ANN Robathan empathised with opponent Lil Dykes’ first tee nerves, but although the Ladies Observer Shield was a friendly, all-Accrington affair, it was still keenly contested.
And it was third time lucky for Ann after her two final defeats in 2002 and 2007, as she was never behind in the Rishton showpiece - played in front of clubmates in fine conditions - before emerging a deserved 3 & 1 victor.
The Lady captain elect lost in 2002 to Whalley’s Daphne Dawson and then lost out in a cracking match with good friend Laura Banks last year.
And seven handicapper Ann revealed that she used her experience to combat any early nerves, crucial as she was giving a shot to 16-handicap clubmate, at many of the opening holes.
Ann, whose caddy was beaten semi-finalist and Accrington Lady President Margaret Birtwell, said: "I’ve been in the final three times and I think Lil was very nervous at the start. She’s a lovely lady and once she settled down she played some really good golf. The first time I was in the final I was as nervous as her so I know exactly how she felt. But I never felt like I was going to lose. I had such a good game with Laura last year and I felt in control."
After taking an early lead Ann, 47, was pegged back as Lil, caddied by former England hockey player Val Robinson, scrambled some great up-and-downs around the greens.
But Ann, who was especially strong from tee to green, won 9, 10 and 11 to move three up and despite Lil fighting back when Ann missed a putt on 16, she made certain of the title by winning the 17th hole.
Delighted Ann said: "I was pleased with the way I played. The only frustration was the slowness of the greens but I hit a lot of good drives and iron shots. I was over-the-moon to win."
The runner-up picked up the Mabel Stones Silver Cup, while the other beaten semi-finalist was Yvette Cairns from Rossendale.