Reigning world champion shearer John Kirkpatrick shed an important demon when he beat Golden Shears, New Zealand and former world champ Rowland Smith in the Great Raihania Shears open final at the Royal New Zealand Show in Hastings.
In one of the closest of many contests between the short and tall of Hawke's Bay's giants in global shearing, Kirkpatrick won the race over 20 full-wooled crossbreds by 11 seconds and ultimately the contest by just 0.3pts.
It was the first time Kirkpatrick had beaten Smith in a single-breed final in New Zealand in more than 20 months.
Kirkpatrick had been second or third in 25 of the 28 finals won by Smith in their finals meetings, since that day at the Rotorua A and P Show at the end of January 2017, 13 days before Kirkpatrick won the world title in Invercargill.
The only time Kirkpatrick had been Smith at all in a final in New Zealand in that time was when he was runner-up in last season's New Zealand Shears Circuit final, shorn over the three wool types of merinos, second-shear ewes and lambs at Te Kuiti.
It was also Kirkpatrick's first win in the Great Raihania Shears after four times in the final since he last won the event in 2011.
Kirkpatrick kept in front most of the way on what were good shearing sheep, although his 18 min 38 sec for the 20 was the slowest time for first-off-the-board in the Hawke's Bay final since 2014, and more than a minute-and-a-hall slower than last year's quickest time.
While Smith had the better shearing quality point on the shearing board, Kirkpatrick scored best in the judging pens.
The pair were comfortably clear of Manawatu shearer Murray Henderson, who was in the type of form that got him into his second Golden Shears open final last March and was third in his 20th final since his last win, in the national Spring Shears title in Waimate two years ago. Fourth was Masterton shearer Paerata Abraham, who had his first open win at Mayfield in the South Island, also last March.
Poverty Bay winner and Pongaroa farmer David Buick was top qualifier from 23 in the heats bur was eliminated in the semi-finals.
Competition organisers expressed a feeling of privilege to have new Master Woolhandler Pagan Karauria up for the day from Alexandra and she obliged by winning the open woolhandling final, from runner-up and Poverty Bay A and P Show winner Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti, and Lenora Smith, of Gisborne, was third, after a good second placing at Gisborne last weekend. Amy Karaka, of Te Karaka, was fourth.
Karauria, winner of the Merino Championships in Alexander three weeks ago and third a week later in the New Zealand Spring Shears final in Waimate, was top qualifier in today's semi-finals, in which one of those eliminated was New Zealand Shears champion and top North Island woolhandler Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape.
Ricci Stevens, of Napier, won the senior shearing final, in which Gore-based Taumarunui shearer Lionel Taumata continued a busy start to the season, with a final for each week to date, for sixth at Alexandra, wins at Waimate and Leeston, and now third in Hastings. Each is closing in on the threshold for promotion to open class next season.
New Zealand Shears junior champion and Hawke's Bay farmer Mark Ferguson had his second win up a grade in claiming today's Intermediate title, and Lindisfarne College pupil Atawhai Hadfield won his first junior title, a day after winning the Great Raihania Shears High Schools Challenge.
Summer Prichard, of Pongaroa, had her first senior woolhandling win, and Tennessee Kiri, of Masterton, had a first win in the Junior woolhandling.
Results from the Great Raihania Shears at the Royal New Zealand Show in Hastings on Friday, October 19, 2018:
Open final (20 sheep): John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 18min 38sec, 65.45pts, 1; Rowland Smith (Hastings) 18min 49sec, 65.75pts, 2; Murray Henderson (Halcombe) 19min 25sec, 70pts, 3; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 19min 21sec, 74.55pts, 4.
Senior final (8 sheep): Ricci Stevens (Napier) 10min 44sec, 43.45pts, 1; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 11min 44sec, 47.7pts, 2; Lionel Taumata (Gore/Taumarunui) 9min 47sec, 53.275pts, 3; Anaru Wakefield (Porangahau) 12min 3sec, 53.275pts, 4.
Intermediate final (4 sheep): Mark Ferguson (Elsthorpe) 6min 48sec, 32.4sec, 1; Brook Hamerton (Hastings) 6min 50sec, 32.75pts, 2; Keith Swann (Wairoa) 7min 44sec, 34.45pts, 3; Jonathon Painter (Pahiatua) 8min 1sec, 39.3pts, 4.
Junior final (3 sheep): Atawhai Hadfield (Tiniroto) 8min 14sec, 36.367pts, 1; Quentin Mathieu (France) 7min 34sec, 2; Levi King (-) 10min 19sec, 42.95pts, 3; Joseph Gordon (Masterton) 8min 4sec, 45.533pts, 4.
Novice (1 sheep): Rex Peterson 5min 22sec, 27.1pts, 1; Josh Wihongi 6min 12sec, 36.6pts, 2; Summer Pritchard 5min 29sec, 43.45pts, 3; Adam Gordon 5min 1sec, 47.05pts, 4.
Open final: Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 171.658pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 183.874pts, 2; Lenora Smith (Gisborne) 206.030pts, 3; Amy Karaka (Te Karaka) 221.35pts, 4.
Senior final: Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 128pts, 1; Ngaira Puha (Kimbolton) 143.75pts, 2; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 171.34pts, 3; Nicole Petuha (Masterton) 214.35pts, 4.
Junior final: Tennessee Kiri (Masterton) 105.6pts, 1; Shyla Karaitiana (Masterton) 109.75pts, 2; Tira Ngarangione (Gisborne) 115.4pts, 3; Lucas Broughton (Gisborne) 139.81pts, 4.