The amazing run of Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith has continued unabated with three more wins in the last week as he starts the countdown to his expected hot-favourite bid for a fifth Golden Shears Open title.
Smith won the Dannevirke A&P Show title on Friday, the Rangitikei Shearing Sports title at Marton the following day, and on Tuesday, taking him to 30 consecutive wins in open-class finals in New Zealand.
The 2014 world champion's last defeat in a final was at Rotorua in January last year when he was beaten by 2012 world and 2015 Golden Shears champion Gavin Mutch, of Whangamomona.
Mutch looms as the second favourite for the Golden Shears with four-times Golden Shears winner and reigning world champion and Hawke's Bay Sportsperson of the Year John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, just as clear-cut a favourite for a place in the top three.
A feature at Marton was that at the and of a six-man final of 20 sheep each just 3.21 seconds separated the first four, Kirkpatrick first to finish and Smith fourth. Smith and Kirkpatrick wore the black singlets to a first-test win over Wales in Marton, despite Welshman Matthew Evans' being first to finish. Along with second Wales team member Alun Lloyd Jones they all head south for the second test of the CP Wool Shearing Series in Balclutha on Saturday, and the third test in Gore.
There was international shearing at Dannevirke, with Evans and Jones having the last of three pre-test shakedowns and being beaten by a Dannevirke show selection of Michael Fabish, of Stratford, and Australia-based Ethan Pankhurst, of Masterton.
There was close to a boilover in the senior final at Dannevirke where Woodville's Tegwyn Bradley scored the second of three wins in a week, but by just 0.4pts from first-time senior finalist Whakapunaki (Naki) Maraki.
Woodville's Daniel Seed claimed another intermediate win and first and second in both the junior and novice events went to overseas shearers.
Taihape's Sheree claimed her fifth Dannevirke A&P Open woolhandling title, while the runner-up was 2009 and 2013 winner Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti.
Masterton-based former Dannevirke shearer Paerata Abraham won the Open Speedshear on Friday night, with 2010 world champion and former eight-hour lambs record holder Cam Ferguson, of Wapawa, second and Rodney Sutton, of Porangahau, third.
Elsthorpe farmer Mark Ferguson made his first intermediate final at Dannevirke, and won at Marton the next day.
International (15 sheep): Dannevirke Show Selection 123.07pts (Michael Fabish 15min 20sec, 59.87pts; Ethan Pankhurst 16min 12sec, 63.2pts) beat Wales 131.65pts (Matthew Evans 16min 12sec, 65.4pts; Alun Lloyd Jones 16min 25sec, 66.25pts) by 8.58pts.
Open (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 16min 58sec, 66.2pts, 1; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona) 17min 15sec, 63.55pts, 2, Floyde Neil (Taumarunui) 18min 26sec, 78.5pts, 3.
Senior (10 sheep): Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 12min 5sec, 49.95pts, 1; Whakapunaki (Naki) Maraki (Flaxmere) 11min 47sec, 50.35pts, 2; Connor Puha (Kimbolton) 12min 18sec, 52.8pts, 3.
Intermediate (5 sheep): Daniel Seed (Woodville) 8min 26sec, 37.3pts, 1; Gwydion Davies (Wales) 8min 41sec, 38.05pts, 2; , Mark Ferguson (Elsthorpe) 9min 36sec, 42pts, 3.
Junior (3 sheep): Huw Jones (Wales) 6min 58sec, 38.4pts, 1; Meirion Evans (Wales) 8min, 40pts, 2; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 7min 20sec, 44.5pts, 3.
Novice (1 sheep): Mark Wilkinson (England) 3min 51sec, 25.55pts, 1; Karolin Bunting (Germany) 4min 5sec, 27.25pts, 2; John Williams (Hastings) 5min 8sec, 31.4pts, 3.
Open: Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 23.28pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 27.42pts, 2; Rahna Williams (Flaxmere) 35.32pts, 3.
Senior: Bianca Hawea (Masterton) 34.6pts, 1; Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 51.52pts, 2; Azuredee Paku (Masterton) 55.24pts, 3.
Junior: Lucky Garrett (Eketahuna) 36.1pts, 1; Tyler Hira (Onewhero) 47pts, 2; Crystal Bird (Mangatainoka) 49.3pts, 3.
Novice: Olivia Kingi (Dannevirke) 44.9pts, 1; Lara Pritchard (Pongaroa) 47.19pts, 2; John Williams 63.7pts, 3.