Wairarapa dominate at Rangitikei


Wairarapa competitors featured prominently at the 50th anniversary Rangitikei Shearing Sports North Island shearing and woolhandling championships at Marton on Saturday night.

Hemi Braddick of Eketahuna won the senior shearing final, completing his 10 sheep in 10min 50.75s and amassing a points tally of 46.838.

David Gordon of Masterton continued his excellent form of recent weeks with victory in the intermediate final. He sheared his six sheep in 8min 4.55s and finished with 37.733 points. Fourth was Ethan Pankhurst of Masterton with a time of 9min 7s and a points score of 44.85.

Novice competitors were required to shear one sheep and second in that final was Laura Bradley of Woodville. She was clocked at 2min 46.03s and was allocated 29.302pts. Fifth was Blake Clinch of Masterton (4min 55.11s, 31.756pts) and sixth Joseph Gordon of Masterton (5min 3.07s, 36.154pts).

In the woolhandling, Cushla Abraham of Masterton was fourth in the open final with 87pts, and Samantha Gordon (Masterton) and Kim Sowry (Pahiatua) were first and second respectively in the senior final. Gordon scoring 66pts and Sowry 90pts.

The junior final saw David Gordon (Masterton) second with 81pts and Ana Braddick (Eketahuna) fifth with 108pts.

Meanwhile, proud Manawatu sporting mum Ronnie Goss could have been forgiven for having her mind elsewhere as she competed in the open woolhandling, while daughter Sarah represented New Zealand in the IRB Women's Sevens in the US at virtually the same time.

But the Kimbolton farmer was able to focus for a few important moments as she won the title, a "shock" she reckoned after beating former world teams champions Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu, and Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, in a six-person showdown. It shouldn't have been too much of a surprise, though, as the now 44-year-old Goss had won two titles last summer, she's been a regular top performer at Marton and former North Island championships venue Feilding, and also won the Golden Shears open woolhandling title in Masterton in 2008.

The Gosses are a shearing family, with son Simon finishing second in Saturday's intermediate shearing final to Masterton teenager David Gordon.

Rugby-playing daughter Sarah, who was quickly into action with tries against Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands in her team's opening two matches of the weekend tournament in Houston, Texas, has had to put her promising shearing career on the back-pedal to concentrate on a flourishing sevens career and university studies.

However, she will take-up the handpiece again for a women's invitation event during the Golden Shears in Masterton from February 28 to March 2.

Meanwhile, 2m tall 2011 New Zealand open champion Rowland Smith made another giant leap into contention for his first Golden Shears open title with victory in an exciting 20-sheep open final at Marton.

It was the 26-year-old Hastings-based Northland shearer's fourth win in six events in a fortnight since returning to the competition scene after honeymooning with wife and record-holding woman shearer Ingrid Baynes.

Having won at Horowhenua a fortnight ago and then a weekend double at Taihape and Rotorua last week, Smith had to rely on pen-quality points after a frantic race with Te Kuiti veterans Digger Balme and David Fagan, and Dannevirke shearer Adam Brausch.

Ultimately Smith won by less than a point from the 51-year-old Fagan, who on Friday nudged even closer to a career tally of 620 open-class wins with a victory at the Dannevirke A and P Show.

- Wairarapa Times-Age

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