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Woolhandlers chase chance to defend World Champs title

Woolhandlers chase chance to defend World Champs title

The two leading hopes of keeping New Zealand’s unbeaten World teams woolhandling championships record intact will continue their charge for selection when they compete at the Otago Shearing and Woolhandling Championships starting in Balclutha today.

Reigning individual and teams champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, and 2010 teams championship winner Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu, are clear leaders in a 10-round selection series from which the top eight from their best six performances will face-off in the semi-finals and final at the Golden Shears in Masterton on March 1.

But the target is simply to make the top eight, the two team members for the World Championships in Gorey, Ireland in May, being those who finish first and second in the selection series final.

In Balclutha they will be competing for the title of New Zealand Woolhandler of the Year, which Henare won a record five times before he turned 21, and before finishing second last year to Tia Potae, of Milton.

In a field of 31 in the series, which started at last April’s New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti, Henare and Herbert are the only competitors to have contested all seven events to date.. Henare’s won four of the finals and has 73 points, but Herbert, with 54 points, is yet to post a win in the series, despite being Shearing Sports New Zealand’s top-ranked Open woolhandler for the last three years.

Third-placed with 37 points is 2008 Golden Shears champion Ronnie Goss, of Kimbolton, while next is Invercargill’s Amy Ruki, who scored her first and only Open-class win to date in the New Zealand Merino Championships in Alexandra in October.
Current top placings based on all performances to date, with number of shows, points and position, are: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 7 shows, 73pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu) 7 shows, 54pts, 2; Ronnie Goss (Kimbolton) 4 shows, 37pts, 3; Amy Ruki (Invercargill) 6 shows, 35pts, 4; Rocky Hape-Taite (Dannevirke) 4 shows, 34pts, and Pagan Rimene (Masterton/Alexandra) 6 shows, 34pts, 5equal; Logan Kamura (Marton) 4 shows, 29pts, 7; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 3 shows, 28pts, 8; Tina Rimene (Masteryon) 4 shows, 23pts, 9; Nagio Braddick (Eketahuna) 5 shows, 21pts, 10.


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