They call him Jimmy Superfly for good reason it turned out when Rangitikei shearer Jimmy Samuels won the New Zealand Shearing and Woolhandling Championships Speedshear in Te Kuiti.

Samuels, from Marton, was really flying on Thursday night as the only shearer to go under 20 seconds on the well-crutched and bellied lambs as they passed across the board at the Waitomo Club at the end of the first day of the three-day championships, being held next door at the Waitomo Cultural and Arts Centre.

He won with a best effort of 19.46sec, just over half a second quicker than runner-up and Southland shearer Brett Roberts, of Mataura.

With $1000 to bank, on top of other successes including winning the New Zealand Rural Games Speedshear in Palmerston North four weeks ago, Samuels said: "It's always an honour to come up here and shear at something I love so much."

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■Results:

Open Speedshear: Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 19.46sec, 1; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 20.04sec, 2; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 21.22sec, 3; Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 21.5sec, 4.

Senior Speedshear: Lionel Taumata (Taumarunui/Gore) 24.04sec, 1; Whakapunaki (Naki) Maraki (Flaxmere) 25.92sec, 2; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 26.68sec, 3; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 27.84sec, 4.