QUICK crossbred shearing and attention to detail with wool has given Australian machine shearers and wool handlers surprise wins in the trans-Tasman tests at the Australian national shearing and wool handling titles at the Perth Royal Show on the weekend.
The shearing teams of Jason Wingfield, Shannon Warnest and Daniel McIntyre with 182.60 penalty points defeated New Zealand’s John Kirkpartrick, Nathan Stratford and Rowland Smith (194.85 points) by a clear margin of 12.25 points.
The Mark Conlan medal for the highest quality Australian shearer in the test went to South Australian veteran Shannon Warnest.
Shannon said “the hit man” Jason Wingfield, followed closely by Daniel McIntyre, cut the pace against the Kiwis outpacing them in the crossbreds – pure White Suffolk ewe hoggets – and continuing their run into the Merinos.
In the trans-Tasman wool handling test, Australia’s Sophie Huf and Mel Morris worked quickly and effectively to accrue just 24.68 penalty points, to outsort Joel Henare and Sheree Alabaster, who finished with 26.58 points – a margin of just 1.9 points.
Shearing Sports New Zealand media officer Doug Laing said it was just the 10th win for Australia in the 40 wool handling tests and 20 years since wool handling was added to the trans-Tasman series in 1998. Reigning World champion Joel Henare and 2008 world champion Sheree Alabaster were favoured to give New Zealand its sixth win in a row since Australia last won at Masterton in 2015.
The blade shearing test in Perth was won cleanly by New Zealand’s Tony Dobbs and Allen Gemmell with 128.70 points from Australia’s Ken French and Andrew Murray on 152.78 points.
Mr Laing said current shearing world champion John Kirkpatrick, with Nathan Stratford and Rowland Smith were unable to break Australia’s grip on trans-Tasman machine shearing bragging rights. He said New Zealand has now lost eight machine shearing tests in Australia since Cam Ferguson, Tony Coster and Grant Smith won at Hay, NSW, in 2010 — a period in which Australia have won five tests against New Zealand in New Zealand. Australia has now won 34 of the 64 tests since regular home-and-away matches started in 1974.
New Zealand has won all 10 blade shearing tests since regular annual matches started in 2010, Dobbs having shorn in six. Australia was today missing Johnathon Dalla who has shorn in eight of the blades tests.
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In the national shearing final, defending champion New South Wales Daniel McIntyre won through with quality and just 80.53 points to outshear the faster Victorian Jason Wingfield and win by just 5.5 points. It was McIntyre’s fourth Australian title – 2014, 2015, 2017 and this year. Western Australian shearer Callum O’Brien was third home in the final to be the world team reserve, and win a berth in the next trans-Tasman test at Masterton in New Zealand in March next year.
In the national wool handling final, Sophie Huf from Hawkesdale in Victoria score just 37.57 penalty points to defeat Mel Morris on 42.13 points, with Rachel Hutchinson a close third with 42.60 points.
The national open blade shearing final was won by South Australian champion John Dalla with 53.60 points, 3.15 points clear of Victoria’s Ken French. New South Wale’s Andrew Murray was t5hird with 37.5 points.
Trans-Tasman test match results
Machine shearing (12 sheep): Australia 182.6pts (Daniel McIntyre 15min 2sec, 58.85pts; Jason Wingfield 14min 17sec, 61.183pts; Shannon Warnest 16min 18sec, 62.567pts) beat New Zealand 194.85pts (Rowland Smith 16min 28sec, 62.733pts; John Kirkpatrick 16min 25sec, 64pts; Nathan Stratford 17min 9sec, 68.117pts) by 12.25pts.
Blade shearing (3 sheep): New Zealand 128.7pts (Tony Dobbs 9min 57sec, 52.85pts; Allen Gemmell 12min 37sec, 75.85pts,) beat Australia 152.78pts (Ken French 11min 18sec, 74.567pts’ Andrew Murray 14min 11sec, 78.217pts) by 23.48pts.
Wool handling: Australia (Mel Morris, Sophie Huf) 24.68pts beat New Zealand (Joel Henare, Sheree Alabaster) 26.58pts by 1.9pts.
Sources: Doug Laing, Sports Shear Australia.