The champ is back – it only took a week
Reigning Golden Shears and New Zealand shearing champion Rowland Smith bounced back from a rare defeat to successfully defend both the Wairoa and Horowhenua shows Open titles in emphatic fashion at the weekend.
The wins, both by over six points, meant that while he had at Tauranga on January 14 missed a place in a final in New Zealand for the first time in over a year, he has now had 25 wins in finals in a row in this country dating back to when he was fourth at the Rotorua A and P Show on January 29 last year.
In between times he competed in the UK as a member of the New Zealand team, a tour into which he spliced a World record ewes-shearing record of 644 in eight hours.
With temperatures rocketing well over 30deg in Wairoa on Saturday, Smith had a furious battle for time honours with Tauranga and January 2017 Rotorua winner and fellow former world champion Gavin Mutch.
Hawke's Bay-based Smith moved away slightly in the final stages to win by almost nine seconds with a time of 16min 14.58sec for his 20-sheep pen.
The story was told most emphatically in the quality points, Smith scoring 0.9 on the board and 5.3 in the pens, a sign not only of his domination but the quality of the sheep on the day, which he said were among the best he'd seen in competition for a while. It gave him a crushing win by 6.48pts, a wide margin in top-class Open competition.
Mutch, who made a round-trip of over 11hrs, and had been third at Wairoa in 2017 and the winner in 2010, had penalties of 1.15 and 11.1pts. but was overall able to hold out Murray Henderson, of Halcomb, and Hastings-based Darren Alexander, who had two and three sheep respectively still in the pens as Smith and Mutch switched-off for the last time.
The margin was even greater at the Horowhenua show in Levin where Smith rattled-off 20 sheep 45 seconds quicker than nearest rival and Pongaroa farmer David Buick, whose stop on the way home from competing in Southland the previous day was good enough for second overall, despite Smith's winning margin of 6.55pts.
Smith finished in 17min 33sec, and again had clearly the best quality.
Senior honours at the two shows were shared by young Napier guns Paraki Puna, who won at Wairoa, and Ricci Stevens, who won at Levin, Woodville shearer Daniel Seed won the Intermediate finals at both shows and Mangatainoka shearer Jonathon Paynter followed up a fourth placing to Wairoa home show winner Keith Swann with a Levin win by 1.15pts from runner-up and Welsh visitor Huw Jones.
Results from the two lower North Island shows were:
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 Papworth7min 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.
Results from the Horowhenua A.P, and I. Show Shears at Levin on Sunday, January 21, 2018:
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 17min 33sec, 64.5pts, 1; David Buick (Pongaroa) 18min 18sec, 71.05pts, 2; Michael Fabish (Stratford) 19min 4sec, 74.85pts, 3; Hemi Bradick (Eketahuna) 18min 22sec, 75pts, 4.
Senior final (10 sheep): Ricci Stevens (Napier) 12min 34sec, 52.4pts, 1; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 12min 46sec, 54.4pts, 2; Ross Thomson (England) 13min 31sec, 58.55pts, 3; Ceredig Lewis (Wales) 13min 29sec, 59.55pts, 4.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Daniel Seed (Woodville) 9min 16sec, 42.9667pts, 1; Gwydion Davies (Wales) 10min 13sec, 44.3167pts, 2; Bradman Franks (-) 10min 18sec, 45.9pts, 3; Emily Te Kspa (Scotland) 10min 54sec, 49.0333pts, 4.
Junior final (4 sheep): Jonathon Paynter (Mangatainoka) 8min 13sec, 37.9pts, 1; Huw Jones (Wales) 7min 16sec, 39.05pts, 2; Merion Evans (Wales) 7min 39sec, 44.2pts, 3; Liam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 9min 29sec, 46.2pts, 4.
Novice final (2 sheep): Samantha Baxter (Pongaroa) 8min 24sec, 60.7pts, 1; Mark Wilkinson (-) 7min 24sec, 61.7pts, 2; Caroline Bunting (-) 8min 1sec, 78.55pts, 3; Fflur Jones (Wales) 13min 25sec, 93.75pts, 4.