UK Kubb Championship - a History
This event, co-founded by Neil Wilson and Ian Middleton, has been running continuously since 2006. It has always had the ethos that anyone one is welcome to join in, regardless of age or ability. Although the games can be keenly contested on occasion, all involved have worked had to ensure that the informal character of the event is maintained. We are here to spread the game more widely through the UK's largest Kubb tournament.
A Swedish game, but a tournament with a distinctly British attitude.
In 2015 Neil made the decision to pass on the baton (ahem) to others, having done his part as an organiser for 10 years, swapping the Tournament Director's duties for a player's. Without Neil, there would be no event, and we are eternally grateful for his efforts over the years. He had this to say about the origins of the event and his time with it.
Neil Wilson - July 2015
"Now that my tenure of the Kubb UK community is pretty much at the end, it seems appropriate [and also very therapeutic] to summarise the last 10 years. Essentially Kubb was simply a game I stumbled upon one Summer holiday. I bought a set, thought it was rubbish but then played a game with boules-fiend Ian Middleton. We were both hooked.
If I recall, one of the first things we did was set about shamelessly vandalising the very sparse article on Wikipedia website, since corrected but still at uncyclopedia.wikia.com/wiki/Kubb. The next task was to set ourselves up as the de facto official guardians of UK based Kubb playing. This was simply achieved by setting up www.KubbUK.org, promoting myself to Chairman of the Association and Ian to Managing Director. We fabricated a constitution – mostly utter b0llocks culled from squash and golf legal documents. To prevent any comeback, the document ends with a cheeky “Effective I/I/MMXVIII” at the end of it. That’s 2018, in case you don’t know.
In our now unassailable position, I thought that that was it. But no - within a few weeks, Ian had arranged the Kubb Hertord Open tournament. I can’t remember precisely, but I suspect that there were around 8 teams competing for Ian’s expensive shop bought trophy and [starting the tradition of always having a prize (a) made of wood and (b) costing less than a pint of beer] my bread board for the runners up. The event was a success and showed that, if we were to put more [or even any] effort into it, we could actually get something going. Hence the following May, I managed to bully approximately 60 friends to spend a rain strewn afternoon in the garden of the Station Inn, Hallatrow, an establishment which I now live so close to that I could just about throw a baton from my garden into theirs – something I should try eventually. Surprisingly, it was also successful, so was repeated the following year. In the meantime I got interviewed by Chris Evans for radio. I had also started eyeing up the significantly larger garden at the New Inn, Farmborough but dismissed it as being far too large. However a minor fracas with the landlady at the Station Inn [basically I went to thank her for use of her garden after a tournament, and ordered a pint of beer. Her response ? “Two pounds 60, love”. Hence the phrase ‘Hallatrow pint’, a phrase contrived by Ian to describe any alcoholic beverage that you really ought to be fricking well given by a grateful landlady for bringing massive trade to a struggling pub, but end up paying for yourself] and so we looked more carefully at the New Inn.
We made the move the following year, hooking up with Jesse and Crown Darts as we went. The annual tournaments were pretty much as you find them now – approximately 32 teams, comprised 50% new players, 50% old friends and regulars. What’s more, some of those new players were even from abroad, and I don’t mean Wales. The Germans created a massive stir, being delightful [or so I’m told, I don’t speak German] and very, very skilful. They won easily [the only comfort we could take was that we knew it was going to cost them a fortune in excess luggage charges to take Jesse’s kindly donated Kubb set on the plane] and there was much concern that they would return the following year. I was ready for them, and made a trophy that looked innocuous enough from front on, but when viewed from the side by, for example, an irate policeman or an airport luggage scanning x-ray machine, resembled nothing more than a hand gun. As it happened, they didn’t return [and why on earth would they ?] but some Swedes did. They were even more delightful and also wiped the floor with us. As I handed over the trophy, I did warn them of the very real possibility of having to pass a couple of hours in airport security with a few guards and some rubber gloves. I believe they threw their much coveted prize into a skip near Pensford.
And that takes us pretty much up to today. There have been other memorable moments. One year a coach load of Japanese tourists arrived and started walking towards the garden. I started sh1tting myself because [a] there was no way I could accommodate another 50 players and [b] my Japanese is even worse than my German. Fortunately they only sang a hymn [!!!???] and then promptly departed. Another time, I got asked by Swedish drinks company Kopparberg to teach some people in Manchester and London to play. That was a damned lot less interesting than it sounds, believe me. In between there has been my constant search for progressively worse wooden trophies. One year we awarded a wooden pole so large that it had to be taken home by the winners on the roof rack of the car. I would have dearly liked to present a wardrobe [couldn’t find one to spare] or a wooden toilet seat [my wife wouldn’t let me].
And there it is. Have I enjoyed it ? Yes, massively. Do I want to keep going ? No thanks - I’m delighted that KubbUK will keep going without me and hereby thank Dave for taking over. Will you ever see me again ? Oh yes, next year I’ll be bringing my team [The Neil Wilson Kubb Allstars (featuring Neil Wilson)] and we’re gonna have our own T-shirts !"
The material below came from the original UKKubb.org site and is part of the history of the event and of the people that have worked over the years to keep it running. We didn't want to lose a word of that history, so any original content that is not included in this new site elsewhere, you should fine here. If you think something is missing, please let us know here.
The original UKKubb.org site had a forum associated with it. it would be true to say that in latter years, activity in that forum became pretty sparse. As Facebook became more popular, most of the discussion that would formally have gone into the forum, went there instead, and the forum finally closed in 2015 when this new website was launched. The document below is a grab of the entire forum content as of 5th August 2015.