NEW Zealand’s shearing team of world champions, Hawke’s Bay guns John Kirkpatrick and Rowland Smith will shear seven test matches on a four-week CP Wool tour of the UK starting next week.
The tour by current world champion John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and 2014 champion Rowland Smith, of Maraekakaho, near Hastings, is part of an annual home and away arrangement with a history dating back almost 30 years.
The manager and touring shearing judge is sheep and beef farmer Johnny Fraser, who operates a small shearing run in North Otago and who managed the New Zealand team in trans-Tasman tests in Australia last October and the Golden Shears in Masterton March.
The tour will open with a single test against Scotland at the Lochearnhead Shears on July 1, but Scotland could be missing both its world championships team members, 2012 world champion Gavin Mutch and 2014 world teams champions partner Hamish Mitchell, both injured.
Mutch, from Huntly, Aberdeenshire, but living in New Zealand, recently badly gashed a hand and won’t be available, and Mitchell, from Lochearnhead, has been in doubt because of a foot injury.
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The tests against England will be at the Lakeland Shears at Cockermouth, Cumbria, and the Great Yorkshire Show at Harrogate. The four tests against Wales will be on successive days at the revived Cothi Shears and the Lampeter Shears, and over the following week at the Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, and the Corwen Shears in North Wales.
Kirkpatrick, 46, and Smith, 30, grew-up in Northland, and also toured last year when they opened with single test wins against Scotland and then England before being beaten 2-1 by Wales.
But they dominated the open championship finals in which they also shore throughout the tour, Kirkpatrick winning at Harrogate, Lampeter and Corwen and Smith winning at then non-test show Lakeland Shears and at the Royal Welsh Show.
The NZ pair will also shear the open events at the shows next month, although Smith will probably shear just the test at Lampeter on July 22 before heading for Cornwall in England. In Cornwall on July 24 he will attempt to break a world record of 605 ewes in eight hours at Trefrank Farm, where brother and farmer Matt Smith shore the ultimate nine-hour record of 731 last year.
July 1 (Saturday): v Scotland, at Lochearnhead Shears
July 8 (Saturday): v England, at Lakeland Shears, Cockermouth.
July 12 (Wednesday): v England, at Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate.
July 21 (Friday): v Wales, at Cothi Shears
July 22 (Saturday): v Wales, at Lampeter Shears
July 26 (Wednesday): v Wales, at Royal Welsh Show, Builth Wells.
July 29 (Saturday): v Wales, at Corwen Shears.
Source: Shearing Sports New Zealand.