Dargaville shearer Neville Osborne had one of his better days at the Kumeu Shears on Saturday, despite his last northern show of the season being dominated by the invaders from Hawke's Bay and south.
The winner of 43 Open finals in mainly small fields in Northland over the last 25 years, Osborne made it into a top quality Kumeu final, but most importantly led Arapohue to victory in the final of the first ANZ Northland Shearing Championship.
Arapohue had been in second place after the previous rounds at Kaikohe, Warkworth, Arapohue, Paparoa and Pukekohe, the series contributing to an improved Kumeu show entry of 37 shearers.
While there was an invasion from the Hawke's Bay region in the show classes, Northland could claim some bragging rights with Open winner Rowland Smith and nephew and Junior winner Brook Hamerton, backing-up from their Golden Shears wins in Masterton a week earlier, originally coming from kumara capital Ruawai, about 30km south of Dargaville.
Smith's win by 0.568pts from runner-up Mark Grainger, of Te Kuiti, was his 38th Open final win in a row in New Zealand. Reigning World champion John Kirkpatrick was third, Digger Balme, of Te Kuiti, fourth, and Osborne fifth.
Balme shore the 20 full crutched-and-bellied ewes in 14min 37.65sec, beating next-man-off Smith by more than 40 seconds.
Ricci Stevens, of Napier, claimed the Senior title in his ninth final since his last Senior shearing win at Wairoa in January, Woodville's Daniel Seed reclaimed winning form in the Intermediate final, and Hamerton had a winning margin of more than five points in the Junior final.
RESULTS from the Kumeu Shears on Saturday, March 10, 2018:
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 15min 21.59sec, 53.63pts, 1; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 15min 22.96sec, 54.198pts, 2; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 15min 54.16sec, 56.058pts, 3; Digger Balme (Te Kuiti) 14min 37.65sec, 57.483pts, 4; Neville Osborne (Dargaville) 16min 0.86sec, 59.343pts, 5; Darren Alexander (Whangamomona/Hastings) 18min 12.08sec, 63.554pts, 6.
Senior final (8 sheep): Ricci Stevens (Napier) 10min 7.03sec, 38.852pts, 1; James Lowry (Glen Murray) 9min 44.51sec, 40.476pts, 2; Stefan van Oorschot (Te Akau) 10min 10.11sec, 42.256pts, 3; Daniel Berger (Ahuroa) 10min 6.43sec, 43.697pts, 4; Jared Rountree (Dargaville) 10min 34.27sec, 44.714pts, 5; Lee Cheyne (Ohinewai) 11min 30.74sec, 48.912pts, 6.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Daniel Seed (Woodville) 8min 47.94sec, 33.73pts, 1; Jayden Mainland (Wellsford) 8min 25.75sec, 37.122pts, 2; Alan Boler (Wellsford) 8min 33.22sec, 37.327pts, 3; Liam Lowry (Glen Murray) 8min 54.42sec, 40.055pts, 4; Calvin Maihi (Ngaruawahia) 9min 30.45sec, 43.023pts, 5; Res Finlayson (Kai Iwi Lakes) 9min 0.52sec, 43.692pts, 6.
Junior final (4 sheep): Brook Hamerton (Ruawai/Hastings) 7min 12.2sec, 28.36pts, 1; Topia Barrowcliff (Piopio) 7min 42.69sec, 33.385pts, 2; Matthew Smith (Otorohanga) 8min 34.26sec, 34.213pts, 3; Kelvin Welch (Tuakau) 6min 59.35sec, 39.488pts, 4; Hazel Wood (Ruawai) 9min 25.51sec, 43.776pts, 5; Steve Knudsen (Matau) 8min 24.16sec, 45.458pts, 6.
Novice final (3 sheep): Heath Barnsdall (Piopio) 7min 16.76sec, 45.338pts, 1; William Titford (Waiwera) 7min 28.85sec, 50.943pts, 2; Michaela Lowry (Glen Murray) 10min 28.01sec, 60.401pts, 3; Gus Berger (Ahuroa) 11min 39.09sec, 67.955pts, 4.
ANZ Northland Teams Championship final (11 sheep): Arapohue 13min 12.24sec, 51.158pts, 1; Warkworth 14min 1.84sec, 53.183pts, 2; Pukekohe 13min 41.96sec, 53.644pts, 3; Paparoa 14min 40.56sec, 59.755pts, 4.