Okay , it was — to the sound of clapperboards — take 7, light, cameras and action in the final round of the New Zealand Women's Interprovincial golf competition in Napier today.
After six days of predominantly "cut, cut, cut" at the sun-drenched Maraenui Golf Club there was sizzling promise the mind-numbing monotony of the previous six days should yield a gripping semifinal and final tomorrow.
Of course, there was Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay halving with Otago as well to avoid the wooden spoon in division one but more on that later.
Manawatu/Whanganui created an aura of mmm about the premier amateur teams' matchplay tourney when they eclipsed perennial favourites Auckland 3-2 in the only round of the day as exhausted and mentally fatigued players would have welcomed the afternoon off as the region flirted with a 30C-plus temperatures.
To the magical run of Tara Raj, the victors, attired in red, conceded the first games before the top three took ownership on the links course.
Raj pipped Vivian Lu 1 up, Zhuo Yi Hu thumped Fiona Xu 6&5 before Brydie Hodge took care of Auckland captain Carmen Lim.
Whether the teenagers from the City of Sails were ghosting — since both teams had booked their semifinal berths — remains to be seen but Manawatu/Whanganui's presumably stunning victory has provided the twist and turn the tourney so badly yearned for with Auckland chasing a quadruple on the trot.
"It feels really good [beating Lu] because I wasn't expecting too much," said Raj, revealing all her teammates were feeling good about their games before playing Bay of Plenty first up tomorrow.
"I had confidence in myself but you never really know."
The 16-year-old from Whanganui has assumed the mantle of top seed for the past two years.
Manawatu/Whanganui have never played BOP before but there's no sense of apprehension and they are staying calm about trying to tame 36 holes tomorrow.
Raj, a Wanganui Golf Club member, said it was windier in her city but the Lisa Herbert -captained side were handling the heat quite well.
The plus-one handicapper from Tikura High School is the daughter of Cricket Manawatu manager Dillon Raj and former New Zealand representative equestrian Arlene (nee Blackley).
As a result she faced rock-hard, red balls whistling past her head and attempted to forge a rapport with mounts several times larger than her lithe frame at pony clubs.
"I wasn't really into that sort of stuff so I was practising golf a lot better although I did both of the other things growing up but it just wasn't me," said the teenager, enjoying the competitiveness and the opportunity to make things right at another hole when the game starts going a little awry.
Raj intends to turn professional, perhaps on the way to securing an American sports university scholarship in 2021.
The sceptics will say the two sides will meet again in the final but that'll be quite condescending towards division two top qualifiers North Harbour who went through unbeaten and will face Auckland in their semifinal from 8.05am tomorrow when all playoff merchants will start from the No 1 tee.
Ominously Auckland No 5 Grace Jung said all her teammates felt "pretty good" despite their defeat and were looking forward to the playoffs against North Harbour.
"We'll carry on with business as usual so that won't affect us at all," said Jung, agreeing they were familiar with their neighbours in the metropolitan jungle.
"We're pretty confident of going through [for the treble]," said the Remuera GC member who has represented Auckland for five years.
The scratchie, who attends Epsom Girls' Grammar, said it was very hot but ideal for golf.
The Aucklanders were straight into the swimming pool after the round today and didn't think the heat would affect them.
Nevertheless, the contribution from Bay of Plenty, runners-up in division two who will play Manawatu/Whanganui from 7.30am, should not be overlooked.
The women from Steamers' territory snuck into second place after thumping neighbours Waikato 4-1, only to discover North Harbour had edged out Canterbury 3-2.
A province that used to compete and dominate as a composite unit with Thames Valley since the 1950s and then went solo not long after the turn of the century, BOP are gungho about making the cut tomorrow.
Team manager Pat Hay said they had Waikato's measure in a quadrangular recently but there was no complacency despite the familiarity.
Hay said BOP had a good team and depth with some talent itching to make their mark on the wings but their experienced campaigners in Caitlin Maurice and, possibly, Taylor-
Rose Perrett were aware of Manawatu/Whanganui's prowess.
"Today is the only day that we really felt warm," she said. "The wind has either kept things cool or difficult."
BOP beat Auckland recently in a quadrangular although they were mindful their personnel may have been a little different but, despite that, they were mentally charged to face Manawatu/Whanganui.
North Harbour captain and No 2 seed Vaha Fapiano, whose teammates are all 13 to 15 years old, said they had beaten Auckland in the Battle of the Bridge in August.
Fapiano, a maths schoolteacher, said "you never know" what Auckland would turn up but this was a big event.
"It's a different level of stress but these girls [North Harbour] are very capable," the 50-year-old said. "Once you stand on the tee at this level with the pressure to win it's a different story so, hopefully, tomorrow it'll all work out."
The North Shore GC member is making her interprovincials debut after representing her region for 12 years but found the No 1 and No 2 positions carried huge responsibilities.
"They [Auckland] just want to play games because they were already through, win or lose, today," said the one handicapper.
HBPB No 5 seed Fiona Ellis was relieved to have clinched her first game to help the Martha Menaena-skippered side book a playoffs berth because the last-placed Taranaki had missed out with the extra number of teams in division one.
"It's been a pretty tough tournament so I felt like my golf came back today," Ellis said, feeling she had been possibly trying too hard before reserve player Ellen Ball had replaced her yesterday.
The three tough starts had taken it out of HBPB and hadn't done much for their confidence.
"You know you're playing against people who have a much lower handicap than you and are probably much stronger golfers than you because their No 5s are perhaps equivalent to our No 1," she said, revealing the HBPB team were battling exhaustion after a bye on day one.
Final rd 7:
■ Hawke's Bay/Poverty Bay 2.5 Otago 2.5: Tessa McDonald lost to Sumin Kang 1 down, Janie Field all square with Danielle Bailey, Clare Choi bt Tracey Storer 1up, Martha Manaena lost to Susan Greig 4&3, Fiona Ellis bt Amy Johns 6&5.
■ Wellington 5 Taranaki 0: Darae Chung bt Tineka Kumeroa 6&5, Erika Cui bt Joanne McDonald 5&4, Alanah Gullery bt Debbie McCallum 3&1, Victoria Li bt Kim Lucas 1up, Yewoo Hyun bt Kaye-Maree Mihaljevich 5&4.
■ Auckland 2 Manawatu/Whanganui 3: Vivian Lu lost to Tara Raj 1dn, Fiona Xu lost to Zhuo Yi Hu 6& 5, Carmen Lim lost to Brydie Hodge 2&1, Angela Ju bt Lisa Herbert 4&3, Grace Jung bt Lily Griffin 2&1.
■ Tasman 2 Northland 3: Lizzie Neale lost to Shardae Bulkeley 2&1, Eve Clarke bt Kylie Jacoby 3&1, Emily Stenhouse all square with Sjanna Bishop, Amber Boyce lost to Jenny Peters 4&3, Tracy Bary all square with Alayna Cox.
■ Waikato 1 Bay of Plenty 4: Zahraa Bester lost to Caitlin Maurice 1down, Jill Morgan lost to Jessica Green 4&3, Sarah Hancock lost to Aroha Tito 2dn, Robyn Pellow bt Taylor-Rose Perrett 4&3, Julie Gee lost to Susan Short 4&3.
■ Canterbury 2 North Harbour 3: Maddie May lost to Anna An 1up, Amy Weng bt Vaha Fapiano 5&4, Hillary O'Connor bt Eunseo Choi 1up, Olive Tapu lost to Yeonsoo Son 5&3, Melissa Newburn lost to Danika Lee 2up.
Match pts/individual wins:
■ Div one: 1 Manawatu/Whanganui 6/26; 2 Auckland 5/26.5; 3 Wellington 4/17.5; 4 Aorangi 2.5/11; 5 Otago 1.5/9, 6 HBPB 1/9.5, 7 Taranaki 1/5.5.
■ Div two: 1 North Harbour 5/19; 2 BOP 4/15.5; 3 Canterbury 3/17; 4 Waikato 2/10.5; 5 Tasman 1/6, 6 Northland 0/7.
All played from No 1 tomorrow:
7.30am: Semifinal one.
8.05am: Semifinal two.