Kiwis battle in Wales shearing comps
King Country shearer Jack Fagan’s hopes of winning a second Royal Welsh Open got a boost when he upheld a bit of Kiwi honour by reaching the Lampeter Shears Open final in Wales on Saturday.
With New Zealand team members Rowland Smith and David Buick both eliminated in the heats, it was left to Fagan to keep the faith, finishing 5th in a six-man final of 20 sheep each.
But it won’t be easy in the midweek battle at Llannelwedd, up against new Welsh hero Richard Jones who won the Lampeter final with yet another display of the quality which took him to a surprise win by 0.15pts from Smith in the World Championships final in France on July 7.
Jones was last to finish, 1min 32sec after 2015 World champion, 2018 Welsh Open winner, New Zealand-based Scots shearer and first-man-off Gavin Mutch, who shore the 20 in 12min 54sec.
But with board points of just 0.7 and a pen-points margin of more than 2pts over Fagan, who had the next-cleanest job, Jones was able to claim victory b 0.95pts from World Championships teammate Alun Lloyd Jones.
Royal Welsh 2015 champion Fagan, who won the All Nations Speedshear at the start of the World Championships week, had qualified 16th of the 18 for the semi-finals and last-man into the final at Lampeter.
Buick was just one place away from reaching the semi-final at the end of his first week in the UK, but with inexplicable penalty in pen-judging Smith was unable to match the result of the previous day when he was runner-up at Cothi, nor that of being the top individual in two tests between New Zealand in Wales at Cothi on Friday and then at Lampeter, and that of his Royal Welsh Open win three years ago.
Lampeter Shears Open shearing final (20 sheep): Richard Jones (Wales) 14min 26sec, 50.5pts, 1; Alun Lloyd Jones (Wales) 13min 22sec, 51.45pts, 2; Gavin Mutch (Scotland) 12min 54sec, 52.85pts, 3; Matthew Evans (Wales) 13min 6sec, 53pts, 4; Jack Fagan (New Zealand) 14min 14sec, 53.75pts, 5; Gareth Evans (Wales) 14min 21sec, 57.55pts, 6.