolation bracket. This was the first tournament to be used to qualify teams for nationals, with the top 16 teams invited to compete in the coming British Quidditch Cup. The results of the tournament were as follows:
The fourth Northern Cup was held at Sheffield Hallam Sports Park in November 2017. Twenty-three teams competed over the weekend. Velociraptors Quidditch Club were the champions for the second time in a row.
The fifth Northern Cup was held at Sheffield Hallam Sports Park on 10–11 November 2018. Twenty-two teams competed over the weekend. On the first day, 2 groups of five and three groups of four played each other, with the top 12 ranked teams overall moving into the upper bracket, with 8 further teams playing play-in matches, with the losers joining the final two teams in the Consolation bracket. The top 16 teams were invited to compete in the upcoming British Quidditch Cup; the unsuccessful teams would have another opportunity to qualify via the Development Cup. The top 5 teams were invited to EQT, the nationwide qualifying tournament for the upcoming European Quidditch Cup. The results of the tournament were as follows:
The first southern cup was hosted by Southampton Quidditch club on the 8th-9 November. 8 teams competed over the weekend. The first day consisted of 2 groups of 4 while the second day was knockout. By the end of the weekend Oxfords Radcliffe Chimeras claimed gold, Southampton silver and London Unspeakables 3rd. The full brackets and final standings where as follows:
The second Southern cup was held on the 14th and 15 November at Horspath Athletics Track (oxford), was due to follow a similar structure to its northern counterpart. However, due to technical issues the Consolation bracket had to be cancelled. Seventeen teams competed over the weekend with Oxfords Radcliffe Chimeras eventually claiming Gold. the upper bracket results are as follows:
The third southern cup took place on the 29th-30 October at Millbrook rugby club in Southampton. 17 teams competed over the weekend with the top 16 qualifying for the coming British Quidditch cup. The weekend Followed a similar structure to last years with day one being group stage and day to single elimination knockout. Due to only 16 teams qualifying for BQC a play in match between the two lowest seed teams after day one was played to distinguish 16th and 17th place. by the end of the tournament Warwick QC had claimed gold, the full bracket results and final standings where as follows:
The fourth Southern Cup took place on the 11–12 November at Millbrook rugby club in Southampton. 21 teams competed over the weekend with the Top 15 qualifying for the coming British Quidditch cup. The weekend followed a similar structure to the format of previous years, with day one having group stage matches and day two containing single elimination playoffs. Due to only 15 teams qualifying for BQC, play in matches took place between the lowest seeded teams in the Lower Bracket to determine the teams that qualify. The tournament was won by Southampton QC Firsts. The full bracket results are as follows:
The fifth Southern Cup took place on 24–25 November at Knole Academy in Sevenoaks, Kent. 18 teams competed over the weekend, with the top 14 qualifying for the upcoming British Quidditch Cup. Furthermore, the top 7 teams would qualify for EQT, the nationwide qualifying tournament for the European Quidditch Cup. On the first day, two groups of five and two groups of four played each other. Unlike Northern Cup, there was no consolation bracket. Instead, all 18 teams would compete in the upper bracket, with the bottom 4 teams participating in play-in games. The tournament was won by the Werewolves of London.