Shearing Sports NZ: Big Gap, But Still Close
On behalf of Shearing Sports New Zealand
November 15, 2009
A New Zealand team has scored a second big win over Australia in blade-shearing, but the result barely matters as the transtasman rivals prepare to tackle the sport's African might at next year's World Championships in Wales.
After the Kiwis' win in Christchurch on Friday, team member and Noel Handley said blade shearers are hopeful the match will lead to blade shearing being included in the annual home-and-away shearing sports transtasman series, despite the gap between the two countries in Christchurch and in another contest in Warialda, NSW, last month.
Handley and fellow Kiwi veteran John Kennedy won the first contest during the Australian shearing and woolhandling championships by 42.89pts, and Kennedy also won the championship final.
On Friday, Handley paired with fellow Rangiora shearer Allan Gemmell beat Australia's World championships team of 21-year-old South Australian blades and machine shearer John Dalla and Omarama-based John Nicholls by 37.459pts.
One stage of the New Zealand World championships blades team selection will be held at the 50th Golden Shears in Masterton in March, the first blade-shearing contest in the North Island for many years, and Handley said it is hoped that blade shearers will then be included in the next transasman series in the 2010-2011 season.
While New Zealander Tony Dobbs won the first World blade-shearing championship in 1992, the event has since been dominated by South Africa and Lesotho, with six wins between them.
Handley said the transtasman competition is importatant for the sake of keeping New Zealand and Australia competitive but also for the heritage of blade-shearing.
"I guess it keeps the competitive side going for us here, so hopefully this will be an annual event," he said. "It's been pretty well received, and we're keen to continue."
Results from Friday's match were:
NZ Corriedale Shears Team 130.129pts (Noel Handley 12min 30.05sec, 60.503pts; Allan Gemmell 13min 7.52sec, 69.626pts) beat Australia 167.588pts (John Dalla 14min 5.5sec, 70.275pts; John Nicholls 13min 21.25sec, 97.313pts) by 37.459pts.