Confidence-booster for Baty

New national woolhandling representative Mary-Anne Baty has scored a confidence-boosting win at the Dannevirke A and P Show before heading south for a bid to win a World championship in Invercargill next week.

Gisborne woolhandler Baty, who had only had one previous Open-class win, took today's title by less than three-tenths of a point from 2010 World teams title winner Keryn Herbert, from Te Awamutu.

The event attracted a good entry of 14 woolhandlers, despite clashing with the Otago Championships and New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year championship in Balclutha.

The 31-year-old Baty, who has been a Golden Shears Open finalist but whose only win in the top class was at the Great Raihania Shears in Hastings 17 months ago, snatched a surprise place in the two-person woolhandling component of the New Zealand team when runner-up in the selection series final in Christchurch in November.

Joel Henare, the 2012 World champion, reigning Golden Shears and New Zealand champion and Dunedin-based fellow Gisborne woolhandler, is the hot-favourite to regain the world title at the 40th anniversary World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland from Wednesday to Saturday next week (February 8-11).

Today in Balclutha he dominated the heats and semi-final of his defence of the Woolhandler of the Year title, which attracted 21 entries including World championships competitors from England, Scoland, Wales and Germany. The NZ Woolhandler of the Year Open final will be decided on the second day of the Otago championships tomorrow (Saturday).

Meanwhile, reigning World champion shearer Rowland Smith, of Hastings, who in November missed out on a place in the team for next week, made an emphatic statement of his current form when he retained the Dannevirke show's Open shearing title by almost seven points, one of the biggest seen in top-level machine shearing competition in recent years.

The runner-up was World Championships selection series winner and Napier gun John Kirkpatrick who next week makes his fourth bid for the World title. Scotland representative and Taranaki farmer Gavin Mutch was fourth today as he prepared for his bid to regain the World title he won in Masterton in 2012.

Results from the Dannevirke A and P Show shearing and woolhandling championships on Friday, February 3, 2017:

Open final: Rowland Smith (Hastings) 53.5pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 60.25pts, 2; David Buick (Pongaroa) 63.55pts, 3; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona) 64.9pts, 4.

Open final: Mary-Anne Baty (Gisborne) 56.488pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu) 56.754pts, 2; Erimiha Neho (Dannevirke) 60.176pts, 3.


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