North Wairarapa farmer David Buick has been named to represent New Zealand on the six-match CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand tour of the UK starting later this month.
Buick, who farms near Pongaroa in Northern Wairarapa, won his place in the team as fourth placegetter in the New Zealand championships Open final at Te Kuiti on April 7, and joins second-time UK Tour team member and 2017 World teams champion Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford, who secured his place with victory in the New Zealand Shears Circuit final in Te Kuiti.
New Zealand Open winner and runner-up Rowland Smith and John Kirkpatrick, the 2017 CP Wool UK Tour team members, were not available for this year's series, which starts with a test against Scotland at the Lochearnhead Shears on June 30.
Third in the New Zealand Open final was Whangamomona farmer Gavin Mutch, the 2012 World champion individual and 2014 World teams champion who arrived in the UK last week to prepare for Scotland's 2019 World Championships team selection events.
Previously a New Zealand representative in two test matches against Australia, and runner-up in this year's Golden Shears Open final, Buick will be making his first UK tour, while Stratford toured in 2012, including a meritorious Corwen Shears Open final win. Stratford has also shorn 10 transtasman tests since 2006.
The pair will shear at seven different shows in four weeks, with a focus on the four-test Northern Hemisphere leg of the annual series' against Wales, in which they will be aiming to be the first New Zealand team to win the series in Wales since 2011.
Last year the New Zealand team of 2014 World champion Smith and 2017 champion Kirkpatrick, with Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan standing-in for Smith in the first two tests, was beaten 4-0.
But the ledger was balanced a few months later when Smith and Kirkpatrick maintained New Zealand's unbeaten home record against Wales with a 4-0 series win over visitors Matthew Evans and Alun Lloyd Jones in the summer downunder.
The team will be managed by shearing judge Russell Knight, a representative with shearing supplies company Acto and who runs a small flock near Apiti in Northern Manawatu. He won a Veterans shearing event at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March and plans to shear in veterans competitions at thye Great Yorkshire and Royal Welsh shows during the tour.
Itinerary for CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand New Zealand 2018 shearing team tour of UK: June 30, v Scotland, at Lochearnhead Shears; July 7, Lakeland Shears (no test match); July 11, v England, at Great Yorkshire Show; July 20, v Wales, at Cothi Shears; July 21, v Wales, at Lampeter Shears; July 25, v Wales, at Royal Welsh Show; July 28, v Wales, at Corwen Shears.
Shearer - Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill
A fulltime shearer, Nathan Stratford won his place in the team as winner of the New Zealand Shears Circuit final at Te Kuiti, as he had also done in 2012 when he celebrated the end of the tour with a win in the Corwen Shears Open final. He was third in the 2017 World Championships final in his home town with John Kirkpatrick won the teams title, and has shorn for New Zealand in 10 transtasman tests against Australia since 2006. He has just completed his 21st season of Open-class competition, and has won 6 Open finals.
Shearer - David Buick, of Pongaroa.
A farmer, shearing contractor and shearer, David Buick won his place in the team as 4th in the New Zealand Open championship final. First time in the New Zealand UK tour team but has shorn two tests for New Zealand against Australia, in 2014-2015. Former New Zealand Junior and Intermediate champion, and Golden Shears Intermediate champion in 1999, has had 15 Open final wins, including two on crossbreds at Warrnambool, Vic, in Australia. In the last seven years has shorn in the New Zealand Open final 6 times, and the Golden Shears 4 times, finishing runner-up this year.
Manager/Judge – Russell Knight, of Apiti.
A Golden Shears senior runner-up in 1980, Russell Knight still shears occasionally, and this year won a Golden Shears veterans event. In 2007, as second-to-top-qualifier in the Open heats at the Wairoa show, he shore with John Kirkpatrick for a New Zealand team against the Scotland team of Gavin Mutch and Hamish Mitchell. He has been a competition judge for about 20 years, a revered shearing trainer, and currently works as the lower North Island representative for shearing and agricultural supplies companyActo, in addition to running 150 acres near Apiti, where he has run the Apiti Sports Shears for more than 20 years.