Vying in a sport by which patience is a virtue, bowler Julie Zaporozec is one to know that better than most.
After 15 years of arriving at the Australian indoors bowls championships full of hope, Zaporozec finally cracked it for a national singles title.
There was a sense of relief days after in the 46-year-old’s flu-affected voice when she declared: “This is definitely the single most sought-after thing you could achieve.”
She had to wait a further four years when in 2014, the Bishopsbourne indoor bowler came close to winning it but had to settle for second.
Until then Zaporozec had to be content celebrating past glories of an Australian mixed fours victory to go with her multiple state crowns.
But that patience came to the fore heading into the penultimate day of competition when nothing was certain.
Zaporozec was delicately placed equal third before the frontrunners began to falter and drop crucial matches.
She won both matches on Friday to push out to the lead on 13 points, one ahead of her nearest rivals entering the ninth and final clash.
The pressure would be on to hold her nerve.
But Zaporozec had a stroke of luck when her opponent was forced to forfeit with an illness on Saturday, handing out the elusive title win.
“I mean it would’ve been good to have played and won it, but I was just as happy to take it that way,” she said.
“My name is still going to be on the trophy at the end of the day – that’s why you do the best you can in the earlier rounds because you just never know what can happen.
“I knew it has happened before when people have pulled out and that changes the whole competition.”
The North can now boast two female Australian bowls champions after Rebecca Van Asch delivered on the Gold Coast grass.
But that’s where the similarities end.
“I hadn’t ever played lawn bowls,” Zaporozec said.
“My husband, my dad, and grandparents played it, but it’s not something that really floats my boat.”
Zaporozec’s carpet win at the Sunshine Coast could not be further away from a hall in the tiny Bishopsbourne farming community.
The township of less than 100 residents with little more than a church and a graveyard was also the location of where its latest champion grew up before she knew very little of the sport.
For the mother of two, the game has been a family affair after husband Simon first achieved national honours.
“It was a case if you can’t beat them, you might as well join them,” Zaporozec said.
“Now our two daughters play, so it’s a family thing.”
Ahead of the upcoming Trans-Tasman series, youngest daughter Shenaye, 20, is in line to join her parents and represent Australia.
My name is still going to be on the trophy at the end of the dayAustralian champion Julie Zaporozec