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Blades veteran Dobbs hones in on new World Champs bid

Blades veteran Dobbs hones in on new World Champs bid

The selection of New Zealand’s team for this year’s World shearing and woolhandling championships

May has all-but been confirmed after the top two blades shearing hopes finished first and second at the Oxford A and P Show in North Canterbury on Saturday.

The winner of Oxford’s blades shearing final was 1992 World champion Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie and the runner-up 2012 World championships representative Mike McConnell, of Albury.

Only a failure to complete the qualifying series at the MacKenzie Shears in Fairlie on April 21 could stop them from joining machine shearers Rowland Smith, of Hastings, and John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and woolhandlers Joel Henare, of Gisborne, and Veronica (Ronnie) Goss,of Kimbolton, in the team for the championships in Gorey, Ireland, on May 22-25.

Dobbs, whose biggest win in his big comeback year was the New Zealand Corriedales title at the Canterbury Show in November, has had some unusual preparation, having in January shorn a reputed World Record 28.9kg fleece from the back of a hermit merino nicknamed “Big Ben”, one of four that had dodged mustering on a station near Twizel for as much as six years.

Dobbs took 25 minutes to complete the job, with a fleece almost 2kg heavier than the fleece shorn from the somewhat more-famed “Shrek” on April 28, 2004.

In Saturday’s final, Dobbs clipped his way through five sheep in 17min 26.68sec, maintaining enough quality to take a points win over McConnell, who had finished the job in 16min 52.72sec.

Marlborough shearer Chris Jones caused a minor surprise by beating former New Zealand representative Grant Smith in the Open machine shearing shearing final, shearing 12 sheep in 14min 45.97sec and winning by 0.7pts, while regular blades shearer Chris Russell, of Woodend, waved the heavier metal with some aplomb to win the Senior machine shearing final.

Results from the Oxford A and P Show Shears on Saturday, March 29, 2014:

Open final (12 sheep): Chris Jones (Renwick) 14min 45.97sec, 54.8pts, 1; Grant Smith (Rakaia) 14min 46.28sec, 55.4pts, 2; Dave Brooker (Hawarden) 15min 24.78sec, 62.57pts, 3; Shaun Burgess (Rakaia) 15min 34..09sec, 71.79pts, 4.

Senior final (6 sheep): Chris Russell (Woodend) 11min 0.03sec, 49pts, 1; Phil Williams (-) 11min 50.84sec, 54.88pts, 2; Mike McConnell (Albury) 10min 5.35sec, 59.77pts, 3; Mike Wickliffe (Seddon) 11min 4.31sec, 71.05pts, 4.

Intermediate final (4 sheep): Scott Clark (Whangamomona) 9min 50.85sec, 44.79pts, 1; Jack Dever (Wairoa) 8min 9.34sec, 47.72pts, 2; Luis Pincol (Chile) 8min 19.34sec, 49.22pts, 3.

Junior final(3 sheep): Mitchell Murray (Amberley) 9min 5.38sec, 45.27pts, 1; Hamish Ellen (-) 9min 35.75sec, 54.79pts, 2; Kelly Macdonald (Lake Hawera) 9min 50.09sec, 56.17pts, 3; Amy Silcock (Murchison) 9min 56sec, 59.8pts, 4.

Blades final (5 sheep): Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 17min 26.68sec, 64.33pts, 1; Mike McConnell (Albury) 16min 52.72sec, 65.64pts, 2; Brian Thomson (West Melton) 17min 52.07sec, 95.6pts, 3; Richard Watson (Medbury) 19min 36.22sec, 82.61pts, 4.


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