The Kubbchucks goal for 2013 is to land in a significantly better place in the bracket than we did the previous year.
Back in the 2012 Loppet Kubb tournament, the Kubbchucks first game out of the round robin was with Fox Valley Kubb’s Kubb Snipers. They schooled us in two very quick games going on to win the entire tournament. Our tournament journey ended just 3 games into the single elimination Consolation bracket.
This year, our round robin grouping was just as tough. We opened with Team Knockerheads and while we lost both games of the match, we held on. After Team Knockerheads, we were introduced to McLovin’ a mixed doubles team loaded with talent. He had a solid 8 meter and her inkasting combined with an amazing short game won them the match. An unexpected loss for us. Our final round robin match and our sole win was with the 3 Kubbateers.
While we were hoping for a 2:1 record coming out of the round robin, we ended up 1:2. To regroup and ponder our fate again in the Consolation bracket, we took a walk through Uptown for a cup of coffee. It was amazing to see half a street covered in 6 inches of groomed snow and skiers skating where hours later cars would return. Something in my French Roast told me we still had a chance a the Championship bracket. I couldn’t quite articulate it – something about other teams with our same record and needing to fill slots in the Championship bracket. It was just a glimmer of hope that we could eek into the Championship bracket just as we did in the 2012 Nationals and 2012 Dallas tournaments.
On our way back to the pitches, we grabbed a bite from the Chef Shack truck and were about to wash it down with a Surly Furious when Eric Goplin turns on the bullhorn and declares,
“Pitch 1: Kubbchucks vs The BFF.”
I abruptly finished my first swallow of beer, and looked at Jamie – already waving me to the pitches. My coffee cup was right – we have another chance – Winner of this game goes onto the Championship bracket, the loser enters the Consolation bracket.
The BFF is Jake Freeberg, Cole Vryens, and 4 others from the Minnesota Kubb crew. Fun players and great talent. The first game we went back and forth and eventually them on the ropes with 8 kubbs in play. With the match being best 2 out of 3, they decided to give us the win – prematurely slaying the king. Once I realized what happened, and why, I smiled. They felt more confident in being able to win the next two games, but I knew the Kubbchucks only needed one more win and their forfeit showed us we could take them. The second game played out much like the first, two evenly matched teams tossing kubbs. The game ran long, Eric had called time during The BFF’s turn. They inkast 7 with 2 of our baselines remaining and only one of theirs. They took their 6 throws and handed us the victory.
That’s when the bomb was dropped.
First game of the Championship bracket on Pitch 1: Kubbchucks vs Kubb Snipers.
I was stunned. My jaw dropped. Our time in the Championship bracket would be brief – best we could do was to make it interesting.
I knew that our only chance against the Kubb Snipers was to not leave them an advantage line. If we did – they’d immediately convert it into a win. The first game, we held our own – each turn both teams would clean up the field and maybe pick up an additional base. Back and forth, back and forth. At one point I was inkasting 6 kubbs with 2 baseline kubbs remaining on both sides. I knew that our chances of cleaning up the field dramatically decreased once we got over 5 kubbs. After inkasting the 5 kubb into the left corner, I looked at the remaining kubb and I consulted Jim and Jamie on it’s placement. They shrugged. I looked at the pitch, I looked at the 5 kubbs in the corner, and dropped the kubb right in front of the middle baseline kubb.
Jim and Jamie readily cleaned up the 5 kubbs in the corner leaving the that lone sixth kubb for me and two batons. I took a deep breath, focused on the sixth kubb and threw – striking the sixth kubb and knocking it into the baseline behind it. With my final baton I took out the remaining baseline. This pulled us ahead, made it our game to lose, and a few short turns later we did. It was a nice clean game, with neither team leaving a single advantage line.
Going into the second game, I felt that if we played just as well again – we just might be able to take a win from them. Maybe not the match – but a single game. And we did – the second game was just as intense and well played on both sides as the first. Then it was the Kubbchucks turn, inkasting 9, with a lone baseline remaining on our side. If we could successfully get past this turn – we could win. Three by three, I inkast the kubbs – putting them in the left corner. A straggler here and there, nothing drastic. But I knew with each additional kubb in the basket were were tempting fate. But where should they go? There’s no remaining base kubbs to use as an anchor. Plus, the Kubb Snipers are accurate – from everywhere on the pitch. For them it matters less where the advantage line is than that there’s an advantage line. With 9 in the field, Jim and Jamie took care of 3 each. Unfortunately, some unlucky bounces left me 3 kubbs on either side of the wood pile from one another. There was no way I could get all 3. And I didn’t. I left an advantage line for the Kubb Snipers at mid-field. They immediately converted that into a win.
Our time in the Championship bracket of the 2013 Loppet Kubb tournament may have been brief but these 2 games with the Kubb Snipers was the strongest the Kubbchucks have ever played. These two games were why we needed to get to the Championship bracket. They completely made our Loppet experience.