Pressing on against the clock

The opening day of the Golden Shears was a bit like a track and field athletics meeting for the first family of Masterton shearing as they dodged between events.

David Gordon and sister Cushla Abraham, both former Golden Shears novice grade shearing champions, each competed in woolhandling, pressing and shearing events, with some mixed results.

That was particularly the case for 16-year-old David who went from a so-so performance in two pressing events and a Junior woolhandling semifinal qualifying fifth place, to heading the qualifiers for the intermediate shearing semifinals.

With barely half an hour between his last pressing event and the shearing heats he still spread-eagled the field with the fastest time of 5min 30.979sec, enough to hold-out Welshman Dion Hughes who produced the best quality points.

While both were eliminated in their respective individual woolpressing events, they did better together and just qualified for the pairs final, aiming to repeat a recent woolpressing triumph during the Otago Championships in Balclutha.

Gordon said entering the Otago event was a last-minute decision.

He didn't even know there was such an event until his sister told him after they arrived.

When it came to remembering which it was that he'd first done in the woolshed, he couldn't remember. He'd tried them all, when he was about 12.

The opening day saw many youngsters competing for the first time, in either the novice shearing or the new novice woolhandling , which were followed junior woolhandling, and intermediate and senior shearing heats, one of the Shears' hottest opening days in years - "just like a proper Wairarapa summer that we all remember," one longtimes shears-goer said.

Last night a Speedshear event at the Golden Shears Tavern, or the Horseshoe as it's still known to visitors.

Competition heats up in the stadium today leading to the open shearing and woolhandling championships heats, and the open shearing's Top 30 shootout tonight.

The first two titles yesterday were won by teenagers working in the Gisborne area, James Alford taking the novice shearing title and Tameka Durdy winning Novice woolhandling.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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