A SMALL loch-side village became not only a test match venue but also a Wairarapa of the north as the Wools of New Zealand Shearing Sports New Zealand team and supporters invaded the Lochearnhead Shears in Scotland on Saturday.
While it didn’t bring the most desired result of a test match win for team members and Masterton brothers-in-law Paerata Abraham and David Gordon – competing as internationals together for the first time and beaten by world championships third-placegetters and Scots pair Calum Shaw and Hamish Mitchell – the Shears did bring a win for another of the family.
Leading the support group was Shearing Sports New Zealand top-ranked senior shearer Adam Gordon, who won the Lochearnhead Shears’ Scottish Blackface Senior Championship final, emulating David Gordon’s win in the event in 2019.
There was further Wairarapa success, with Marika Braddick, of Eketahuna, a sister of world championships New Zealand team member Ngaio Hanson, finishing fourth in the open wool handling final, which was won by new world champion and Lochearnhead local Rosie Keenan.
Also in the frame was Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan, who was runner-up in the Shears’ open final, won by Shaw.
New Zealand team manager Ronny King, of Pahiatua, was impressed by the tour start for Abraham, who shore two trans-Tasman test matches for New Zealand in 2019 and 2020, and Gordon, who was representing New Zealand for the first time.
They were beaten by just two points, the difference being mainly the superior quality of Shaw, who six days earlier was third behind Welsh shearers Gwion Evans and Richard Jones in the world championships final at the Royal Highland Show.
The one-off Joe Te Kapa Memorial match against Scotland was the first of five tests for the pair, as the formerly annual New Zealand team UK tours resume following three years of cancellations because of the global pandemic.
New Zealand last won a test at Lochearnhead in 2016, the first such victory for a Kiwi pair since 2003.
The trophy was presented by Te Kapa’s daughter, Emily, who was fourth in the senior final and who shears mainly in New Zealand.
The tour continues with a test against England at the Great Yorkshire Show on July 12 and finishes with three tests against Wales, the first at Cothi on July 22 against the Welsh 2023 New Zealand tour development team of Gethin Lewis and Dylan Jones.
The other tests, at the Royal Welsh Show on July 26, and the Corwen Shears on July 29 will be against a new Welsh team decided during the Royal Welsh Show.
On the last tour in 2019 Rowland Smith and David Buick won a four-test series 3-1, New Zealand’s first shearing series win in Wales for eight years.