Stock Handling & Animal Welfare

Shearing royal Warnest still the best in Trans Tasman test

Terry Sim, September 28, 2015
Shannon Warnest in action for Australia

Shannon Warnest in action for Australia

IF Australia has any shearing royalty then surely South Australia’s Shannon Warnest is among them.

At the Sports Shear Australia National Shearing and Wool Handling Championships in Hamilton, Victoria on Saturday, Warnest competed in his 26th Trans Tasman test. In at least 13 of them, including at the weekend, he was the best performing shearer.

Shearing alongside Australian team captain national champion Daniel McIntyre from NSW and Nathan Meaney on Saturday, two-times world champion Warnest has now been in winning TT teams 18 times, including five times in Masterton New Zealand.

According to media officer for Shearing Sports New Zealand, Doug Laing, has competed in more Trans Tasman tests than any other Australian or New Zealand shearer. The first test was held in Euroa in 1974 and Warnest has competed in 24 consecutive tests since March 2004.

“In the general scheme of things, there wouldn’t be many sports people around who’ve played 12 seasons in a row for Australia, or any other country, without missing a game,” Mr Laing said.

New Zealand shearer John Kirkpatrick has shorn in 13 tests for four wins, and David Fagan has had seven wins from 12 tests, he said.

Last Saturday, the Australian shearers defeated the New Zealanders – Aaron Haynes, Troy Pyper and Tony Coster – by a clear margin of 26.8 points – 271.68 versus 298.18 – with the three Aussies finishing their six Merinos and six crossbreds ahead of the Kiwis, and scoring fewer penalty points. It was Australia’s fifth consecutive win in machine shearing tests against New Zealand.

Since 1974, there have been 58 Trans Tasman machine shearing tests; Australia has won 30, New Zealand 28.

Shearing Sports Australia chair Steph Brooker-Jones said New Zealand has their shearing royalty in David Fagan, but Shannon Warnest “is the royalty in shearing in Australia”.

Warnest scored the lowest penalty points of the six TT shearers – 88.32 – finishing in 18.18 minutes, behind team captain Daniel McIntyre in 17.42 minutes and 90.43 points, and Nathan Meaney 18.47 minutes, 92.93 points.

Warnest said the Trans Tasman test was “what it’s all about for the industry,” as the event gave shearers from both countries experience with different sheep.

“The New Zealanders pride themselves on their shearing and the test is structured so that we shear half Merinos and half crossbreds.”

“That cross-pollination of shearing through the tests has picked up the standard and the tallies as well,” he said.

Warnest and McIntyre, with Western Australian shearer Damien Boyle, also defeated a Kiwi team in the last Trans Tasman test in New Zealand, at the Golden Shears in Masterton earlier this year.

Kiwis win wool handling

Victorious NZ wool handlers Sheree Alabaster and Joel Henare in Hamilton

Victorious NZ wool handlers Sheree Alabaster and Joel Henare in Hamilton

In the TT wool handling New Zealand Joel Henare and Sheree Alabaster defeated Australia’s Tara Smith and Sarah Moran by a narrow 3.25 point margin – 42.28 versus 45.53 – scoring better on their fleece and total work skills. The Aussies completed their eight fleeces five seconds faster, but failed to repeat their winning performance from earlier this year, when they scored an upset against New Zealand at the Golden Shears Trans Tasman test in March.

Since 1998, there have been 35 wool handling tests; New Zealand has won 26 and Australia nine.

NZ blade shearers also victorious

NZ blade shearer Tony Dobbs clips his way to a Trans Tasman win

NZ blade shearer Brian Thomson clips his way to a Trans Tasman win

New Zealand blade shearers Tony Dobbs and Brian Thomson also maintained New Zealand’s unbeaten Trans Tasman record, by defeating Australia’s John Dalla and Ken French by a 22.2 point margin. The final point totals of 189.55 versus 211.75 reflected the Kiwis’ overall quicker cleaner job. Tony Dobbs was the best performed shearer, scoring 92.55 points, and finishing his four sheep just four seconds behind John Dalla in 14.46 minutes.

New Zealand has won all eight blade shearing tests since they were started in 2010. Brian Thomson has shorn in all eight and John Dalla has competed in seven.

Dalla, 26, later won his seventh national title in the open blade shearing final with 44.15 penalty points after finishing his two sheep in just 8.03 minutes. Second was Ken French, Victoria, (55.5 points), followed by Mike Pora, NSW, (71.15), Terry Rowbottom, Victoria, (77.7), Jim Murray, NSW, (86.05) and Mal Griffiths, Victoria, (100.65).

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