Rowland Smith retains Golden Shears title
Rowland Smith retains Golden Shears title and heads for World Champs
Hawke’s Bay shearer Rowland Smith is setting his sights on becoming a World champion after successfully defending the Golden Shears Open shearing title in Masterton tonight.
The 27-year-old, the TAB favourite who grew-up in Northland, was a man possessed as he hammered the opposition in the six-man final and beat runner-up, second-favourite and four-times winner John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, by more than two-and-a-half points.
The 2010 Golden Shears and World champion, Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, was third, creating the event’s third Hawke’s Bay trifecta in a row, and meaning that no one from outside Hawke’s had been in the first two since the last win by King Country icon David Fagan in 2009.
Smith’s win gave him the first of two New Zealand machine shearing positions at the 16th World Championships to be held in Gorey, Ireland, in May, the second being decided in Te Kuiti on March 29 when Smith will be also defending the New Zealand championships Open title. He'd previously twice just missed-out on selection.
The two-metre giant with the sweeping long-blow Smith set a bold pace in front of a crowd of over 1000 equally onto the pace from the start, with big support for sole first-time finalist and Pongaroa farmer David Buick, potentially the host region’s first winner of the event in its 54-year history.
Smith disrobed the first of his 20 ewes in 43 seconds, but Kirkpatrick hit the front over the last five, finishing in 17min 0.139sec, with Smith next 11 seconds later, ahead of the fast finishing Ferguson and 2006 winner Dion King of Hastings, and then Buick.
The first five were separated by just 32 seconds, with another half-minute to the last-man off, near perennial final battler and Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford, whose perseverance at the top level was, however, rewarded with the biggest win of his career in the PGG Wrightson National Circuit final, shorn earlier in the night.
Another big winner was 22-year-old Joel Henare, of Gisborne, who successfully defended the Golden Shears Open woolhandling title, and won a World Championships New Zealand team selection trial final, enabling to go to Ireland in May to defend the World title he won in Masterton in 2012. Second and also headed to Ireland was 2008 Goilden Shears Open woolhandling and Kimbolton farmer Ronnie Goss, mother of New Zealand women’s Sevens rugby captain Sarah Goss, who already has a World title to her name as a footballer.
Results from the final night of the 54th Golden Shears International Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Masterton on Saturday:
Transtasman Test (12 sheep): Australia 260.81pts (Daniel McInt yre 17min 50.301sec, 84.682pts; Shannon Warnest 18min 0.075sec, 87.087pts; Jason Wingfield 17min 22.49sec, 89.041pts) beat New Zealand 280.21pts (John Kirkpatrick 18min 19.008sec, 88.367pts; Rowland Smith 19min 52.433sec, 95.205pts; Dion Morrell 17min 37.8sec, 96.64pts).
Golden Shears Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 17min 10.992sec, 61.8pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 17min 0.139sec, 65.986pts, 2; Cam Ferguson (Waipawa) 17min 24.719sec, 65.986pts, 3; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 18min 4.596sec, 68.83pts, 4; Dion King (Hastings) 17min 26.901sec, 70.745pts, 5; David Buick (Pongaroa) 17min 32.593sec, 71.38pts, 6.
PGG Wrightson National Circuit final, incorporating McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown (15 sheep): Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 20min 38.977sec, 86.618pts, 1; Tony Coster (Rakaia) 19min 56.936sec, 88.247pts, 2; Darin Forde (Invercargill) 18min 46.793sec, 89.006pts, 3; Grant Smith (Rakaia) 21min 43.965sec, 89.265pts, 4; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 19min 46.549sec, 91.794pts, 5; Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 21min 48.452sec, 96.623pts, 6.
Tui Invitation (6 sheep): Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 6min 24.88sec, 30.411pts, 1; Axle Reid (Taihape) 6min 55.645sec, 31.449pts, 2; Gavin Mutch (Whangamomona and Scotland) 5min 55.578sec, 33.112pts, Murray Henderson (Feilding) 6min 19.762sec, 37.321pts, 4; Doug Smith (Ruawai) 6min 12.954sec, 37.648pts, 5; Paerata Abraham (Dannevirke) 6min 11.975sec, 38.265pts, 6.
Golden Shears Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 195.2pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu) 345pts, 2; Rocky Hape-Taite (Dannevirke) 347.8pts, 3; Maryanne Baty (Gisborne) 360pts, 4.
World Championships New Zealand Team selection trial (first two represent New Zealand at World Championships in Ireland in May): Joel Henare (Gisborne) 185pts, 1; Ronnie Goss (Kimbolton) 187.8pts, 2; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 200.4pts, 3; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu) 207pts, 4.