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Media Releases April 2012

Smith's show as shears season ends - April 09, 2012

Northland shearer Rowland Smith claimed one last reward from the 2011-2012 competition season when he beat Golden Shears and New Zealand champion John Kirkpatrick at the Royal Easter Show in Auckland . The show's Northern Shears Open final was the last of 65 Open titles decided in the Shearing Sports New Zealand season, providing Smith with his 10th win in 24 finals, one less than Kirkpatrick who won on 11 of the 26 times he qualified.

For Hawke's Bay-based Smith, 25, it was some consolation for the previous weekend when Kirkpatrick, 41, won a third NZ Open title, beating Smith by 22 seconds and an eventual points margin of 0.771 to deny Smith a repeat of the triumph he had at Te Kuiti a year earlier.

At the weekend, Smith turned the tables on both counts, finishing 20 sheep in 14min 53.47sec, beating Kirkpatrick by five seconds and an eventual margin of over 1.2pts, although the race was won by Te Kuiti's Digger Balme, who finished in 14min 46.38sec.

Balme had to settle for fourth place overall, third going to defending Easter show champion and Te Kuiti veteran David Fagan, who shore 25 finals during the season, finishing second 11 times but adding just one victory to his career tally of over 600 wins in 31 seasons of Open-class shearing, the NZ Spring Shears title in October. His son, Jack, scored an upset win in the weekend's Senior final over Waipukurau shearer Tysson Hema, who shore in 23 finals during the season for nine wins and 10 second placings.

The young Fagan shore the 10 sheep in the final in 9min 47.53sec, with almost 39 seconds advantage over Hema whose quality was able to only marginally cut back the time-points deficit. Fagan had won the Intermediate title in Auckland last year, and on the same day was third in his first Senior competition, a feat which was almost repeated by Kaeo shearer Bryce Guy who added the Intermediate title to victories at the Golden Shears and New Zealand championships and was then fifth to Fagan in the Senior final.

The Junior final on Saturday provided a maiden victory for Central Hawke 's Bay shearer Liam Quinlivan.

Rowland Smith, of Ruawai in Northland, winner
of the Royal Easter Show Open shearing final and
a total of 10 finals during the 2011-2012
Shearing Sports New Zealand season.

Kirkpatrick adds national champs to Golden Shears, again - April 02, 2012

There's won thing about winning. It makes things easier.

Ask John Kirkpatrick, who'd been thinking about another season in the UK this year and making it possibly the last of his working adventures in the Northern Hemisphere.

"I've still got a car and some gear over there, and I was thinking of going back and selling-up," he after winning a third New Zealand Open final in Te Kuiti, and with a place in the two-man New Zealand team to shear a series of tests in the UK in June and July. "This made the decision for me, really."

After a display of total control in winning a fourth Golden Shears Open four weeks earlier, and having since won the Taranaki title, there probably should have been little doubt that he wouldn't have to worry about the air fare.

It was a great race with fellow Hawke's Bay gun Dion King over 20 sheep, who led through five at 3min 45sec and halfway at 7:30, but it was Kirkpatrick who hit the botton first at 14min 56.05sec and winning by a couple of blows.

At the final count, with the grandson among the fan club in the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre, Kirkpatrick got it by 0.771pts from defending champion, and TAB joint-favourite Rowland Smith, the only two survivors from the 2011 final.

King, having on the Friday night added the North Island Shearer of the Year title to the South Island title he won in Gore in February, had to settle for third in the Open final, shut-out of the second money by just a thousandth of a point.

Home-town hero David Fagan, winner of the title 17 times from 1986 to 2010, bounced back from semi-final elimination last year to claim fourth place, Pongaroa shearer David Buick was fifth in his second time in the final, and veteran Southland shearer Darin Forde was sixth, regaining a place in the final after several years' absence.

It was a big night for Southland shearer Nathan Stratford who won the New Zealand Shears Circuit, and a place with Kirkpatrick in the New Zealand team, the first shearer from the South Island to make the UK trip in 11 years.

James Fagan made all the pace in trying to win the event for a second time, but despite beating Stratford by almost 1min 40sec had to settle for second place, beaten by just 0.068pts. Kirkpatrick was third, with PGG Wrightson McSkimming Triple Crown winner Angus Moore again showing his multi-breeds diversity by claiming fourth-place money.

Stratford had never won an event in Te Kuiti. despite making the long trip north almost every year since shearing the Junior final in 1992.

Former World woolhandling champion Sheree Alabaster successfully defended the New Zealand Open woolhandling title, her sixth win in the event. It was a close finish in which she beat runner-up and 1999 and 2003 champion Veronica (Ronnie) Goss, of Kimbolton, by five points, with less than two more points to Gisborne's Joel Henare, who won the World title in Masterton on March 3 and who had in 2010 won the Te Kuiti title at the age of 18.

GIRLS' NIGHT OUT: The Open woolhandling finalists introduced to the crowd just before their showdown. From left, Ronnie Goss, Monica Potae, Lisa Fagan, eventual winner Sheree Alabaster, and World champion Joel Henare.

SHINING LIGHTS: Tension builds before the Open shearing final. From left, David fagan, Dion King, John Kirkpatrick, Darin Forde, Rowland Smith, and David Buick.

GOTCHA!: Invercargill's Nathan Stratford shears his way to NZ Shears Circuit victory, his first win at Te Kuiti after two decades of trying.

The lower grades

Waipukurau shearer and young father-of-three Tysson Hema also completed a Golden Shears-New Zealand Championships double in the Senior shearing, as did Kaeo's Bryce Guy in the Intermediate class.

Hema, the Intermediate champion in 2010 and Novice winner in 2007, scored the best points on the board and in the pens to reverse a two-points deficit on time after Wi Poutu Ngarangione, of Gisborne, won the race by 40 seconds, shearing 12 sheep in 11min 57.93sec.

Guy, carrying on after winning the Junior title last year, relied on time, however, shearing eight sheep in 8min 13.5sec, too much pressure for the near challengers and too much of a start for Sarah Goss, of Kimbolton, and Cody Beck, of Taumarunui, who claimed second and third with the better quality.

Guy's brother, Charlie won the Junior title, the fourth in the family to win at the championships in the last two years, with a ribbon also to lay alongside that he won in the Golden Shears Novice final in 2011.

Tegwyn Bradley, of Woodville, won the Novice final by almost two-and-a-half points from Josh Balme, denied a home-town triumph after winning four Novice finals during the season, including Golden Shears, Waimarino and Taranaki in the last month. Bradley had also had previous success in the grade, having won at the Central Hawke's Bay Show in November.

Pahiatua's Kim Sowry saved the best for last as she won the Senior woolhandling title, her only win of a season which produced four second placings but in an event missing the two top seniors of the season, Cushla Gordon and Maryann Baty.

Stevie Mason-Smallman, of Taihape, bade farewell to Junior ranks with her fourth win of the season, having displayed versatility in winning earlier in the season at Alexandra, Gisborne and Winton, as well as being runner-up at Lumsden.

The Fagan family, through David and son Jack, had to fly the flag for King Country, this time winning the annual shearing families tribute event, usually a father and son affair. This year there was variation, with Sarah Goss teaming-up with father and 1985 Golden Shears Senior champion Alan, and successful Junior, Intermediate and senior shearer Brett Roberts being joined by grandfather Cliff Waihape.

© Shearing Sports NZ 2012
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