They were promoted as they strongest Hawke's Bay senior tennis side in history and they proved it on Saturday.
"I was pretty impressed and so happy for the Hawke's Bay region," the Bay's No 1 man Rob Reynolds said after his team retained the Christie Cup, the symbol of Central Districts tennis supremacy, with a 21-3 drubbing of Taranaki at Greendale.
"Obviously they could have benefitted from having Ajeet [former Kiwi No 2 Rai] who had tournament play elsewhere but we have so much depth through the squad," Reynolds said.
The 22-year-old Havelock North club member was unbeaten in all three disciplines, singles, doubles and mixed. He beat Taranaki No 1 Hamish Mead 6-0, 6-2, combined with former Kiwi No 1 and Davis Cup representative Dan Willman to beat Mead and Brady Simpson 6-3, 6-2 and another clubmate, Olivia Addis, to beat Mead and Courtney Tippett 4-0, 4-0.
Reynolds displayed the benefits of an interclub stint in Germany last year as well as his top-16 finish at the national championships before Christmas. He will be available for the Bay's next Christie Cup defence, an away clash against Whanganui on February 16.
Later next month Reynolds will travel to Portugal for five consecutive tournaments in different cities.
"I'll be able to have a good training block before then. Improving my mental strength so my confidence and self belief can improve is my biggest work on," Reynolds added.
Hawke's Bay co-captain Luke Donovan and former long-serving No 1, who has been in the side for almost 20 years, said it was the biggest Christie Cup victory he had been involved with.
"We've got so much depth in both men and women now."
Donovan was quick to heap kudos on promising juniors Sophie Ward of the Havelock North club and Sam Cave of the Greendale club.
"The three-set singles wins they had were huge. Sam's singles went for close to three hours which was tremendous in that heat and inspiring for the rest of the team."
Playing at No 3 Ward beat Ella Rogers 6-3, 6-7, 6-4 while No 5 Cave beat Derryn Fleming 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.
Donovan was rapt Taranaki agreed to play the mixed doubles despite trailing 16-2 after singles and doubles play.
"Both teams were keen to play the mixed. Because of the heat and the result at that point we reduced the sets to first-to-four. We still wanted to work on combinations before taking on Whanganui."
Hawke's Bay led 10-2 after singles play. The hosts No 6 man, Jacob Verhoeven, was beaten 6-1, 2-6, 6-1 by Alistair Nairn while the Bay's No 1 woman, Alex Cave, was beaten 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 by Nikayla Barnard. Taranaki's only other win came in the No 6 mixed doubles clash when Simpson and Barnard beat Verhoeven and Ward 4-1, 4-2.
Tennis Eastern development officer Sean Davies praised Taranaki for turning up.
"Manawatu defaulted to us the previous week. While Taranaki may have brought a development side at least they fronted. Credit to them."
Davies agreed the Bay's men's line-up is impressive.
Last year Hawke's Bay pipped Taranaki 13-11 in New Plymouth to win the Christie Cup for the first time since the 2004-05 season.