Watch NZ shearer Matt Smith attempt the world nine-hour strongwool record from 2pm

Doug Laing, July 26, 2016

New Zealand shearer Matt Smith in England at an earlier shearing competition.
NEW Zealand shearer Matt Smith will today step-out where no one else has before him to tackle the supreme sheep shearing record of 721 strongwool ewes in nine hours – in England.

Smith’s attempt will be the first at a world shearing record in the Northern Hemisphere. He will make the attempt at Trefrank Farm, St Clether, near Launceston in Cornwall, where he lives with English wife Pippa, whom he married in Cornwall two years ago. The 32 year-old was raised around Ruawai in Northland and has shorn extensively in Hawke’s Bay.

The attempt starts at 5am local time (4pm New Zealand Time or 2pm EST Australia) with Smith needing to quickly get onto an average of under 45 seconds for the Romney and crossbred sheep — caught, shorn and despatched — if he is to beat the record.

The current record was set by Southern Hawke’s Bay shearer Rodney Sutton near Central North Island township Bennydale, in the King Country, on January 31, 2007. Sutton started unpromisingly with 158 in the first two hours to breakfast, but clawed his way back during the day with successive 1hr 45min runs of 140, 142, 140 and 140 to catch the record-breaking sheep with just seconds to go before the clock struck 5pm.

In January 2012, Smith set a since-broken eight-hour record of 578 (49.8 seconds a sheep over four runs of two hours each) at Waitara Station, northwest of Napier.

Among those on hand to help will be Smith’s brother, world champion Rowland Smith, who completed the CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand UK tour with a test match win over Wales at the Corwen Shears on Saturday.

It will be the first of two world record attempts at Trefrank Farm, with Irish shearer Ivan Scott tackling the nine-hour lambs record on Friday. The record of 866 was set by Hawke’s Bay shearer Dion King, also in 2007. Scott, who shears in New Zealand most southern summers, holds the eight-hour record of 744, set in January 2012 at Opepe, near Taupo.

The nine-hour record attempt will be run under the auspices of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, which sets a minimum clip of 3kg of wool per sheep. This requirement was met in a sample shear of 10 sheep earlier today before an international judging panel, comprising Ian Buchanan, of New Zealand, Mark Baldwin, from Australia, and Welsh official Arwyn Jones.

The record attempt will be live-streamed at

Source: Shearing Sports New Zealand.


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