Welsh shearers Richard Jones and Gareth Lloyd Evans scored a major breakthrough for their country with a teams win and a quinella in the open final at the Reefton A and P Show yesterday.
The victory by the two Denbighshire shearers over the Top of the South combination of Blenheim shearer Tony Nott and Nick Nalder, of Aaron Creek, Upper Takaka, was the first for the Welsh in three matches on their six-stop Elders Primary Wool Shearing Series tour.
Jones' win in the 20-lamb open final was possibly the first by a Welsh shearer in open-class competition in New Zealand.
It was also the second year in a row in which the first two placings went to shearers from overseas, Scottish world championships team member Hamish Mitchell having won last year, in a victory over Darfield-based fellow Scotsman and former world champion Tom Wilson.
The international match was effectively a shear of two halves, with Evans and Nalder in a race to be first off the board, which Evans won by 2.5 seconds in finishing in 15min 32.87s, and Jones and Nott each more than 15s behind.
It was the latter pair vying for the best quality, with Nott, now a part-time shearer, claiming the best total, but it wasn't quite enough when all points were added and Wales won by 2.016 points.
Evans, 31, and three-time winner of the champion shearer of Wales title at the Royal Welsh Show, finished first in the open final, taking 19min 25.31s, almost 28s clear of the second man off, Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Gavin Rowland, of Dunsandel.
But Jones recorded easily the best quality points, and ultimately claimed the win, cutting-out his teammate by just under a point.