Henare claims Woolhandler of the Year

New Zealand representative Joel Henare claimed his eighth NZ Woolhandler of the Year title in a decade on dominance in Balclutha today, firming his status as the one to beat for next week's World Woolhandling title at ILT Stadium Southland in Invercargill.

Henare's speed and quality earned him an emphatic victory this afternoon, 283 points clear of Pagan Karauria, who earlier in the day reversed the result to claim the South Island Circuit title for 2017.

Henare proved to be in World Championship form handling the five full-wool, two second shear and two lambs fleeces from two shearers with relative ease.

Meanwhile fellow New Zealand team member Nathan Stratford continued his dominance of the southern circuit, earning his third victory in as many weeks with victory in the Otago Open Shearing Championships.

Stratford who qualified in top spot in the morning heats and quarterfinals, entered the final as the second qualifier behind Southland's Troy Pyper.

The final turned into a sprint to the finish between World Championship competitors Ivan Scott (Ireland) and Hamish Mitchell (Scotland). The pair traded blows over the late stages of the 20 sheep final with both men breaking the 18 minute mark.

Stratford was fourth off the board on time but was flawless on the Board (0.90 faults) and Out Back (5.10) to take a 2 point win from Master Shearer (and Stratford's boss) Darin Forde and Troy Pyper while Mitchell and Scott had to settle for the minor money.

With just three days to go prior to the start of the 2017 World Championships, Henare and Stratford's double in Balclutha back up wins by blade shearer Phil Oldfield and woolhandler Mary-Anne Baty over the last two days to provide higfh hopes for a strong showing by the home team next Saturday when the 2017 World titles are handed out.


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