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It's all for the cameraderie says Fagan

On behalf of Shearing Sports New Zealand

Sunday, October 25, 2009.

It's all for the cameraderie says shear champion Fagan

The thrills of competition shearing remain as constant as ever for 48-year-old shearing icon David Fagan who on Friday(October 23) won the Great Raihania Shears open title in Hastings, his first win in the 28th season of a career which has produced 593 victories around the World.

But, armed with a $1000 winner's cheque to more than cover the costs of a seven-hour return trip by road from hometown Te Kuiti with regular travelling companion and eventual third-placegetter Dean Ball, Fagan said it's not the money that keeps him going.
"I don't know," he said during a Labour Weekend break in Whangamata, when asked if the current season could be his last on the competition circuit. "While I'm still enjoying it,
I'll still be doing it."

"Travelling with the guys is part of the cameraderie," he said.

"If you were travelling on your own all the time, you probably wouldn't bother. It makes it a cheap weekend away if you're all sharing the costs, and the prizes...? That's a bonus."

"There's a great life out there for younger guys, opportunities to travel, overseas, see the World, and if you use your money properly."

Despite the wins having not been as regular as at some stages of his illustrious career, there's no sign of any let-up in the Fagan itinerary, in which he flies to Australia on Thursday with five others chosen from finals at the New Zealand championships in April to compete at the Warrnambool Shears, part of an exchange between the two competitions which started after he and brother John made their first visit to the Australian show 20 years ago.

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Returning the day after the crossbred shearing and woolhanlding championships end on Saturday, Fagan will later in the week fly to the South Island to compete in a fundraing speedshear in South Canterbury, and make a first-ever appearance in the Pleasant Point Shears. He will then return to Te Kuiti, but fly south again for the NZ Corriedale championships at the Royal New Zealand Show in Christchurch on November 11-13, the third leg of the PGG Wrighston National Round.

After indicating last year that he would be cutting-back on the competition, he still reached 16 finals in shows from Balclutha to Auckland, winning the Rangitikei Shears in Marton and his 16th Golden Shears open title in Masterton in March, after which he still found time for six more competitions, qualifying for all eight possible finals and being runner-up four times.

He then spent several weeks in Britain accompanying the New Zealand team of nephew James Fagan and Hawke's Bay star John Kirkpatrick, winning two more titles at the historic Glenarm Castle in Northern Ireland and the Great Yorkshire Open in England, just 24 hours apart in July.

Rarely one to speak of his goals, leaving the talk to his tall frame and the Viper handpiece, Bullet cutters and Mustang comb he has helped develop in Sydney for gear-makers Supershear, Fagan has, however, made no secret of the incentive to follow the competitions this season, reaching finals in successive weeks at Alexandra, Waimate, Gisborne and Friday's contest at the Hawke's Bay Show.

The winners of the 50th Golden Shears Open on March 6 and the New Zealand Open four weeks later will represent New Zealand at the 14th Golden Shears World shearing and woolhandling championships, increasing interest in doing the competition-miles needed to be competitive in the glamour events.

"That's everyone's goal," said Fagan, who won the World title in 1988, 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2003, and who has six other World titles in the teams event.
"We'll take one week at a time, but at the end, I'll just want to know I've given it my best shot."

The Hastings competition attracted 28 open class shearers, a record since it was resurrected in 2004 to commemorate a victory by Ngati Porou gun Rimitiriu Raihania in the World's first machine-shearing competition at the Hawke's Bay show in 1902.
But it was a tough day with the seasonal conditions reflected in the times for one of the slowest crossbred sheep competitions in the country the last decade, and the difficulty many shearers had meeting tougher quality standards.

Globetrotting Matt Smith, from Ruawai in the Far North and having recently returned from shearing the Slovenia and Estonia regions, made the pace throughout and took 19min 6 sec, to beat the other three finalists by at least half a sheep, but was relegated to fourth place on points, opening the way for Fagan's win by more than six points over runner-up and last-man-off David Buick, of Pongaroa.

Ball had to settle for third place, while reigning champion Kirkpatrick and fellow Hawke's Bay hope Cam Ferguson, who scored his first major open win in Waimate a fortnight ago, were eliminated in the semi-finals, all with rare failures to match the quality mark.

Gisborne teenager Joel Henare won the open woolhandling title, a crucial longwool show victory and 15th open class title in trying to become the youngest person to be awarded Master Woolhandler status by Shearing Sports New Zealand. World champion and country school principal Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, was third, but former three-times World champion Joanne Kumeroa, of Wanganui, failed to reach the final of her last event before a three-week return to her base in Hamilton, Victoria, after which she be back in New Zealand to compete in Christchurch.

RESULTS of the Great Raihania Shears at then Hawkle’s Bay Show on Friday, October 23:
Open (20 sheep): David Fagan (Te Kuiti) 19min 47sec, 73.4pts, 1; David Buick (Pongaroa) 20min 20sec, 79.05pts, 2; Dean Ball (Te Kuiti) 20m 3sec, 78.85pts, 3; Matt Smith (Ruawai) 19min 6sec, 86.35pts, 4.
Senior (10 sheep): Matene Mason (Masterton) 12min 57sec, 58.05pts, 1; Tama Niania (Gisborne) 12min 59sec, 56.65pts, 2; Tipene Te Whata (Tautoro) 12min 48sec, 61pts, 3; Clayton Braddick (Eketahuna) 15min 29sec, 71.95pts, 4.
Intermediate (5 sheep): Wi Poutu Ngarangione (Gisborne) 8min 51sec, 38.75pts, 1; Sharnie Rimene (Masterton) 9min 30sec, 45.7pts, 2; Hemi Dellow (Hastings) 10min 3sec, 50.55pts, 3; Fabian Woodford (Pahiatua) 10min, 61.2pts, 4.
Junior (3 sheep): Hine Biddle (Masterton) 7min 36sec, 46.8pts, 1; Shannon Taylor (Napier) 6min 53sec, 47.31pts, 2; Desmond Hetaraka (Hastings) 7min 33sec, 48.98pts, 3; Aaron Bell (Bell) 7min 43sec, 54.15pts, 4.
Veterans (3 sheep): John Arahanga (Raetihi) 5min 41sec, 46.05pts, 1; Ike Waerea (Bridge Pa) 3min 59sec, 46.62pts, 2; Des Thompson (Waipawa) 5min 13sec, 52.65pts, 3; Chris Runga (Wairoa) 4min 45sec, 61.59pts, 4.
Junior: Cushla Gordon (Masterton) 80.8pts, 1; Rahna Watson Paul (Flaxmere) 87pts, 2; Kyle Wihongi (Hastings) 92.4pts, 3; Janelle Toheriri (Pahiatua) 93.4pts, 4.
Senior: Amy Ruki (Invercargill) 82.8pts, 1; Maureen Smith (Gisborne) 86pts, 2; Rangi Barakat (Waipawa) 88pts, 3; Ursula Taiaroa (Mastertion) 122pts, 4.
Open: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 61.4pts, 1; George Hawkins (Martinborough) 80pts, 2; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 72.6pts, 3; Tia Potae (Milton) 85pts, 4.


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