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Drama In Wairarapa Woolshed

Drama is unfolding in a Wairarapa woolshed, where Masterton shearers Paerata Abraham and Chris Dickson are expected to go going right to the wire in their quest for a new World two-stand, eight hours strong wool lambs record.

Targeting a record of 1410 set by Simon Goss, of Mangamahu, and Jamie Skiffington, of Rotorua, 10 months ago, the pair need to average about 353 in each of the four two-hour runs, which started at Whitespurs. near Gladsrone (east of Masterton).

With six hours gone and taking the half-hour afternoon tea break at 2.30pm, they were about five off the pace and needing about 45 an hour together each quarter in the last run from 3pm to 5pm to break the record, had advanced the tally by 173 to 1226 by 4pm.

The record is being live-streamed at sshedtalk - Twitch

The solo record of 754 held by Jack Fagan, of Te Kuiti, was out of reach.

The green-light for the record attempt to go ahead came late on Friday afternoon with a wool-weigh in which a sample shear of 20 lambs produced 22.5kg of wool, an average of 1.125kg, comfortably clear of the minimum requirement of 0.9kg a lamb.

Fagan’s solo record a year ago, breaking by two the previous record set just two days earlier, averaged about 38.2 seconds a lamb caught, shorn and dispatched, while Abraham and Dickson will be looking to each average better than 22 lambs each quarter-hour from the start, or a combined total of 353 lambs for each of the four two-hour runs, starting at 7am and ending at 5pm.

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The shearers are being monitored by five World Sheep Shearing Records Society judges, including one from Australia and one from the South Island, with authority to reject shorn sheep if not shorn to the quality standards.

Both Abraham have shorn well in competitions, Abraham having won both of New Zealand’s top two multi-wools events and represented New Zealand in test matches in New Zealand, Australia and the UK, while Dickson had four wins in Senior finals before stepping-up to the Open class.

Taihape shearer Justin Bell, now farming near Weber, took the record past 700 for first time under modern rules when he sheared 731 near Taupo in 2002, with Whanganui shearer Sean Edmonds also setting a two-stand record of 1406 which stood for 20 years.

Irishman Ivan Scot took the solo record to 736 at Rerewhakaaitu in December 2008, World champions Central Hawke’s Bay shearer Cam Ferguson’s upped it to 742 near Bennydale in January 2011, and Scott’s 744 near Taupo a year later was a mark that survived almost a decade before Taihape shearer Reuben Alabaster shore 752 on December 20 last year.

A week ago Southland shearer Megan Whitehead loomed as a potential challenger to the men’s tallies, with 686 as part of a two-stand record of 1283 with cousin Hannah McColl, while on Tuesday King Country shearer Sacha Bond sheared a women’s nine-hours record of 720.

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