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Best of friends best of shearers

Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan has won his second consecutive World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships’ All-Nations Speedshear on an opening night in Central France which was more about friendship than anything else.

Winner of the open-entry Speedshear at the 2017 championships in Invercargill, Fagan shore the two-man final alongside frenchman Thimoleon Resneau in front of about 1000 people tonight in the Limoges city square, about 50km from where the championships-proper start on Thursday in Le Dorat.

“It couldn’t have been a better way to have a final,” said 26-year-old Fagan soon after delivering his victory speech in fluent french “Thimo is one of my best friends here in France, we get on really well.”

Unlike most speedshear events, money wasn’t the aim, with no cash at stake. Fagan won a plate from unique Limoges porcelain, which he says will be shown proudly on the mantlepiece or wall back home in New Zealand. Each finalist also won a Lister Scorpion shearing handpiece.

“Over here it’s the honour that counts. It it’s not the money that counts,” he said,

Further recognition of his now several trips to France is that while not a member if the New Zealand team Fagan will still play a big part in the championships, and had been invited to “M.C” the prizegiving ceremonies.

Dedicating the speedshear win event to grandfather David Hawkins, who died in England last week, Fagan shore his final sheep in 19.69sec, winning by the comfortable speedshear margin of just under 3 seconds. Resneau, from Limoux, Laude, shore 22.59sec.

Fagan, 26, was just as dominant in the semi-finals,, shearing his sheep in 20.7sec, as he and Resneau sent-off the last two other triers, Cook Islands representative and New Zealand-based shearer Aaron Bell and England representative Adam Berry.

New Zealand championships hopes Cam Ferguson and Rowland Smith, both of Hawke’s Bay, were each eliminated in the heats.

The championships-proper start on Thursday, with about 300 people competing in the open-entry, multi-grade All-Nations shearing and woolhandling All Nations events preceding the World title events.

An official opening ceremony will take place late on Thursday, featuring french Minister of Agriculture Didier Guilliaume.

With Ferguson and Smith in the AllFlex New Zealand Shearing and Woolhandling team are Canterbury blade shearers Tony Dobbs and Allan Oldfield, and woolhandlers Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra.


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