NEW Zealand machine and blade shearers have been honing their skills in the lead up to the next trans-Tasman tests at the Australian national shearing and woolhandling championships in Dubbo later this month.
Southland shearer Nathan Stratford extended an outstanding record in the New Zealand Corriedale championships open shearing final when he won the title in Christchurch for a third time on Friday.
Stratford was shearing in the six-man final for a 15th consecutive year winning first in 2005 and then again in 2016.
He has also finished runner-up seven times and has now had 69 open-class wins. He is closing in on the 70-plus tally of Rakaia shearer and former Corriedales title winner Tony Coster, who made a now rare competition appearance on Friday and placed fifth.
It also continued the good early-season form of Stratford who had earlier been third in the New Zealand Merino Shears final in Alexandra, before winning the Waimate Spring Shears Open title for a 10th time.
In the New South Wales city of Dubbo on November 29 Stratford will shear his 13th trans-Tasman test for New Zealand, teaming with fellow Southland shearer Troy Pyper and test match newcomer Paerata Abraham, of Masterton. The Australian National Shearing and Woolhandling Championships will be held at the Dubbo Showgrounds from 28-30 November 2019.
In Christchurch, Stratford again produced his trademark quality to win by 2.2pts from runner-up and Wairarapa shearer David Buick, who dominated the race with fastest-time of 12min 23.53sec for the 10 sheep, a week after his first win of the season at Feilding, while third place went to Mataura shearer Brett Roberts, winner at both Ashburton and Pleasant Point in the previous fornight.
The heats, which constituted the third round of the PGG Wrightson National Circuit, attracted 22 entries. They were headed by Hawke’s Bayt shearer and former Canterbury show winner John Kirkpatrick. His day, however, ended in the semi-finals, and he was soon back on his way north where he won the Central Hawke’s Bay A and P Show title on Saturday in Waipukurau.
Another hitting winning form in Christchurch in time for the Dubbo tests was veteran blades shearer Tony Dobbs, winning the Show’s Golden Blades title for an 18th time and claiming the 98th win of his Open-class bladeshearing career.
But it was almost as close as it gets with Dobbs winning by just 0.08pts from 2017 winner and North Canterbury shearer Allen Gemmell.
It was another big show for Gore shearer Ringakaha Paewai, successfully defending the Canterbury Circuit title, in a final of six shearer qualifying from 11 competitions in the region dating back to the 2018 show in Christchurch.
It was only the third Open win of Paewai’s career but he’d shown he was ready with second placings in two shows in the fortnight beforehand. He won by 0.82pts from former winner Troy Pyper, now based in Canterbury.
RESULTS of major shearing events at the New Zealand Corriedale Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Christchurch on Thursday-Friday, November 14-15, 2019:
Open final (10 sheep): Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 14min 31.56sec, 50.08pts, 1; David Buick (Pongaroa) 13min 23.53sec, 52.28pts, 2; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 14min 39.65sec, 52.48pts, 3; Aaron Haynes (Palmerston North) 13min 50.63sec, 54.03pts, 4; Tony Coster (Rakaia) 14min 58.6sec, 54.83pts, 5; Ethan Pankhurst (Masterton) 14min 56.56sec, 58.03pts, 6.
Blades final (5sheep): Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 17min 4.34sec, 57.82pts, 1; Allen Gemmell (Rangiora) 15min 22.09sec, 57.9pts, 2; Mike McConnell (Waikari) 16min 59.25sec, 59.16pts, 3; Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 17min 12.16sec, 61.81pts, 4; Scott McKay (Christchurch) 16min 40.6sec, 67.63pts, 5; Isaac Duckmanton (Christchurch) 17min38.28sec, 73.71pts, 6.
Canterbury Circuit Open Final (11 sheep): Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 14min 6.58sec, 53.33pts, 1; Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 12min 48.36sec, 54.15pts, 2; Hugh De Lacy Jnr (Rangiora) 14min 37.98sec, 55.9pts, 3; Ant Frew (Pleasant Point) 14min 24.23sec, 55.94pts, 4; Angus Moore (Seddon) 13min 16.24sec, 55.63pts, 5; Lyall Windleburn (Rangiora) 13min 16. 24sec, 57.27pts, 6.