They endured more than a few anxious moments but Havelock eventually triumphed on their home track in last weekend's Bowls Marlborough women's open triples bowls event.
In a nail-biting final, Karen Day skipped her team-mates, Colleen Robbins and Barbara Lancaster, to a last-end 18-17 victory over the highly rated and experienced Takahanga team skipped by Kate Reardon and including Mary Riddell and Rosie Summerton.
It was a first centre title for Robbins and a second for Day, five years after she won the pairs with Noeline Hood, and the path to victory last weekend was anything but smooth.
Up 8-2 after seven of the 16-ends final, then 16-5 with four ends to play, Havelock appeared to be coasting. However, the experienced Takahanga crew stormed back, picking up 12 shots in three ends and, heading into the final end, took the lead by 17-16.
Two excellent lead bowls by Lancaster set up Havelock, Robbins and Day held the advantage, taking out the thriller.
Although fairly subdued after a hard weekend in which they played five matches and won four, they reflected a day later on a fine performance.
Robbins and Day previously won junior titles together, featured in the New Zealand Chartered Clubs fours final with Frances Bradley last year and both are Marlborough senior representative players.
Day emigrated with her family from Guernsey in the Channel Islands nine years ago and bought the beautiful Havelock Garden Motels, tucked in behind the trees off the main street of the idyllic seaside town.
Day said playing the Takahanga trio in Sunday's final was an honour. "They are lovely ladies. Ambassadors for the game.
"Barbara [Lancaster] played very well at lead for us. We all had our moments, a good team game, but we did our normal thing. We were well ahead, then we had three wobbly ends, then Barbara drew two shots, Colleen drew a third and I just covered.
"I thought they would try to kill the end, but they tried to draw the shot and just came up short.
"By then, I wasn't watching. Over the last three ends I was a wreck."
Robbins certainly felt the pressure early and said: "I haven't had nerves like that for a long time. I was very nervous at the start."
Day's team dropped just one game at the weekend, going down to Glenda Bishop's Riverside team. In the semifinals, Havelock beat the Riverside team of Lisa Hart, skip, Annette Broadhurst and Pauline Bailey 16-11, having trailed 2-6 early on. In the other semifinal, Reardon's team beat Picton's Dorothy McLean, Sandra Bunt and Pauline Low by two shots.
Sixteen teams contested the event, with qualifying rounds on Saturday with three wins out of four required to make Sunday's knockout stages.
The victorious Havelock trio are back in action this weekend with Bradley in tow contesting the open fours, hopeful their good form continues and when they turn out for Marlborough in next month's triangular event.
In the Brydon Stretch women's interclub played last Thursday at Blenheim, the Riverside four skipped by Honey Reuben with Rosemary Finch, Pauline Simpson and Pauline Bailey triumphed.
Four teams scored three wins, Riverside pipping the Blenheim combination of Val Montgomery, skip, Roberta Marshall, Ann Cook and Lilian Murray in differential 56-54.
Meanwhile, Josh Boyd, skip, and Warren Brown took out the Bowls Marlborough men's open pairs event at Renwick, Riverside and Awatere, with 40 teams taking part.
The composite team was too good in the final, beating Ken Lond, skip, and Chase Bishop 20-8, the winners outstanding over the weekend and unbeaten.
Brown played some exceptional draw bowls as lead, backed strongly by Boyd.
In the semifinals, Boyd and Brown beat Dennis Mills and Calvin Hart, with Lond and Bishop downing Keith Maslin and Maurice Pugh.
- The Marlborough Express
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