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Not a bad experience, just not the right one



Shearing gun laments -- not a bad experience, just not the right one


Scottish shearing gun Gavin Mutch was in philosophical mood after failing in his fist World record bid on a rfemote Taranaki eastern hills farm today.

"It wasn't really a bad experience, it just wasn't the right one," the 28-year-old from Aberdeenshire said at his home at Whangamomona a few hours after pulling-out threequarters of the way through attempt on the eight hours lambshearing record of 731, set six years ago by Taihape shearer Justin Bell, now a Southern Hawke's Bay farmer.

Shearing at Pohokura, half-an-hour from where he lives with Kiwi wife Pip and daughter Ashleigh, had clocked a tally of 542 by the time he decided in the afternoon smoke break that the target was out of reach, and that on this day the body wasn't going to help him any more.

Having shorn 802 in nine hours in the same four-stand shed of farmer Ken Lobb last summer, he had been confident of breaking the record, even when the three judges rejected three of his 188 lambs in the first of the four two-hour runs.

The stomach started playing-up in the 9-9.30am break, and while no more were rejected, he was unable to keep up the average required, dropping to 178 in the two hours before lunch. With 179 in the run after lunch he had the uphill target of 190 in the last run and withdrew, saying later: "It was just common-sense really. It just wan't in the body to keep it going."

It wasn't helped by deteriorating weather which made it difficult to keep the romneys warm and dry enough to give the popular shearer his best chance. 

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It was his second major disappointment in shearing in 10 weeks, following his capitulation in the World championships final in Norway on October 5, the pre-event favourite who finished sixth in the six-man final won by fellow Taranaki farmer Paul Avery, who was present yesterday amid a strong turnout of local supporters.

Mutch said it was "learning curve," and doesn't rule out another bid this summer.

"It's a bit unlikely," he said, "because I've got to work-out why the body didn't quite handle it this time, but I'd like to think I'm still young enough to have another go."

Bell was on hand to see the bid, and Mutch will travel to the Bay of Plenty on Friday to South Island-based Irishman Ivan Scott tackle the same record, on the notoriously-quick lambs of Rerewhakaaitu, near Rotorua.

Bell set the record at Opepe, near Taupo, in December 2002, and later went on to set a record foir nine hours, now held at 866 by another Hawke's Bay ahear, Dion King.

The record attempts are run under the auspices of the World Shearing Records Society, with today's overseen by the regulation three judges - Australian Peter Artridge and New Zealanderers Ian Buchanan (North Island) and Don Morrison (South Island).

Society secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Tauranga, said it was disappointing for everyone, because it was a well-run attempt.

"Everyone felt for Gavin at the end, so I'm sure he'll come back," he said.



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