Winning national titles at the New Zealand Masters individual and teams event held in Napier last week is a major achievement for any competitor.
But the story behind two Western Bay locals winning individual titles in the 50-55 age-group categories, and helping Bay of Plenty take out the team title, is full of emotional and physical pain.
Brent Sherman and Sandra Le Lievre were individual stars of an outstanding Bay of Plenty team who defeated Canterbury to win the final of the teams event. It was the Bay's fifth victory in the competition's 27-year history after previous wins in 2002, 2003, 2006 and 2010.
But they both had to overcome emotional and physical adversity to triumph in Napier.
Welcome Bay resident Le Lievre did not play at last year's tournament after she lost her sister to cancer and the suffering took a big toll on her.
She she says winning the two events, to take her total to four Masters titles, was an emotional and spiritual victory. These were her third national titles in a fortnight, after she helped Te Puke take out the B grade nationals in Christchurch a week earlier.
Le Lievre won her individual final 3-0 against Freda Walker from Christchurch but it was not as straight forward as the score might indicate.
"It was really hard as she is a well-known, renowned player and a very competitive opponent," Le Lievre said. "She has been playing as long as I have and is also a New Zealand representative.
"I was not expecting to win as I had seen Freda play the week earlier in Christchurch and she had lifted her game. It was the best I had ever seen her play. But I put the time in and felt I was playing well."
For Sherman, it was overcoming a severe injury and other niggling ones that made his performances so meritorious.
He won his first individual title at the Masters back in 2006 but then badly broke his leg playing soccer, meaning a titanium rod had to be inserted in his tibia nearly three years ago.
"It has been a long way back from there," Sherman said. "I have had lots of knocks coming back into it and this tournament was the first time I have been fit and back to the level I was at in 2006.
"To get through this was great because I played in the worlds in England in July and felt really, really good, but just before (Napier) I got injured again. I pulled a glut muscle so I was lucky to get through it really.
"It was very satisfying to win the final because my opponent (Martin McKelvie) from Invercargill is renowned for his fitness. I lost the first game and I finally broke him in the third game."
As much as their individual titles meant to Le Lievre and Sherman, winning the team's event that followed the singles was the crowning glory.
"It was so important to give it your best for the team because it was on the overall team's score so every game counted," Le Lievre said. "You had to step up and perform again. We had two games each day and keeping your mental levels up was a challenge."
Sherman suffered another injury in the singles final so found the team environment spurred him on at just the right moment.
"It is like the Ryder Cup thing where you play harder because it is your team," he said. "We had to get up and play the day after the final so that was tough, especially as I hurt my back in the final."