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Rare Shearing Grades Grand Slam For Masterton Shearer

Masterton shearer David Gordon became possibly the first to claim victories in all five shearing grades in New Zealand when he won the Horowhenua A, P, and I Show shears title in Levin yesterday (Sunday).

Gordon was just 13 when he won the Novice event at the 50th Golden Shears in Masterton in 2010, and became a prolific winner in the Junior, Intermediate and Senior grades.

He was the New Zealand Shears Senior champion in 2019 and had his last win in the grade at the Lochearnead Shears in Scotland before announcing his arrival in the top class with Open-final placings a week apart at Warrnambool, Vic. and his home Wairarapa A and P Show (second only to multiple World, Golden Shears and New Zealand champion John Kikpatrick) a few months later.

In a competition scene where most of the best Senior shearers effectively start a new learning once they enter the master-class of the Open grade, Gordon showed signs of even further progress with several good performances in the South Island in October and November, landing him 21 points after three rounds of the 50th PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit, a certain semi-finals qualifier so long as he shears the currently-compulsory last qualifying round scheduled for the Pahiatua Shears at the end of next month.

The big breakthrough on Saturday came at the expense of former World and Golden Shears Open champion, Scotsman and Southern Hawke’s Bay farmer Gavin Mutch in the first competition of the season in the North Island after a string of cancellations forced by the Covid-19 crisis.

Mutch, recovering from injury, whipped through the 20 second-shear sheep in 19min 12sec to be first off the board in a four-man final, almost a full sheep quicker than Gordon but having to settle for second place overall as the Wairarapa shearer won by 1.3pts.

Third was speedshear icon Jimmy Samuels, who had rushed almost 70kms from Marton to help make-up the numbers with eventually just seven in the field. Matene Mason, of Masterton, was fourth.

Uniquely, Gordon, with best woolshed tallies of over 500 a day on both ewes and lambs, is not the only Open-class shearing sports winner in the family, with sisters Cushla and Samantha having won Openn woolhandling titles and brother-in-law Paerata Abraham a former winner of the national circuit. Two other brothers have been winning in the lower grades.

A special feature of Saturday was the return of woolhandling competition to Horowhenua show for the first time since 2009, celebrated with an Open final win by Te Kuiti farmer Keryn Herbert, the 51st individual Open win of her career.

First-time Open finalist Ngaira Puha, of Kimbolton, was runner-up and third was Angela Stevens, of Napier, a winner of two Open titles to date.

In other finals, local Jaycob Brunton won his second Horowhenua Senior shearing title, rookie competitor Logan Bethell, also of Levin, won the Intermediate final, the Junior final was won by Michael Buick, of Pongaroa, and Cameron Artz, of Raetihi, won the Novice event.

Former Golden Shears Junior woolhandling champion Te Anna Phillips, of Taumarunui, won the Senior woolhandling final, and Alisha Te Huia, of Marton, claimed her first win, in the Junior final.

Highlighting the pressures on the shearing industry, with many unable to compete because of heavy workloads in the woolshed amid a shortage of shearers nationwide, Saturday’s events attracted 30 shearing entries and 19 in the woolhandling, which compared with 53 in just the shearing events last year.

The Horowhenua show included most of its regular events and attraction and show association secretary Jill Timms said that while figures were down they were good in the circumstances.

In a debrief later there was no indication of any difficulties monitoring vaccine passes, and it appeared showgoers were grateful to have an event to attend.

esr, who spent the day involved with the shearing, said a debrief and figures showed public

With new Covid restrictions announced nationwide during the day it was possibly the last A and P show or shearing sports competition open to general public this summer.

Rotorua A and P president Heather Brake confirmed the Agrodome Shears shearing and woolhandling championships will go ahead at its Ngongotaha Showgrounds next Sunday, with attendance limited to “bubbles” of no more than 100 people and admission only to vaccine pass holders.

The Counties Shears, which had been scheduled for February 20 in Pukekohe, have been cancelled, becoming the 25th to disappear from a shearing sports calendar which started the season with 59 shows.

Results from the Horowhenua A, P and I Show Shears at Levin on Sunday, January 23, 2022:

Shearing:

Open final (20 sheep): David Gordon (Masterton) 20min 1 sec, 70.4pts, 1; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Dannevirke) 19min 12sec, 71.7pts, 2; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 21min 33sec, 77pts, 3; Matene Mason (Masterton) 20min 51sec, 78pts, 4.

Senior final (10 sheep): Jaycob Brunton (Levin) 12min 27sec, 47.65pts, 2; Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 12min 22sec, 51.8pts, 2; Josef Winders (Rotorua) 13min 1sec, 52.45pts, 3; Bradman Franks (Levin) 12min 33sec, 53.35pts, 4.

Intermediate final (8 sheep): Logan Bethell (Levin) 13min 7sec, 48.725pts, 1; Manahi Kamura (Marton) 16min 2sec, 57.6pts, 2; Matthew Smith (Otorohanga) 14min 24sec, 58.075pt, 3; Darren Bryant (Levin) 14min 11sec, 59.05pts, 4.

Junior final (5 sheep): Michael Buick (Pongaroa) 13min 31sec, 52.15pts, 1; Aaron Christensen (Levin) 15min 52sec, 59.4sec, 2; Maureen Chaffey (Takapau) 16min 20sec, 67.8pts ; Samantha Baxter (Pongaroa) 16min 37sec, 76.25pts, 4.

Novice final (2 sheep): Cameron Artz (Raetihi) 7min 20sec, 30.5pts, 1; Te Anna Phillips (Taumarunui) 10min 27sec, 45.85pts, 2; Fergus Casey (Cambridge) 9min 59sec, 46.95pts, 3; Lochie Cameron (-) 14min, 52.5pts, 4.

Woolhandling

Open final: Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 215.5pts, 1; Ngaira Puha (Kimbolton) 220pts, 3; Angela Stevens (Napier) 252.5pts, 3.

Senior final: Te Anna Phillips (Taumarunui) 162.1pts, 1; Emily Te Kapa (Scotland) 190.5pts, 2; Samantha Baxter (Pongaroa) 315pts, 3.

Junior final: Alisha Te Huia (Marton) 65pts, 1; Tre Ratana Sciascia (Taihape) 59.18pts, 2; Emma Kendricks (Feilding) 59.96pts, 3.

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