French shearer Jeremy Leygonie hasn't yet emulated his brother's achievement in shearing at a World Championships, but he could claim some form of bragging rights after winning what turned out to be a truly international event in New Zealand yesterday.
The Rotorua A and P Show's Agrodome Shears Intermediate championship came to a rare end at the Ngongotaha showgrounds yesterday – a final in New Zealand with five shearers from four different countries, and not a New Zealander in sight.
The 22-year-old, from "near Toulouse", completed a double for the weekend after winning also at the Taihape A and P Show on Saturday. The runner-up was Annalise Humstad, from Norway, Welsh shearer Gwydion Davies was third, fourth was "Scots-Maori" Emily Te Kapa, and fifth was Gethin Lewis, also from Wales.
The Intermediate class had attracted 16 entries, and Leygonie, working for Te Kuiti shearing contractor Colin Thirkell and heading home in a fortnight for the February 15 start of the season in France, showed he was in business by cutting out his 6 sheep in 8min 40sec, three seconds quicker than Humstad as the two battled for time points side-by-side on stands four and five.
With Humstad having clearly the best job points, Leygonie needed the better quality points in the pen-judging to claim the win, by just 0.984pts.
"It was perfect," he said later.
Otherwise there was a reversal of fortunes for visitors when the Welsh national team of Matthew Evans and Alun Lloyd Jones and Matthew was unable to match Saturday's tour-opening win over a Taihape show selection, being beaten comfortably by a Rotorua show team of King Country shearers Floyd Neil and James Ruki.
Neil dominated the match, the only shearer to go under 10 minutes for the 10 sheep and ultimately carding the best individual points as the show team won by almost 8pts.
There was a big moment for Hawke's Bay gun Rowland Smith as he won the Agrodome Open final, avenging a result of 12months earlier, the last time he had been beaten in an Open final in New Zealand.
It was World champions 1, 2, and 3 with 2014 champion Smith beating 2012 champion Gavin Mutch by 1.55pts, with third place going to reigning World champion John Kirkpatrick.
With wins at Taihape and Rotorua over the weekend, Smith has had 27 consecutive wins in finals in New Zealand since finishing fourth to Mutch in last year's Rotorua final. It was Mutch who also won at Tauranga a fortnight ago, when Smith failed to qualify for the final, the only such demise in the 12 months.
It was the near flip-side experience for former national woolhandling national rankings winner and World teams champion Keryn Herbert, who won the Open woolhandling final.
A former prolific winner around the country, it was Herbert's first win since the Taranaki Shears last March, but it was a comfortable victory over former New Zealand champion and fellow King Country woolhandler Hanatia Tipene. Third was Sue Turner, of Aria, and Amy Karska, of Te Karaka, was fourth, the only competitor to reach the Open woolhandling finals at both Taihape and Rotorua.
Results from the Agrodome Shears at the Rotorua A and P Show, Ngongotaha, on Sunday, January 28, 2018
International (10 sheep): Rotorua Show Invitation 83.6pts (Floyd Neil 9min 50sec, 40.2pts; James Ruki 11min 36sec, 43.4pts) beat Wales 91.504pts (Alun Lloyd Jones 10min 50sec, 45.7pts, Matthew Evans 10min 0.08sec, 45.804pts) by 7.904pts.
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 16min 32sec, 59.85pts, 1; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona) 16min 48sec, 61.4pts, 2; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 16min 49sec, 63.8pts, 3; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 18min 0.03sec, 64.302pts, 4; Murray Henderson (Halcomb) 18min 40sec, 71.5pts, 5.
Senior final (10 sheep): Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 10min 28sec, 44.4pts, 1; Paraki Puna (Napier) 10min 32sec, 45.7pts, 2; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 10min 57sec, 48.55pts, 3; Connor Puha (Kimbolton) 11min 50sec, 49.7pts, 4; Stefan van Oorschot (Tuakau) 11min 51sec, 53.35pts, 5.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Jeremy Leygonie (France) 8min 47sec, 38.683pts, 1; Annalise Humstad (Norway) 8min 50sec, 39.667pts, 2; Gwydian Davies (Wales) 10min 12sec, 40.433pts, 3; Emily Te Kapa (Scotland) 10min 29sec, 41.117pts, 4; Gethin Lewis (Wales) 9min 49sec, 42.283pts, 5.
Junior final (4 sheep): Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 7min 42sec, 37.6pts, 1; Elis Smith (Wales) 8min 42sec, 38.35pts, 2; Jonathan Paynter (Mangatainoka) 8min 47sec, 39.35pts, 3; Liam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 10min 0.04sec, 46.752pts, 4; Keith Swan (Wairoa) 7min 27sec, 47.85pts, 5.
Open final: Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 27.35pts, 1; Hanatia Tipene (Te Kuiti) 45.742pts, 2; Sue Turner (Aria) 53.418pts, 3; Amy Karaka (Te Karaka) 55.556pts, 4.
Senior final: Bianca Hawea (Masterton) 37.15pts, 1; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 37.69pts, 2; Angela Stevens (Napier) 50.85pts, 3; Azuredee Paku (Masterton) 138.78pts, 4.
Junior final: Samantha Baxter (Pongaroa) 48.2pts, 1; Rahera Kerr (Kawhia) 48.85pts, 2; Ngaira Puha (Kimbolton) 56.6pts, 3; Cortez Ostler (Marton) 69.76pts, 4.