Two-Hat XIV, dedicated to the 2012 Mayan-predicted Apocalypse, was played on 13-14 October under decidedly non-apocalyptic conditions– the predicted light rains for Saturday confined themselves almost entirely to the lunch break, and Sunday was completely dry. On both days the usual Cornelian Bay swirling winds were enough to make throws interesting but not impossible, especially on the cross-wind field used for the grand final. The intermittent rains on Friday didn’t deter 22 golfers from turning out to St. David’s Park. There was a fair amount of attrition after the front 9, but the skirts division finished strong, with Jemery Day taking out the competition at -2 and Shavawn Donoghue and Tim Johnson close on his heels. Andy Cole managed to win the non-skirts division with a 4th-overall +4 performance.
XIV was the largest Two-Hat ever, with 68 registrations and 6 teams- and a record 8 Launceston-based players thanks to the efforts of Huddy Fuller. A full slate of round robin games was played, with four games on Saturday and the fifth on Sunday morning bright and early at 9:30 am. As Saturday afternoon wore on and the sea breeze filled in, games tended to become more upwind-downwind, with some teams deploying a zone and others sticking with the basics. At the end of pool play, the top two teams, Red Chapel (purple) and Two and a Half Ankles (yellow) finished 4-1, earning byes into the semifinals, with seeding decided by the spirit scores. Sky’d Blue (blue) and Bits (pink) took the 3rd and 4th seeds with identical 3-2 records, with the spirit edge going to blue. While Red Chapel and Two and a Half Ankles enjoyed their byes and an early lunch, Sky’d Blue defeated Buffy (red) in their play-in game, and Bits faced Spirulina (green) in a tense game that saw multiple leads change hands, and drama in the last minute of play that foreshadowed the final. Bits escaped their game 11-10 but fell to the well-rested yellow team 13-6 in the semifinal. In the other semifinal, purple faced off against blue, who were the only team to beat them on Saturday. History repeated itself as blue relied on its strategy of “huck it long to Alice Pattinson-Robert so she can make an amazing layout grab” on most points and won 13-7.
The final round between Two and a Half Ankles, depleted by injury, and Sky’d Blue, banged up but encouraged by their semifinal victory, promised a close-fought contest, and did not disappoint. Blue went out to a 5-2 lead but Ankles fought back and the teams traded points most of the rest of the way, with Blue going up a break with the mirror half. With time cap approaching and the sidelines increasingly vocal, Ankles pushed Blue out of their offensive comfort zone, forced a turnover, and brought it back to 12-11 just before the siren went. With the decision made to finish the point and Blue in possession, Ankles forced turnover after turnover, only to turn the disc over themselves, before finally punching in the upwind goal to tie the final at 12 and forcing Universe point. Blue kept their composure and worked the disc back up before a thunderous 20-metre hammer from Stew Wilde to Mike Baker won the game for Sky’d Blue, 13-12 (presumably setting a record for longest overtime ever in a Two Hat final). Mark Fenton won play of the day for his work in the final with phenomenal downfield play at high altitude on both offense and defense.
Buffy won the spirit prize just clear of runners-up Spirulina, with both teams showing admirably high average scores in a weekend with what felt like a large number of discussions and clarifications but generally good feelings. Mike Baker was the first to register.
Andrew Cole, Matthew Berne and Dale Baldwin (TDs)