All photos courtesy of John Oman.
EAU CLAIRE, Wisc. — The Continental Kubb Championship was a new exhibition event added to the U.S. National Kubb Championship weekend schedule. Continental Kubb paired high level kubb players from Europe against players from North America. Two players from Rostock, Germany—Bjorn Gorlitz and Robert Harnack—represented Europe and six sets of two or three player teams represented North America. The event took place on Friday, July 7 at 1 p.m. There is interest in continuing this event in years to come. The Chaska Kubb club will travel to the World Championships in 2018 in Rone, Gotland, Sweden. At this time, it looks like the second Continental event will take place on the afternoon of the first day of that tournament.
Two best-of-three game kubb matches took place simultaneously, where the European team moved back and forth between both matches. This concept was used in an effort to make use of the time that a team is waiting for their opponent to complete their turn. This continued until both matches were complete. Then the next two North American opponents joined them for the second round, and again for a third round. A total of six matches were played before determining a winning continent.
The participating players were chosen based on their exceptional play recently and in the interest of representing as many clubs and regions in North America. The lists of participants, in the order that they played, is listed below with a brief description of the match.
- Phil Dickinson and Brian Winistorfer
- Sy Ellringer, Dave Ellringer, and Aaron Ellringer
- Gregg Jochimsen and Scott Forster
- Kyle Weakland, Paul Weakland, and Jesse Fraim
- Ford Rolfsrud, Matt Erdman, and Phil Goetstouwers
- Darren Finger and Mark Oman
Match Set One
In match number one, Brian and Phil needed just nine batons in the first game and seven in the second game to welcome their opponents to North America. Challenged by the wind, the simultaneous match format, and the much-lighter-than-German game pieces, Bjorn and Robert had their hands full.
Meanwhile, match number two turned out to be a grinder for the Ringers and the Germans. After several back and forth rounds and quality shots, the Ringers prevailed two games to none to put their continent up by the same match score.
North America: 2 Europe: 0
Match Set Two
Match number three brought out the grittiness of our competitors. Scott Forster and Gregg Jochimsen of Damage Incorporated opened up the first game with a 5-1 game score while throwing into the wind. In an event as rare as Halley’s Comet, the eventual national champions left a three kubb advantage line that allowed the Europeans back into the game. Bjorn drilled a superb group, but one rethrow escaped the boundaries into a penalty kubb. This penalty kubb left them one baton short of the king shot they needed. One turn later, Damage finished game one. Game two went a little more swiftly. Forster and Jochimsen opened one for four at 8 meters on turn one. On turn two, they cleared two kubbs with one baton and went four for four at 8 meters. In a rush of adrenaline, the king was grazed but remained standing on their final turn. Given a third turn, they promptly finished the match.
Match number four featured a relatively new and quick to improve team to the circuit. The Kubb Squirrels of Ohio and Kalamazoo, Michigan were up for the challenge. Down three matches to zero in the contest, Europe began to find their groove while throwing with the wind. They needed just two turns to take game one. Game two saw the Kubb Squirrels open up a 4-1 lead which prompted a big comeback from the Germans to take the game and the match.
North America: 3 Europe: 1
Match Set Three
Match number five featured Kubbanite of Chaska, Minnesota. This match started out cold but finished hot. Needing just three turns in game one and four turns in game two, the Chaskans showed why they represent North America. Great blasting, cleanup, and 8 meter shots were on display in the light rain and windy conditions.
Match number six paired up the most recent champions of the World 1v1 tournament: Mark Oman of Chaska Kubb and Darren Finger of Damage Incorporated. The North Americans aimed to finish the event strong. Going five for seven at 8 meters over the first two turns set them up for an eventual king shot in turn 3. As big as that king is, even a 1v1 champ can miss it. Fortunately for Oman, redemption came on the fourth turn. Bjorn and Robert came out strong in the second game with a 3-0 lead, but Oman and Finger stormed back with five unanswered 8 meter shots to finish the game, set and match.
North America: 5 Europe: 1
Watch the matches on YouTube
A playlist of all six matches from the 2017 Continental Kubb Championship