Kiwi World champs hope Oldfield wins blades title at Reefton

Geraldine bladeshearer Phil Oldfield had an important win ahead of this week's World shearing and woolhandling championships when he beat an international field to regain the Reefton Shears bladeshearing at the Inangahua A and P Show today.

While teammate Tony Dobbs and three African hopes for the World championships in Invercargill from Wednesday to next Saturday did not make the trip to the West Coast, there was a significant field of 18 bladeshearers and an otherwise all-overseas final of three lambs each in which Oldfield beat Peter Heraty, of Co Mayo, Ireland, Australian shearer Ken French, of Glenisla, Vic, and Noel Joyce, of Finnie, Ireland.

Oldfield, who won at Reefton two years ago, had to be good on the four-stand board beneath the Reefton Racecourse red-top today, after a top performance by French in the semi-finals, when he had just nine penalties in the pens, when the next best was Heraty's 25.

But French accurately predicted he wouldn't "get two like that again" and stacked-up the penalties in the final, in which he was however first to finish, while Heraty, mentored by Oldfield over recent years, incurred just four faults in the board judging.

Among those eliminated in the semi-finals was England shearing identity George Mudge, who by the end of the week will have shorn in 11 of the 17 World championships since the first championships in England in 1977.

Now aged 69, he made his championships debut in the second celebration in Masterton in 1980 in the machine shearing, in which he reached the final next championships up in England in 1984.

He retired soon afterwards but came back in 1998 as a bladeshearer, in which he was sixth in the final at the last World championships in Ireland three years ago.

The machine-shearing also attracted a small number of World championships entrants, with Takaka-based Mongolia national Enkhnasan Chuluunbaatar finishing second in the Senior final, and the Intermediate final being won by Canterbury-based Japan representative Shun Oishi, who will be the only competitor contesting the machine shearing, bladeshearing and woolhandling at the World Championships in ILT Stadium Southland.

Results from the Reefton Shears Blade Shearing at Inangahua A and P Show, Reefton Racecourse, Saturday, February 4, 2017:
Final (3 lambs): Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 11min 17.29sec, 52.2pts, 1; Peter Heraty (Ireland) 11min 57.43sec, 55.87pts, 2; Ken French (Australia) 10min 58.91sec, 57.28pts, 3; Noel Joyce (Ireland) 13min 13.38sec, 78pts, 4.


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