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Aussie regains NZ merino shearing title

October 8, 2017

Aussie regains NZ merino shearing title

Australian shearer Damien Boyle has won a seventh New Zealand Open Merino shearing championships title in eight years at the opening event of the 2017-2018 shearing sports season in Alexandra at the weekend.

Shearing on stand No 5 in Saturday night’s final in Molyneaux Stadium, against five others who have all represented New Zealand in transtasman shearing tests, Boyle needed the best of the quality points after being well-beaten on time by Invercargill shearer Troy Pyper, who was facing down the board from stand No 6, and just pipped by Alexandra vetereran Dion Morrell, on stand No 1.

From West Australia, and shearing in his trademark sling to support his back, Boyle, 39, had won the final six-times in a row from 2010-2015. Southland shearer Nathan Stratford restored the Kiwi pride with a popular victory last year, at the start of a season in which he went on to win a World teams title in front of his home crowd in Invercargill.

Boyle dominated results from the start on Saturday, being top qualifier for the finals after 30 shore in the heats. He was also top qualifier from the semi-finals.

When all time and quality points were calculated last night, Pyper had to settle for second place and Stratford third. Colin O’Neill, of Alexandra, was fourth, Chris Vickers, of Palmerston, fifth, and Dion Morrell, of Alexandra, sixth.

Stratford, O’Neill and Morrell grabbed one back for their Kiwi fans when they won a transtasman Merino test match against Boyle, Beau Guelfi and Callum O’Brien.

World champion woolhandler Joel Henare, from Gisborne, started his new season with two wins on the way to a target to reach a career tally of 100 Open final victories, now over 90 to his name.

He regained the finewooled Merino championships’ Open woolhandling title, with a win over runner-up and 2015 and 2016 winner Pagan Karauria, daughter of shearer Morrell, and also beat Karauria and Te Kuiti woolhandler Keryn Herbert in the Golden Fleece Woolhandler of the Year final..

Father-of-three Henare turns 26 later this month, but has spent almost half his life in Open woolhandling competition, fast zeroing-in on becoming only the second person to win 100 Open-class titles.

Third place in Saturday night’s final went to Monica Potae, of Milton, and fourth was surprise finalist Kelly Macdonald.

Ranfurly shearer Vanni Stringer won the Senior shearing final, in which Karauria put in another display of shearing sports versatility by adding a sixth-place cheque to that she won in the woolhandling.

The Senior woolhandling title was won for a second time by Ebony Turipa, of Gore, and the Junior title by Linda Duncan, of Alexandra.

The championships attracted 126 entries, with 51 in the two shearing classes and 75 in the three woolhandling classes.

The shearing sports season continues at the longwool 50th anniversary New Zealand Spring Shears in the South Canterbury town of Waimate next Friday and Saturday, clashing with the opening North Island event at the Poverty Bay A and P Show in Gisborneon Saturday.


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