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A Scot and two Kiwis lead World shearing title race

A Scot and two Kiwis lead World shearing title race

A long-awaited World shearing championship showdown between three New Zealand-based former winners has begun in earnest with the domination of the first round of the 2019 event in France.

In temperatures over 35deg outside in central France town Le Dorat on Friday, the 63 shearers from 34 countries were headed by Scotland kingpin and Taranaki farmer Gavin Mutch, who won the title in Masterton in 2012, and who is the only shearer not from New Zealand to have Masterton’s famed Golden Shears Open Championship..

Hawke’s Bay shearer Rowland Smith, who won in Ireland in 2014, was in second place and Central Hawke’s shearer Cam Ferguson, who won in Wales in 2010, was next, a single penalty point across the five sheep in the round enabling him to move into third place ahead of Irish World records holder Ivan Scott, who had the quicker time.

A 40-year-old farmer near remote Whangamomona, but from Huntly in Aberdeenshire, Mutch blasted the field apart with a fastest time of 4min 15sec, 13 seconds quicker than Smith, as a crowd of over 2000 roared its approval of the quickening pace in the second-to last of the 11 heats.

Ferguson had set the standard moments earlier, with what was eventually the fourth-fastest time but the cleanest job on the shearing board, losing just a single penalty mark.

The second round will be on Saturday, and the third round, semi-final and six-man final over 20 sheep each final on Sunday when the 18th World championships will end with the deciding of six individual and teams champions in machine shearing, blade shearing and woolhandling.

The top 12 in the first round were: Gavin Mutch (Scotland) 4min 15sec, 1; Rowland Smith (New Zealand) 4min 28sec, 20.6sec, 2; Cam Ferguson (New Zealand) 4min 41sec, 20.85pts, 3; Ivan Scott (Ireland) 4min 31sec, 22.15pts, 4; Richard Jones (Wales) 5min 57sec, 23.45pts, 5; Jason Winfield (Australia 4min 57sec, 24.05pts, 6; Stuarts Connor (England) 4min 54sec, 24.1pts, 7; Alun Lloyd Jones (Wales) 6min 19sec, 24.95pts, 8; Adam Berry (England) 5min 59sec, 25.75pts, 9; Ian Mongomery (Northern Ireland) 5min 45sec, 26.65pts, 10; Calum Shaw (Scotland) 5min 31sec, 26.75pts, 11; Jack Robinson (Northern Ireland) 5min 46sec, 27.1pts, 12.

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