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Media Releases - December 2013

World champs head pre-Christmas shear sports rankings - 17 December 2013

Three World champions head Shearing Sports New Zealand's 2013-2014 pre-Christmas rankings.

Woolhandling's Open-class rankings are headed by reigning World champion Gisborne woolhandler Joel Henare, the Open shearing rankings are headed by 2010 World champion Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, and topping the blades rankings is 1992 World champion Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie.

Henare has been beaten just once in six finals since the start of the season in Alexandra in October, his record of five wins and a second being matched only by Intermediate shearing rankings leader Catherine Mullooly, from Matawai, also in the Gisborne area.

Only two other competitors have so far won Open woolhandling events this season, with current second-placed Rocky Hape Taite still to win any Open event, although having last year represented New Zealand.

Pre Christmas Junior and Open woolhandling leaders Erica Reti and Joel Henare. Partners and now new parents, Reti and Henare are pre-Christmas leaders of the 2013-2014 Junior and Open woolhandling rankings respectively.
There's a strong Gisborne connection to the other woolhandling rankings, with Keoni Ngarangione heading the senior rankings, and Henare's partner, Erica Reti, from Southland, leading the Junior rankings.

Ferguson, winner of the Golden Shears and World championships in 2010 and runner-up in both events two years later, has launched another World championships qualifying season confidently to head the Open shearing rankings.

Reaching six finals, he has won three A-grade titles - the New Zealand Spring Shears at Waimate, the Great Raihania Shears in Hastings and his home Central Hawke's Bay title.

Rakaia shearer Tony Coster, whose wins in the New Zealand Corriedale Championships and the Canterbury All Breeds Circuit final at the Canterbury show have been complemented by two wins at C-grade shows, is in second-place, followed by fellow Rakaia shearer Grant Smith, yet to record a win this year, and Te Kuiti icon David Fagan, who in his 33rd season of Open-class shearing has shorn in five finals and won two of them.

The Senior shearing rankings are lead by South Island-based Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst, who was runner-up in last season's Intermediate rankings, while the Junior rankings are led by Joel Richards, of Oamaru.

The rankings are based on points in finals from shows which are categorised according to levels of prizemoney, and the season's winners are announced at the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti, this season to be held on March 27-29.

The pre-Christmas phase of the season ended at the Royal Manawatu Show in Feilding, and competitions resume at the Kaikohe show in the North Island and the Duvauchelle Peninsular show in Canterbury on January 11.

Leading pre-Christmas rankings are available at

Retired shearer comes back for record, and new career - 10 December 2013

Central Hawke's Bay man Richard Welch has defied medical opinion to break a World Record and revive a shearing career which he thought was over a decade ago after he broke his wrist in a "silly" fall from a motorbike.

Better known as Takapau rugby captain and this year's Hawke's Bay Country Club Player of the Year, the 38-year-old Welch was part of a South Auckland and Waikato based gang which on Tuesday established a World Record five-stand, eight-hour lambshearing record of 2638 between Orere Point and Kawakawa Bay, just inland from the Firth of Thames.

After contributing 491, a lamb caught, shorn and despatched every 58.6 seconds, he told of how he believed his shearing career was over the accident 10-11 years ago.

"The doctors told me I'd never shear again," he said, and although shearing a small number each year (no more than about 300), and turning his career to working on a dry-stock unit near Takapau, he thought they were right.

That was until brother and shearing contractor Sam Welch, already a record holder, asked him a year ago if he wanted to be involved in this week's record, the Cavalier Woolscourers record challenge.

Three weeks' shearing at Lochinver in January convinced him he was up for the challenge and he started the build-up culminated with the record, and a personal tally easily better than his previous best of 407 in eight hours.

Bonuses were a training regime which stripped 15kg from the 102kg frame he packed as a loose forward on the rugby paddock, and recovery of the hitherto lost career on the shearing board.

"I will take it back up fulltime," he said, and he plans shearing another month with the Waikaretu shearing contract run by his brother, sister-in-law and World women's lambshearing record-holder Emily Welch, and their business partner Tony Clayton-Greene.

The record at Cashmore Farms, backed by Napier-based Cavalier Woolscourers and also supported by Richard Welch's Takapau Rugby Club, had not previously been claimed, but it was the biggest shearing record in New Zealand for almost nine years, since a six-stand record in Southland in January 2005.

It also had the unusual feature of being on both ewe and wether lambs, the dwindling sheep flock forcing organisers to cut the cloth to suit for what judge John Fagan thought could have been the first mixed-sex lambs since one of his own lambshearing records about 1980. It is recognised by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society which had eight judges present, including chief Ralph Blue and stalwart Bernie Walker, both from Australia.

Richard Welch, of Takapau, nearing the end of the 5-dtand 8-hour lambshearing record, in which he shore 491 of the gang total of 2638 at Cashmore Farms, between Orere Point and Kawakawa Bay, east of Clevedon, on December 10, 2013.

The record setting lineup, from left Puddy Totorewa, richard Welch, Sam Welch, Coel L'Huillier, and Angus Moore.

Emily Welch commits the tallies to pen-door.
Among others present were Cavalier CEO Tony Cunningham and chairman Peter McKenzie, and two of three Australian shearers planning a merino record near Dubbo, NSW, for next April, and New South Wales shearers Steven Mudford and Bob White who will on April 5 be joined by Beau Guelfi in a three-stand merino record for eight hours at Parkdale, north of Dubbo.

The individual tallies were headed by 2012 national series champion Angus Moore, a former Marlborough College head boy. Watched by his parents who were up from their farm at Ward, his 607 was an eight-hour record for the shed, and equalled its best mark for nine hours.

Sam Welch shore 573, Tuakau shearer Coel L'Huillier 518, and Peter (Puddy) Totorewa, from Rangiriri and with a photo of his late father and shearer (also Peter) above the board, shore 449.

With the day comprising four two-hour runs, 694 were shorn in the first from7am to morning smoko at 9am, and Moore had the top individual run tally of 157 in the two hours to lunch, in which the combined toal was 680. The five shore 656 in the first run after lunch before hitting the wethers, of which 608 were shorn through to the end at 5pm.

While over 3000 lambs were put aside for the event, including the wethers trucked-over from Waikaretu, 35-year-old Sam Welch had said it would be "overwhelming" if the record passed that mark. He already had his name in the books, having shorn 667 sheep when he and Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia set a two-stand record of 1341 ewes in nine hours in a King Country woolshed in January 2012. Te Huia was among those in the pens on Tuesday.

Five-stand, eight-hour, strongwool lambshearing record at Cashmore Farms, Kawakawa Bay, on December 10, 2013:

Run 1 Run 2 Run 3 Run 4
7-9am 9.30-11.30 12.30-2.20 3-5pm Total
Sam Welch 151 145 143 134 573
Angus Moore 153 157 152 145 607
Coel L'Huillier 144 143 122 109 518
Puddy Totorewa 118 110 117 104 449
Richard Welch 128 125 122 116 491
Totals 694 680 656 608 2638

Win No 622 a first for shears legend Fagan - 9 December 2013

With more than 600 wins and 32 years of top class competition behind him there was still room for something new as shearing legend David Fagan won the Royal Manawatu A and P Show Open final at Manfeild yesterday.

It was Open win No 622 for Fagan who first shore in the Open class in 1981. But, having won at more than 50 venues throughout the country it was his first victory at the Manawatu Show. It was also the first time he had reached a final in New Zealand with son and first-year Open shearer Jack.

Father and son shore side by side as David Fagan scored his second win in a row, having won the Stratford Show final a fortnight earlier. Jack had to settle for 6th on a day soured by the theft of his wallet, phone and other items as juveniles broke into fellow-shearer Turi Edmonds' car in the few minutes he was shearing in the preliminary round..

Shearing in the second of two finals heats, Scottish 2012 World Champion and Whangamomona farmer Gavin Mutch produced the quickest time of 13 minutes 47 seconds for 15 sheep, a minute and 48 seconds quicker than David Fagan had shorn a few minutes earlier.

When time and quality points were tallied Fagan won by about half-a-point from occasional Open finalist Aaron Haynes, of Feilding, while Mutch had to settle for third, with 2012 winner David Buick, of Pongaroa, fourth.

Mutch, expected to defend his World title in Wales next May, was closely followed throughout the day by a French Tv crew, which had also visited him on the farm as part of a segment for the programme "Des Trains pas Comme les Autres," expected to air in France mid-year.

Masterton-based Riverton shearer Casey Bailey made the most of a gifted place in the Senior final to beat runner-up and former prolific Junior and Intermediate titles winner David Gordon, of Masterton, by more than five points.

Bailey, who had his first Senior win at the Hawke's Bay Show's Great Raihania Shears in October, only gained a place in yesterday's final when promoted to replace original qualifier Edmonds, of Raetihi, who withdrew to deal with the consequences of the theft from his car. Bailey shore the fastest time and had the best pen points.

Dannevirke-based Matawai shearer Catherine Mullooly made short work of an otherwise all-male Intermediate final in winning for the fifth time in six finals this season. It was the first time she'd been first to finish, but she also had the best quality and won by more than four points from runner-up Darren Alexander, of Whangamomona.

Napier shearer Paraki Puna, the 17-year-old brother of now Australia-based Golden Shears Senior woolhandling champion Ataneta Puna, was just as dominant in winning his first Junior title. He won by more than four points from runner-up and Levin shearer Neil Bryant, who claimed his first title two weeks earlier at Stratford.

Gisborne woolhandler Joel Henare again signalled his prospects of successfully defending his Golden Shears and World Championships titles next year when he won the Manawatu Open final for the second year in a row with a comfortable victory over runner-up and home-show hope Ronnie Goss, of Kimbolton.

It was Henare's fifth win in six finals this season, and his 42nd win since entering Open-class woolhandling ranks in 2006.

Carmen Smith, of Pongaroa, also successfully defended the Senior woolhandling title, while the Junior final provided a maiden win for Christine Ballinger, of Eketahuna.

See Photo Gallery for pictures from Royal Manawatu Show.

A French tv crew had as much profile as the shearing and woolhandling as it followed a World champion around the Royal Manawatu Show in Arena One at Manfeild. From left director and cameraman Nicolas Boero, host Philippe Gougler, and l'object d'attention Gavin Mutch.

Hugh McCarroll gets sports service award - 2 December 2013

Shearing Sports New Zealand life member Hugh McCarroll collared another award for service to sport at Sport Waikato's Hauraki/Thames-Coromandel awards in Thames on Friday night.

Conferred a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the Queen's Birthday Honours earlier this year, for service to the community including shearing sports, agriculture and local schools and organisations, Mr McCarroll was one of three people recognised at the latest awards for long-term service to their sports.

The ceremony, which included the Sportsperson of the Year honour for the area, was the last of eight held at smaller local levels in the Waikato region, forming part of the eventual Waikato Sportsperson of the Year Awards.

However, Mr McCarroll lived most his life in Bay of Plenty before moving with wife Biddy from Tauranga to Whangamata over two years ago.

Hugh McCarroll, who was on Friday presented with a Service to Sport award at Sport Waikato's Hauraki Thames Coromandel sports awards, pictured in September with Governor General Sir Gerald Mateparae during his investiture with the MNZM for services to shearing sports and agriculture, conferred in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

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