Southland shearer and national representative Nathan Stratford made it three-from-three in more ways than one as he claimed the Ashburton A and P Show's open title on Saturday.
The win followed his big New Zealand titles double in the first week of the new season, when he won the New Zealand Merino title at Alexandra on September 30, and the New Zealand Spring Shears title on long-wooled crossbred sheep seven days later at Waimate - it completed a treble at Ashburton where he had also won the event in 2016 and 2017.
It was a particularly well-fought victory on Saturday as Stratford was third to finish, Pleasant Point shearer and eventual fourth placegetter Ant Frew claiming fastest time for the 20 sheep as just 24 seconds separated all five in the showdown.
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Unsurprisingly the Stratford quality came through in the pen judging for him to claim victory by 1.64pts overall from Mataura shearer Brett Roberts, who was last to switch-off but also had the quality to see-off the rest of the field.
Rakaia shearer Alex Smith, son of veteran open fifth-placegetter and former New Zealand representative Grant Smith, had his second senior win, after three third placings at the start of his third season in the grade.
Smith had the quality to win by 0.8pts from Chilean shearer Luis Pincol, and 0.22pts further to Rangiora show winner and Waimate and Ellesmere runner-up Jade Maguire Ratima, of Winton, settling for third after finishing the 12 sheep first and beating Smith by 25 seconds.
John Cherrington, from Ngaruawahia, made it two-from-two in Intermediate finals, adding the Ashburton title to a New Zealand Spring Shears title won at Waimate. In a contest of five sheep each he finished 1min 18sec ahead of next-man-off Tyson Crown, of Mataura, while English shearer Henry Mayo scored his fourth junior win in New Zealand, in an event shorn in two rounds.
The shape of the New Zealand World Championships blades shearing team started to firm with Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, first and second on the day and in a selection series with just one round to go, at the New Zealand Agricultural Show (the Canterbury Show) in Christchurch in just under three weeks' time.
RESULTS from the Ashburton A snd P Show shearing championships on Saturday, October 27, 2018:
Open final (20 sheep): Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 20min 14.22sec, 65.91pts, 1, Brett Roberts (Mataura) 20min 29.91sec, 67.55pts, 2; Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 20min 9.69sec, 68.83pts, 3, Ant Frew (Pleasant Point) 20min 5.38sec, 69.92pts, 4; Grant Smith (Rakaia) 20min 26.62sec, 72.33pts, 5.
Senior final (12 sheep): Alex Smith (Rakaia) 15min 44.04sec, 57.2pts, 1; Luis Pincol (Chile) 17min 23.31sec, 58pts, 2; Jade Maguire Ratima (Winton) 15min 19.31sec, 58.22pts, 3; Matt McGowan (-) 17min 59.31sec, 65.63pts, 4; Tim Hogg (Timaru) 18min 32.65sec, 75.8pts, 5.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): John Cherrington (Ngaruawahia) 8min 48.56sec, 38.43pts, 1; Eve Peddie (Oxford) 12min 3.22sec, 40.16pts, 2; Brayden Clifford (Gore) 10min 32.85sec, 40.64pts, 3; Tyson Crown (Mataura) 10min 6.32sec, 43.72ptss, 4; Mitchell Menzies (Ranfurly) 10min 23.68sec, 44.18pts, 5.
Junior (2 rounds): Henry Mayor (Dorset, England) 58.39pts, 1; Kelly Poehls (Makara) 70.21pts, 2; Adele Lemercier (France) 77.62pts, 3; Hanson McGregor (-) 120.01pts, 4.
Blades final (5 sheep): Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 14min 25.16sec, 54.06pts, 1; Allan Oldfield (Geraldine), 14min 26.29sec, 56.51pts, 2; Allen Gemmell (Rangiora) 14min 15.25sec, 57.16pts, 3; Mike McConnell (Timaru) 14min 46.25sec, 59.11pts, 4; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 15min 15.5sec, 60.18pts, 5.