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Ewe Shearing Record Broken, But It Wasn't Easy

King Country shearer Sacha Bond became the first person in 40 years to hold World nine-hours strongwool ewes and lambs shearing records simultaneously with a new nine-hours mark on the adult sheep in Northern Southland today.

But it wasn’t easy, for Bond, forecast by watchers to be capable of shearing at least 500, had to battle all the way with some feisty and large sheep to set a record of 458, six more than the previous record of 452 shorn by Kerri-Jo Te Huia in a Wairarapa woolshed six years ago.

While Te Huia had shorn 101 in the opening two-hour run from the 5am start to breakfast and followed-up with successive 1hr 45min runs of 90, 87, 86, and 88, Bond opened with 98, followed by runs of 91, 88, 91 and 90.

Starting needing an average of 12.5834 ewes a quarter-hour to break the record her 459 shorn (from which one was ruled-out by the World Sheep Shearing Record Society judges) averaged 12.75 a quarter-hour, and she achieved an average quality rating of 11.05 penalties, comfortably within the limit of 12.

The record attempt took place at Centrehill Station, near Mossburn, where Bond on December 19 set a lambs record of 720.

Originally from Woodville but based in Piopio when not shearing abroad, Bond had not been among those making any pre-record tally predictions, and the toughness of the day was highlighted by the fact that her nine-hour tally was seven short of the eight-hours record of 465, shorn over four runs of two hours each by Matawai farmer and shearer Catherine Mullooly on the remote West Coast of the North Island last month.

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Like other record attempts today’s needed a large crew of helpers, who included beside urging her onto the pace shearing trainer Dwayne Black, who had held the nine-hour merino (finewool) ewes and lambs records simultaneously after his big efforts in Australia 20 years ago.

Others included record-tallies rival and friend Megan Whitehead and partner and shearer Cody Smith, woolhandlers Tatijana Keefe and Elsie Ratima, and Benjamin Duncan in her pen.

The record ended a frantic season of eight attempts in New Zealand in under eight weeks, each based on timing of sheep around attaining qualifying the wool weights, the lambs required to have an average of at least 0.9kg of wool each and the ewes 3kg each.

Bond latest effort was given a good kick-start when the sample shear of 10 sheep on Thursday averaged 3.106kg of wool per ewe.

The records rules, first written in the 1960s and rewritten in 1983 are based around the standard eight and nine hour day framework shorn in New Zealand woolsheds for more than a century.

Records society secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Tauranga, said no further applications have yet been received, but no more expected this summer in New Zealand.

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