The New Zealand shearing team has been beaten by Scotland in the opening match of the 2018 CP Wool UK Tour.

Arriving in the UK just two days earlier, Southland shearer Nathan Stratford and Pongaroa farmer David Buick were beaten by Scotland pair Calum Shaw and Hamish Mitchell in the tour opener at the Lochearnhead Shears' Scottish Blackface Championhips on Saturday.

It was thus a successful defence of the Joe Te Kapa Memorial Trophy, which was presented by the late New Zealand shearer's Scots-Maori daughter Emily Te Kapa, now a Senior class shearer.

It was the only match against Scotland but the first of six tests on tour, with the next against England at the Great Yorkshire Show on July 11, to be followed by an annual four-test series against Wales.


The test was dominated by Fife shearer Shaw, who the previous weekend had won the Royal Highland Open final and the Scottish National Championship, the latter securing a place in the Scotland team for next year's World championships in France, and ending the Scots team dominance of Mitchell and New Zealand-based Gavin Mutch, who've shorn five consecutive World championships' together dating back to 2005.

On Saturday Shaw beat Mitchell, from Lochearnhead, by almost three of the 9.25pts of the Scots' margin in claiming their second successive win over New Zealand, having 12 months ago beaten the 2017 New Zealand team of new World champion John Kirkpatrick and 2014 World champion Rowland Smith, also at Lochearnhead.

While Mitchell won the race on Saturday, shearing the 20 sheep in 15min 54sec, Shaw, finishing in 16min 6sec, claimed the best shearing points on the board – incurring just a 0.85pts penalty. What Stratford lost in time, being last to finish in 17min 6sec, he tried to make up in the pen judging where he posted the best quality points.

Earlier, Buick marked his first shear in the UK and his first on "the blackies" in the Scottish Blackface Open Championship heats by qualifying in second place from the heats, in a 25-strong field in which he was beaten only by defending champion Shaw.

Buick also made it through the quarterfinals, along with fellow New Zealanders Jack Fagan, of Te Kuiti, and Ethan Pankhurst, of Masterton, but was eliminated in the semi-finals, and finished sixth overall.

Fagan was fourth in the final which was won by Mutch, bouncing-back to winning form after finishing third in the Scottish National final and fifth in the Royal Highland Open.

The CP Wool New Zealand team next competes at non-test show the Lakeland Shears at Cockermouth on Saturday.

Results from the Lochearnhead Shears Scottish Blackface Shearing Championships at Lochearnhead on Saturday, June 30, 2018:

International (20 sheep): Scotland 118.25 (Callum Shaw 16min 6sec, 57.6pts; Hamish Mitchell 15min 54sec, 60.65pts) beat CP Wool New Zealand 127,7pts (Nathan Stratford 17min 6sec, 61.25pts; David Buick 16min 39sec, 66.45pts) by 9.45pts.

Open final (20 sheep): Gavin Mutch (Scotland) 14min 4sec, 54.75pts, 1; Hamish Mitchell (Scotland) 14min 10sec, 57.15pts, 2; Callum Shaw (Scotland) 15min 15sec, 57.75pts, 3; Jack Fagan (New Zealand) 17min 8sec, 65.35pts, 4.