Former New Zealand shearing champion returns to be King

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand, October 28, 2019

Champion New Zealand shearer Dion King in action. Image – Shearing Sports New Zealand.

HAWKE’S Bay shearer Dion King made a dramatic return to winning form in the Great Raihania Shears open final at the Royal New Zealand Show in Hastings on Friday.

The 44 year-old former Golden Shears and New Zealand open champion showed he really meant business by shearing the 20 full wool sheep in 18 minutes 35 secongs – 32 seconds quicker than reigning Golden Shears and New Zealand champion Rowland Smith.

Quality points all but made up the leeway for the 33 year-old Smith, with King ultimately claiming the $1000 first prize by just 0.1 points in the final count.

But it wasn’t the end of the day’s business for King, who then headed 20 kilometres up the road to bank another $1000 for fastest time of 22.63sec at the first Puketapu Hotel Speedshear.

It was the 6th Great Raihania Shears win for King, who was on the committee which brought shearing back to the Hawke’s Bay show in 2004, the name commemorating the first machine shearing competition in the World, in Hawke’s Bay in 1902.

King won the open final for the first three years in a row after the resurrection, but the form line going into the 2019 competition could hardly have been more different. He has competed only sparingly since his last open final win almost four years ago up against 2019 world championships runner-up Smith, who had won all his 17 finals in New Zealand since being beaten in last year’s Great Raihania Shears final.

The picket fence form line had looked likely to continue when Smith was also top qualifier from Friday’s heats and semi-final.

It was a particularly unique final, for while there was just the narrowest margin between the winner and runner-up, it was even closer in the race for the minors. Seven points adrift, a quality-marks countback was gave third place to Aaron Haynes after he and Waipawa sherarer Cam Ferguson tied on 73.45pts.

There was also a close result in the open wool handling final in which Angela Gage, recently moved back from the South Island to home-town Gisborne but having not worked in the woolsheds for several years, made it two-from-two in the opening North Island competitions of the season, having opened with a win six days earlier at the Poverty Bay A and P Show.

In her Hastings victory she beat runner-up and former world teams title winner Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti, by just 2.2pts, with third place going to 2019 World teams title winner Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape.

Mangamahu shearers Simon Goss and Daniel Biggs made it back-to-back Poverty Bay and Gisborne titles by winning the senior and intermediate shearing finals respectively. The junior final was won by Clay Harris, of Piopio. The novice event was won by 13 year-old Ryka Swann, of Wairoa, , bagging bragging rights for the trip home with brother Keith, who was 4th in the intermediate final, and father Paul, who was 3rd in the senior final.

Maiden Elers, of Mataura, banked some travelling money for her trip from Southland for a family gathering at Mohaka, by winning the senior wool handling final, while Te Ana Phillips, of Taumarunui, won the junior wool handling final, also just six days after winning at Gisborne.

The shears event attracted 101 competitors, comprising 68 shearers and 33 wool handlers.

The shearers included five of those who stepped out of their professional careers to learn to shear for the Women and Wool Farmstrong fundraiser held on Wednesday night – winner and career wool buyer Maureen Chaffey going on to finish 3rd in Friday’s novice event.

RESULTS from the Great Raihania Shears at the Royal New Zealand Show in Hastings on Friday, October 25, 2019:

Shearing: Open final (20 sheep): Dion King (Flaxmere) 18min 35sec, 66.5pts, 1; Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 19min 7sec, 66.6pts, 2; Aaron Haynes (Palmerston North) 21min 48sec, 73.45pts, 3; Cam Ferguson (Waipawa) 20.31pts, 73.45pts, 4.

Senior final (10 sheep): Simon Goss (Mangamahu) 13min 10sec, 53.5pts, 1; Chris Dickson (Eketahuna) 13min 24sec, 54.7pts, 2; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 14min 7sec, 55.15pts, 3; Teua Wilcox (Gisborne) 15min 8sec, 55.6pts, 4.

Intermediate final (5 sheep): Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 8mins, 37.4pts, 1; Tawera Brown (Martinborough) 7min 52.9sec, 46.045pts, 2; Alex Hokianga (Hastings) 8min 4sec, 49.6pts, 3; Keith Swann (Wairoa) 7min 53.3sec, 50.665pts, 4.

Junior final (3 sheep): Clay Harris (Piopio) 7min 21sec, 37.717pts, 1; Jason Wyn-Harris (Gisborne) 8min 13sec, 45.983pts, 2; Matene Munday (Waipukurau) 9min 7sec, 54.017pts, 3; Renee Biggs (Mangamahu) 13min 56sec, 59.133pts, 4.

Novice (1 sheep): Ryka Swann (Wairoa) 4min 4sec, 21.2pts, 1; Tana Barrowcliffe (Piopio) 5min 16sec, 32.8pts, 2; Maureen Chaffey (Maraekakaho) 5min 38sec, 34.9pts, 3; Hoeroa King (-) 5min 42sec, 37.1pts, 4.

Wool handling: Open final: Angelique Gage (Gisborne) 136.2pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 138.4pts, 2; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 160.4pts, 3; Brittany Tibble (Gisborne) 189pts, 4.

Senior final: Maiden Elers (Mataura) 127pts, 1; Jasmine Tipoki (Taumarunui/Napier) 135pts, 2; Azuredee Paku (Masterton) 135.8pts, 3; Lucas Broughton (Gisborne) 146.2pts, 4.

Junior final: Te Ana Phillips (Taumarunui) 58.2pts, 1; Anne Connell (-) 67.2pts, 2; Tennessey Kiri (-) 96.4pts, 3; Vinniye Phillips (Taumarunui) 117.6pts, 4.


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