Netball: Otane 50 Huias 47
With three of them, surely you're bound to strike gold with at least one of the Kupa sisters, right?
Wrong. Annemarie Kupa-Petera, Tammy Kupa and Becky Kupa could not be reached.
A switch of jobs and phone numbers didn't help the cause.
Cellphones went automatically to message for Annemarie and Tammy with the latter enjoying a day off from that new department store in Hastings boasting Hawke's Bay's first escalator.
Becky, back from watching the Olympic Games after winning a trip to London following a competition with her partner, was around but at "some bank" in Hastings, relatives said.
Suffice it to say the Speight's Ale House Otane Force netball team had some serious partying to do in Central Hawke's Bay after winning their seventh Hastings Pak'nSave Hawke's Bay Premier Netball League title on Wednesday night.
The losing PlusRehab HHSOG Huias coach Kaylene Higgs had tipped off Hawke's Bay Today she had received a text from Otane that they were still celebrating into the wee hours of Thursday.
"Yes, some of us had to go to work so our eyes were hanging out of our sockets," Kupa-Petera said yesterday after Otane beat Huias 50-47 with no telltale signs of partying on her face.
But it wasn't the one-sided affair fans were treated to throughout the season.
Huias fought tooth and nail, down 15-12 in the first quarter before clawing back to 24-24 at halftime. Nothing could separate the sides in the third quarter, 37-37, before Otane dug deep to pull away 50-47 in the final quarter.
Were Huias that good or did Otane take their foot off the pedal?
"We never go in with a relaxed attitude because, in a final, it's a different ball game with the crowd around," Petera-Kupa said, adding the expectant Otane spectators also piled on pressure.
Having demolished Huias and other rivals in the 15-point-plus vicinity throughout the winter, Otane were mindful their fans expected them to emulate that feat.
"To be honest, I'd rather go into the finals as the underdogs," said the midcourter who also coaches Otane with Tammy as her assistant.
She lauded the Catrina O'Connell-skippered Huias and Higgs for doing their homework to come up with a good game plan.
"We play fast and open and Huias played a short-sharp style to stop our run and slow things down.
"With timeouts, it was fairly tight but luckily it worked out in our favour in the end," said Kupa-Petera, who now has 13 premier league titles to her name - the other six she collected while with Physique. It was also a mind-boggling 20th consecutive final for a player who possesses an enviable mental fortitude.
On Wednesday night, Otane's biggest margin was six goals.
The lanky Bird sisters, playing for opposing teams, were outstanding - Jess Bird shot 100 per cent (34 attempts) for Otane and Ellie Bird got 96 per cent (43/45) for Huias.
Veteran Chris Leppien traded places with teenager Jess, who was playing her first game in the starting line-up on her maiden season, after coming off the bench after halftime as an impact player.
Kupa-Petera said while the "awesome" Leppien was mentally tougher and had all the attributes to counter the physicality of Physique, Otane needed a taller, flighty player who could collect rebounds against a mobile Huias defence.
"It's probably Chris' last year so Jess is only 16 years old and has another year of school left," she said of the Eastern age-group player who missed out on selection for this weekend's senior Eastern squad, though sister Ellie made the cut.
Beck isn't available for selection, with plans to go on her big OE next year. Midcourters Kupa-Petera and Tammy are also unavailable because of work commitments but GD Briar Chalmers and GK Rhiarna Ferris are in the equation for Eastern coach Jewels Falcon.
Midcourter Treyanna Faulkner was unlucky to miss out.
For Otane, it's another super season after claiming another Top Club crown, which pits the elite premier sides from the Bay league against other Eastern region teams from Gisborne and Wairoa.
Having celebrated their 10th anniversary this year, Otane lost in their inaugural year to Central Sports before claiming four consecutive titles in the Bay premier league. They then lost twice in succession to MAC before completing a hat-trick on Wednesday night.
With Otane's young defenders likely to head off to university next year, fans can expect a new-look side for the new season but Kupa-Petera hastens to add they'll still be a force despite the exodus of seasoned talent.
Huias will also be without GA Millie Ironside, also heading off to varsity.
Centre Kupa-Petera had her work cut out, with Huias counterpart Lee-Anne Taylor bringing her A game, too.
Huias coach Higgs said her troops made some tactical moves in the second quarter and took it to Otane in the third spell.
"We gave them a little fright," she said, adding Jess Bird made a huge impact for Otane.
"It must have been disappointing for Chris Leppien not coming. It must be a changing of guards."
Higgs said Huias talked about self-belief but also realised it was also about putting talk into action but deep down they knew it wasn't enough on Wednesday.
"We did not want to get into the physical stuff because we can't match them there," Higgs said, coughing up a couple of turnovers in the last quarter.
Happy with O'Donnell marshalling the backs, Higgs said the scoring stats only favoured Otane 84-81 per cent.
"They just looked after the ball better than us."
Ex-High Marist Blue won the division two title with a comprehensive 54-35 win against Hawke's Bay Cook Islands.
In an exciting secondary schools' final, Sacred Heart College, with just one club player, beat a club-heavy Hastings Girls' High School 33-31 in overtime after they were locked 30-30 in the fourth quarter.