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Young English shearer shines under the bright lights

Young English shearer shines under the bright lights of Golden Shears

A young shearer who leapt from obscure lower class competition to win selection for England at this year’s World Championships is unflustered by his demise in the biggest challenge he could have hoped-for along the way.

One of 79 competitors in today’s Golden Shears Open championship heats, 23-year-old Dean Nelmes, from Warmwell, Dorset, qualified for the prestigious Top 30 Shootout, one of the most revered first targets in Open-class shearing worldwide.

Remarkably, it came just two years after Nelmes was fourth in the Golden Shears intermediate final in Masterton, a probably unprecedented rise through the grades, even on a New Zealand scale.

But it was just the latest event in a remarkable year, for in June last year, while still a senior class shearer, he beat his country’s top Open-class shearers to win the England Nationals title at the Royal Bath and West Show, and with it selection as one of two English shearers for the World Championships in Gorey, Ireland, in May.


It’s something he had wanted to do, but never had it been in his “wildest dreams” that he would be there this year, with teammate Adam Berry, of Kendal, Cumbria.

Both had been shearing in New Zealand during the summer, Nelmes mainly in Hawke’s Bay and out of Masterton, and Berry around Taranaki, before having to return home early.

In tonight’s quarterfinal, Nelmes was last of the 30 competitors, failing to make the cut of 12 for tomorrow’s semi-finals.. He was more than a sheep behind the fastest time and almost two points from the 29th placegetter.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I think I could do it,” he said after one of five six-shearer quarterfinal heats which also included 2006 Golden Shears champion and World lambshearing record holder Dion King and 2010 Golden Shears and World champion Cam Ferguson, both from Hawke’s Bay.

“But I’m here now, so I’ll make the most of it,” he said, soaking-up the post-sheer atmosphere and the experience.

Consistent with the camaraderie in the sport, Nelmes’ progress has been helped by reigning Golden Shears and New Zrealand champion Rowland Smith and brothers Matthew and Doug Smith. Rowland Smith is a warm favourite to represent New Zealand at the World Championships.


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