South African blades guns step-up the pace at World Champs

The might of the South African shearing team has shown its class in the semi-finals of the Southland All Nations blade shearing championship in Invercargill today on the second day of the four-day 40th anniversary World shearing and woolhandling championships.

Clearly beaten by New Zealander hope Tony Dobbs in the heats on Wednesday, Bangani Joel (pictured) and Meyenzeke Shweni turned the tables in the semi-finals, making themselves favourites for tomorrow's All Nations final, and the World Blade Shearing Championship which starts with first round heats also tomorrow.

Joel, a World blade shearing tally record holder, headed the qualifiers, although defending World champion Shweni was fastest with a time of just over 9min 7sec for the three sheep, compared with third-placed Dobbs' 10min 24sec.

Dobbs, who headed the qualifiers after Wednesday's heats with a margin of almost seven points was more than seven points in arrears of Joel in today's stage.

Points are however not carried through, each stage effectively another event, similar to sprints at the Olympics.

Results of the Southland All Nations blade shearing semi-finals (3 sheep each, six shearers to finals): Bangani Joel (South Africa) 9min 43.976pts, 1; Mayenzeke Shweni (South Africa) 9min 7.257sec, 42.363pts, 2; Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 10min 24.841sec, 48.242pts, 3; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 11min 44.72sec, 50.236pts, 4; Ken French (Australia) 12min 22.149sec, 53.107pts, 5; Allen Gemmell (Rangiora) 11min 30.556sec, 55.528pts, 6.


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