Baty and Henare for World Champs

It may have been a day late but it didn't matter to Gisborne woolhandler Maryanne Baty today as she gained a dramatic selection in the CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand team for the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill.

Baty turned 31 yesterday (Wednesday) and celebrated today at the Canterbury Show in Christchurch by being runner-up in the top-three final of a selection series of true survival and which started 10 months ago in Southland.

She joins fellow Gisborne woolhandler and series favourite Joel Henare who won the trial, the 2012 World Champion set to represent New Zealand at a third World Championships, at the age of just 25.

Both showed some emotion for Alexandra woolhandler Pagan Karauria, who had flown from Australia for the final, as she had done for the last points round three weeks ago, and was denied at the last hurdle.

"I know how hard she worked," said Henare.

While Henare won five of the six points rounds which culled an original field of over 20 to just six for the Christchurch semi-final and final showdown, Baty hadn't given herself a show when she went to the Royal Show in Hastings on October 21 in 10th place, with a seemingly near-impossible gap of four points from the sixth place.

But with third place on the day, and second-place points in the series, she scraped in on a countback of best placings. Today she placed third in the first round, ousting three more favoured opponents, including 2008 World champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and her 2010 teams champions partner Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti.

Baty, whose sole Open-class win was at the Hawke's Bay Show's Great Raihania Shears last year, told how the "self-doubt" in Hastings turned to giving it a go because it was the last chance, and flying to Christchurch in disbelief, fare paid by employers Ian and Lilybeth Kirkpatrick Patrick.
"Everything hit home being here," she said, soon after Henare had draped her with a New Zealand team blazer which appeared from the crowd. "Seeing everyone here with the same mission. I didn't think I could do it."

"Emotion?" she said. "Yes, definitely."

Daughter Erana, 12, and partner and shearer D.J. were not able to be in Christchurch but were able to watch via one of several live feeds on facebook.

"Erana wanted to be here," Baty said. "She was here, I could hear her voice."

There's little rest for Baty, who, having to rearrange a flight so that she can be present for team photos tomorrow (Friday), plans to travel from Gisborne to Waipukurau on Saturday to compete at the Central Hawke's Bay Show.

Henare made himself possibly the eventual TAB favourite to regain the World tilte, having been so dominant throughout the series. Admitting nervousness before today's showdown, he doubted he had done enough in the semi-final, but still came out on top in a close top-three, coered by just 7pts as they made their way to the final later in the afternoon.

While Baty was first to finish, Henare cleaned-up in the board, oddments and fleece points.
Determined to get the World title back after being a semi-final elimination in Ireland two years ago, he was, however, mossing the CHB show to get back to wife Erica and children Keanu, 3, Hikurangi, 2, and Lee, 1.

"I wouldn't have got here without my sponsor PGG Wrightson Gisborne and Erica and the children," he said.

Fairlie farmer Tony Dobbs has already guaranteed a place at the championships as one of two bladeshearers, the other place to be decided in tomorrow's (Friday's) New Zealand Corriedale Championships bladeshearing championship.

The two machine shearing positions will be decided tomorrow (Friday) in a six-man selection series final headed by 2014 World champion Rowland Smith, of Hastings.

The 2017 World Championships will be held in Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland on February 8-11. A record 32 countries have entered.

Result of the Shearing Sports New Zealand World Championships woolhandling team selection final at the Canterbury Show in Christchurch today: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 136.6pts, 1; Maryanne Baty (Gisborne) 210.568pts, 2; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 228.624pts, 3.

Henare and Baty will represent New Zealand in the woolhandling at the 40th anniversary World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill on February 8-11.


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