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Combs and cutters primed for big shears test series

Combs and cutters primed for big shears test series

Welsh World championship shearers Gareth Daniel and Richard Jones are back in New Zealand for the warm-up for the big event as they open their 2014 Elders Primary Wool Shearing Series in Tauranga next Saturday (January 18).

The seven-event series, ahead of the World Championships in the Irish County Wexford town of Gorey in May, includes four tests against the New Zealand team of Rowland Smith, of Hastings, and Tony Coster, of Rakaia.

Shaping as possibly the best team Wales has produced, 30-year-old Machynlleth farmer Daniel and Jones, 25, from Corwen, will be hoping to improve on their third place at the 2012 championships in Masterton, where Daniel also won the best quality award in the individual event.

They hope to also do even better than last season’s Welsh team (Jones and Gareth Lloyd Evans), which had an historic day at the Reefton A and P Show with a win over a Top of the South selection and Jones’ win in the show’s Open final.

It’s thought to have been the first win by Wales in a shearing match in New Zealand, and Jones’ triumph the first by a Welsh shearer in a New Zealand competition Open final.

Daniel, the British Wool Marketing Board Lister Shearing Personality of the Year after winning July’s Royal Welsh Show’s All Nations final and with Jones scoring Wales’ first series win over New Zealand, a 3-1 triumph, may also be about to realise his potential to beat New Zealand’s best on their home stands.

It was shown most in 2007 when he won three Senior finals at Marton, Taumarunui and Apiti, including two wins over eventual Golden Shears Senior champion Angus Moore, who has since won New Zealand’s premier multi-breeds title, contested a transtasman test series, and, last month, helped set a World record.

This season’s tour opens with a match against an invitation team of up-and-coming King Country Open-class shearers Mark Grainger and Jack Fagan at the Tauranga Show on the Gate Pa racecourse, where Jones and Evans started last year’s tour with a loss to an invitation team of Grainger and Northland shearer Doug Smith. The four shearers will do 15 lambs each.

Daniel and Jones will also be striving to reach the Open final, on which Jones and Evans missed-out 12 months ago, but will face the formidable form of Fagan’s father David Fagan. the day before the Te Kuiti shearing icon leaves for an Elders Just Shorn brand promotion in the US.

The Tauranga show will be the only competition preparation for the Welsh before the first test against at the Rotorua Show at Ngongotaha on January 26, against Smith and Coster who will later in the season stake their claims for World championships selection, the New Zealand team being chosen from the Golden Shears in Masterton and the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti.

The itinerary for the 2014 Elders Primary Wool Shearing Series is: January 18 Wales v Invitation team, at the Tauranga A and P Show at Gate Pa; January 26 Wales v New Zealand (first test), at the Rotorua A and P Show at Ngongotaha; February 1 Wales v Invirtation Team, at the Reefton A and P Show; February 8 Wales v New Zealand (second test), at the Otago Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, at Balclutha; February 15 Wales v New Zealand (third test), at the Southern Shears, at Gore; February 21, Wales v Invitation team, at the Taumarunui Jamboree Shears; February 23 Wales v New Zealand (fourth test), at the Pahiatua Shears.

ENDS


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