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PGG Wrightson Wool National

PGG Wrightson Wool National

Winton shearer Troy Pyper won’t be taking the foot off the pedal despite taking an early near-certain finals-placing lead in the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit after the second round in Waimate today.

His 20 points from the compulsory finewool opening round in Alexandra last week and today’s long strongwool round at the 50th Waimate Spring Shears making him already all-but assures he will make the 12-man cut for New Zealand’s premier all-wools competition finals showdown at the Golden Shears on March 3.

But, knowing it’s the miles that count in possibly New Zealand’s toughest shearing competition, the 33-year-old Pyper, pictured in today’s round, still plans to compete in the remaining qualifying rounds, at the Canterbury Show’s New Zealand Corriedale Championships on November 17, on lambs in Marton on February 3 and on second-shear sheep at the Pahiatua Shears on February 25.
“It is an experience thing,” he said after the Waimate heats, from which series points are taken. “No matter how many years you’ve been shearing, you still can’t just walk in and think you’re going to take it away.”

By the time of the North Island rounds in the New Year, he expects to be working in Hawke’s Bay, adding even more to the skills he’ll need if he’s to pick-off the title, after being runner-up to four-times winner Tony Coster in 2016 but missing a place in the final last year.

Having spent several years in Australia before returning home to make the Golden Shears Open final for the first time in 2015, Pyper’s experience of the finewooled merinos west of the Tasman has stood him in good stead, particularly in opening the season by taking maximum series points in Alexandra last week (October 7).

There he was beaten in the heats and the final only by non-circuit competitor and West Australian shearer Damien Boyle.

Also near-guaranteed places in the PGG Wrightson Wool circuit finals, with the cut-off usually about 16pts, are Pleasant Point shearer Ant Frew, who last year reached the Golden Shears Open semi-finals for the first time, Rakaia veteran Grant Smith and former Circuit winner Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill.

Stratford claimed the maximum 12pts in today’s round, Frew having one of his best efforts at the top level for second place in the heats, with Pyper qualifying in fifth place.

Stratford was later top qualifier for the Waimate Shears Open final to be shorn tonight, followed in order by Paerata Abraham, of Masterton, Pyper, Australia-based Te Kuiti World records holder Stacey Te Huia, Grant Smith, and first-time Open finalist Brook Todd, of Dipton. Frew missed the cut by about a point.
The circuit has attracted 17 entries, but is missing defending champion Rowland Smith.

It incorporates the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown, first presented in 1973, and is now entering a phase of having one of the more enduring sponsorships in New Zealand sport.

"We're now into the seventeenth year of sponsorship of this great event, supporting the wool industry, and and are very proud to do so", said PGG Wrightson Wool general manager Grant Edwards..

"After a number of years of sponsorship under the PGG Wrightson company brand, our wool division is delighted to now be sponsoring this iconic event which is of course a natural fit for the wool business,” he said.

Provisional points and rankings after two rounds of the PGG Wrightson Wool National Shearing Circuit are: Troy Pyper (Winton) 20pts, 1; Ant Frew (Pleasant Point) 19pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) and Grant Smith (Rakaia) 3eq; Colin O’Neill (Alexandra) 15pts, 5; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) and Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 13pts, 6eq; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 11pts, 8; Andy Mainland (Invercargill) 8pts, 9; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 7pts, 10; Ethan Pankhurst (Masterton) 6ts, 11; Dion Morrell (Alexandra) 4pts, 12; Stacey Te Huia (Te Kuiti/Dubbo NSW) 3pts, 13; Turi Edmonds (Raetihi) 2pts, 14; David Buick (Pongaroa), Evan Johnson (Timaru) and Leon Samuels (Invercargill) 1pts, 15eq.

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