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Doing The Miles - 400km Each Way To Shear At Nelson Show

North Canterbury shearer Blake Crooks showed all the grit of a champion when he drove close to 400km each way to compete at the Nelson A and P Show on Saturday.

With three senior wins behind him this season, including last-start victory at the New Zealand Corriedale Championships in Christchurch on November 17, he made the trip, he says, because he hadn’t been to the Nelson show before.

As it happened he was one of just six shearers who fronted for the senior event, and the total of 17 across the four grades.

The good news was that he won the Senior final, his 7th win at seven different venues in the last 10 months, having first won at the Inangahua A and P Show’s Reefton Shears in February, and put a bit more gas in the tank with a Senior speedshear win in Saturday night at the Nelson North Country Club.

He also won last season also a Masefield and Oxford and this year at Rangiora, Ashburton and now Christchurch and Nelson.

Having first competed at the Golden Shears as a Junior, he was unable to win I either the Junior nor Intermediate grades, but in the 2021-2022 season was runner-up in national title Intermediate events at Waimate and Christchurch, and also scored a second-placing at Pleasant Point. Last summer he was runner-up in Senior events at Pleasant Point, Christchurch, Peninsular-Duvauchelle and the Mackenzie A and P show’s national lambshearing championships in Fairlie.

The 26-year-old, from Gisborne and a Hamilton Boys High boarder in school days, said it would have been good to see more shearers on Saturday.

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“But was a good day anyway,” said Crooks, who started out shepherding, then ran a lifestyle shearing business in Wellington before deciding to go shearing full-time.

On Saturday he shore the eight-sheep final in 10min 10 sec, almost a minute quicker than his nearest rival, and he ultimately won by just 1.22pts from Aaron Magee, from Ireland.

Wakefield shearer Travers Baigent won the Nelson Open title for a second time, beating veteran and runner-up Nick Nalder, of Takaka by over three points, with Marlborough shearer Duncan Higgins in third place still hoping for a first Open win, and fourth place going to 2012, 2013 and 2016 winner Chris Jones, also from Marlborough.

Higgins won the show’s Clean Shears, and Baigent won the Open speedshear at the country club.

Results from the Nelson A and P Show Shears on Saturday, November 25, 2023:

Open final (20 sheep): Travers Baigent (Wakefield) 19min 58.91sec, 69.9pts, 1; Nick Nalder (Takaka) 20min 38sec, 73.35pts, 2; Duncan Higgins (Blenheim) 22min 41.06sec, 78.43pts, 3; Chris Jones (Blenheim) 24min 58sec, 85.65pts, 4.

Senior final (8 sheep): Blake Crooks (Rangiora) 10min 10.66sec, 43.41pts, 1; Aaron Magee (Ireland) 12min 15.16sec, 44.63pts, 2; Alice Watson (Seddon) 12min 20.16sec, 46.63pts, 3; Timo Hicks (Tapawera) 11min 8.56sec, 46.68pts, 4.

Intermediate final (6 sheep): Ethan Fladgate (Te Awamutu) 9min 33.78sec, 34.69pts, 1; Thomas Adams (Blenheim) 9min 58.25sec, 47.25pts, 2.

Junior final (2 sheep): Thomas Marchant (-) 6min 8.2sec, 49.19pts, 1; Thomas Curnow (Nelson Lakes) 6min 15.16sec, 51.26pts, 2; Ashlee Blanchett (novice, Brightwater) 11min 5.47sec, 59.77pts, 3.

Cleanshear (2 sheep): Duncan Higgins (open, Blenheim) 4pts, 1’ Aaron Magee (senior, Ireland) 4.5pts, 2; Travers Baigent (open, Wakefield) 5pts, 3; Nick Nalder (open, Takaka) 11pts, 4.

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