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Tough shearing tour ends in Wales

Tough shearing tour ends in Wales

The New Zealland shearing team has ended an otherwise triumphant year for its sport with a disappointing end to its month-long tour of Scotland, England and Wales.

Shearing on the CP Wool UK tour’s last day at the Corwen Shears in Denbighshire on Saturday, new World champion John Kirkpatrick and former champion Rowland Smith were beaten by Wales for the fourth time in a row and also had to be content with the minor placings in the Corwen Shears Open final, which over the years has been particularly happy hunting-ground for New Zealand’s best.

Winning the test by three points, Welsh combination Gwion Lloyd Evans and Richard Jones took Wales to its first 4-0 series win.

New Zealand has still not won a series in Wales since 2011, but Wales has never won a test match in New Zealand.

Smith, the reigning Golden Shears and New Zealand Open champion, also just missed-out on one last individual title on the tour, finishing runner-up in the Corwen Shears Open final. He was just three-tenths of a point from winner Matthew Evans, while defending champion Kirkpatrick was fifth after copping a maximum 5pts penalty during the six-man final over 20 sheep each.

New Zealand faced seven tests on tour, claiming two wins, both against England after starting the tour with a narrow loss to Scotland at the Lochearnhead Shears on July 1.

Smith, who won his World title in Ireland in 2014, shore in finals of four of the five Open all-nations events in which he competed on tour and won in the second outing, at the Lakeland Shears in Cumbria, on July 8. Three days later he was runner-up to brother and Cornwall-based shearer and farmer Matthew Smith in the Great Yorkshire Show Open final.

Kirkpatrick, who in Invercargill in February won the World Championships final at his fourth attempt, shore in six of the seven Open all-nations finals on tour, and won at the Lampeter Shears in Wales on July 2, when test-match newcomer Jack Fagan was runner-up.

Fagan was substituting for Smith who had his biggest moment of the month when he shore a World record 644 strongwool ewes in eight hours last Monday, in Cornwall.. Taking a two-show break from the tour he broke the previous record, set in New Zealand in February, by 39 sheep.

The highlight of the year was New Zealand’s record at the 40th anniversary WorldChampionships in Invercargill, with a cleansweep of the individual and teams shearing and woolhandling titles.Kirkpatrick teamed with Southland shearer Nathan Stratford to win the teams title, and Gisborne pair Joel Henare and Maryanne Baty were first and second in the woolhandling final and also claimed the teams woolhandling title.

Canterbury pair Tony Dobbs and Phil Oldfield were also second and third in the individual blade shearing final, and runners-up in the teams event

Smith also won the Southland All Nations final in Invercargill, one of 26 wins in 30 finals during the season, and also featured in a New Zealand double in the Transtasman tests at the Golden Shears in Msterton, teaming with Stratford and Rakaia’s Tony Coster to beat Australia in the shearing event, after Henare and Taihape’s Sheree Alabaster had won the wollhandling test.

Results from the Corwen Shears on Saturday, July 29:

CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand UK Tour Test Series (20 sheep): Wales 96.9pts (Gwion Lloyd Evans 12min 31sec, 47.15pts; Richard Jones 13min 43sec, 49.75pts) beat New Zealand 99.9pts (Rowland Smith 13min 6sec, 49.85pts; John Kirkpatrick 13min 11sec, 50.5pts), by 3pts. Wales win the series 4-0.

Corwen Shears Open final (20 sheep): Matthew Evans (Wales) 12min 8sec, 47.4pts, 1; Rowland Smith (New Zealand) 12min 11sec, 47.7pts, 2; Gareth Daniel (Wales) 12min 42sec, 49.75pts, 3; Richard Jones (Wales) 13min 36sec, 50.3pts, 4; John Kirkpatrick (New Zealand) 12min 39sec, 54.6pts, 5; Gwion Lloyd Evans (Wales) 11min 55sec, 54.85pts, 6.


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