World Champs fever in the air

The first hints of World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships fever in Southland were in the air as New Zealand team members Nathan Stratford and Joel Henare cleaned-up in two major scene-setters at the weekend.

Just three weeks out from the 40th anniversary World championships, in Invercargill on February 8-11, host-town shearer Nathan Stratford and Gisborne woolhandler Joel Henare won their respective Open finals at the Northern Southland Community Shears on longwool near Lumsden on Friday and in the Southland Shears' national crossbred lambs championships at the Winton A and P Show on Saturday.

There was a real international flair at Winton, with seven nationalities represented in finals during the day, possibly the greatest number at any one show in New Zealand other than a World championships.

Among the visitors was Scots international and World teams title-holder Hamish Mitchell, who was first to finish the six-man Open shearing final of 20 lambs each

His 18min 28.7sec was about 24 seconds quicker than Stratford, but Mitchell suffered in the quality judging and had to settle for sixth place overall.

As at Lumsden the previous day, Stratford's quality was too good for everyone, including two of the greatest Southland and Otago shearers of the last 30 years, Darrin Forde and Dion Morrell, who were second and third respectively. Stratford had a winning buffer of almost 4.5pts in winning the title for a third time in 10 years.

Championships New Zealand shearing teammate John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, missed the event, shearing instead at Wairoa in Northern Hawke's Bay, as did incumbent World champion Rowland Smith, of Hastings, who won both titles in Southland last year but in November just missed out on a place in the team.

Henare faced a top field in the woolhandling final, all four finalists having been in the six who contested the New Zealand team World Championships selection series finals in Christchurch in November. Tia Potae, of Milton, was runner-up, 2010 World teams title winner Keryn Herbert, from Te Awamutu, was third, and defending three-times in-a-row champion Alexandra's Pagan Karauria, was fourth, as she had been also at Lumsden.

The international component on Saturday was strongest in the Intermediate shearing final, won by George Olof, from England, with German World championships entry Jan Juppe third, and Gilles Grancher, from France, fourth.

Results from the New Zealand Crossbred Lamb Shearing Championships at the Southland Shears, Winton A and P Show, on Saturday:

Open final (20 lambs): Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 18min 52.28sec, 62.724pts, 1; Darrin Forde (Lornville) 19min 27.94sec, 67.197pts, 2; Dion Morrell (Alexandra) 19min 19.13sec, 67.2065pts, 3; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 19min 7.56sec, 67.428pts, 4; Casey Bailey (Riverton) 19min 23.5sec, 70.175pts, 5; Hamish Mitchell (Scotland) 18min 28.78sec, 70.439pts, 6.
Senior final (12 lambs): Trevor Holland (New Plymouth) 14min 30.37sec, 57.0185pts, 1; Nick Greaves (England) 14min 34.6sec, 57.896pts, 2; Marley Waihape (Mataura) 16min 13.72sec, 59.519pts, 3; Alex Smith (Rakaia) 16min 53.31sec, 63.2488pts, 4; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 18min 23.03sec, 64.7348pts, 5; Luis Pincol (Chile) 18min 55.07sec, 66.5033pts, 6.
Intermediate (6 lambs): George Olof (England) 9min 13.03sec, 37.1515pts, 1; Mitchell Murray (Christchurch) 9min 27.47sec, 37.7068pts, 2; Jan Juppe (Germany) 11min 1.47sec, 39.74pts, 3; Gilles Grancher (France) 9min 34.5sec, 41.058pts, 4; Brandon Maguire Ratima (Winton) 10min 35.82sec, 41.1243pts, 5; Jesse Barclay (Wyndham) 9min 59.94sec, 43.6637pts, 6.
Junior final (3 lambs): Brodie Horrell (Gore) 7min 28.22sec, 37.411pts, 1; Ryan Kirk (Gore) 6min 31.81sec, 41.9238pts, 3; James Dickson (Gore) 6min 37.22sec, 45.861pts, 3; Hamish Lee (Winton) 7min 25.97sec, 51.2985pts, 4; Glen Torland (Norway) 6min 37.28sec, 54.1973pts, 5; Harlem Haare (Gore) 6min 28.15sec, 56.074pts, 6.

Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 33.462pts, 1; Tia Potae (Milton) 50.044pts, 2; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu) 60.174pts, 3; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 64.792pts, 4.
Senior final: Sharon Tuhakaraina (Gore) 37.06pts, 1; Melanie Barrett (Winton) 52.88pts, 2; Ebony Turipa (Gore) 54.65pts, 3; Jenna Holland (Invercargill) 62.85pts, 4.
Junior final: Chenell Waihape (Mataura) 41.306pts, 1; Lashara Anderson (Woodlands) 51.15pts, 2; Autumn Waihape (Mataura) 61.84pts, 3; Gabriela Schmidt-Morrell (Alexandra) 67.28pts, 4.


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