It was a rare moment at the Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show on Saturday when both the open shearing and woolhandling finals were won by competitors who had never previously won in the top grade.
The new champions are open shearing final winner Aaron Haynes, from Feilding but now running a small block at Kairanga, near Palmerston North, and open woolhandling final winner Eramiha Neho, of Dannevirke.
Despite being a regular finalist, twice Golden Shears open runner-up (firstly when beaten by just 0.6pts in 2015), and being a New Zealand team member, Haynes, 30, had not claimed a winning ribbon since the Pahiatua Shears senior final in 2010, in a season he ended ranked No 1in the grade nationwide.
On stand No 1 on Saturday he match-raced 2010 Golden Shears and world champion Cam Ferguson, of Waipawa, next-door on stand 2, and effectively pressured the local hope out of overall contention in the 20-sheep final.
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He finished 35 seconds before third-man-off and reigning World Champion John Kirkpatrick, whose quality made it close in the final count, Haynes winning by just 0.15pts. Ferguson was third and fourth was Taihape's Axle Reid, who had won the Golden Shears Open Invitation Encouragement event in March.
It had been an even longer wait for Neho who had had less than 10 open finals in seven years in the grade, his last win having been in the senior final in Dannevirke in 2009. He had however shown the potential to reach the top with third in a New Zealand championship final in Te Kuiti in 2016.
Neho also had world champion opposition to contend with in 2010 teams title winner and Master Woolhandler Keryn Herbert, who had to settle for second place.
Despite the two winners' dearth of previous open-class triumph, and the presence of World Champion opposition, observers on the day were picking the two to come through, awaiting final points after watching the finals.
The senior shearing final was won by dual Golden Shears lower-grades champion Connor Puha, of Kimbolton, scoring his second senior win in New Zealand, Paora Moanaroa, of Eketahuna, claimed his first victory in the Intermediate final, and Atawhai Hadfield, of Ruakituri, continued his dominance of North Island junior finals this season.
In the other woolhandling finals Lucky Garrett, of Eketahuna, scored her third win in a row in the senior grade, and Sarah Davis, of Rotorua, won the junior final, a repeat of her success at the show last year.
The only other shearing sports competition scheduled for the weekend, at the Marlborough A and P Show in Blenheim, was cancelled because of the weather and wet sheep.
RESULTS from the Central Hawke's Bay A and P Show shearing and woolhandling championships at Waipukurau on Saturday, November 10, 2018:
Open final (20 sheep): Aaron Haynes (Palmerston North) 18min 44sec, 67.15pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 19min 19sec, 67.3pts, 1; Cam Ferguson (Waipawa) 18min 33sec, 69pts, 3; Axle Reid (Taihape) 20min 8sec, 71.55pts, 4.
Senior final: Connor Puha (Kimbolton) 1; David Gordon (Masterton) 2; Anaru Wakefield (Porangahau) 3; Jordan Grant (-) 4.
Intermediate final: Paora Moanaroa (Eketahuna) 1; Mark Ferguson (Elsthorpe) 2; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 3; Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 4.
Junior final: Atawhai Hadfield (Ruakituri) 1; Joseph Gordon (Masterton) 2; Dillon Teneti (Central Hawke's Bay) 3; Mark Baxter (Pongaroa) 4.
Novice final: Jerome Papworth (Alfredton) 1; Ben Duffy (-) 2; Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 3; Will Robinson (Dannevirke) 4.
Open final: Eramiha Neho (Dannevirke) 112.288pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 129.522pts, 2; Brittany Tibble (Gisborne) 138.202pts, 3; Sam Carroll (Masterton) 150.51pts, 4.
Senior final: Lucky Garrett (Eketahuna) 101.024pts, 1; Azuredee Paku (Masterton) 112.43pts, 2; Ngaira Puha (Kimbolton) 115.73pts, 3; Tramon Campbell (Gisborne) 121.21pts, 4.
Junior final: Sarah Davis (Rotorua) 99.63pts, 1; Lucas Broughton (Gisborne) 101.186pts, 2; Retamai Harrison (-) 111.906pts, 3; Kimiha Joseph (Masterton) 150.906pts, 4.
Novice final: Gemma Thompson (Wapawa) 62.36pts, 1; Adam Gordon (Masterton) 99.35pts, 2; Kyle Mita (Masterton) 100.28pts, 3; Reihera Wehi (-) 142.72pts, 4.