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Former shearing champ Avery returns as Open hope in Te Kuiti

March 28, 2014

Former shearing champ Avery returns as Open hope in Te Kuiti

Former World shearing champion Paul Avery has grabbed a slim chance of representing his country again by qualifying for the quarterfinals of the New Zealand Open shearing championship in Te Kuiti.

But it was a close call for Taranaki farmer Avery as 62 shore in the heats today on the second day of the 30th championships. He qualified last of the 24 to make the cut for the quarterfinals to be shorn tomorrow afternoon.

Semi-finals soon afterwards decide the top six for the final over 20-sheep each tomorrow night, when one of the competitors will win the right to join Hawke’s Bay shearer Rowland Smith in the New Zealand team for this year’s World Championships in Gorey, Ireland, in May.

Smith won his place in claiming his second Golden Shears Open title in Masterton four weeks ago, and today firmed in his already warm favouritism to win a third New Zealand Open by heading the qualifiers, just ahead of two-times World teams champion John Kirkpatrick, of Napier.

Smith started the day as $2 favourite with the TAB, among the shortest odds offered by the TAB in more than 12 years operating win pools on New Zealand’s major shearing events.

Aaron Haynes, of Feilding, showed he is not wihthout a chance by qualifying in third place, with 2012 World champion, Scotland representative and Taranaki farmer Gavin Mutch was next.

Remarkably, Avery and Mutch were among six former World individual shearing champions in the 62-strong field, including local legend and five-times World champion David Fagan, of Te Kuiti, and 2010 World champion Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, who qualified for tomorrow’s next stage of the national title race in 10th and 23rd places respectively. The 1994 World champion, King Country shearer Alan Macdonald, and 1984 champion and South Island-based Scotsman Tom Wilson were both just shy of the cut, in 27th and 28th places respectively.

Qualifiers for the New Zealand Open shearing championship quarterfinals starting in Te Kuiti on Saturday at 1pm:

Rowland Smith(Hastings) 1, John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 2, Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 3, Gavin Mutch (Whangamomona/Scotland) 4, Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 5, David Buick (Pongaroa) 6, Angus Moore (Ward) 7, Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 8, Dion King (Hastings) 9, David Fagan (Te Kuiti) 10, Dean Ball (Te Kuiti) 11, Digger Balme (Te Kuiti) 12, Murray Henderson (Feilding) 13, Adam Brausch (Dannevirke) 14, Tony Coster (Rakaia) 15, Axle Reid (Taihape) 16, Lloyd Alexander (Whangamomona) 17, Tama Niania (Gisborne) 18, James Fagan (Te Kuiti) 19, James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 20, Sam Welch (Waikaretu) 21, Darin Forde (Winton) 22, Cam Ferguson (Waipawa) 23, Paul Avery (Stratford) 24.


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