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NZ champion . . . Helen Hay has shown she is sharp when it comes to playing euchre, having won the NZ Chartered Clubs' singles championship. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

Timaru euchre player Helen Hay had some extra baggage to carry back from a visit to Blenheim recently.

The Cosmopolitan club member won the much sought-after New Zealand Chartered Clubs’ singles euchre championship held at the Clubs of Marlborough and returned to Timaru with a handsome silver trophy stowed away in her luggage.

“I was thrilled,” she said.

“It was just disbelief that I had done it.”

Her joy was understandable.

The championships are always hotly contested and this year more than 300 competitors from 42 clubs took part.

The nationals are contested over two days.

“On the first day you play to make the cup finals and for the team trophy. On the second day you’re playing for the cup and the plate,” Mrs Hay said.

“I consider it a win if I get into the cup final.”

In her previous 10 or so appearances at the nationals, Mrs Hay had made a cup final.

“I had a dream run this year. I played three sessions for the cup on the Sunday. The maximum points are 54 and I got 43, the second place-getter got 39.”

Her success delighted fellow Cosmopolitan club members who placed second in the national teams competition last year.

Mrs Hay has been playing euchre for 19 years.

“I was at a bit of a loose end at the time and went along to the Cossie club.”

She found playing euchre was hugely sociable and from then on she was hooked.

“You meet some fabulous people; there’s lot of fun and a lot of laughter and it keeps your brain active.”

Six clubs operate between Timaru and Oamaru.

Besides club competitions there are interclub events, a South Island championship and the national championships.

The Cosmopolitan club has between 25 and 30 people playing euchre at their Monday night competitions and Mrs Hay urged anyone who was interested to come along.

Besides her silver trophy, Mrs Hay won $500 for taking the title which she plans to defend next year in Porirua.