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Worth The Trip To Support A New Competition

Te Kuiti Shearer Jack Fagan winning the first Whangarei A and P Open shearing title. Photo / SSNZ

Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan got the ultimate reward for a bit of respect when he won the inaugural Whangarei A and P Shears Open shearing title on Saturday.

Fagan, 28, won the Matiere Speedshear in King Country on Friday night, drove the 50 minutes home, got to bed about midnight and was on the road again by 6.30am for a nine-hour, 700km round trip with father and Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan to the new event at Barge Showgrounds.

“Any show that puts the effort in to put the show on deserves all the support it can get from the competitors,” said Fagan, with a winning purse of $500 after shearing two rounds of heats, a semi-final and then the three-man final of 20 lambs each.

It was a particularly special moment, with the show celebrating its 140th anniversary with what was thought to be its first shearing championship, in a new transportable shed built especially for the purpose.

There were, however, just 20 competitors across the classes, including seven in the Open grade.

Sir David on Saturday cut a ribbon to mark the opening of the new facilities, built by shearer and farmer Steve Coop in a project society president Evan Smeath said was driven by society CEO Chris Mason.

Sir David Fagan cuts a ribbon signifying the opening of new transportable shearing facilities at the Whangarei A and P Show. Photo / SSNZ

Sir David congratulated the society on its move in the tough times which had seen the cancellation of at least eight A and P shows and shearing competitions nationwide this season because of the Covid-19 crisis.

President Smeath said the society wanted to hear from competitors about how to improve and attract more shearers to the competition, which was the first in the 2020-2021 season’s ANZ Northland Shearing Championship.

The lineup at the opening the new shearing facilities, from left Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan, Whangarei A and P CEO Chris Boyd, and president Evan Smeath. Photo / SSNZ

Fagan shore the 20 lambs in the Open final in 17min 35sec and with the better quality had a winning margin of 5.7pts over runner-up Phil Wedd, of Silverdale.

It was Fagan’s 10th in the Open class, including four on lambs, while his father’s 642 wins included last competition in Whangarei in 1989, a stand-alone event not held at the show.

Among other competitors shearing on Saturday were champion woolhandler Pagan Karauria, husband Tamehana, and Foonie Waihape, each hanging-on to shear at the event to support the show before returning to Central Otago after three weeks working in the north.

Pagan Karauria who won a New Zealand Shears women’s event in Te Kuiti in 2019 and was later that year fourth in a French All-Nations women’s shearing final preceding victory in the World Teams Woolhandling Championship, was runner-up in the Senior final, won by Michael Boyd, of Dargaville, while Waihape was second in the Junior event, which provided a first win for Archer Walton, of Tangiteroria.

The Intermediate event was won by Otorohanga shearer Matthew Smith, and the Veterans final by Tangowahine shearer Neville Osborne, who was also third in the Open final.

The 11 Open finals this season have produced eight different winners.

The next competitions of the Shearing Sports New Zealand are the Duvauchelle Peninsular Shears in Canterbury on January 9, the Northern Southland Community Shears shearing and woolhandling championships at Lumsden on January 15, and four shows spanning the length of the country the following day at Kaikohe, Wairoa, Takaka and the Winton A and P Show’s Southland Shears and national crossbred lambs shearing and woolhandling championships.

Results of the Whangarei A and P Show Shears on Saturday, December 5, 2020:

Open final (20 lambs): Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 17min 35sec, 62.25pts, 1; Phil Wedd (Silverdale) 18min 17sec, 67.95pts, 2; Neville Osborne (Tangowahine) 17min 59sec, 68.85pts, 3.

Senior final (8 sheep): Michael Boyd (Dargaville) 12min 21sec, 45.175pts, 1; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 11min 50sec, 45.5pts, 2; Alan Bowler (Wellsford) 14min 54sec, 56.575pts, 3.

Intermediate final (5 sheep): Matthew Smith (Otorohanga) 8min 32sec, 44.6pts, 1; Danielle Boyd (Dargaville) 8min 18sec, 53.1pts, 2.

Junior final (3 sheep): Archer Walton (Tangiteroria) 6min 1sec, 41.717pts, 1; Foonie Waihape (Alexandra) 6min 10sec, 44.167pts, 2.

Veterans final (3 sheep): Neville Osborne (Tangowahine) 3min56sec, 28.966pts, 1; Ralph Smith (Tangowahine) 5min 18sec, 33.9pts, 2; Alan Bramley (Whangarei) 4min 24sec, 38.133pts, 3.

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