YOUNG Masterton shearer David Gordon scored his biggest open final win when he beat former world and multiple Golden Shears Open champion John Kirkpatrick at the Central Hawke’s Bay A and P Show in Waipukurau on Saturday.
It came the hard way, with quality points used to break an otherwise dead-heat after the pair ended tied on a total of 65.45pts, each.
While Kirkpatrick had the quicker time (by eight seconds) and the better points in judging of the 20 sheep in each pen. But Gordon had what mattered – the better combined points for pen judging and for the shearing on the stand — winning the event by a margin of 0.4 quality penalty points.
It became Gordon’s third open win in just his third season in the top class of a career that has featured a Golden Shears Novice final win as a 13 year-old in 2010. He is thought to have been the first shearer to win in all five classes in New Zealand and led to his berth in the Wools of New Zealand Shearing Sports New Zealand team that contested tests against Scotland and Wales in the UK in July.
It could have been the 190th win for Kirkpatrick after 30 years in the open class, that started in 1994 with Golden Shears intermediate and senior titles already behind him, and led to four Golden Shears Open titles and in 2017 made him world champion.
Kirkpatrick has now contested 19 finals without a win since claiming the Waimate Spring Shears title three years ago. Although now in his early 50s, he’s still good enough to reach the Golden Shears Open final, as he did in March when the event returned after two years of cancellations.
In a sport where events are often decided by hundredths of a point, ties are rare. It was a first for Kirkpatrick, although he was third when Taranaki shearer and 2008 World champion Paul Avery pipped Hawke’s Bay gun Dion King on quality points at the Southern Shears in Gore in 2007 and again when New Zealand-based Scotland international and 2012 world champion Gavin Mutch got the nod over Hawke’s Bay gun and 2014 world champion Rowland Smith at Wairoa in January this year.
Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan, of Te Kuiti, won more than 640 finals in an open class career spanning more than 30 years, but says he never experienced such a tie.
Third on Saturday was Si David’s son Jack Fagan, a week after winning $15,000 in a speedshear in West Australia. On Saturday, he was the first to finish, shearing the 20 sheep in 18min 25sec, pipping Kirkpatrick by just three seconds. Fourth was Hawke’s Bay-based Brook Hamerton, from Northland, shearing in his first open final in New Zealand.
Meanwhile, Te Kuiti’s Keryn Herbert won the open wool handling title, having endured 11 finals without victory since her last win in February 2022. It was her 53rd win in an open class career now in its 21st season.
Herbert was runner-up in the Golden Shears Open final in March and had to be on-song to get the red ribbon on Saturday, claiming a narrow win over runner-up and 2023 New Zealand World Championships representative Ngaio Hanson, who is still chasing her first open win.
Gordon’s sister, current New Zealand trans-Tasman team member Cushla Abraham, was third and fourth was Jasmin Tipoki, of Napier.
In other shearing finals, Gisborne shearer Te Ua Wilcox had his second senior win of the season with a 1.05pts margin over runner-up and Hawke’s Bay and Manawatu shows winner Forde Alexander, of Taumarunui. The intermediate final was won by Tini Papanui, of Feilding, 7pts clear in turning the tables on Gisborne shearer Dylan Young, who won at Feilding seven days earlier,
Lachie Cameron, of Hunterville, had a winning margin of over 8 points in the junior final, and the novice event, with 15 entries, was won by Harry Peacock, of Waipukurau.
In other wool handling events Tatijana Keefe, from Raupunga scored her third senior win of the season. The junior final was won by Kelly Barrett, of Kawhia, and Kaivah Cooper, of Napier, continued a successful season with a novice wool handling win, to go with four junior shearing wins in previous weeks.
The competitions attracted 107 entries, comprising 70 in shearing and 37 in wool handling, making it the biggest shearing sports show of the five in the North Island so far this season. It was the 11th event in a schedule of 59 on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar for 2023-2024.
The New Zealand Corriedale Shearing and Woolhandling Championships will be held at the New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch on Thursday and Friday. The shearing-only West Otago A and P Show Shears are at Tapanui on Saturday, and there will be shearing only at the Taranaki Shears in Stratford and the Nelson A and P Show on November 25.
The last NZ competitions before Christmas will be on December 2, with shearing only at the Whangarei show, and shearing and wool handling at the Rotorua A and P Show at Ngongotaha, as it moves from a long-standing late-January date to the new scheduling in early December.
Results of the Central Hawke’s Bay A and P Show Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Waipukurau on Saturday, November 11, 2023
Open final (20 sheep): David Gordon (Masterton) 18min 36sec, 65.45pts (quality 9.65 penalty points), 1; John Kirkpatrick (Pakipaki) 18min 28sec, 65.45pts (quality 10.05 penalty points), 2; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 18min 25sec, 70.15pts, 3; Brook Hamerton (Ruawai/Hastings) 19min 13sec, 70.2pts, 4.
Senior final (10 sheep): Te Ua Wilcox (Gisborne) 11min 6sec, 42.3pts, 1; Forde Alexander (Taumarunui) 10min 31sec, 43.25pts, 2; Laura Bradley (Woodville) 11min 28sec, 44.6pts, 3; Bruce Grace (Wairoa/Napier) 13min 4sec, 50.4pts, 4.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Tini Papanui (Feilding) 8min, 33.1667pts, 1; Dylan Young (Gisborne) 8min 40sec, 40.8333pts, 2; Michael Buick (Pongaroa) 9min 53sec, 42.8167pts, 3; Louis Coombe-Gray (Waipukurau) 7min 38sec, 42.9pts, 4.
Junior final (4 sheep): Lachie Cameron (Hunterville) 11min 52sec, 42.6pts, 1; Tom Kerley (Wairoa) 12min 31sec, 51.05pts, 2; Jodiesha Kirkpatrick (Gisborne) 12min 16sec, 58.3pts, 3; Maureen Chaffey (Pongaroa) 11min 46sec, 61.05pts, 4.
Novice (1 sheep): Harry Peacock (Waipukurau) 4min 21sec, 32.05pts, 1; Grady Collis (Tauhoa) 6min 30sec, 35.5pts, 2; George Prouting (Dannevirke) 4min 7sec, 36.35pts, 3; Phebe Rayner (Motueka) 4min 56sec, 37.8pts, 4.
Open final: Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 149.8pts, 1; Ngaio Hanson (Eketahuna) 153.2pts, 2; Cushla Abraham (Masterton) 158pts, 3; Jasmin Tipoki (Martinborough/Napier) 205.6pts, 4.
Senior final: Tatijana Keefe (Raupunga) 74.2pts, 1; Amy Bell (Weber) 83pts, 2; Ashleigh Ostler (Martin) 140pts, 3; Vinniye Phillips (Taumarunui) 158.2pts, 4.
Junior: Kelly Barrett (Kawhia) 101.6pts, 1; Jodiesha Kirkpatrick (Gisborne) 107pts, 2; Makayla Neil (Piopio) 111pts, 3; Mere Maraki (Flaxmere) 120.2pts, 4.
Novice: Kaivah Cooper (Napier) 61.6pts, 1; Capree Wallace (Taihape) 96pts, 2; Leila Tipoki (Napier) 97pts, 3; Gemma Buick (Pongaroa) 113pts, 4.