Carole Fredrick, for many years one of North Harbour's most accomplished women bowlers, had her hospitalised husband, Noel, as her main motivation yesterday as she skipped her Birkenhead club four into today's national final in Auckland.

A former president of the Harbour Centre, Noel, despite being in North Shore Hospital with pneumonia, bombarded Carole with text messages from his bed yesterday to check her progress.

"This will be the best possible tonic for him," said Fredrick, soon after she had taken her line-up of Ruth Lynch, Gayle Melrose and Lisa Helmling past another Harbour four, Browns Bay's Judith Seager, Elaine McClintock, Gail Dick and Eileen Shand in a close semifinal.

Seager also had a family connection driving her. She was trying to emulate her mother, Nora Campi, who was part of a four from Kamo, Northland, which won the title in 1979, and also made a pairs final.


In today's final Fredrick will meet defending champions Sue Burnand, Mandy and Angela Boyd and Leanne Curry, who survived a close match with Onehunga's Olivia Bloomfield before overcoming the Harbour composite four of Mary Guldbrandsen in the semi-final.

Mandy Boyd last week contested both the singles and pairs finals and thus achieved the rare feat of making the finals in all three disciplines, making her an easy winner of the consistency prize.

Fredrick, with 20 centre titles, already has a national fours title to her name, having been part of a Harbour composite in 1999 skipped by Marlene Castle and including Guldbrandsen.

Should the Birkenhead four win today it will be the club's first women's national title.

Play started yesterday at the Carlton-Cornwall green then moved to a carpet at St Heliers when the deluged grass greens became unplayable.

"Coming from one green to another which was completely different was difficult," Fredrick said. "But the carpet was very true."

With a finalist and two semifinalists it was a notable day for the Harbour Centre. Guldbrandsen's four, with her Sunnybrae clubmate Colleen Sexton and Milford's Anne Dorreen and Rhonda Preston, ousted Anne Bateman's steady and experienced four in the quarter-finals. Lindsay Knight