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New Zealand shearers lose first test to Wales

New Zealand shearers lose first test to Wales

New Zealand has been beaten in the first of four shearing tests in Wales despite a gallant effort by test match rookie and late substitute Jack Fagan.

The Te Kuiti shearer, son of shearing legend Sir David Fagan who ended his 33 years of Open-class shearing in a series in Wales two years ago, was the top performing individual in the CP Wool UK tour test at the Cothi Shears on Friday (Saturday morning NZST).

Alhough last to finish – 26 seconds after Welshman Gwyn Lloyd Evans was first to finish the sheep, taking 13min 11sec – Fagan shore clearly the cleanest pen of sheep and had best overall points, beating Evans by 0.35pts.

It was not such a good day for teammate and World champion John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, however, and with Evans and teammate Ian Jones posting second and third best points Wales was able to take the win by 1.85pts.

Fagan, who will shear again with Kirkpatrick in the second test at Lampeter today (Sunday morning NZST), was a late replacement for team member Rowland Smith, preparing for a World record bid in Cornwall on Monday.

Smith rejoins Kirkpatrick for the last two tests, at the Royal Welsh Show on Wednesday and the Corwen Shears next Saturday.

While Wales has never beaten New Zealand in a test in New Zealand, it has dominated recent annual series’ in the UK, where New Zealasnd last came out on top in a 3-1 victory in 2011.

Wales won 2-1 last year, with Smith and Kirkpatrick avoiding a whitewash when they beat Evans and Jones in the last match at Corwen.

The Kiwis now have a 2-2 record on the current CP Wool tour, having bounced-back from a tour-opening loss to Scotland to beat England 2-0.

There were also no New Zealanders in the Cothi Shears Open final, the first time there havd been no New Zealanders in an Open competition final at a Kiwis’ UK tour venue in more than eight years.

CP Wool Tour test (20 sheep): Wales 107.85pts (Gwion Lloyd Evans 13min 11sec, 53.75pts; Ian Jones 13min 34sec, 54.1pts) beat New Zealand 109.9pts (Jack Fagan 13min 37sec, 53.4pts; John Kirkpatrick 13min 35sec 56.3pts) by 1.85pts.

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