Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search


Stratford On Target For Third National Shearing Circuit Title

New Zealand’s most experienced transtasman test-match shearer is set to go another round as favourite to win the PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit.

With one preliminary round remaining, on second-shear sheep at the Pahiatua Shears on Sunday, Southland gun Nathan Stratford is guaranteed of being top qualifier as the 27-strong field is cut to 12 for the final stages on the last day of the Golden Shears in Masterton next week.

The 12 will shear semi-finals on the morning of March 2, the top six going to the final of 15 sheep (three of each of five wool types) a few hours later.

The winner becomes an automatic selection in a three-man New Zealand team for home-and-away transtasman tests next summer, and claimant to the status of champion New Zealand multi-breeds shearer.

Stratford’s no stranger. He’s going for a 20th time in the final, having been fourth at his first appearance in 2000. He won in 2014 and 2022, and has twice been runner-up.

As a result of his performances, including five wins in the New Zealand Merino Championships final, which also carries automatic selection, he has shorn 17 tests in a transtasman career spanning 18 years – the last eight tests in a row - and will shear an 18th in another appearance at the Golden Shears, also on March 2.

In his 26th season of Open-class shearing he’s showing no sign of letting-up, scoring maximum points in the first three legs this season, on merinos (finewool) at Alexandra on September 30, fullwool at Waimate on October 7, and corriedales at Christchurch on November 17.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

On lambs at Marton on February 3 he was headed only by Northland shearer Toa Henderson, who is currently 6th of the eight who appear safely through to the final day, although they must compete at Pahiatua to be eligible.

Currently in second place is Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan, son of nine-times winner Sir David Fagan, 2022 winner and Southland shearer Leon Samuels is in third place, and 2019 winner Paerata Abraham of Masterton, is in fourth place,

Among the others is Alexandra merino shearing legend Dion Morrell, who won in 1997 and is currently in 8th place.

The PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit incorporates the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown, contested at the Golden Shears annually since 1973, except for two Covid-era cancellations when the final was shorn in Te Kuiti and at Armidale Merino Stud in Central Otago respectively.

PGG Wrightson’s 22 years associated with the event is now one of the longest for any national sports event, and dates back to the 2002-2003 season.

Points and placings after four rounds:

1 Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 47pts; 2 Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 30; 3 Leon Samuels (Roxburgh) 27; 4 Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 26; 5 David Gordon (Masterton) 26; 6 Toa Henderson (Kaiwaka) 21; 7 Duncan Leslie (Owaka) 17; 8 Dion Morrell (Alexandra) 16; 9 Brett Roberts (Mataura) 13; 10 James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 13; 11 Hugh De Lacy (Rangiora) 11; 12 Duncan Higgins (Blenheim) 11; 13 Stacey Te Huia (Alexandra) 10; 14 equal Alex Smith (Rakaia), Lionel Taumata (Gore), and Chris Dickson (Masterton) 9; 17 equal Corey Palmer (Dipton), Adam Gordon (Masterton) and Corey Barrowcliffe (Piopio) 7; 20 Willy McSkimming (Oamaru) 6; 21 Floyde Neill (Taumarunui/Boyup Brook WA) 5; 22 Catherine Mullooly (Matawai) 3; 23 equal Jake Rangiuaia (Mataura), Tom Reed (-), Norm Harraway (Mossburn), Colin Dennison (Omarama) and Kyle Mita (Masterton) 1.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland

Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.