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A long way home through Tapanui – but it’s worth it

A long way home through Tapanui – but it’s worth it

If Tapanui was a country of it’s own they’d be offering shearer Nathan Stratford honorary residence such has been what shearing competition stalwart Kevin Baxter says is the Invercargill gun’s “bit of a mortgage” on the West Otago A and P Open shearing title.

On Saturday Stratford scored his third win in a row in the remote event, the 12th time he’d won the event since his first in 2000, and his 14th red ribbon at Tapanui, where he had also won the Junior title in 1992 and the Senior title two years later.

The runner-up was Darin Forde, who had himself won the final at Tapanui seven times between 1992 and 2013, on Saturday in a final shorn on what Mr Baxter says was one of the best days the competition has had for years.

It was the end of a busy few days for many of the 37 shearers across the three grades, including 12 in the Open grade, many having driven the 500kms from Christchurch after competing in the Canterbury Show’s New Zealand Corriedale Championships.

Conditions were fine and hot, the roughly 100 seats looking down on the open-faced board were full most of the day, and in contrast to many other recent events, the entries were up in all grades, with 13 contesting the Senior grade won by Jade Maguire Ratima, of Winton,, and 14 in the Intermediate grade, won by James Dickson, of Mataura.

It was what might be called grassroots competition at its best, with Mr Baxter saying it served it’s purpose as entertainment in its compact programme from 11am to about 3pm.

He said a good spell of weather had meant farmers and shearers were “all up to date” and better able to front-up rather than having to spend the day at work.

Stratford was top qualifier in the heats and semi-finals and found the 10 perendale hoggets to his liking as he was first to finish the final, in 10min 22sec and about nine seconds quicker than Forde as all four finished in the order in which they were ultimately placed.

Maguire Ratima shore the 7-sheep Senior final in 8min 24sec, the basis of a winning margin of over three points from Kahn Culshaw, now based in Mataura and sneaking second prize just ahead of 2015 and 2016 West Otago Senior winner Linton Palmer, of Dipton.

It was the best pen which took the day for James Dickson, of Mataura, in the Intermediate final, which he won by 1.277pts from Jesse Barclay, also of Mataura.

The West Otago show ended the pre-Christmas competition run in the lower south, with the Nelson A and P Show in top half and in the North Island the Stratford A and P Show, both next Saturday, the last on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar until the Peninsula Duvauchelle and Tauranga shows in the second weekend of January.

RESULTS from the West Otago A and P Show Shears at Tapanui on Saturday, November 18, 2017:

Open final (10 sheep): Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 10min 22.22sec, 37.411pts, 1; Darin Forde (Lornville) 10min 31.31sec, 39.2655pts, 2; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 10min 42.5sec, 39.725pts, 3; Delwyn Henriksen (Waipara) 11min 21.1sec, 48.355pts, 4.

Senior final (7 sheep): Jade Maguire Ratima (Winton) 8min 24.41sec, 36.2205pts, 1; Kahn Culshaw (Mataura) 9min 47.53sec, 39.3765pts, 2; Linton Palmer (Dipton) 9min 55.84sec, 39.649pts, 3; Chris Malcolm (Winton) 9min 24.72sec, 42.95pts, 4.

Intermediate final (5 sheep): James Dickson (Mataura) 9min 42.9sec, 37.745pts, 1; Jessee Barclay (Mataura) 9min 0.44sec, 39.022pts, 2; Scott Cameron (Alexandra) 9min 50.13sec, 39.5065pts, 3; Wayne Malcolm (Winton) 8min 59.31sec, 41.9655pts, 4.


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