World champ Kiwi shearer cleans up at Royal Welsh Show
From Doug Laing, media officer, Shearing Sports New Zealand
July 23, 2019
World champ Kiwi shearer Oldfield cleans up at Royal Welsh Show
World champion New Zealand blade shearer Allan Oldfield has successfully defended the Royal Welsh Show’s Open bladeshearing title.
Despite what he said was a “tough” start to the six-man final on the opening day of the 100th anniversary show at Llanelwedd, Builth Wells, on Monday, Oldfield soon got into stride to spreadeagle the challengers, averaging 2min 22sec a sheep in finishing his 6 in 14min 12sec, the crucial factor in a comfortable win by 5.834pts over runner-up and Welsh shearer Gareth Owen.
Third was Champion Blades Shearer of Wales Elfed Jackson, who had been second to finish almost a sheep behind the flying Kiwi from South Canterbury.
Owen was judged comfortably the cleanest shearer, with the second-best points in judging on the shearing board and best in the pens afterwards, but the overall quality-points margin of almost 4.7pts did little to affect the final outcome.
“I had a good shear in the heats,” Oldfield said. “But the final’s sheep were pretty tough. I had a rough one to start, and it took a bit to get back on track.”
The 28-year-od from Geraldine aims now for a second consecutive Corwen Shears title in North Wales on Saturday, before heading for a month’s shearing in the Falkland Islands and a holiday in Italy before returning to New Zealand for a reunion with World Champion Allflex New Zealand teammate Tony Dobbs and in time for the New Zealand Spring Shears in October on the second weekend of the 2019-2020 season in New Zealand.
Now more than a fortnight after the upset and big win over defending champion South African shearer Mayenseke Shweni in the World Championships final in the Central France town of Le Dorat, Oldfield said the success had sparked more interest in the family blade shearing gear and training business he shares with father and 2017 World Championships third-placegetter Phil Oldfield.
“We have already had a couple inquiries for shearing schools overseas,” he said.
While Oldfield has packed all his winning into the last three-and-a-half years, including the rare cleansweep of Open blades titles at the big four UK titles at the Royal Bath and West, Royal Ulster, Royal Highland and Royal Welsh shows, says his dream of winning probably goes back to competing in the Golden Shears All Nations blades shearing at the 2012 World Championships in Masterton.
He didn’t make the final, but he did get the chance to see the powerful South African domination in the final win by Shweni and teammate Zweliwile Hans’ 4th World final win 24 hours later, albeit both in times averaging over 3 minutes a sheep.
“I think I set the goal then,” he said. “Then I started to feel like I had a real chance about 2 years ago when I started to get some stronger wins.”
Asked for the secret after ending a South Africa and Lesotho World blades titles domination dating back to 1996, Oldfield said: “Being focused and making a point of getting practice in even if it’s inconvenient. And travelling to be adaptable to different breeds of sheep.”
While he started learning to blade shear at the age of 13, he had until his 2016 trip to the UK been out of New Zealand just once, as an Under 20 New Zealand axe sports representative in Australia, and was still to have significant success in shearing sports.
But he soon found the environment to his liking, with a quickly achieved treble of his first wins in Open blade shearing, Junior machine shearing, and, to complete a possibly unprecedented three-disciplines milestone, in woolhandling.
He says he’s excited about the prospects for the next World championships in Scotland in 2022, but there is much more imminent excitement to attend to.
He wonders if his parents are more excited about the wins in France than he is, and said: “I’m looking forward to celebrating with some mates when I get home.”
Royal Welsh Show Open Blades Shearing final (6 sheep): Allan Oldfield (New Zealand) 14min 12sec, 81.433pts, 1; Gareth Owen (Wales) 17min 42sec, 87.267pts, 2; Elfed Jackson (Wales) 16min 10sec, 90pts, 3; Rheinallt Hughes (Wales) 18min 18sec, 94.233pts, 4; George Mudge (England) 18min 48sec, 99.733pts, 5; Adrian Davies (Wales) 20min 13sec, 116.317pts, 6.