IT came down to the barest of margins that separated the top two positions at the Port Macquarie Mixed Pairs Challenge last weekend.
South Tweed duo Ray and Sally Hickman held on to win the event over North Haven pair Irene Page and Denis Hare.
Port City's Kylie Hardy and Peter O'Connell rounded out the top three.
Port City Bowling Club bowls coordinator Phil Baker said the event took a slightly different path this year compared to previous years.
"Usually we have an outsider that surprises everyone, but Ray Hickman is an established bowler in the South Tweed region," he said.
Baker said it was pleasing to see the local bowlers maintain the proud record they have managed in recent years.
"We normally have our local bowlers that finish in the top three," he said.
"Denis was a bit of a surprise and Kylie Hardy is our women's singles champion here in Port Macquarie."
The Hickman's claimed eight wins over the course of the weekend by a combined margin of 84, just ahead of the North Haven duo who also claimed eight wins.
They had an overall margin of 59.
Under-12 Victoria Point bowler Syarra Blain became the youngest-ever to compete at the event on the way to becoming the junior champion.
"It was great to have our youngest-ever competitor; Callum Murray would have been our previous youngest as a 15-year-old," Baker said.
"He's now representing New South Wales in the under-25s."
Despite the Australian Open also being run on the same weekend, numbers were up in Port Macquarie on 2018.
"We had 130 bowlers this year and only 90 last year," Baker said.
Attention now turns to the Prestige Pairs event scheduled for July 17-19.
What else is happening in sport?
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Port Macquarie News. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, SIGN UP HERE.