Kiwi shearers and wool handlers miss out at world titles

Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand, June 26, 2023

The Wools of New Zealand Shearing Sports New Zealand team (centre) at the championships opening parade last Thursday, with defending blade shearing champion Allan Oldfield as flagbearer. Photo – Eilidh MacPherson, Scottish Farming.

HISTORY has been made at the Golden Shears World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Scotland with New Zealand failing to win a single title for the first time in the 19 events since the first championships in 1977.

In a day of stunning reversals, New Zealand, winner of four times as many titles as any other nation across the six titles of individual and teams titles in machine shearing, blade shearing and wool handling, achieved just one top-three placing.

The closest the Wools of New Zealand Shearing Sports New Zealand team came to a title was the blades final second placing to defending champions and South Canterbury shearers Allan Oldfield and Tony Dobbs, beaten only by rookie international South Africa pair Bonile Rabela and Zwelamakhosi Mbuweni in a relay decided on quality points after the Kiwis won the race by two seconds with each side averaging about 2min 20sec a sheep through the 10 in each pen.

Dobbs, the winner of more than 100 finals in a 40-year career, including victory in an all-New Zealand field at the 1988 championships in Masterton, was fourth in today’s Individual final which was won by Rabela, with defending champion Oldfield having been a shock elimination in the semi-finals.

In what became a benefit for Wales, which claimed three of the titles, Kiwi wool handling pair Candy Hiri, of Gore, and Ngaio Hanson, of Eketahuna, was fourth in the woolhandling teams event won by Welsh pair Ffion Jones and Sarah-Jane Rees, and shearers Rowland Smith, of Maraekakaho, and Southland gun Leon Samuels, were sixth in the machines teams event won by Welsh pair Gwion Evans and Richard Jones.

The biggest surprise in possibly the history of the championships was that for the first time New Zealand was not represented in either the machine shearing or woolhandling individual finals.

2023 Golden Shears wool handling champion Rosie Keenan from Scotland. Image – Ian Georgeson Photography.

In the six-man machines shearing final, which New Zealand had won 12 of the previous 18 times, it was a Wales one-two, with Evans edging out defending champion Jones, while in the wool handling Scotland team members Rosie Keenan and Audrey Aiken were first and second respectively.

Smith and Samuels were eliminated from the machine shearing in the semi-finals, but they were in good company, with the elimination also of Smith’s brother and England representative, Matthew Smith, and three-times former finalist Hamish Mitchell, of Scotland.

Former New Zealand representative Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti, was sixth in the woolhandling individul event, representing Cook Islands.

A happy Golden Shears world machine shearing champion Gwion Lloyd Evans on the podium. Image – Ian Georgeson Photography.

Results from the 2023 Golden Shears World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at the Royal Highland Show, Ingliston, Edinburgh on June 22-25, 2023:

Machine shearing Individual: Gwion Evans (Wales) 1, Richard Jones (Wales) 2, Calum Shaw (Scotland) 3, Denis O’Sullivan (Ireland) 4, Ivan Scott (Ireland) 5, Adam Berry (England) 6.

Machine shearing teams: Wales (Gwion Evans, Richard Jones) 1, England (Adam Berry, Matthew Smith) 2, Scotland (Hamish Mitchell, Calum Shaw) 3, Ireland (Denis O’Sullivan, Ivan Scott) 4, Northern Ireland (Graeme Davidson, Jack Robinson) 5, New Zealand (Leon Samuels, Rowland Smith) 6.

Woolhandling Individual: Rosie Keenan (Scotland) 1, Audrey Aiken (Scotland) 2, Lucie Grancher (France) 3, Hilary Bond-Harding (England) 4, Adele Lemercier (France) 5, Keryn Herbert (Cook Islands) 6.

Woolhandling Teams: Wales (Fion Jones, Sarah Rees) 1, France (Lucie Grancher, Adele Lemercier) 2, Scotland (Audrey Aiken) 3, New Zealand (Ngaio Hanson, Candy Hiri) 4, England (Hilary Bond-Harding, Alice Derryman) 5, Australia (Mark Purcell, Racheal Hutchinson) 6.

Blade shearing Individual:  Bonile Rabela (South Africa) 1, Zwelamakhosi Mbuweni (South Africa) 2, Andrew Mudge (England) 3, Tony Dobbs (New Zealand) 4, Johnathon Dalla (Australia) 5, Elfed Jackson (Wales) 6.

Blade shearing teams: South Africa (Bonile Rabela, Zwelamakhosi Mbuweni) 1, New Zealand (Tony Dobbs, Allan Oldfield) 2, Wales (Elfed Jackson, Gareth Owen) 3, Australia ( Johnathon Dalla, Andrew Murray) 4, England (Andrew Mudge, George Mudge) 5, Ireland (Peter Heraty, James Hopkins) 6.

Royal Highland Show All-Nations Championships results:

Machine shearing final (20 sheep): Richard Jones (Wales) 14min 34sec, 50.45pts, 1; Gwion Evans (Wales) 14min 13sec, 52.3prs, 2; Jack Robinson (Northern Ireland) 15min 25sec, 54pts, 3; Gavin Mutch (Scotland) 14min 29sec, 54.25pts, 4; Gareth Daniel (Wales) 14min 33sec, 56.05pts, 5; Leon Samuels (New Zealand) 15min 21sec, 56.55pts, 6.


Open final: Hilary Bond-Harding (England) 36.6pts, 1; Rosie Keenan (Scotland) 43pts, 2; Audrey Aiken (Scotland) 48.2pts, 3; Ffion Jones (Wales) 59.6pts, 4; Tina Elers (Cook Islands) 60.1pts, 5; Ngaio Hanson (New Zealand) 65.8pts, 6.

Blade shearing final final (5 sheep): James Hopkins (Ireland) 16min 58sec, 73.1pts, 1; Andrew Mudge (England) 13min 11sec, 75.95pts, 2; Johnathon Dalla (Australia) 12min 9sec, 76.85pts, 3; Peter Heraty (Ireland) 14min 39sec, 77.15pts, 4; Gareth Owen (Wales) 15min 42sec, 80.1pts, 5; Mark Armstrong (Scotland) 17min 25sec, 83.65pts, 6.

Source – Shearing Sports New Zealand


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