Manawatu-Wanganui's No 1 Tara Raj was the undisputed player of the tournament at the New Zealand Women's Interprovincials in Napier, but it just wasn't quite enough to stop the Auckland juggernaut in the final this afternoon.
Having beaten the three-time defending champions in the last round of pool play on Friday, Manawatu-Wanganui qualified top of Division 1 and subsequently held off Division 2's runnerup Bay of Plenty 3-2 in the morning semifinals at Maraenui Golf Club.
That set up an afternoon rematch with Auckland, who had comfortably beaten Division 2's top team North Harbour 4-1 in the other playoff.
Auckland went on to claim the four-peat, and overall their eight title in the last 10 years, with a 3-2 revenge victory – making it a rare double as the Auckland Men's team had also won their NZ Interprovincial at Hastings Golf Club the previous weekend.
Manawatu-Wanganui started well, as No 5 Lily Griffin reversed her loss on Friday by racing out of the blocks with a stellar front nine against Grace Jung, going to a 5up lead.
This deficit would be too large for Jung to come back from, losing to Griffin 5&4 for the first point on the board.
However, Angela Ju had been Auckland's rock all week in the No 4 spot, having an undefeated tournament, and she picked up a second consecutive win over Lisa Herbert, this time by a larger 5&3 margin, to level the final 1-1 with three matches still on the course.
On Friday, Manawatu-Wanganui's Brydie Hodge had manufactured an outstanding come-from-behind 2&1 win over Carmen Lim, after Hodge trailed with nine holes to play.
However, this time Lim was too strong, staying ahead for the entire match and executing strongly for the finish, therefore winning 4&2 to give her team the advantage.
Auckland's No 2 Fiona Xu then sealed the title, while also getting revenge for her own Friday loss, by beating Zhou Yi Hu 3&2 and reversing the 6&5 result from 24 hours earlier.
Hu had already given a big effort in the semifinal as she defeated Bay of Plenty's No 2 Jessica Green in a 19th hole playoff, which would ultimately send her team through to the championship matchup.
And so the result was decided, but No 1 player Raj could still take a lot of satisfaction from defeating the former New Zealand Amateur champion Vivian Lu for the second time in two days, and by a more comfortable 3&2 margin.
The Wanganui Golf Club prodigy Raj had narrowly defeated Lu 1up on Friday to secure her team's upset win.
In the semifinals, Raj had comfortably beaten Bay of Plenty's No 1 Caitlin Maurice 5&3, and so her undefeated week of games at the top of the playing card made her the clear choice for the Player of the Tournament award.
Next year's NZ Women's Interprovincial will be on Auckland's home turf at the Akarana Golf Club.
It will be the same for the the Men's Interprovincial, which will be at Whitford Park Golf Club.
Auckland bt Manawatu-Wanganui 3-2: Vivian Lu lost to Tara Raj 3/2; Fiona Xu def Zhou Yi Hu 3/2; Carmen Lim def Brydie Hodge 4/2; Angela Ju def Lisa Herbert 5/3; Grace Jung lost to Lily Griffin 5/4.
Manawatu-Wanganui bt Bay of Plenty 3-2: Tara Ray def Caitlin Maurice 5/3; Zhou Yi Hu def Jessica Green 19th hole; Brydie Hodge def Aroha Tito 2/1; Lisa Herbert lost to Taylor-Rose Perrett 3/2; Lily Griffin lost to Susan Short 5/4.