WESTERN Australian shearer Damien Boyle has made the best of a holiday with the family in New Zealand by winning the New Zealand Merino Shears Open shearing title in Alexandra – for the eighth time in 10 years.
Boyle, 42, had previously won New Zealand’s only finewool shearing event in Alexandra six times in a row from 2010-2015 and then again in 2017.
Boyle and his Perth Royal Show West Australian teammate Luke Harding on Saturday night also completed back-to-back International Merino Test wins against NZ Merino Shears pairing Grant Smith and Stacey Te Huia, having also won in a similar event a week earlier in Perth.
In the Trans-Tasman Invitation International New Zealand’s team of Dion Morrell, Nathan Stratford and Stacey Te Huia scored 190.43 points to defeat Australia’s team of Boyle, Harding and Lee Harris, who finished with 228.385 points.
There to see Boyle’s latest wins were wife Kirsty, 13 year-old daughter Abby and eight year-old son Zac. Boyle said: “That made it extra special, to do it in front of the family.”
Boyle’s father Don said from Western Australia today that he “couldn’t be any more proud.”
“He’s won the Perth Royal Show 23 out of 24 times in the open and he won it three years prior to that in the under 21s, intermediate and seniors, so really he has won the Perth Royal 26 out of 27 years.
“And then he’s won that one over there eight out of 10 times and got two seconds.”
WA Shearing Industry Association president Darren Spencer said he wasn’t surprised by Boyle’s success, despite knowing he didn’t shear full-time.
“No, not by the way he is shearing – he is shearing magnificently.
“ I saw him at Corrigin a few weeks ago, he shore really well there, and at the Perth Royal, the way he shore … especially in the trans-Tasman, he just picked his pen beautifully and he absolutely just blitzed the field,” he said.
Boyle put in some last-minute preparation
Despite the demands of holidaymaking in New Zealand, which included the inter-island ferry on the way south from the North Island and skiing at Queenstown to come, Boyle still managed to shear possibly more sheep in New Zealand in preparation for Alexandra than in any of his past ventures.
In the spirit of the competition he found his way out to Earnscleugh Station on Thursday and shore more than 50 Merinos for contractor Peter Lyons. He might not have needed them, for Boyle had crossed the Tasman earlier in the week after winning his 23rd Perth Royal Show open title in 24 years.
Runner-up last night in the open championship at Alexandra was Canterbury-based Southland shearer Troy Pyper, and third was defending champion and multiple New Zealand representative Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill.
Last night in Alexandra, Stratford had to settle for third place as Canterbury-based Southland shearer Troy Pyper won a place in the New Zealand team for the 2019-2020 trans-Tasman series, opening with the first leg during the Australian national championships in Dubbo, NSW, at the end of next month.
Hometown hero Pagan Karauria, in her first competition since winning the world wool handling teams title in France in July, successfully defended the NZ Merino Shears Open Woolhandling title, claiming victory in the event for a fourth time. She showed her class throughout, as top qualifier from the heats and the semi-final. Runner-up was Amy Lee Ferguson, in her first finals placing since 3rd at Alexandra three years ago.
Both Karauria and Pyper secured places in the New Zealand wool handling team for the 2019-2020 home-and-away trans-Tasman series, the first tests of which will also be at the Australian national championships in Dubbo.
Shearing Magazine publisher and Hamilton-based Southlander Des Williams, who recently published the 100th edition of the magazine which first appeared in 1984, rarely misses the Merino championships, with about 24 since watching his first in 1992, but was as enthused as ever.
He sponsored a novice wool handling event which, he said, showed some promising signs, with seven of the 114 shearers and wool handlers which competed over the two days of the first of 59 shows on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar for the 2019-2020 season.
“There always is a lot of excitement here,” he said. “A lot of younger competitors who’ve only come into the industry in the last 12 months or so, and for some it’s their first show.”
Results from the New Zealand Merino Shears at Alexandra on Friday-Saturday, October 4-5, 2019:
New Zealand Merino Shears shearing results
International Merino Test (8 sheep): Royal Perth Show 222.4475pts (Damien Boyle 22min 16.63sec, 98.7065pts; Luke Harding 26mi 27.32sec, 123.741pts) beat NZ Merino Shears 223.7345pts (Stacey Te Huia 24min 5.19sec, 109.3845pts; Grant Smith 22min 7sec, 114.35pts) by 1.287pts.
Trans-Tasman Invitation International (4 sheep): New Zealand 190.43pts (Dion Morrell 10min 2.85sec, 60.1425pts; Nathan Stratford 11min 51.87sec, 61.8345pts; Stacey Te Huia 10min 48.88sec, 68.444pts) beat Australia 228.385pts (Damien Boyle 9min 45.81sec, 55.2905pts; Luke Harding 13min 9.81sec, 85.4905pts; Lee Harris 11min 37.09sec, 87.6045pts) by 37.955pts.
Open final (12 sheep): Damien Boyle (Tambellup, WA) 25min 44.28sec, 101.3907pts, 1; Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 22min 45.88sec, 104.1273pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 27min 0.78sec, 106.8723pts, 83; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 26min 50.91sec, 107.9621pts, 4; Dion Morrell (Alexandra) 24min 51.53sec, 120.7432pts, 5; Stacey Te Huia (Te Kuiti) 24min 27.96sec, 1382313pts, 6.
Senior final (4 sheep): Duncan Higgins (Havelock) 13min 2.41sec, 80.1204pts, 1; Ruka Braddick (Eketahun) 14min 0.81sec, 81.0405pts, 2; Duncan Leslie (Owaka) 13min 2.44sec, 81.372pts, 3; Hori Rata (Raglan) 12min 46.75sec, 83.5875pts, 4; Stacey Whitu (Roxburgh) 13min 23.94sec, 83.697pts, 5; Mitchell Menzies (Ranfurly) 15min11.97sec, 83.8485pts, 6.
New Zealand Merino Shears wool handling results
Open final: Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 110.106pts, 1; Amy Lee Ferguson (Alexandra) 163.95pts, 2; Candy Hiri (Gore) 173.388pts, 3; Chelsea Collier (Gore) 221.208pts, 4.
Senior final: Aiesha Thompson (Napier) 132.97pts, 1; Destiny Paikea (Heriot) 182.82pts, 2; Whati Mikaere Turipa (Tolaga Bay) 216.438pts, 3; Darryl Harrison (Dannevirke) 243.944pts, 4.
Junior final: Cheyenne Howden(Feilding) 145.044pts, 1; Sunnie Te Whare (Ohai) 163.292pts, 2; Amber Poihipi (Ohai) 181.88pts, 3; Pricilla Albert (Rotoiti) 200.2pts, 4.
Novice: Shahui Whitu (-) 102.16pts, 1; Pukemarama Hau (-) 111.706pts, 2; Tamihana Karauria (Alexandra) 119.644prs, 3; Hori Rata (Raglan) 127.75pts, 4.
Shearing and Woolhandling Teams: Mouse O’Neill (Mouse O’Neill, Stacey Te Huia, Janine O’Neill, Atiria Te Huia), 236.275pts, 1; Mahi Life (Mike Ferguson, Cam Ferguson, Amy Ferguson, Kahlo Tuuta) 292.828pts, 2; Perfect Rhythm (Dion Morrell, John Kirkpatrick, Pagan Karauria, Foonie Waihape), 315.028pts, 3.