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Kiwis await the judges' call after World shears finals

An anxious wait has begun for the Allflex New Zealand Shearing and Woolhandling Team as it awaits the results of six exhilarating World championships finals in France.

Having already achieved a goal of having all six members in both individual and teams finals, it was machine shearer Rowland Smith and blade shearer Allan Oldfield who stole the show in front of a late afternoon crowd of well over 5000 cramming to get into the steel-framed marquee stadium on the fourth and final day of the championships in the central France town of Le Dorat.

With quality points still to be added to time points, the finals ended just before 5am New Zealand time as Smith, from Maraekakaho, near Hastings, finished blasting through his 20 sheep in 14min 32sec to be first off the board in a six-man machines final perhaps robbed of an even faster time by Scotsman Gavin Mutch’s elimination in the semi-finals earlier in the afternoon.

The black-singleted Kiwi pair of Smith and Cam Ferguson, from Waipawa, were thus the first two to finish, separated by just 10 seconds, with second Scots hope Calum Shaw next in 15min 15sec.

Oldfield, from Geraldine, took the attack right to the champion South Africans in shearing the six sheep in the blades final in 12min 29sec, more than two minutes quicker than defending champion Mayenseke Shweni. Second New Zealand shearer Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, was third to finish in 15min 30sec.

Woolhandling pair Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra,and Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, were in the woolhandling final together, being beaten to the bell by Welsh hope Aled Jones but waiting for the quality marks in what was expected to be a close decision.

While all judging has been completed, results are not being released until the prizegiving ceremonies expected to start about 6am (NZST).

At the last World championships in Invercargill in 2017, New Zealand won the individual and teams shearing and woolhandling titles, and was second and third in the individual blades event and runner-up in the blades teams event.

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