WORLD champion shearer Rowland Smith has become the fifth New Zealander in 10 years to win the Royal Welsh Open title.
The win came early today (NZ time) on the third day of the Royal Welsh Show show, which has been drawing an average of over 50,000 people a day to the showgrounds at Llanelwedd, near Builth Wells.
However, Smith’s win came with some mixed emotions, as the CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand shearing team of Smith and fellow Hawke’s Bay shearer John Kirkpatrick had a second successive test match loss to Wales, ending their hopes of become the first New Zealand team to beat Wales in a shearing test series in Wales since 2011.
While Smith’s win was the third in a row by a New Zealander in the Royal Welsh Open final, the test match left the Kiwi pair 2-0 down in their series with just one test to go, at Corwen on Saturday. Kirkpatrick did not reach the Royal Welsh Open final, in which the runner-up was 2011 and 2013 winner and Welsh international Gareth Daniel.
The New Zealanders have had two wins each in the five Open finals at events on the three-week tour.
The Royal Welsh final was won last year by Te Kuiti shear Jack Fagan, 12 months after the last Royal Welsh win by father and shearing legend David (now Sir David) Fagan.
Source: Shearing Sports New Zealand.