NEW Zealand shearing champion Rowland Smith became possibly only the fourth person to win 100 open class shearing titles, with three victories about 24 hours and 1700 kilometres apart during the weekend.
The Northland-raised Hawke’s Bay shearer scored his 100th win at the Counties Shears in Pukekohe on Sunday, a few hours after arriving from Gore, in Southland, where on Saturday he won the South Island Shearer of the Year final and the Southern Shears Open final.
It was a repeat of a unique treble he also scored last year, the 100th win being achieved at the same show where he has been unbeaten in six finals dating back to his first open A-grade show win in 2010, following previous wins at the Kaikohe and North Kaipara shows in Northland and at Devon County in England.
The only other shearers thought to have cracked the century are multiple world champion Sir David Fagan, who retired with 642 wins, Napier gun John Kirkpatrick, who was runner-up yesterday and has a list of more than 200 wins, including a long-sought world championship win in Invercargill on February 11, and 2008 world champion and Taranaki farmer Paul Avery, who has recorded 178 finals wins.
Although just 30 years old, Smith, who lives at Maraekakaho, near Hastings, with fellow shearing record breaker Ingrid and their two children, first shore in a junior final aged just 15, and was well known by the time he hit open ranks in 2006, with 23 wins in lower grades including the Golden Shears junior title in 2004 and the shears’ senior title two years later.
His wins include three Golden Shears open titles and four New Zealand open titles, and 14 wins abroad including the 2014 world championships final in Ireland.
Smith has scored 34 of his wins in the last 16 months, with 19 in the 2015-2016 season, two in the UK including the Royal Welsh Show title, and now 13 this season, including the February 10 Southland All Nations open final. In August last year he was acclaimed a Master Shearer by Shearing Sports New Zealand.
In Gore, Dunedin-based Gisborne world champion wool handler Joel Henare won the Southern Shears Open Woolhandling title on Friday, his 92nd win in an open-class career which also started in the 2006-2007 season. Although aged just 25 and also acclaimed as a Master at wool handling, Henare is shaping-up to become only the second person to achieve 100 open wool handling wins, succeeding late mentor and multiple world, Golden Shears and New Zealand champion Joanne Kumeroa.
Source: Shearing Sports NZ.