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Media Releases April 2015

Fagan bows-out with top ranking: "That's the one." - April 12, 2015

Shearing legend David Fagan went into his swansong at the New Zealand championships happy he'd already achieved one of the major goals of the season.

Fagan said his goal had been to be named No 1 on the Shearing Sports New Zealand rankings in his 37th competition season since his first event in Southland in the late 1970s.

"That's the one," he said when told that after reaching 25 finals and winning 12 he had scored almost twice as many ranking points as the next-placed shearer, New Zealand-Wales home-series teammate Tony Coster, of Christchurch. "At 53... that's not bad I reckon."

RANKED: Shearing Sports New Zealand's top-ranked shearers and woolhandlers line=up after the presentations in Te Kuiti. From left: Gavin Rowland (chairman, Shearing Sports New Zealand), woolhandling rankings winners Keryn Herbert(Open), Ana Braddick(Senior) and Chiquita Tamepo(Junior), and shearing rankings winners Laura Bradley(Junior), Kaleb Foote(Intermediate), Ethan Pankhurst(Senior) and David Fagan(Open). PHOTO/DOUG LAING, SSNZ

By the end of the championships in home-town Te Kuiti, where he was presented with the Open rankings' Bowen Trophy for an 11th time - but the first since 2005 - Fagan had shorn three more finals.

It took him to a total of 28 finals for the season, including 13 wins, which only had 24 weekends of competition.

The rankings rankings winners across the shearing and woolhandling classes were announced during the championships in Te Kuiti by Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Gavin Rowland.

Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst claimed Senior shearing ranking honours, also with 13 wins, which included the Golden Shgears title, Kaleb Foote, was the top-ranked Intermediate shearer, and reinforced it with a win in the grade' New Zealand Championships final (his 20th final of the season), while the top Junior was Woodville's Laura Bradley, who shore in a remarkable 17 finals and won six. She was only the second woman to claim rankings honours, following Poverty Bay shearer Catherine Mullooly triumph in the Intermediate class last year.

King Country farmer Keryn Herbert regained the top Open woolhandling ranking she held three times in row before least season, Anna Braddick, of Eketahuna, claimed the Senior honours as well as a NZ Championships title, and Golden Shears and NZ Championionships Junior woolhandling Winton-based Chiquita Tamepo, from East Coast settlement Tikitiki, unsurprisingly, and excitedly, topped the Junior woolhandling rankings.

World Championship team member Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, dominated the bladeshearing events with an unbeaten run in five finals securing him the top ranking from the blades events, all held in the South Island.

The rankings, introduced in 1994, are based on placings in finals, and are designed to recognise not only the regular winners, but also the commitment of others who contest competitions week-in-week out.

Notably, Feilding shearers Murray Henderson and Aaron Haynes both reached the Open top 12 without yet having won a final in the top grade, similar Scots shearer Scott Wilson, was fith-place Senior, although unable to win any of his 12 finals, while Kimbolton teenager Connor Puha was No 2 Junior shearer, also without a win in 12 finals.

Puha was also fourth in the Senior woolhandling rankings.

Despite the long-lead-in form, in which one of his few misses was his semi-final elimination at his last Golden Shears, Fagan said in the days leading-up to his Te Kuiti swansong didn't feel under any pressure to bow-out with another title at Te Kuiti, where he'd won at least 46 finals over the years, including 16 New Zealand Open titles and 17 North Island Shearer of the Year titles.

"It's not like 10 or 20 years ago... when I was expected to win," he said.

As for the ranking he did achieve - well that was son Jack's idea.

"It was something Jack brought-up at the start of the season. It's been a quiet goal." John Kirkpatrick, who had won the Bowen Trophy for the last eight years, was unable to compete for most of the season because of injury, while 2014 World Champion Rowland Smith rested from competition for most of the season, both making sure, however, that they still shore in Te Kuiti to honour the legend.

Pass the rugby, got some shearing, says new shears champ Foote - April 11, 2015

If it hadn't been for his neighbours and a few sheep Kaleb Foote would probably have been spending the second weekend of April furthering his claims to a future in some of the biggest rugby stadiums of the World.

But it was the big stage in Te Kuiti that commanded his attention as he became New Zealand Intermediate shearing champion, and reckoned: "This is pretty good for now."

The big thanks went to neighbours World record breaking shearing couple and contractors Sam and Emily Welch.

"They've done everything for me," he said. "They are my mentors. I can't thank them enough."

Perhaps the results were enough, the title being hids 6th win of the season, ending as top-ranked Intermediate shearer for the season having shorn 20 finals - a figure beaten only by Open rankings winner David Fagan and Sdenior Winner Ethan Pankhurst.

The 20-year-old from Waikaretu has represented Waikato at Under 16, 18 and 20 level, and started playing premier club rugby for Hamilton Old Boys as soon as he left Hamilton Boys High.

He said the start to the new season had been put on hold as he set his sights on a national title, having shorn competitions as far afield as Waimate and Dargaville.

At Te Kuiti, he was able to get one back on Kaeo teenager Marshall Guy, to whom he had been runner-up at the Golden Shears in Masterton five weeks earlier.

Guy scored the best quality points and went close to completing a double, Foote winning by just 0.038pts. Third was sole South Island finalist Hugh De Lacy, of Fernside in North Canterbury.

Foote was first to finish the six-man, eight-sheep final in Te Kuiti's Waitomo Community Cultural and Arts Centre, taking 9min 57.8sec. He was pushed most by 15-year-old Raupunga shearer Hemi Lambert, who had shorn most of the season in the Junior class and who in a particularly determined effort finished in 10min 6.48sec, had to settle for fifth after all points were counted.

Taumarunui shearer Floyde Neil also turned over a Golden Shears champion when he beat Masterton gun and Senior rankings winner Ethan Pankhurst in the Senior final, by a wide margin of more than six points. There was a surprise third placegetter in Whanake Whare, also of Taumarunui, with Cody Beck, also of Taumarunui, fourth.

Napier-based Gisborne shearer Ricci Stevens saved his best for last by winning the Junior title, his fifth win in 10 finals during the season as a protege of his girlfriend's father - multiple Golden Shears and New Zealand Championships opens winner John Kirkpatrick..

Sean Gouk, from Waikato, was first to finish, shearing the five sheep in 8min 44.13sec, but had to settle for second money, as he did when beaten by Stevens a week earlier at the Auckland Show, while Junior rankings winner Laura Bradley was third.

The Novice final was won by Cody Greig, of Levin, with 11-year-old Reuben Alabaster, of Taihape, claiming second place.

Intermediate champion Caleb Foote - 20 finals, six wins.

Novice finalists, from left winner Cody Greig, runner-up Reuben Alabaster, New Zealand Shears representative Les Te Kanawa, Jack Virtue (3rd), Sarah Reid (4th), Rapana Hohepa (6th) and Bailey Rush (5th).

Junior finalists, from left sponsor representative Russell Knight (Acto), winner Riucci Stevens, runner-up Sean Gouk, Laura Bradley (3rd) Connor Puha (4th),Jeremy Morten (5th) and Mitchel Hoare (6th).

Senior champion Floyde Neil, one of three Taumarunui shearers in the final

Oh so close for Fagan in home-town career swansong - April 11, 2015

Retiring 53-year-old shearing legend David Fagan burned-off allcomers in an amazing display of speed as he came within a few blows of winning the two major titles at his last New Zealand championships in home-town Te Kuiti tonight.

Fagan won the New Zealand Shears Circuit final but had to settle for third behind Hawke's Bay guns Dion King and Rowland Smith in the New Zealand Open Championship final - chasing an 18th win in Te Kuiti's big event, and 17th since it became the national title.

But he won the race to the finish in both of the six-man showdowns in the packed Waitomo Community Cultural and Arts Centre, shearing the tough 15-sheep Circuit final, including five finewooled and wrinkled merinos, in 19min 38.2sec, and taking just 14min 59.29sec for the 20 crossbreds in the Open final.

The winners of the two events win places in the New Zealand team to tour UK in June-July, but Fagan, adamant he had shorn his last show in New Zealand, doubted he would take the trip, despite pressure to make one last pilgrimage to Wales - where leading officials say he is like God and as much a household name as Barry John and Gareth Edwards.

After 33 seasons shearing Open-class, and winning 640 finals worldwide, the championships - the last of 60 competitions of the 2014-2014 Shearing Sports New Zealand season - was very much the David Fagan show.

Again there were tributes, and calls from more than one speaker for Fagan to be more formally recognised outside of the sport for his career as a shearer and ambassador, although he has already received an MNZM (1999) and an ONZM (2007).

Among wellwishers, via audio visual recordings played to the audience, were Prime Minister John Key and All Black captain Richie McCaw, while King Country's other most famous son, All Blacks legend Sir Colin Meads, was present for much of the three-day championships.

Fagan was a founder of the championships when they were first established as the King Country Shears in 1985, and has been on the organising committee ever since.

The 40-year-old King became only the fourth shearer to win Te Kuiti's three big finals, having previously won the NZ Shears Circuit in 2011 and the next year the North Island Shearer of the Year title.

North Wairarapa farmer David Bucik was fourth in the Open final, and fifth and sixth went to Te Kuiti's own Dean Ball and Fagan's nephew, James Fagan, both of whom came out of competition retirement to honour the retiring superstar and surprised by graduating to the final from a competition which started with 61 shearers in the heats.

In a similar position was former winner John Kirkpatrick had missed the rest of the season because of a shoulder injury, which required surgery.

South Island-based woolhandler Joel Henare, from Gisborne, added the New Zealand Open Championships Open woolhandling title to the Golden Shears title he retained in Masterton five weeks earliere.

But, completing a year which also included him being created the youngest-ever Master woolhandler or shearer, Henare won by one of the narrowest of margins, just 0.342 points from Eketahuna woolhandler Ngaio Hanson, who is yet to win an Open title at any show.

National rankings winner and Waimiha farmer Keryn Herbert, six-times New Zealand champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Marton woolhandler Logan Kamura, flled the minor placings, a night after teaming in the North Island shearing and woolhandling side which won the shears' interisland challenge.

Feilding shearer Murray Henderson was a particularly popular Open plate winner, without an Open win in 15 years but beating a field which included new Golden Shears champion Gavin Mutch, as well as Kirkpatrick.

Fagan's son, Jack, also yet to win an Open final, was an equally popular winner of the Open Challenger.

David Fagan hits the button, first to finish and ultimately winner of the New Zealand Shears Circuit final for 2015.

Jack Fagan gets a win in front of the home crowd, in the Open Challenger final.

Dion King adds the New Zealand Open title his 2006 Golden Shears title, and wins previously in Te Kuiti's two other big events, the North Island Shearer of the Year and the New Zealand Shears Circuit. He's pictured showing the final's prized Can-Am farm machine to infant son Cooper.

Joel Henare after adding the New Zealand Open woolhandling title to the Golden Shears title he won five weeks earlier.

Murray Henderson finally scores a win, in the Open late.

Smith claims Shearer of the Year title - after three weeks - April 10, 2015

Three weeks might not make a summer, but it was enough for World champion shearer Rowland Smith as he won his fourth North Island Shearer of the Year final in Te Kuiti tonight.

Following a nine-month break, after his World title win in Ireland in May last year and the birth of his first child back home soon afterwards, Smith returned to the competition board just three weeks ago.

But he hit the top straight away, winning the Waimarino Shears final in Raetihi on March 21, the Waitomo Caves Sports Shears and the Taranaki Shears the following weeked, and the Royal Easter Show final in Auckland last Saturday.

He kept up the winning record as top qualifier from the two-round semi-finals earlier today, and then won the final shorn over 10 second-shear ewes and 10 lambs.

Smith, 28, was beaten to the finish only by 40-year-old fellow Hastings shearer Dion King who shore the 20 sheep in 15min 44.44sec, but made up the deficit from a 19-seconds margin with the better quality points and won by just over 2pts.

New Golden Shears champion Gavin Mutch, a Scotsman farming at Whangamomona, was third, and David Fagan was fifth in the first of three finals he hoped to make in his last competition in front of his home-town crowd.

Smith first won the NISOY title in 2011, and tonight made it three in a row.

Fagan also shore his last inter-island shearing and woolhandling match in triumph, as the North Island beat the South Island by 22pts.

Rowland Smith, World Champion, nine months off, three weeks back in the fold, North Island Shearer of the Year final winner for a third year in a row.

Interisland challenge, the victorious North Island lines up with the vanquished South Island team after the shearing and woolhandling match.

Triumphant trio: The North Island's woolhandlers, from left Sheree Alabaster, Logan Kamura and Keryn Herbert. The next night they were all in the Open final, but were beaten by winner Joel Henare and runner-up Ngaio Hanson.

Golden Shears World Championships 2017 - April 10, 2015

The next Golden Shears World shearing and woolhandling championships will be a Friday-Sunday event in Christchurch on February 10-12, 2017.

The dates were confirmed by Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Gavin Rowland.

The rights to host the 2017 championships were awarded to the national organisation during last year's championships in Ireland, and a trust and organising committee have been formed to run the event which will be staged at the Canterbury A and P Showgrounds, Mr Rowland said.

It will be 40 years since the first World shearing championships were held in England in 1977, and Mr Rowland expects 29-30 countries to be represented, bringing about 200 competitors and officials to Christchurch.

Teams can have up to six members, comsprising two machine shearers, two blades shearers and two woolhandlers.

Many are likely to compete in competitions in others parts of the country in the weeks beforehand as competitors get used to the New Zealand conditions.

Mr Rowland said competition will be on full wool, second-shear and lambs, and the selection process for New Zealand's team is expected to be decided at SSNZ's annual meeting in August.

Shearers from at least 11 countries reached finals in various levels of New Zealand competitions during the 2014-2015 season which ended at the New Zealand championships in Te Kuiti.

Gavin Rowland: chairman of Shearing Sports New Zealand

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