Bell’s ringing up the form in World Champs bid

An up-and-coming Hawke's Bay shearer with hopes of leaping from Senior class competition into World Championships semi-final contention has kept alive his prospects of a warm-up event victory at the four-day World shearing and woolhandling championships in Invercargill.

Aaron Bell(pictured), a Central Hawke's Bay College old boy from Waipawa, today qualified in second place for tomorrow night's Southland All Nations Championship Senior shearing final.

But between times he has the World Championship machine shearing heats starting later today, with Bell representing the Cook Islands, his father's mother having been from Aitutaki.

Bell, 28 and with partner Emma Moore having two-year-old-son Cohen, has been shearing about five years, with a number of competition placings before a sudden rich patch over the last fortnight before the championships.

Third-placed in last year's Golden Shears Senior final in Masterton, he has won twice in the last fortnight, at Taihape on January 28 and last Saturday at the Rangitikei Shearing Sports in Marton, where he finished a 12-sheep final two sheep before his nearest opposition and won by a possibly unprecedented top-level Senior competition margin of almost 11 points.

With World Championships events limited to just two per country, the latest efforts in Senior competition have given Bell genuine reason for making a World Championships semi-final a goal, although he concedes it would be stepping-up a huge level to challenge such Open-class greats as New Zealand representatives John Kirkpatrick and Nathan Stratford, and 2012 champion Gavin Mutch, from Scotland.

The six All Nations Senior final qualifiers, from today's semi-finals, were headed by Nick Greaves, from England, facing a field of top-quality New Zealand senior grade shearers, including Pagan Rimene, who had also qualified for the All Nations Open woolhandling quarterfinals.

Results from the Southland All Nations Senior shearing heats (5 sheep each, six shears to the final): Nick Greaves (England) 6min 48.517sec, 25.626pts, 1; Aaron Bell (Waipawa) 6min 48,848sec, 27.443pts, 2; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 7min 20.34sec, 27.617pts, 3; Linton Palmer (Dipton) 7min 37.526sec, 29.276pts, 4; Paraki Puna (Napier) 7min 47.586sec, 30.179pts, 5; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 7min 42.269sec, 31.113pts, 6.


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