Two Hawke's Bay World shearing champions bounced back to winning form in style more than 1400km apart on Saturday.
The biggest success went to Napier gun John Kirkpatrick who won his fifth Southland Shears national crossbred lambshearing title in Winton in a triumphant return to Southland, scene of his last win in New Zealand — the World title in Invercargill in February last year.
The 2014 World champion, Rowland Smith, of Maraekakaho, decided to stay in the Bay, however, and in plus-30deg temperatures successfully defended the Wairoa A and P Show's Open title, just six days after missing out on a place in the Tauranga A and P Show final, on the back of 26 consecutive wins in New Zealand, also dating back almost a year.
He continued that form when he won another Open final yesterday at the Horowhenua show in Levin.
Kirkpatrick, who had won the lambs title in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, went close to making it a double in south, having finished second on Friday in the Northern Southland Community Shears' longwool final, being beaten by only half-a-point by World champion teams partner and Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford.
In a four-man final of 20 sheep each in Wairoa, Smith featured in a furious race for time honours with 2012 World champion, Scotland international and Taranaki farmer Gavin Mutch.
Relishing what he later said were some of the best sheep he'd seen in competition in recent times, Smith moved away slightly in the final stages to win by almost nine seconds with a time of 16min 14.58sec, but also had clearly the best quality for a comfortably victory by 6.48pts from Mutch, who made an 11hrs round-trip from his home to compete at the show.
Napier shearer Paraki Puna, who was the to-ranked Senior last year, moved a step closer to Open-class with his first win of the season and the seventh in the Senior grade after finishing over a minute ahead of the rest in his final, claiming victory by over 2pts from runner-up Paul Swann, of Wairoa.
Daniel Seed, of Woodville, was the only New Zealand shearer in the Intermediate final, but with an extension of his pre-Christmas form scraped home to beat runner-up and Tauranga final winner Gwydion Davies, of Wales, by 0.13pts, and Keith Swann, of Wairoa, won the Junior final by almost 5pts from runner-up Brooke Hamerton, from Ruawai and a nephew of Rowland Smith.
Results of the Wairoa A and P Show Shears on Saturday, January 20, 2018:
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 16min 14.58sec, 54.93pts, 1; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona) 16min 23.25sec, 61.41pts, 2; Murray Henderson (Halcomb) 18min 6.19sec, 62.91pts, 3; Darren Alexander (Whangamomona/Hastings) 19min 31sec, 66.2pts, 4.
Senior final (12 sheep): Paraki Puna (Napier) 13min 40.33sec, 49.27pts, 1; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 14min 32.11sec, 51.61pts, 2; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 14min 31.41sec, 51.74pts, 3; Ceredig Lewis (Wales) 14min 45.85sec, 52.96pts, 4.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Daniel Seed (Woodville) 9min 11.51sec, 36.74pts, 1; Gwydion Davies (Wales) 9min 50.71sec, 36.87pts, 2; Jeremy Leygonie (France) 9min 45.1sec, 37.59pts, 3; Gethin Lewis (Wales) 9min 43.71sec, 39.35pts, 4.
Junior final (4 sheep): Keith Swann (Wairoa) 7min 16.73sec, 26.84pts, 1; Brooke Hamerton (Ruawai/Hastings) 7min 30.59sec, 31.53pts, 2; Huw Jones (Wales) 7min 13.7sec, 33.19pts, 3; Jonathan Painter (Mangatainoka) 7min 34.54sec, 34.23pts, 4.
Novice (1 sheep): Ethan Roadley 4min 5.974sec, 28.3pts, 1; Samantha Baxter 4min 43.31sec, 44.17pts, 2; Alexander Kirkpatrick 4min 34.51sec, 56.73pts, 3; Jerome Papworth 7min 19.67sec, 60.98pts, 4.
Veteran (2 sheep): Colin Baynes 5min 26.92sec, 26.35pts, 1; Graeme Roadley 4min 36.67sec, 29.33pts, 2; Colin Hyde 32.57pts, 3; Jenny Mantann 4min 36.72sec, 34.34pts, 4.
Open final (20 lambs): John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 17min 36.85sec, 62.1925pts, 1; David Buick (Pongaroa) 16min 59.16sec, 62.808pts, 2; Casey Bailey (Riverton) 18min 29.12sec, 66.206pts, 3; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 16min 39.03sec, 66.9015pts, 4; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 17min 46.43sec, 67.0715pts, 5; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 19min 32.31sec, 69.0655pts, 6.