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Big week starts for shearers and woolhandlers

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From Doug Laing, on behalf of Shearing Sports New Zealand

February 20, 2014

Big week starts for shearers and woolhandlers

A big week starts tomorrow for many of the top shearers and woolhandlers as they start the buildup to the 54th Golden Shears in Masterton next week.

About 200 are expected for the Taumarunui Jamboree Shears in the King Country tomorrow (Friday), with similar numbers at the Apiti Sports in northern Manawatu on Saturday, ahead of the shearing-only Pahiatua Shears and the Pre-Shears woolhandling championships near Masterton on Wednesday.

The three-day Golden Shears start next Thursday, with competitors entered from at least nine countries, with the top New Zealand entrants targeting World championship selection for two woolhandlers and the first of two machine shearers to wear the silver fern at the big event in Ireland in May.

While titles will be decided in all classes in the buildup over the next few days, the features will be at Pahiatua, with New Zealand shearer Rowland Smith and Tony Coster hoping to complete a cleansweep of the four-test Elders Primary Wool Shearing Series against Welsh World championships contenders Gareth Daniel and Richard Jones.

Another feature will be the fifth and final qualifying round of the PGG Wrightson National Shearing Circuit, in which King Country shearing icon David Fagan is already safely the top qualifier for a 12-shearer showdown during the Golden Shears.

He will be hoping to add to the nine titles he won in the event from 1986 to 2008, four times alongside the Golden Shears Open title which he won 16 times between 1986 and 2009.

At 52, Fagan is also a serious challenger for another Golden Shears Open final to be shorn on the night of March 1, against the favourites, defending champion Smith and four-times winner John Kirkpatrick, both based in Hawke’s Bay.

In Wednesday’s Pre-Shears woolhandling, the top hopes will be seeking the final spots in an eight-person trial which at the Golden Shears will decide the two to defend the World teams title New Zealand won in Maserton in 2012. Reigning individual champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, is safely through, along with 2010 World champion team member Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu.

ENDS

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