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Mixed Fortunes for NZ in Trans-Tasman Shearing

Mixed Fortunes for NZ in Trans-Tasman Shearing

New Zealand
woolhandlers Sheree Alabaster (left) and Chelsea Collier,
with team manager John Wright of Alexandra, after their
success against Australia at Hay (NSW) last weekend.
(Shearing magazine photo).
Click to enlarge

New Zealand woolhandlers Sheree Alabaster (left) and Chelsea Collier, with team manager John Wright of Alexandra, after their success against Australia at Hay (NSW) last weekend. (Shearing magazine photo).

Mixed Fortunes for NZ in Trans-Tasman Shearing
By Des Williams

New Zealand's shearers and woolhandlers enjoyed mixed success at the Australian national championships and the first leg of the 2006/07 bi-annual test series in Hay, NSW, last weekend.

Woolhandlers, Sheree Alabaster of Taihape and Gore's 19-year-old Chelsea Collier scored an upset victory over the vastly experienced Australian duo, Sian Bacon and Michelle Walker in the woolhandling test, which featured both teams processing four merino and four crossbred fleeces.

Alabaster (2nd) and Collier (4th) also made the final of the Shear Outback Australia Hall of Fame open woolhandling championship in their lead-up to the international contest.

The new-look shearing team, comprising members Dion King (Hastings), James Fagan (Te Kuiti) and Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) could not match the skill of the Australians in the shearing test, going down by a 21-point margin in the 16-sheep [per shearer]contest.

Team manager John Wright of Alexandra said the Kiwi woolhandlers took the Australians by surprise with their tactics, with Alabaster and Collier both working on the merino fleeces until the change of wool type half way through the test. Alabaster then processed the four crossbred fleeces herself, allowing Collier to complete the remaining work on the bulkier merino wool.

"This allowed our team to steal the advantage and they had their cleanup completed more than 35 seconds ahead of the Australians. That advantage more than offset the Australians' superior fleece work."

John Wright said the shearing team was the youngest to represent New Zealand in many years and, in the circumstances, performed with distinction.

"We were up against an Australian team led by current world champion Shannon Warnest and his all-round superiority proved to be the difference between the two teams. Warnest also won the Australian national title for the third time which was, reportedly, his 39th consecutive win in Australia."

John Wright said the two countries meet again for the second leg of the series at Masterton's Golden Shears, next March.


Results follow:

Supershear Trans-Tasman shearing: Australia (Shannon Warnest, Jason Wingfield, Beau Guelfi) 290.27 penalties, beat New Zealand (Dion King, James Fagan, Nathan Stratford) 311.42 penalties.

Supershear Trans-Tasman woolhandling: New Zealand (Sheree Alabaster, Chelsea Collier) 25.62 penalties, beat Australia (Michelle Walker, Sian Bacon) 29.06 penalties.

Supershear Australian National championship: Shannon Warnest, SA, 87.67 1; Carl Goodman, Qld, 95.74 2; Ross Thompson, NSW, 103.13 3; Tyson Scholz, SA, 107.47 4; Rod Moran, Vic, 107.92 5; Beau Guelfi, WA, 117.05 6.

Australian National woolhandling championship: Sian Bacon, Vic, 47.66 1; Sarah Lannon, NSW, 56.64 2; Mark Purcell, Vic, 59.05 3; Mandy Symons, NSW, 62.71 4; Michelle Walker, Tas, 63.47 5; Rose Armstrong, WA, 67.09 6.

Shear Outback open shearing: Shannon Warnest, SA, 82.17 1; Carl Goodman, Qld, 92.88 2; Jason Wingfield, Vic, 96.86 3; Ross Thompson, NSW, 103.07 4; Robert Glover, Tas, 103.99 5; Bill Hutchison, NSW, 113.81 6.

Australian national blade shearing championship: Dave Newmann, SA, 101.57 1; Simon Coutts, NSW, 103.24 2; Bruce Rollinson, Vic; 114.71 3; Tim Dalla, SA, 117.27 4; Phil Balcombe, NSW, 129.78 5; Jim Haney, Tas, 133.34 6.

Shear Outback open woolhandling: Joseph Garvin, Tasmania, 43.66, 1; Sheree Alabaster, New Zealand, 53.89 2; Bruce Lines, Queensland, 53.91 3; Chelsea Collier, New Zealand, 56.97 4; Michelle Walker, Tasmania, 57.24 5; Eileen Phillipson, NSW, 58.40 6.

Shear Outback national woolpressing: Matthew King, 20.72 1; Arnie Deacon, 25.01 2.

Australian National teams' championship: Tasmania, 147.58 1; Western Australia, 175.28 2; South Australia, 180.92 3; Victoria, 181.62 5; Queensland, 185.06 6.

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