To continue our ever growing addiction to Kubb, a bunch of us began finding other tournaments to attend immediately after nationals. The Clash of Kubb was nearby and before school and college but right after our camp season. Perfect! James Gilbertson from the original Rubik’s Kubbs, and myself, Ryan Feathers, both wanted to attend and Matt Hansen joined us for the next go at a title with the Rubik’s Kubbs name. Two others, Ben Schlueter and Stuart Deets, decided to go as the Kubbisms. Finally, my father and sister decided to give it a go in the Recreational Division as team Skubby-Doo.
Early in the morning we headed out and managed to get ourselves to the Greenville Lions Park. We set up our shade tent and got out chairs and signed in. All the pitches were set up and we went out to warm up and practice. The kubbs were nicely painted and the sets were all ready to go. The pitches and assignments were up and everything was ready to go.
We were practicing early and things were going alright. Returning was different than what I was used to at camp and the sandy soil there. The ground was harder and the kubbs were not digging in very well, and so clusters were hard to come by. This would come to be a problem for us all day. We played a practice match against the Kubbisms and won, and we were all ready for the opening matches. We got put into the group of 4 and had to play against Kubb’d, King Kung, and the Ringersicles–all pretty good teams judging by what I could remember of their past tournament showings. It was looking like a tough morning.
Our first match wound up being against Kubb’d. Steve Feathers is a really nice guy, and I’m glad to share a last name with him, even if originally led to confusion at nationals. (Many of my friends call me Feathers, as everyone was doing that at nationals, he kept looking around until we figured it out.) The rest of his team was very kind, and it was a very enjoyable match. I’d also say we were pretty equally matched…they might have had a slight edge but all three games were very close. They took the first one, but we wound up fighting back in the second after quite some while to snatch a victory. The third game went back and forth but ultimately we wound up losing it. James was very on in the morning with his base shots, starting off 6/7 and doing pretty well all day. Our difficulty was consistency in clusters and the short range shots…we were probably only shooting like 2/3 on the close throws and that wasn’t enough. Still, they were some good games and a lot of fun…some of the main reasons we were there.
The next match we got to (had to?) play the Ringersicles. We had been peeking at their match during ours, and it was clear these guys were good. Crazy good. I for one have been watching quite a few videos of kubb matches to get ideas on returns and throwing techniques, and just to get a sense of how the top teams play. Mark Blazel is the thrower/returner I somewhat immitate in my style, and the group of us has almost set up some form of demi-god status to him. Every time we watch his videos it seems like his kubbs bounce wherever they need to, and in addition I don’t think I have every seen him miss a field kubb. After watching him from the sideline…I don’t think we were wrong. He’s amazing. It was fun watching him…and some fun playing him. All three of the Ringersicles were amazingly friendly and kind, a reoccurring theme in kubb fortunately. However, rather than rising our game to the next level to face off against the best, we all seemed to just throw worse. We played pretty badly missing lots of shots. The games were over rapidly and they dispatched us quickly. It felt like we were completely out of their league. It’s a real credit to them that they’ve practiced that much and have it down that well. The goal has been set now though–we have to get as good as they are if we want to do as well as we desire. It certainly doesn’t look easy, and perhaps I am a fool, but Mark Blazel is my new nemesis. I hope someday we can manage to defeat him. Today though would certainly not be that time.
Our final match of the morning was against King Kung. This was a third extremely kind team. They were very nice to talk to and get to know, and in addition they were fun to play. Everyone in our morning matches did a great job cheering for hits and jeering at whiffs. It was just some fun kubb at a pretty high level. Regrettably once again here though we just were slightly outclassed. They were throwing a bit better and clustering tighter. We played back and forth for quite a while and at times it looked like we had a shot, but we just couldn’t snatch the game away. We weren’t far off from competing with them though. Next time we meet we plan on being better set…but more so looking forward to some more great fun kubb.
Overall in the morning then we went a measely 1 win to 6 losses and lost all three of our matches. We were hoping that this tournament we would do better than our consolation bracket finish at nationals but if anything it appeared we were going to do worse. We felt that we were playing better than we had there though with the extra month of learning and practice…so our hope was that we had just wound up in a very hard bracket against some of the best teams. Good for us, it turned out that was basically correct.
My father and sister were off playing and Ben and Stuart were also playing. I checked up on them throughout the day, but all were struggling. While many of them at least had some fun playing in their first tournament, none managed to win a single game much less a match for the entire day. My father did do a good job getting some photos of the day though, including some very cool shots of our team and other good pictures of the day. Many of his best pictures are in this report.
The championship bracket was set up and we had to play in the opening round, having failed to secure a bye (going 0-3 in match play tends to do that). We were up against Rhymes with Tube. They were a fairly nice team of 4 individuals. We won the toss off and did a good job in the opening of the game to build up a bit of a lead. We were hitting a bit better than earlier and better than them, and manged to beat them in game one. Game two however began to slip out of our hands, particularly after we manged to leave and advantage line–something we did far too much all day. It became very clear to us that if anything we have got to learn to be able to return some kubbs in clusters and not miss those 4-5 meter throws. Overall though game 3 began and we slowly whittled our way into the 8 team championship and avoid the consolation bracket…for now.
Next up was Kalamakubb. They were two kind and fairly quiet gentlemen. Once agian we won the toss off and had a good first round and won the first game after some limited back and forth. We were hitting better than them, and their returns were a bit spaced out at times (similar to ours most of the day however…) and we felt that we likely could beat them and so play our way into the final four–a great goal and step forward for us!
However, like the last match we dropped game two as well, and had to go into the tiebreaking game three. We did eek it out and had assured ourselves of at least a 4th place finish, which for our 2nd tournament we were pretty happy about. Now it was time to see if we could advance any further…
But as fate would have it, that was not likely to happen in the next match. It was my new nemesis Mark Blazel. As we had determined earlier however, we were outclassed. Mark can return kubbs like magic. In fact I’m pretty sure a rule needs to be added to the rule book about not using the force, and we need to check Mark’s midi-chlorian levels before future tournaments. But in all seriousness it was wild. The Ringersicles were a great team, and a truly class act though. They said good hit after our hits and bemoaned our whiffs with us. Given how we seemed to play down again though I would’ve thought it was sarcastic almost if I hadn’t known better. We managed a remarkably poor 2/6 on three isolated field kubbs at like 4 meters and left them an easy and early advantage line which led swiftly to our death. Unsurprisingly they moved past us and wound up in the final where they also won fairly easily. The only good news is that I got to cross off “See Mark miss a field kubb” and “Watch Mark throw a punishment kubb” off of my Kubb bingo card. In addition Mark was kind enough to answer a couple of my questions about his return style and how he holds the kubb. Hopefully with a few more pointers practice sessions will continue to improve my performance there. Thanks Mark! (It appears I don’t take my whole nemesis thing very seriously)
This made us wind up in the third place game however where we got to rematch against King Kung. Overall our morning pool of four wound up having the 1st, 3rd, and 4th place teams on the day, with Kubb’d being another good team…so it really was we had just wound up in a really good bracket. The only obvious issue was that we weren’t quite good enough yet.
These were again some extremely fun games against some extremely kind individuals. As the ground was drying during the day and the length of the day was wearing on me, my returns were turning into nothing though. I couldn’t really do anything with them anymore but put them on one side of the field and ensure that they weren’t more than halfway on their side….which basically means nothing. We couldn’t hit quite as well as we needed to, and after some very long games, King Kung beat us again 2 more times to knock us into 4th place officially….which regrettably also meant that we didn’t get any trophy or hardware either. (Although that is nothing some red paint, an extra block of wood, and a sharpie can’t fix myself). The only other cool thing about the match was that one round my returns were particularly terrible and we wound up with a kubb like 3 inches and 9 inches directly behind the king, and we did wind up removing both of them without knocking over the king. In addition a large crowd was watching because we were the last game going. I wish we had been playing better for all to see, but alas it was not to be so.
The awards for the tournaments were then given out and everyone worked on heading home. I’d like to thank Chad for a great tournament, and everyone for being so friendly and welcoming. I’m glad to have gotten to play some of the best players in kubb and competing against some great teams. With some more practice and the increased pointers some of us recieved, we know what we need to work on. Good returns simply are a must and is the area we were outclassed in most of the day. (I’m not too sure if any team other than the Ringersicles had significantly better shooting than us) but most had better returns. In addition we all need to work on our 4m accuracy so we don’t leave advantage lines anymore.
The next tournament for us is likely going to be the Oktoberfest one which we’re looking forward to. I plan on trying to get a club founded at UWSP, the college I attend, and seeing if I can’t get some consistent games going there and maybe a small tournament with a bunch of teams there in late fall. Wherever we head from here though hopefully we will keep improving. Next goals:
1. Top 3 at Oktoberfest
2. Defeat Mark Blazel
3. 1st place in a Tournament
Until then, thanks to everyone for another great tournament!