AUSTRALIA’S shearing team of Jason Wingfield, Daniel McIntyre and new member Callum O’Brien has defeated New Zealand in the trans-Tasman shearing test at the Golden Shears International Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Masterton in New Zealand at the weekend.
The win gave Australia its sixth victory in the last 10 tests in New Zealand, despite and the strength of the New Zealand team of Roland Smith, Nathan Stratford and John Kirkpatrick, and the absence of South Australian champion Shannon Warnest, who missed a berth for the first time since 2004.
The Australians won the test — fought over six Merinos and six crossbreds each — by less than four penalty points from the Kiwis with a display of quick, clean quality shearing.
Before the test, team captain Jason Wingield said new team member and first-time series shearer Callum O’Brien, from Collie, West Australia, was up to the class needed to help Australia stay on top in the contest. The 31-year-old O’Brien qualified by beating Warnest in the Australian championships final in Perth in September.
Wingfield said after watching O’Brien in the Golden Shears Open championships heats that he was a good replacement.
“He’s just shorn well. It’s his first Goldies, and that’s always a bit nerve-wracking.”
Wingfield recalled his own first appearance at the Golden Shears came after several appearances at the New Zealand championships in Te Kuiti and said: “You’d think that would prepare you for the Golden Shears, but it doesn’t. The first time was nerve-wracking for me. Geez, it’s one of those experiences I’ll never forget.”
Wingfield, O’Brien and reigning and four-times Australian champion Daniel McIntyre, of Glenn Innes, NSW, faced a Saturday night match against the New Zealand team of reigning world champion, Rowland Smith, of Pakipaki, 2014 world champion Rowland Smith, of Maraekakaho, and Southland shearer Nathan Stratford, who won a world teams title with Kirkpatrick two years ago.
Australia’s trans-Tasman wool handling team of Mel Morris, from Cressy, Tasmania, and Sophie Huf from Hawkesdale, Victoria, didn’t fare as well against the New Zealand wool handlers, world champion Joel Henare and Sheree Alabaster.
Going to a plan set by the pair earlier in the day, including watching video of previous tests, the NZ team avenged a defeat in Perth last September – the only time Henare had been in the losing team in a series in which New Zealand has now won 31 of the 41 tests since the annual home and away trans-Tasman internationals began in 1998.
Shearing (6 merino, 3 longwool, 3 second-shear): Australia (Daniel McIntyre 18min 6.788pts, 71.089pts; Jason Wingfield 17min 42.835sec, 72.559pts; Callum O’Brien 17min 22.279sec, 83.031pts) 226.679pts, bet New Zealand (Nathan Stratford 18min 43.28sec, 71.831pts; John Kirkpatrick 19min 26.058sec, 78.97pts; Rowland Smith 18min 59,599sec, 79.647pts) 230.448pts.
Wool handling: New Zealand (Joel Henare, Sheree Alabaster) 356.9pts beat Australia (Melanie Morris, Sophie Huf) 412pts.
Source: Shearing Sports New Zealand.