Remembering 1984

World Championship Organising Committee Chairman Tom Wilson became the first non-New Zealand shearer to win a World Individual Shearing title at Bath & West in England in 1984. He followed that, 12 years later by claiming the World Team's title with Scottish teammate George Bayne in Masterton. He relives his memories of his historic victory.

"My main memory is standing there with the trophy after competing against the best people in the world.

We were the underdogs really. New Zealand were definitely the ones to beat at the time.

I'd spent seven or eight seasons in New Zealand up until then to try and get to their level, so to actually achieve it was something really special.

My first World Champs were in 1980 in Masterton and we were pitted up against Snow Quinn and Martin Ngataki from New Zealand. I actually manged to come third (Quinn won the world title with Ngataki second) and that gave me a lead-in to do it a bit better the next time.

Leading in to the 1984 Champs, I knew I had a chance with the event being held at Bath & West. I was an underdog but I knew on the breed of sheep we were shearing and the work I'd put in leading up that there was an opportunity to be had.

We were on a UK breed of sheep called Scottish halfbreds. They were Cheviot crossed with Border Leicester and a lot of those types of sheep were raised and reared in the Borders of Scotland where I was working. That really was a home advantage.

Just like any final, you focus on the job in front of you and nothing else and it just came right on the night.

The final itself was just a hard slog. The sheep were quite niggly and kicky and it was a matter of just keeping your head and doing the job and I was able to pull through ahead of New Zealand's John Fagan (who is also part of this year's Organising Committee) and Robert Bull from England.

Winning the Team title in 1996 was also special. Back in 1984, George Bayne and I had a bit of a mishap and finished down the bottom of the list in the Team's event. In 1996 George and I were still together as the team and in that final both David Fagan and Colin King had a bit of a slip up and we ended up taking the honours.

Looking to next month, it's going to be a great competition. The northern hemisphere countries, especially those from the UK, are really coming to the fore.

You've got a world record holder in Ivan Scott (Ireland), a past champion in Gavin Mutch and Hamish Mitchell from Scotland, the Welsh contingent is really strong and then there's a two-time champ in Shannon Warnest from Australia.

The leading 12 or so shearers are really close. But, as always there will be the top half dozen that will float to the top and the Kiwis (John Kirkpatrick and Nathan Stratford) will certainly be a force to be reckoned with, especially at home."


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