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Shearing record called off - November 26, 2010

Napier shearer Steve Stoney was down but not out after calling off his World shearing record today, less than a quarter into the nine hour day in which he hoped to shear more than 866 lambs.

The 41-year-old Stoney found the going tough right from the 5am start at Kahuranaki Station, east of Hastings, and with just 163 on the chart after the two-hour run to breakfast, abandoned the attempt - already more than 30 behind the pace of holder and fellow Hawke's Bay shearer Dion King's first run of 196 when the record was last set in January 2007.

Judging convenor Mark Baldwin, of Australia, announced the end of the attempt, saying it had been a brave bid by Stoney but many things had gone against him, including cooler than expected conditions. He had shorn 166, but judges rejected three.

Stoney, who shore 850 in an uncontrolled day in the shed a year ago to see what he was capable of, reckoned wife Kat would be more disappoimted than he.

Admitting a few moments of grief after shutting-off the machine for the last time, Stoney was soon smiling again, saying: "The party's over, too many things went against us, but it's been a huge learning curve. We've learnt alot."

"I'll have a couple of days off, and reset the mind," he said, not ruling out making an attempt at another time, or even some competition shearing at which he had some success, finishing third in a Golden Shears intermediate final in 1989.

Among those watching at various times were King, new World champion Cam Ferguson who enters the record-challenge scene with an attempt on the eight-hour record in January, and contractor Jeff Dorset, organising a possible attempt on the nine-hour record by South Island-based Irishman and eigh-hour record holder Ivan Scott, also in January.

I'm ready, says jockey-sized shearing record hopeful - November 24, 2010

Diminutive Napier shearer Steve Stoney says he's ready for his crack at shearing's ultimate record goal on Friday despite the enormity of a task of shearing almost 100 lambs every 60 minutes for nine hours, and being both the eldest and the smallest to ever give it a go.

Stoney is 41 and stands just 1.6 metres tall, but is determined to break the record of 866 lambs set in January 2007 by fellow Hawke's Bay gun Dion King, who at the time was the reigning Golden Shears Open and PGG Wrightson National series champion and aged just 31.

The record bid will take place on a flock of open-face romdale-cross lambs at Kahuranaki Station, south of Havelock North via Waimarama and Kahuranaki roads.

It starts at 5am on Friday, with the traditional five runs of the nine-hour work day in which shearers work two hours to 7am, take an hour-long break for breakfast and then work four runs of 1hr 45mins each, with 30 minutes for the morning and afternoon smoke breaks and an hour off for lunch. The bid is scheduled to end at 5pm.

Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman John Fagan, who in 1980 was the first to break the 800-lamb barrier and who will be at Friday's record in Hawke's Bay as one of four judges appointed by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, says that while the records are normally broken in just the last few minutes, Stoney will have to be on record pace from the start.

Napier shearer Steve Stoney practicising for an attempt on the World nine-hour strong wool lambs shearing record to be made at Kahuranaki Station, east of Hastings, on Friday (November 26).

He has thus been practicing in quarter-hour splits, knowing he will have to maintain an average exceeding 24 lambs every 15 minutes, and will know the odds by the end of the first two hours when he compares his tally with the two-hour run record of 196 which kicked off King's big day at Motekenui Station near Te Kuiti almost four years ago. King also shore a record 1hr 45min run of 170 after breakfast and kept ahead of the numbers with 168 in the next two runs and 164 to the bell, to comfortably beat the previous record of 851 set by Justin Bell near Rotorua in December 2004.

Stoney's confidence stems from a blow-out 12 months ago in which he shore 850, just to see if he was in the right sort of shape to challenge for the record. He's also been there before, having in 1997 shorn in a record-breaking three-man gang, in addition to monitoring the stopwatch at King's side in an eight-hour record in 2002.

Wife Kat says he's "hungrier" than ever, and, working for Napier contractor Farrell Chrystal is not distracted by the pressures of running his own business as he was 13 years ago.

Most clearly marking the changing times, however, is the fact that with the country's sheep numbers a mere shadow of those in the past and with seasonal issues disrupting the plans, he can number the full days shearing he's had this season on the fingers of one hand.

"In 1967, I would have been thankful to have two or three days off ," he said. The scene for the record bid will be set on Thursday afternoon when Stoney shears 20 lambs for the judges, the wool required to be a minimum 18kg, an average of 900g per lamb, for the record to go ahead.

The record had originally been tentatively set for a fortnight earlier, but was postponed so that the wool weight could be met.

The attempt is the first of two this summer so far notified to the society, with Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia confirming last week he will challenge Hawke's Bay-based Far North shearer Matthew Smith's eight-hour strong wool ewes record of 578. Te Huia, who has been in the books as a two-stand record holder since 1999, fell five short of the solo record in January, just four days after Smith's successful attempt.

Two more record bids are expected in January, with Smith's brothers, Doug and Rowland, planning a bid for the two-stand eight-hour ewes record, and Golden Shears Open and World champion Cam Ferguson targeting the solo eight-hour lambs record of 736.

Progress throught the record attempts can be followed on the website

Southland guns shear Tapanui gold - November 22, 2010

Former New Zealand representative Nathan Stratford claimed his first win of the 2010-2011 shearing season as Southlanders dominated the open championship at the West Otago Shears in Tapanui on Saturday.

The reigning champion, winner of four titles in the South Island last summer and also a finalist at the Golden Shears in Masterton and the New Zealand championships in Te Kuiti, won by more than three points from runner-up Alton Devery, of Tuatapere, while former National series winner and World record holder Darin Forde, of Winton, was third.

Andy Mainland, of Invercargill, was first off the board, in 8min 57sec for nine sheep, heading next-man-off Devery by 11 seconds, but was relegated to fourth placing after time and quality points were added.

Another Southlander, Willie Hewitson, won the senior final, beating runner-up Mason Adams, of Lumsden, by almost five points. It was just the third career win for Hewitson, from Woodlands. He won an intermediate final at Winton two sesaons ago, and in July won the Royal Welsh Show senior final.

The intermediate final was a keen battle between two Golden Shears junior champions, both from Mataura. Jake Rangiwai, who won his title in 2009, beat reigning Golden Shears junior champion Brett Roberts by seven seconds in a four-sheep final, and claimed victory on the score-sheet by just one-tenth of a point.

World champ shows class in Nelson Shears - November 22, 2010

World champion shearer Cam Ferguson proved a class above the rest when he won the Nelson A and P Shears open final on a flying visit to the South Island on Saturday.

Finishing the 20-sheep final in 19min 13sec, the 27-year-old Central Hawke's Bay gun was more than two minutes ahead of the next-man-off, Scottish shearer Grant Lundie, from Dundee. When time and quality points were tallied, with Lundie and the other two finalists all breaching a quality benchmark, Ferguson had scored by about 18 points, possibly the biggest winning margin seen in a New Zealand shearing competition.. Peter Lyall, of Tapawera, was credited with second place and West Coast veteran Sam Win, of Ikamatua, third, as Lundie was relegated to fourth place.

It was the second win of the season for Ferguson, who flew to Nelson just a couple of hours before shearing. He has now won 15 individual open finals, 12 of them in the last 13 months including his Golden Shears open title in Maserton in March, his World title in Wales in July and two other titles in the UK.

The 56-year-old Win on Sunday won the Top of the South open final, finishing 20 sheep in 22min 14sec to beat second-man-off and 2009 winner Chris Jones, of Renwick, by almost half-a-minute. When all points were counted, second place went to Win's nephew, Rhys Liddell, of Reefton, extending a family tradition in the event. Win's son, Jason, is a past winner, most recently in 2008, but was not on hand for this year's final, the culmination of eight competitons over the last year in the Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast regions.

Another to make a successful trip from the North Island was Masterton shearer Matene Mason won the Nelson senior final by more than five points from runner-up Mike Bramley, of Tapawera, while Japanese shearer Shun Oishi won the third title of his career with victory in the junior final, in which Irish shearer Joseph Stephens was second.

World Champs on Maori TV - November 22, 2010

An hour-long documentary following the fortunes of New Zealand's top shearers and woolhandlers to the 14th Golden Shears World Championships this year screens on Maori Television next Saturday, November 27, starting at 8.30pm.

The documentary, The Black Shears, shadows the team through the selection phases at the Golden Shears in Masterton and the New Zealand Championships in Te Kuiti, to the World Championships where the Kiwis won three of the six events at the Royal Welsh Show in July.

Te Puia Springs-based Mauri Ora Productions head Maraki Parata and two crew went to Wales for the championships, recording the events and interviews with the team members

World shearing record bid in Hawke's Bay next week - November 16, 2010

The first World shearing record of the season is set to take place next week when former three-stand record holder Steve Stoney tackles the nine-hour lambs record of 866 held by fellow Hawke's Bay gun Dion King..

Stoney, 41, is scheduled to make the attempt on November 26 at Kahuranaki Station, east of Hastings, where he set his sights on shearing's ultimate record-book target with a blow-out of 850 in an uncontrolled day working for Napier contractor Farrell Chrystal 12 months ago.

The World Shearing Records Society has appointed four judges to oversee the event, expected to start at 5am and end at 5pm, with four breaks totalling three hours, the standard nine-hour shearing-day breaks for breakfast, lunch, and morning and afternoon smoko.

The judges include society chairman Mark Baldwin, from Australia, and Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman and 1980s record-holder John Fagan, of Waihi, along with a mandatory judge from each of the North and South islands, Doug Oliver, of Te Kuiti, and Colin Gibson, of Oamaru.

Stoney has been in the record books before, for nine years after he and two others set a three-stand, eight-hour lambs record in 1997. In 2002 he was was also right-hand man in King's first entry into the record books, an eight-hour record at Mangatutu, west of Napier.

King failed in a first attempt on the nine-hour record in Hawke's Bay in November 2006, but less than two months later claimed the record at Mangapehi, in the King Country, breaking the previous record of 851.

Records society secretary Hugh McCarroll, of Tauranga, said today no other applications have yet been received for record bids during the summer, but at least two more are expected. World champion Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, is planning an attack on the eight-hour lambs record of 736 set by South Island based Irishman Ivan Scott near Rotorua two years ago, while Far North brothers Rowland and Doug Smith are planning a two-stand record in Hawke's Bay, both expected to be in January.

Ferguson's bid will take place at Mangapehi, and the Smith brothers are planning to make their bid in the same Waitara Station woolshed near Te Pohue where brother Matthew set a World eight-hour ewes record last January.

Record bids don't come cheaply, with a starting cost of $US1800 for a single-stand attempt required by the society to help cover costs, but shearers face other costs including transport, accommodation, and meals for usually substantial teams of helpers.

Captain Kirky flies in for inter-island double - November 15, 2010

Hawke's Bay shearer John Kirkpatrick made the best of a busy weekend by winning two open championship finals just 24 hours apart in Christchurch and Waipukurau at the weekend. Kirkpatrick, 40, won the New Zealand Corriedale Championship final over 10 sheep on Friday, and then flew home to win the Central Hawke's Bay Show A and P final, over 15 sheep, the next day.

But it wasn't the first time two-times Golden Shears open champion Kirkpatrick had completed such a triumphant ordeal, for he won both titles on successive days in 2008, and a few months later won three events in three days - two in Southland and one at Levin.

In Christchurch, Kirkpatrick was first off the board, shearing his 10 sheep in 11min 24.3sec, beating Marlborough hopeful Angus Moore, of Ward, by just four seconds. When time and quality points were calculated, Kirkpatrick had won by threequarters of a point from Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford, with Moore next, Rakaia shearer Tony Coster fourth and King Country icon David Fagan fifth.

Fagan also flew back to the North Island where he was runner-up on Saturday, in an otherwise all-Hawke's Bay final, in which Dion King, of Hastings, shore 15 sheep in about 13 minutes to beat Kirkpatrick by about five seconds. But King, soon to return to his base on Queensland's Sunshine Coast, had to settle for third on points.

New World champion Cam Ferguson did not compete in Christchurch and stayed in hometown Waipawa to organise a speedshear on Friday night, in which he beat Fagan who had just arrived from the South Island. But Ferguson failed to make the final of Saturday's CHB show, which he had won last year.

World woolhandling champion team member Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu, scored one of her biggest wins by taking the Corriedale Championships open title on Friday, with South Islanders Bernadette Forde and Tia Potae second and third. Herbert also travelled north immediately afterwards and on Saturday was third in the CHB open woolhandling final behind winner and Gisborne teenager Joel Henare. Dannevirke's Dallas Mihaere continued a good open-class season by finishing second.

South Island based English shearer Malcolm Sweeney won the Corriedale championships senior shearing title, and Mataura teenager Brett Roberts won the intemediate final by almost 10 points. Mike McConnell, of Cave, won the open blades final, beating New Zealand team members Allen Gemmell, of Loburn, who was second, and Brian Thomson, of West Melton, who was fourth.

In Waipukurau, Masterton shearer Matene Mason continued his winning form by taking the senior shearing final, in which 2009-10 intermediate champion Wi Ngarangione, of Gisborne, was second.

Thirsty Brausch grabs first Open win at Clareville - November 1, 2010

Six years is a long time between drinks, but it would have been worth it for former lower grades champion and Dannevirke shearer Adam Brausch who finally returned to the winner's circle on Saturday with his first open-class victory at the Wairarapa Spring Shears at Clareville, near Carterton.

Brausch, who downed 2006 Golden Shears champion Dion King in a 15-sheep final, hadn't won a title since his New Zealand championships senior win in 2004, making him the only shearer to win in three grades at Te Kuiti after his junior win in 2001 and intermediate victory in 2002, the year he also won the Golden Shears intermediate final.

He had made spasmodic but generally promising appearances in top open company before, most notably reaching the PGG Wrightson National final at the Golden Shears in 2009, and last season the Southern Shears and Taumarunui Jamboree finals in the fortnight before the Golden Shears where he reached the open semi-finals.

A week before his win he was third in the Great Raihania Shears open final won by King in Hastings, and had the rare distinction of beating King Country icon David Fagan on both time and points.

Whanganui shearer Jerome McCrea was third on Saturday, with Ian Kirkpatrick, of Gisborne, fourth.

Kiwis steal the show in Aussie shears raid - November 1, 2010

Kiwi shearers and woolhandlers recovered some of the transtasman mana lost in the All Blacks� defeat by the Wallabies at the weekend by all-but shutting Australians out of the serious money at a major show in southwest Victoria.

Suited by the sheep in Australia�s top crossbred event on Saturday, Kiwis claimed all six places in Romney Shears open final at Warrnambool, won by Hastings-based Far North shearer Rowland Smith.

The Hawke�s Bay influence was even greater with second-place going to John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, World champion and Waipawa shearer Cam Ferguson was third, and James Mack, of Weber, was fourth. Hamish Bramley, of Kaeo, was fifth, and Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, sixth.

Gisborne teenager Joel Henare won his second Warrnambool open woolhandling final, with mentor Joanne Kumeroa, of Whanganui, finishing second, while another Gisborne teenager, Wi Poutu Ngarangione won the senior shearing final.

Henare, Kumeroa and teammate Judith Ratana also spearheaded a Te Kuiti New Zealand Championships selection�s woolhandling triumph over a Warrnambool championships Australia selection, but Smith, Ferguson and Stratford were unable to make it a Kiwi double as they succumbed in their match over four crossbreds and four finewool merinos each.

Ferguson was first off in the 10 sheep open final, taking 10min 14 sec, 11 seconds clear of Kirkpatrick who just pipped the 24-year-old Smith who finished in 10m 27s.

But Smith had the better board and pen quality points and all-told beat Kirpatrick by almost threequarters of a point.

Smith, who had won the trip after finishing second in last April�s New Zealand championships, in which he almost beat icon David Fagan for a place at the World championships, said he was just "cruisin� along" with his shearing, but put his win down to a solid year shearing Romneys in Hawke�s Bay

"I just like crossies (crossbred sheep)," said Smith, who is planning with brother Doug a World two-stand ewes record bid in January in Hawke�s Bay, where another brother, Matt, set a solo eight-hour record of 578 last summer.

Smith had earlier won the quality quick shear event at the show in 43.6 seconds with just three quality points, while last Friday Ferguson won the Mortlake Quick Shear with a best effort of 27.59sec for a crossbred lamb.

Results from the Romney Shears at Warrnambool, Vic, on October 30:


Open final (10 sheep): Rowland Smith (Ruawai) 10min 27sec, 37.44pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 10min 25sec, 38.16pts, 2; Cam Ferguson (Waipawa) 10min 14sec, 38.79pts, 3; James Mack (Weber), 42.9pts, 4; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill), 43.46pts, 5; Hamish Bramley (Kaeo), 49.74pts, 6.

Senior: Wi Ngarangione (Gisborne), 34.62pts, 1; Josh Lilley (Vicyoria), 37.13pts, 2; Corey Scott (-), 38.07pts, 3; Andrea Froon (NSW), 40.28pts, 4; Shaun Faithfull (-) 40.5pts, 5; Evo Hennessy, 42.8pts, 6.

Intermediate: Nathan Lilley (Victoria) 39.8pts, 1; Leigh Cowland (Victoria), 45.7pts, 2; Aaron Kahuhura (Omakau) 47.2pts, 3; Kane Wells (NZ), 47.5pts, 4; John Schimanski (NZ), 50.7pts, 5; Nicki Pearse (NZ), 50.7pts, 6.

Novice: Tarina Darling, 41.04pts, 1; Angus McDonald, 45.3pts, 2; Lee Harris, 48.15pts, 3.

Coopworth Challenge: Jason Wingfioeld (Victoria), 34.31pts, 1; Tyson Scholz (-) 36.45pts, 2; Roger Mifsud (Victoria), 38.55pts, 3; Glen Stephens (-), 39.16pts, 4; Robbie Glover (-), 39.66pts, 5; Steve Rigby (-), 41.99pts, 6.

Transtasman challenge: Warrnambool (Roger Mifsud, Tyson Scholz, Robbie Glover) beat Te Kuiti (Rowland Smith, Cam Ferguson, Nathan Stratford).


Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 1; Joanne Kumeroa (Whanganui) 2; Mark Purcell (Australia) 3; Fi Patison (Australia) 4.

Transtasman challenge: Te Kuiti (Joel Henare, Joanne Kumeroa, Judith Ratana) beat Warrnambool (Mark Purcell, Michelle Walker, Mel Morris).

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