Cup Week Drama - in the Shearing Pavilion

Cup Week's multiple dramas in Christchurch have an added extra this week as some of the World's best shearers and woolhandlers battle for places in the New Zealand team for their 2017 World Championships in Invercargill.

The extra drama will take place during the New Zealand Corriedale shearing and woolhandling championships at the Canterbury Show with the climax of two gruelling selection series' which started in Southland 10 months ago.

Six shearers and six woolhandlers will contest the finals to decide which two machine shearers and which two woolhandlers will wear the Silver Fern at the 40th anniversary World Championships in ILT Stadium Southland on February 8-11.

Two blade shearers will also be named after their series ends with the final of the Corriedale Championships.

The woolhandling final will be held on Thursday, including three former World champions in 2012 winner and reigning Golden Shears and New Zealand champion Joel Henare, 25, of Gisborne, 2008 World champion Sheree Alabaster, 40, of Taihape, and her 2010 World teams champions partner, Keryn Herbert, 37, from Te Awamutu and now of Te Kuiti.

The others are 2006 and 2014 New Zealand transtasman series representative Tia Potae, 33, of Milton, second-to-top qualifier Pagan Karauria, 28, and 31-year-old Gisborne woolhandler Maryanne Baty, who scraped into the elite group in the last qualifying round in the Royal Show's Great Raihania Shears in Hastings on October 21.

The favourite for the shearing series final on Friday is reigning World, Golden Shears and New Zealand champion Rowland Smith, 30, of Hastings, but it won't be easy – all five others have represented New Zealand.

They're headed by 2014 championships teammate, two-times and four-times Golden Shears champion John Kirkpatrick, 45, of Napier, Southland hopes Nathan Stratford, 42, and 2000 World Championships runner-up Darin Forde, 51, Pongaroa farmer David Buick, 38, and Feilding shearer Aaron Haynes, 28.

With qualifying rounds as far afield as Winton in the south and Te Kuiti in the north, it's been estimated to have cost competitors as much as $10,000 each to get to the finals, in terms of travel, accommodation and lost days' wages.

Karauria, daughter of a World record breaking shearer and a World champion woolhandler, has gone even further, currently working in Australia and flying back to New Zealand twice in three weeks to make her claims.

The woolhandling showdown on Thursday starts with two semi-finals of three woolhandlers each, in which each contender will handle wool from six sheep, comprising three full-wool and three second shear.

The top three will then contest the final trial, stepping up to eight sheep, comprising four full-wool and four second-shear.

In the machine-shearing final the next day, the hopefuls will each shear 20 sheep, comprising six full-wool, eight second-shear and six lambs, duplicating the conditions of the World championships final three months later.

Fairlie blades shearer Tony Dobbs, 54, has guaranteed his place in the team and is favourite to complete a cleansweep of events in the blades series. Locked in a points tie and vying for the second place are Phil Oldfield, 55, of Geraldine, and Tim Hogg, 37, from Timaru.

From Doug Laing, media officer, Shearing Sports New Zealand


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