In the stands, Harry clapped along with everyone else, though he found himself constantly watching Malfoy, waiting for him to make a mistake.
Ginny saw Smith punch the air, and Bradley clap his hands gleefully. She grinned, and flew back to the centre of the pitch, waiting for the chance to grab the Quaffle again. Suddenly, she heard a whooshing sound behind her and, instinctively, she ducked. She felt the Bludger miss her head by inches, and looked up to see it hit Oliver Wood. She watched as he fell towards the ground.
She winced, and wheeled round to see who had hit the bludger. Behind her, holding the bat up high and looking stunned, was Bloxam.
“Merlin!” the Cannons’ captain breathed, almost dropping his bat.
Not wasting a moment, Ginny accepted a quick pass from Smith to streak towards the goal. The empty hoop was just too tempting. Pulling to a stop, Ginny tossed the Quaffle directly through the middle hoop even as Healers swarmed around Wood below.
The Hogwarts crowd cheered, even as Ginny heard a resounding crack. Glancing back, she saw Bloxam nearly lose his seat as a bludger rammed into his back, hit by Crabbe.
“Way to hit them when they’re down, Crabbe!” Smith called sarcastically, but the big Slytherin only grinned proudly.
The Cannons quickly brought in a reserve; the only one they had which accounted for every position. He flew up to the goal and play resumed. Valblatsky took possession of the Quaffle and shot off towards the Hogwarts end of the pitch, determined to score.
“Valblatsky’s going for the goal . . . and he’s almost there . . . wait! Bludger to the head of Valblatsky hit by Crabbe again. Now, it’s Hogwarts in possession. Bradley passes to Weasley, who swerves to miss Radford’s Bludger and- Weasley scores! Hogwarts leads 50-30!” Ludo exclaimed.
The Hogwarts’ Chasers once again began to head to towards the goal. Ginny caught the Quaffle and looked ahead to judge the distance to the goal. Suddenly, to her surprise she saw Radford flying straight at her, at full speed. Unsure if she had lost control of his broom or was trying to distract her, Ginny attempted to swerve out her path. Radford was flying so fast, however, that Ginny couldn’t get out of the way quick enough and the end of Radford's broom collided with her own, sending her veering off course and causing her to drop the Quaffle.
“FOUL!” Ron called from the end of the pitch, ears reddening.
Charlie Weasley hesitated, whistle pressed to his lips before finally blowing. “Foul,” he admitted.
“WHAT?” Radford exclaimed, veering her broom around to approach Charlie. “That was a complete accident! How—”
“Careless flying,” Weasley continued, “Just because it was careless doesn’t mean it wasn’t a foul. Penalty to—”
But Radford already had her wand out as she was overcome with outrage.
The audience gasped just as Charlie blew the whistle a second time. “Two penalties to Hogwarts. One for Blatching, one for threatening the referee.”
Smith flew forward to take the penalties. Twice, he scored, twice the crowd below roared their approval and twice Krum let out a chain of swearing and cursing in anger. It seemed that the Hogwartians growing success was enraging the professional team and causing them to play dirtier than ever. Ginny supposed that they were becoming desperate – after all, she doubted that the Cannons would be proud of being beaten by students.
She dived down and yelled, “boo!” at Gorgovitch, who dropped the Quaffle in surprise. Ginny snatched it quickly, laughing, and sped over to the goalposts.
Ginny took aim and scored.
“Ten more points to Hogwarts!” called Bagman as the Cannons came back into possession.
“Bradley, look out!” Ginny yelled as a Bludger soared towards the Chaser.
Luckily, Bradley heard Ginny’s warning and swerved to the left. However, his narrow escape outraged Bloxam so badly that he threw his bat, hitting Draco in the head. Draco dropped a few feet in the air, but recovered quickly, scowling at Bloxam, who had gone to fetch his bat.
“Another penalty shot to Hogwarts for unsportsman like conduct by the Cannons,” Charlie announced.
With every foul committed, the Cannons seemed to become even more desperate; pulling out all the stops to try and ensure that Hogwarts lost. After a whirlwind half an hour of play, the scoreboard read one hundred fifty to fifty for Hogwarts.
“Things are starting to look bleak,” Bagman’s voice droned. Even he seemed overcome with disappointment as he commentated the Cannons’ turn from bad to worse. “Another fifty points for Hogwarts and there’s no hope. Krum better catch that snitch soon…”
“Krum!” Bloxam cried desperately. “Stop watching the game and find the snitch!”
So far the Seekers had had very little to do other than hover above the rest of the players. Since his foul on Malfoy earlier in the game, Krum had kept his head down but he was becoming increasingly frustrated with his team’s inability to score goals.
When Hogwarts scored again bringing the score to one hundred and sixty to fifty, Krum decided it was time to liven things up a bit. Suddenly, as if he had seen the Snitch, he began to dive, weaving in and out of the Hogwarts Chasers, stopping them from passing to one another.
Malfoy began to zoom after him, eyes scanning frantically for any sign of the Snitch.
“Malfoy!” yelled Ron. “He’s faking it! There’s no Snitch!” Years of Quidditch matches, magazines and debating with his brother had given Ron a very clear idea of the style of both the Canons and high-profile Quidditch players. At his call, the Hogwartian team kicked into action, and ignored Krum, much to his annoyance.
Smith seized the Quaffle, and scored once, only for the Quaffle to be picked up by Ginny and thrown through the large hoop again.
Malfoy, however, was determined to catch Krum.
“Looks like Krum’s seen something!” Bagman called. “Here they go! They’d better get there quick before the kids can score again! One hundred eighty to—”
But whatever Bagman would say next would be drowned out by an enormous gasp from the audience as Krum braked, swerved, and pulled up from him dive. Malfoy didn’t.
The crowd parted to make way for the Hogwarts Seeker to come smashing through the stands. He had no time to break before the collision, but only blink, and let out a scream
The crowd gasped as Malfoy collided with the stand, before falling the short distance to earth. Madam Pomfrey, who was on hand to treat injuries, rushed onto the pitch and began waving her wand over the unconscious Seeker.
Gorgovitch took advantage of the Hogwarts’ team distraction to grab the Quaffle and started flying in the direction of the Hogwarts’ goal. Noticing just in time, Ron flew back into position and easily saved the poor shot. With Malfoy having regained consciousness the rest of the team seemed to remember they were in the middle of a game and quickly reformed.
Ginny, fired on by a sudden new spurt of determination, lay flat along her broom handle, and punched the Quaffle out of Wintringham’s arms, where it was seized by Bradley. They flew at breakneck speed to the goal posts, where Bradley passed to Ginny again. She dodged Valblatsky easily (who could not manoeuvre his broom very quickly) and threw the Quaffle through the centre hoop.
“The Hogwarts team is certainly taking advantage of the lack of Keeper!” shouted Bagman, laughing as Ginny punched the air. “One hundred ninety to fifty. I hope the Cannons are just being polite!”
“Just being polite? I’ll show you polite!” called Radford, swinging her Beater’s bat back and launching it at the small ball. The Bludger flew forward with intense speed, but the force of impact had sent the bat backwards right into Lucretia’s face. Blood poured from her nose, as Smith scored again for Hogwarts.
“Oi, can you not see she is bleeding?” Bloxam yelled to Madam Pomfrey, who was still fretting over Draco. The woman seemed to have ignored him, so he motioned for Krum to listen. “Take Lucretia’s bat and hit Weasley!”
Krum took the bat, and soared towards Ginny.
Ginny didn’t see him until it was too late. She felt the crack of the wooden bat against her head as he sped past and for a moment she saw stars in front of her eyes. She could vaguely hear the sound of a whistle and Charlie shouting, “Penalty to Hogwarts!” Smith and Bradley flew over to her but she couldn’t make out what they were saying. All she could think was that she needed to get down to the ground. She began to descend but the movement made her feel sick and the ground seemed to move further away.
“It seems as though the Cannons are trying to even out the numbers after the loss of Wood,” Bagman called. “Ms. Weasley will leave the pitch.”
“Monster!” Ron called.
Harry, below in the stands, felt anger well in his stomach as he watched Ginny clutch at a split scalp. Even the boos resonating from the audience didn’t help him feel any better. “Now do you agree with Ron about Krum?” Harry demanded Hermione, who sat beside him.
“Oh shut up,” Hermione snapped. “That’s all done with. What’s important is Smith’s just scored. Harry, Hogwarts might win.”
“I meant to for you to hit a Bludger at her, Krum; not to hit her with the actual bat!” Bloxam scolded. “You just scored their team another goal!”
“Yes, but zat girl is out, and they have no reserve player,” Krum sneered as he flew upward to search for the Snitch.
“You’d better pray they don’t win,” threatened the captain.
“Spare me,” the Bulgarian retorted.
“Just fly.” Bloxam then flew back to the other end of the pitch to back up his Chasers.
“And play resumes as Gorgovitch enters the scoring zone with the Quaffle,” Bagman commented.
All eyes were on Gorgovitch as he flew towards the Quidditch hoops. He looked down at the crowd, who were all watching him intently, whimpered, and dropped the Quaffle out of his fumbling fingers. It was seized immediately by Bradley, who zoomed down to the other end of the pitch, and threw the Quaffle through the centre hoop with such force, it was nothing but a red blur.
“Two hundred and twenty to fifty!” shouted Bagman. “It's looking bad for the Cannons! I- are they diving for the Snitch?"
Krum had gone into another dive and this time it seemed he actually was chasing the Snitch. Having just returned to the pitch, Malfoy began to follow but couldn’t keep up with international Seeker. Bagman was following the chase animatedly.
“The Seekers have definitely spotted the Snitch and it’s Krum in the lead with Malfoy following. Ooh – good shot there by the Hogwarts’ Beater but Krum ducks out of the way. He’s getting closer now, I think he might just – yes! I don’t believe it! Krum has caught the Snitch! Hogwarts win by two hundred and twenty to two hundred!
“What are you doing, Krum? You’ve just cost us the game!” yelled Bloxam as the team flew towards the Bulgarian.
On the other end of the pitch, the Hogwartians could be seen landing on the ground and being hoisted back into the air by the excited students. Even Harry joined in the celebration, lifting Ron higher up in the air with the help of Dean Thomas.
“Harry, we won! We actually won!” he chimed, eyes lit with glee.
“I know. It was a great game.”
As the Hogwarts team was lowered back onto the grass, the Cannons grudgingly greeted them.
The two teams mingled, shaking hands, the Cannons muttering “good game” at their feet. Ginny took Viktor Krum’s hand and shook it, watching his grumpy expression. “Why did you catch the Snitch?” she asked.
He grunted. “Do you really think that ve vould have von with the record holder for the most Quaffle drops on our team? I vould rather lose with dignity.”
Ginny smiled. “Good theory. I think you would have won if you hadn’t lost your Keeper.”
Krum shrugged. “Maybe. But I think I vould have won if my last Captain hadn’t transferred me to this pathetic team.”
“Well if you foul people like you did today then I’m not surprised that they wanted rid of you,” interrupted Harry who had put Ron down and was listening to Ginny and Krum’s conversation.
“I vas only doing as my captain instructed,” Krum retorted before moving on to shake the hand of the next player.
“Harry, you can’t talk to him like that!” Ginny scolded.
“Why not? He could have killed you doing what he did.”
“Well he didn’t, and I’m fine. Madam Pomfrey fixed me up in a few minutes. Now aren’t you going to congratulate me?"
Harry felt extremely guilty all of a sudden. “Of course,” he began quickly. “Ginny, Ron…everyone. Congratulations. You did a really great job. I—I wish hadn’t been so stupid and skipped those first practices. It would have been so amazing to fly with you today.”
“And I vanted to fly against Harry Potter,” Krum interjected, returning to join the conversation. “I vas disappointed by you, Potter. I vas looking forward to beating you.”
“What is it with Quidditch players and a complete lack of humility?” Hermione demanded suddenly.
As the cheering from the students began to die down, Albus Dumbledore took Bagman’s place in the commentating stand.
“If I may have everyone’s attention please,” he began happily. “First, I would like to say congratulations to the Hogwarts team on their win. You have made us all very proud, indeed. Second, on behalf of Hogwarts, I would like to extend my gratitude to the Chudley Cannons for showing their sheer kindness to our staff and students. Third, a feast shall begin in the Great Hall in thirty minutes to celebrate this historical game. Lastly, if I may, Hogwarts rules!”