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Media Releases November 2013

Marlborough shearers do it again at Nelson show - 24 November, 2013

Marlborough shearing stalwarts Tony Nott and Chris Jones repeated their successes of last year's Nelson A and P Show when they won the two major titles at the Richmond Park Showgrounds on Saturday (November 23).

Nott successfully defended the Top of the South series open title, beating runner-up Jones by six seconds in a 10-sheep race each shore in under 12min 20sec, and producing the best quality to claim victory by just over two points.

Jones retained the Nelson A and P Show Open title in another 10-sheep final, for which Nott failed to qualify and had to settle for the consolation of winning the Open Plate.

The Tasman area's most promising younger shearer, Jotham Rentoul, of Wakefield, won the Senior final by more than a minute and an eventual total of almost eight points from runner-up Neil MacDonald, of Tapawera, with third place going to Rangiora shearer Rowan Nesbit, who recently won his third Marlborough show Senior title.

North Canterbury's Lyall Windleburn beat Rakaia shearer Corey Smith in a keenly-fought Intermediate final, while Joel Richards made a successful trip from North Otago to win the Junior final, in which American West Hyllstead was third.

Another feature was Golden Shears Junior woolhandling champion and Havelock university student Sarah Higgins' victory in the Senior woolhandling event.

But the major success was an increase in competitor numbers, with 53 entries across the four shearing and three woolhandling classes possibly a record for shearing sports at the show.

Shearing record planned for South Auckland - 24 November, 2013

World record husband-and-wife sheep shearers Sam and Emily Welch are rewarding employee loyalty by helping their workers also get their names into the books with a five-stand lambshearing record south of Auckland next month.

The two and contracting partner Tony Clayton-Greene, who run their business from Waikaretu, Port Waikato, are organising the Cavalier Woolscourers-sponsored eight-hour tally record which will take place at Cashmore Farms, between Clevedon and the Firth of Thames, on December 10.

Sam Welch, who went to school in Marton and was later based in Dannevirke, will tackle the record with brother and Hawke's Bay club rugby Country Player of the Year Richard Welch, South Island shearer and 2012 PGG Wrightson National Series winner Angus Moore, Te Akau shearer Cole L'Huillier, and Peter Totorewa, from Huntly.

While there are currently no claimants in the five-stand, 8hr category of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society register, it will be the biggest record bid attempted in almost nine years, since a six-stand record of 4188 lambs in nine hours in Southland in January 2005.

But it's still a tall order, not only for the shearers but also the organisers faced with finding more than 3000 suitable lambs, at a time when the national sheep flock is well under half the eulogised 1982 peak of 70 million.

Extra lambs will have to be transported from Waikaretu to supplement the romneys available on the property where the big shear will take place, and there'll be a mixture of ewe and wether lambs.

"They're going to be tough lambs," Welch said, "and anything over 600 (by any of the shearers) will be pretty good. It'll be overwhelming if we get to 3000 all-up."

But he believes at least two are capable of shearing over 600 on the day: Moore, to whom Emily Welch was runner-up in the March 2007 Golden Shears senior final, and L'Huillier, who on the same day was third in the Golden Shears intermediate final.

Welch, 35, reckons he's finally ready to have another go, having taken more than a year to get over the January 2012 day in which he shore 667 sheep as he and Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia set a World two-stand record of 1341 ewes in nine hours in a King Country woolshed.

His wife, however, is happy to take her place in the event management and support crew, with no serious thought of repeating the effort she put into shearing a women's record of 648 lambs in nine hours in November 2007.

The event will take place over the standard eight-hour shearing day, starting at 7am, with four two-hour runs, separated by morning and afternoon smoko breaks of 30 minutes each and an hour for lunch, and ending at 5pm.

It will be overseen by at least seven records society judges, including two from Australia.

The last multiple-stand record was earlier this year when a four-stand, 8hrs record of 2556 was set in Southland, an average of 639 each.

A three-stand merino record is being planned in Australia for April next year, although the society has not yet been officially notified.

No stopping Forde march in southern shearing champs - 24 November, 2013

Veteran Southland shearer Darrin Forde claimed his third Open title of the Shearing Sports New Zealand season with victory in a 16-sheep final at the 100th anniversary West Otago A and P Show in Tapanui on Saturday (November 23).

The 48-year-old former national champion and New Zealand representative hadn't won a final in more than a year until his November 2 win at the Ashburton Show, which was followed by victory at the Pleasant Pt Gymkhana a week later.

In each case he's cut-out his pen in under a minute a sheep, although on Saturday he ceded time honours to Ohai shearer Floyd Haare, who finished just over a minute ahead in shearing 16 sheep in 14min 33sec.

Haare's quality in the shear meant he was not in contention for the major money, and Forde, also not with the best quality of his career, managed to turn the tables on defending champion and Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford, whose clearly best quality points were not enough to make up a substantial time-points deficit.

Andy Mainland, of Invercargill, improved a position on last year's third placing, and Haare had to settle for fourth.

Alexandra-based Tamihana Karauria had a big success when he won the Senior title by half a point from 2012 Golden Shears Junior champion and Dipton shearer Andrew Leith, who had headed the qualifiers for the final by almost 8pts, while Ngamore Wickliffe, of Mataura, won the Intermediate final for a second time.

Competition organiser Kevin Baxter was rapt with the 41 entries across the three grades, along with the strong crowd interest and the "absolutely beautiful" weather.

Former champ counts the numbers as show entry climbs - 24 November, 2013

Former World shearing champion Paul Avery had to keep a close eye on the numbers as a startling increase in the number of competitors threatened to throw his home Stratford A and P Show Shears out of kilter on Saturday (November 23).

Now helping run the competition, Avery went light on sheep numbers after an unanticipated decline entries last year had him sending 150 sheep back to the farmer unshorn. "I didn't want to have to do that again," said Avery, who won his World title in Norway five years ago.

The folly was apparent from the start of the day on Saturday with more than 60 shearers entering across the five grades, and competitors were soon being told that they had to be on the mark in their heats, because there wouldn't be enough sheep to hold semi-finals.

The only semi-finals held were in the Open class, which with four World champions in the mix had its best field in years, but with the cloth cut to suit the tightness of the penning arrangements by limiting the three-man final to 15 sheep.

Despite the extra pressure in the "caravan" control room, and having done little or no shearing recently, the 46-year-old Toko cattle farmer defended the Stratford title he won last year, but failed to reach the semi-finals, and was "ninth" in the Open field of 12.

"I thought I'd done pretty well," he said. "But the judges didn't think so." But he was in good company, another to miss the cut being reigning World champion, Scotsman and Taranaki farmer Gavin Mutch.

The honours went with former multiple World champion and Te Kuiti shearer David Fagan, the 621st of his 32-year Open-class career, but the first at Stratford since 1994 and his first of the new season.

Coming four months after his unique test-match and Corwen Open double in Wales, it was a foreboding performance with a chance at selection for a 10th World championships looming later in the season.

The outcome was appreciated particularly by runner-up, 2010 World championships team mate and individual title winner and 2012 runner-up Cam Ferguson who reckoned he'd done as much as he could on the good-shearing hoggets, but Fagan just did better.

It became a match-race between pair, Ferguson winning by four seconds as both finished their 15 hoggets in under 12-and-a-half minutes. Fagan's marginally better quality gave him the winner's ribbon by 0.2pts, with a 4pt margin to the only other finalist, Feilding shearer Murray Henderson, in his third final of the season.

Fagan, beating Ferguson for the first time in the four times the pair have shorn in finals together this season, also appreciated the toughness of the task on the day and said: "It was always going to be a privilege to be in the top three in that one."

Levin shearer Michael Rolston and Dannevirke-based Poverty Bay shearer Catherine Mullooly maintained their winning form from the Central Hawke's Bay show a fortnight ago by claiming

Saturday's Senior and Intermediate titles respectively, while Neil Bryant, of Levin, won his first Junior title.

The only remaining North Island competition before Christmas is on December 8 (a Sunday) at the Royal Manawatu Show at Feilding, the first Royal Show shearing since Canterbury in 2010.

Organiser Alan Pretious is expecting increased entries for the shearing and the woolhandling, and this week expects to find-out whether Royal Agricultural Society medals will be on offer. He has one in his collection from winning the Senior final at the Royal Manawatu Show in Palmerston North in 1976, and two others presented from judging at Royal shows.

A show of loyalty keeps the Shears going in Nelson - 20 November, 2013

Winning certainly isn't everything for veteran Marlborough shearers Chris Jones and Tony Nott who return to the Nelson Show this weekend as defending champions, with surprisingly lean pickings after more than 20 years competing to help keep it alive.

Jones, who won the Nelson show's Intermediate final in 1994, had to wait till last year for his first win in the show's Open final, in which he had first shorn in 1997.

Nott's win in last year's Top of the South final was his first win in Nelson since he won the show title in 1991.

No longer shearing fulltime and now running a concrete pumping business in Blenheim, where he beat Jones in the Marlborough A and P Show final on November 9, Nott said that for most competition shearers the prizemoney "doesn't really come into it."

Most travel long distances, in a lot of cases most weekends, and Nott said: "It must be costing them a fortune."

Nelson's relative remoteness and the progressive decline in sheep numbers, not only in the region but nationwide, mean that entries for competitions in the area are not large, but they remain a feature and in some cases a hidden secret of the shows.

Some others had indicated that if it weren't for competitions closer to home this weekend - in the Taranaki town of Stratford and in Tapanui, West Otago - they would have considered making the trip to help the show out..

On recent trends, about 10 will enter the Open event, part of about 30 shearers and woolhandlers in a programme starting at 9am on Saturday and which organiser Roger Simpson hopes will see at least six shearing finals and two woolhandling finals culminating the programme mid-afternoon.

They include the Top of the South, which was in the past held on the Sunday of the show, creating a two-day festival of shearing sport. The compacting of the programme into one day is one consequence of dwindling shearer numbers in the area.

But the show society still wants action on the Sunday and Mr Simpson is trying to organise a "20/20" - in which the target will be to shear 20 sheep in under 20 minutes.

"People want to see the wool flying, that's what they come to see," he said.

Nott, who achieved a career highlight when sixth in the PGG Wrightson National series final at the Golden Shears in Masterton last March, promised that if the 20/20 goes ahead he'll stay the extra night.

While Nelson has managed to attract the occasional big name - with 2008 World champion Paul Avery four years ago, new Golden Shears and World champion Cam Ferguson in 2010, and New Zealand Open champion Rowland Smith the following year - none had by early this week indicated they would make the trip to Nelson this year.

"They usually let us know if they're coming" Mr Simpson said. "But sometimes they just turn-up."

Both Nott and Mr Simpson are urging all locally-based shearers and woolhandlers to compete, with some indication they may be overshadowed by visitors in the lower grades if they don't.

The Marlborough show had one of its stronger Junior grade entries in recent years, which Nott attributes to broad-skill shearing industry training provided by Tectra, and greater awareness of the possibilities offered by a shearing career.

Veteran West Coast regular and multiple winner Sam Win and son Jason, both multiple winners of the Open final, are shearing in Australia, others back for the show have worked abroad in the last year, and at least a couple of entries are expected from people from overseas currently working in New Zealand woolsheds.

Among the Junior shearers in Blenheim was Havelock university student Sarah Higgins, who provided one of the region's greatest Golden Shears moments last summer by winning the Golden Shears Junior woolhandling final, and Nott's hopes were she would also compete in Nelson.

Coster bounces back for big Canterbury shears win - 16 November, 2013

New Zealand representative shearer Tony Coster saved his best till last to claim his second national Corriedale championship by beating event favourite John Kirkpatrick at the Canterbury Show on Friday (November 15).

Just scraping into the six-man final, for a 12th time in a row, the Rakaia gun found another gear when it counted to win the 10-sheep race and also score the best quality points.

Finishing in 12min 36.86sec, the 2007 winner beat first-time event finalist Axle Reid, of Taihape, by four seconds, with a further 18 seconds to three-times winner and Napier shearer Kirkpatrick, who had established his claims by being the top qualifier in the heats and the semi-finals.

Coster, however, was just sixth of the 32 in the heats, and last of the six qualifying for the showdown after finishing a minute-and-a-half slower than the fastest shearer of the 18 in the semi-finals, where those eliminated included 13-times winner David Fagan, of Te Kuiti.

Reid was unable to keep the quality up to the mark in the final, and Coster won by a comfortable 2.2pts over runner-up Kirkpatrick, with a further 2.3pts back to Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford, a finalist each year since winning in 2005 and achieving a top-three placing for the sixth year in a row.

Rakaia shearer Grant Smith scored the best points in pen judging and claimed fourth place ahead of Pongaroa farmer David Buick, in his first final in the South Island, with Reid having to settle for the sixth-place ribbon.

It was Coster's fourth win of the season, having at the show also retained the Canterbury Circuit title. He's now hit a career milestone of 50 wins in Open competition, dating back to his first in 1993.

Now 46, Coster's biggest triumphs have been three consecutive wins in New Zealand's major all-breeds series, the PGG Wrightson National, of which Friday's heats were the third of five qualifying rounds heading towards the 2014 final at the Golden Shears in Masterton next March. With the Western Shears lambshearing championships at Raglan in recess, the fourth round will be on lambs at Marton in February.

Coster's win in the New Zealand Shears Circuit final in Te Kuiti last April won him a place in a two-man New Zealand team for a test-series tour of the UK, having previously shorn in eight tests against Australia in recent years.

Canterbury-based Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst continued his form with a third win in his debut Senior season.

He won by more than two-and-a-half points from runner-up and Rangiora shearer Rowan Nesbit, who the previous weekend won the Senior final at the Marlborough A and P Show for the third time in a row, his 10th win in a Senior career dating back to 2006.

Waiau shearer Lyall Windleburn, who also won at the Marlborough Show, won Friday's Intermediate final by more than 10pts from runner-up Isaac Duckmanton, of Christchurch, with a similar margin to third placegetter and New Zeakland Spring Shears Intermediate final winner and Irish shearer Joseph Stephens.

The Blades final, over five sheep, was a triumph for Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, 21 years after the biggest triumph of his career, winning the Blades final at the third World Championships in England in 1992.

Bill Michelle, of Timaru was second, Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, was third, and 2012 World championships New Zealand teammates Mike McConnell, of Albury, and Brian Thomson, of Christchurch, were fourth and fifth respectively.

Henare gets elusive Canterbury wool win - 15 November, 2013

World and Golden Shears woolhandling champion Joel Henare grabbed one of the few titles to have eluded him in his young career with a crushing victory in the Open final at the Canterbury Show in Christchurch yesterday.

But, just turning 22 and already in his eighth season at the top level, the Gisborne star still had to bring the best of his woolshed skills to the competition board to claim one of the hardest-to-win titles on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar.

With a fleece and a bit left to process as Central Hawke's Bay woolhandler Trish Moke shoved the last of her's into the fadge, he was forced into the woolhandling equivalent of a last ditch dive to the tryline to avoid a time penalties hammering.

But the judges decided he already had the quality right and awarded him a win by 86pts over runner-up and 2010 winner Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu.

World and Golden Shears champion woolhandler Joel Henare, of Gisborne, winning his first New Zealand Corriedale Championships open title at the Canterrbury Show yesterday (Thursday).


It was his fourth win in five finals this season, his only defeat being when runner-up to 2008 World champion Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, at the Wairarapa A and P Show, and it was his 40th Open title, including the 2012 World individual and teams titles, and a 2010win at Australia's Romney Shears in Warrnambool, Vic.

His 37 wins on the Shearing Sports New Zealand circuits have included titles at 18 different shows, as well as victories in the North and South Island circuit finals.

Highlighting the toughness of the Canterbury contest, each of the three finalists working two shearers on the competition rarity of mid-micron corriedale wool, Henare became the ninth winner of the event in the last 10 years.

Herbert's five finals at the show are more than any other woolhandler in the last decade, and she was also the only finalist who had reached the finals of either of the two previous woolhandling contests in the South Island this season.

Meanwhile, Alexandra woolhandler Juliette Lyon claimed her second title of the season when she won the Senior final, having also won on the long strongwool of the New Zealand Spring Shears in Waimate last month. The Junior final was won by Leah Reuben, of Rangiora.

The championships were ending today with the shearing events, including the Open final won in the last two years by visitors from across the Tasman, last year by Australia-based New Zealander Jason Win and in 2011 by former World champion and multiple Australian champion Shannon Warnest. Results from the first day of the New Zealand Corriedale Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at the Canterbury Show:

Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 196.25pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Awamutu) 282.5pts, 2; Trish Moke (Waipawa) 325.97pts, 3.

Senior final: Juliette Lyon (Alexandra) 148.25pts, 1; Daine Rehi (Te Teko/Christchurch) 195.09pts, 2; Sarah Higgins (Havelock) 235.46pts, 3.

Junior final: Leah Reuben (Rangiora) 170.48pts, 1; Annette Hohepa (Hawke's Bay) 237.21pts, 2; Nadine Smith (Rangiora) 247.18pts, 3.

Veteran Southland shearer Darin Forde won - 13 November, 2013

Veteran Southland shearer Darin Forde won his second title in a week with victory in the Pleasant Point Gymkhana shears on Saturday.

The 48-year-old, former three-times McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown national series winner installed by Shearing Sports New Zealand as a Master Shearer more than a deced ago, had the previous weekend won the Ashburton A and P Show, which had been his first win in almost 13 months since the 2012 New Zealand Spring Shears in Waimate.

His next most recent win had been at Pleasant Point in 2010, but Forde has remained one of the top shearers in the country, and was second in the South Island Shearer of the Year final in Gore in February.

In both events of this month's wins he beat current 2013 New Zealand UK-tour team member Tony Coster, fellow treble Crown winner and Rakaia shearer Tony Coster by more than three points. Forde shore the 20-hoggets final in 17min 21sec, beating the 46-year-old Coster off the board by 18 seconds, with more than two minutes to third placegetter Eli Cummings, of Pleasant Point, and another 46 seconds to remaining finalist Andy Mainland, of Invercargill.

SOUTHERN MASTER: Darin Forde, who on Saturday added the Pleasant Point gymkhana open title to a victory at the Ashburton A and P Show a week earlier.

Jock Barrett, originally from Taumarunui, turned the tables on Ashburton winner and Fairlie-based Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst to win his first Senior title of the season, young Rakaia shearer Corey Smith completed a treble of three wins in three weekends by with victory more than 16 points in the Intermediate final, and Timaru freezing worker Joe Bubbett took up the challenge to get onto the board with a maiden win in the Junior final, despite finishing his four-sheep final a minute behind Rangiora-based Hugh De Lacy, who had to settle for second on points a week after his own first victory at Ashburton.

Many of the shearers were also preparing for the New Zealand Corriedale Championships at the Canterbury Show in Christchurch. Major woolhandling events will be decided tomorrow (Thursday), including a compulsory South Island round of a Shearing Sports New Zealand World Championships team-selection series. The major shearing events will be on Friday.

Ferguson blitzes home-town field again - November 09, 2013

Former World champion Cam Ferguson put-in another classic shear to win a remarkable Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show Open shearing title in front of his home crowd in Waipukurau today.

Emerging from a field of 17, the four in-form finalists finished in the same order as they had on the same shearing board as they did in the CHB final 12 months earlier.

Ferguson, with wins in Waimate's Spring Shears and the Hawke's Bay Show's great Raihania Shears behind him this season, shore his 15 sheep in 12min 44sec to be first to be first off the board by 24 seconds.

He also scored best in both board and pen judging to take the win by more than 2.7pts from runner-up, 2012 World Championships teammate and fellow Hawke's Bay shearer John Kirkpatrick, who had also had two wins already this season, at the Poverty Bay Show last month and in the Warrnambool Show's Romney Shears in Australia.

Third was King Country legend David Fagan, who the previous night in Ferguson's nearby home-town of Waipawa won his fourth speedshear in a row, while fourth was Pongaroa farmer David Buick, who a week earlier beat Ferguson in the Wairarapa Spring Shears final at Carterton.

There was also a touch of deja-vu in the Senior final which was won by Levin shearer Michael Rolston for the second year in a row, added to his win two years ago in the Intermediate final. Saturday's runner-up, David Gordon, of Masterton, had won last year's Intermediate final.

Catherine Mullooly, based in Dannevirke but from a farm at Matawai near Gisborne, scored her third win in a row by claiming Saturday's Intermediate final. She finished almost two minutes after Waipukurau shearer Liam Quinlivan, who was first to finish, but scored easily the best quality points.

Napier teenager Cayzer Wedd, son of open-class shearer Phil Wedd, who was 15th in gthis year's Golden Shears Open Top 30 shootout, had the first win of his career, in the Junior final.

The Open woolhandling, a round of the 2014 World Championships New Zealand selection series, provided a rare moment in the sport with three males and just one female reaching the final.

Bolstered by the time advantage, reigning Golden Shears and World Champion Joel Henare, of Gisborne, claimed his third win of the season, comfortably clear of runner-up and five-times former event winner Ronnie Goss, the only woman.

JUNIOR WOOLHANDLING: Golden Shears championships secretary Angeline Colquhoun enjoys a day away from the office to chalk-up a second junior win. From left CHB Show immediate past-president Helen Ormsby, Rochelle Ashford (4th), Geraldine Turipa (3rd), Erica Reti (2nd) and Angeline Colquhoun (1st).

INTERMEDIATE SHEARING: Catherine Mullooly, all quality in winning her third Intermediate final this season.

OPEN WOOLHANDLING: Ronnie Goss had won the Central Hawke's Bay title five times dating back to 1999, but not this time. She was runner-up to Joel Henare.

First-season Open competitior and 2013 Golden Shears Senior runner-up Logan Kamura was third, and Dannevirke's Rocky Hape-Taite was fourth, still looking for victory after reaching the finals of all but one of the season's six woollhandling competitions to date. He was runner-up on the finewool at Alexandra and at the Waimate Spring Shears, and third at both Hawke's Bay's Great Raihania SDhears and the Wairarapa Show.

Carmen Smith, of Pongaroa, won the Senior woolhandling final, beating Hawke's Bay final winner Foonie Waihape and Poverty Bay winner Keone Ngarangione, both from Gisborne, and Wairarapa winner Keisha Te Huki, of Dannevirke.

Golden Shears International Shearing Championship Society secretary Angeline Colquhoun celebrated a day away from the office with victory in the Junior final, with a novice win and a Junior win previously to her name. Wairarapa final winner Erica Reti was second and Poverty Bay novice winner Geraldine Turipa third.

There are just two more shows before Christmas in the North Island, with shearing only at Stratford on November 24, and shearing and woolhandling at the Royal Manawatu Show at Feilding on the late than usual date of December 8, the first December competition in New Zealand since the last Southland Shears in Invercargill in 2007.

Go to gallery for more pictures.

Alabaster eyes World Champs hopes again - November 04, 2013

Taihape woolhandler Sheree Alabaster took a confidence-boosting step towards a possible return to Shearing Sports New Zealand's World Championships team by beating her leading rivals in the Open final at the Wairarapa A and P Show on Saturday.

Winner of the World title in Norway in 2008, 37-year-old Alabaster despatched defending World champion Joel Henare to the position of runner-up in a three-person final at the Clareville Showgrounds, on the outskirts of Carterton.

Henare headed a healthy original field of 23 as it was culled to six for the semi-finals, which proved the end of the road for the day for defending event champion, national Open woolhandling rankings supremo and Te Awamutu competitor Keryn Herbert, who in 2010 partnered Alabaster to a World teams title in Wales.

On Saturday, Herbert just missed qualifying for the final in which Alabaster, Henare and Dannevirke's Rocky Hape-Taite each recorded 67 points on board judging. Henare held an advantage on time and in selection of oddments, but Alabaster cleared the better fleeces and won by 10pts.

The event was the fourth of 10 in a selection series from which eight woolhandlers will contest the finals at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March, the winner and runner-up to represent New Zealand two months later at the World Championships in Gorey, Ireland.

Pongaroa farmer David Buick also scored a confidence-boosting win in the Open shearing final at Saturday's show, beating in-form Waipawa shearer Cam Ferguson.

A week earlier Buick showed his preparedeness for battle this summer by finishing third to New Zealand transtasman series team members John Kirkpatrick and Rowland Smith, both of Hawke's Bay, in the Australian Romney Shears crossbreds final at Warrnambool, Vic.

Last season he won only the second and third Open titles of his career, missed the Golden Shears because of a friend's wedding, and was third in the New Zealand Championships Open final.

Ferguson had this season already won the New Zealand Spring Shgears in Waimate and his first Great Raihania Shears title at the Hawke's Bay Shows in the early stages of a build-up to a late-season Golden Shears and New Zealand Championships showdown aimed at selection for a third World Championships. He was runner-up to New Zealand-based Scotsman Gavin Mutch in Masterton in 2012 after winning the title two years earlier at the Royal Welsh Show.

Third on Saturday was Paerata Abraham, of Dannevirke, and Murray Henderson, of Feilding, was fourth, having finished third in Ferguson's Great Raihania Shears win at the Hawke's Bay Show eight days earlier.

In the South Island, Darin Forde made the most of an 11-hour round trip from Southland to Mid-Canterbury to win the Ashburton A and P Show title by more than three points from Rakaia shearer Tony Coster, who had won two finals without Forde in Canterbury in the previous fortnight. Forde, scoring his first win in just over a year, fleeced his 16 sheep in 15min 16.2sec, more than half-a-sheep quicker than Ashburton shearer Rocky Bull, next to finish the five-man final, a full sheep quicker than Coster.

The Central Hawke's Bay Show is set to provide next weekend's action in the North Island, particularly in the Open woolhandling, the compulsory North Island round of the World Championships selection series, while there are two shearing competitions in the South Island on Saturday, at the Marlborough A and P Show and at the Pleasant Point Gymkhana.

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