Canterbury shearers Tony Dobbs and Allan Oldfield confirmed their places at the 2019 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships when their blades shearing selection series finished in Christchurch on Friday.
With Fairlie farmer Dobbs again winning the New Zealand Corriedale blades shearing championship final, and Geraldine shearer Oldfield placing fourth, it confirmed their positions as winner and runner-up in a series of eight competitions which started at Reefton in February.
They become the first part of the Shearing Sports New Zealand team confirmed for the 18th World Championships to be held in Le Dorat, France, on July 1-7 next year.
Dobbs first represented New Zealand at a World Championships in 1988, and Oldfield makes the team for the first time and displaces father Phil Oldfield, who shore with Dobbs at the last World Championships in Invercargill in 2017.
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They will be joined in France by two woolhandlers to be decided in a selection series final at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March, and two machine shearers decided in the Golden Shears Open and New Zealand Championships open finals in Masterton and Te Kuiti respectively.
Dobbs first won the title at the Canterbury show more than 30 years ago and won four times in a row after coming out of competition retirement in 2013 before being beaten last year by Rangiora shearer Allen Gemmell.
On Friday Dobbs was just fifth to finish the five sheep, quickest time being the 15min 47.44sec shorn by Gemmell, who had to ultimately settle for fifth place. Dobbs beat runner-up Scott McKay, of Christchurch, by just over a point.
Invercargill shearer Troy Pyper led a Southland clean-up in the open machine shearing final in which the runner-up was Nathan Stratford, also of Invercargill, followed by Brett Roberts, of Mataura, and new Canterbury Circuit champion Ringakaha Paewai, of Gore.
The 34-year-old Pyper, who won both the Corriedale Championship and the Canterbury Circuit in 2015, blasted through the 10 sheep in just over 12 minutes, more than a sheep ahead of all five other finalists, including almost a minute-and-a-half quicker than second-man-off, sole North Island finalist, Pongaroa farmer and eventual 6th-placegetter David Buick, already winner of three finals in the North Island this season.
Back in the sort of form that made him a Golden Shears open finalist in March 2015, and twice a New Zealand transtasman series team member, Pyper's time was enough to put him more than 2.7pts clear of 2005 and 2016 winner Stratford who was third to finish but whose quality points, particularly in the pen-judging, enabled him to take the second-place ribbon.
It's been a triumphant last month for Pyper, who is now based in Canterbury working mainly for Barry Pullen and also for Delwyn Henriksen. He won the Ellesmere show title at Leeston and the Northern show final at Rangiora and then headed for a short stint in South Australia where he won finals at Millicent and last weekend at Lucindale.
Stratford's second placing, meant he just missed out on a clean sweep of the first three finals at PGG Wrightson Wool National circuit events this season, having won the New Zealand Merino and New Zealand Spring Shears Open titles in the opening two weekends of the season at Alexandra and Waimate.
But he did claim the maximum 12 series points as top qualifier in the heats earlier on Friday and has again guaranteed a place in the National's 12-man showdown at the Golden Shears.
The 2017 winner, Tony Coster, of Rakaia, did not contest the event.
Masterton shearer David Gordon justified his trip south with victory in the Senior final, fastest time and clearly-best quality points giving him victory by 2.67pts over runner-up Alex Smith, of Rakaia.
Tyson Crown, of Mataura, outclassed the opposition in the Intermediate final, which he won by more than 5pts from runner-up Mitchell Menzies, of Ranfurly, with a further point back to the third placegetter, blades and machine shearer Allan Oldfield.
Henry Mayo, 20, from Dorset, England, and working for Open shearer Ants Frew at Pleasant Point, won what was effectively a South-North match-up to claim the Junior title.
It was his fourth win in the five junior finals in the South Island this season, while runner-up Atawhai Hadfield, of Ruakituri in Northern Hawke's Bay, travelled south with three wins behind him in the four finals in the North Island.
Mayo had five top-three placings in New Zealand last summer, including a win at Tapawera, and won the Devon and Dorset counties Junior finals in the UK before returning to New Zealand last month.
RESULTS from the New Zealand Corriedale Championships at the New Zealand Agricultural Show in Christchurch on Friday, November 17, 2018:
Open final (10 sheep): Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 12min 5.12sec, 48.856pts, 1; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 13min 41.72sec, 51.286pts, 2; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 14min 17.25sec, 53.9625pts, 3; Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 14min 22.25sec, 55.215pts, 4; Angus Moore (Ward) 15min 7.97sec, 58.0985pts, 5; David Buick (Pongaroa) 13min 32.56sec, 61.228pts, 6.
Senior final (8 sheep): David Gordon (Masterton) 15min 28.07sec, 56.65pts, 1; Alex Smith (Rakaia) 15min 36.35sec, 59.32pts, 2; Lionel Taumata (Taumarunui/Gore) 16min 13.85sec, 63.07pts, 3; Brandon Maguire-Ratima (Winton) 16min 54.68sec, 63.98pts, 4; Mitchell Murray (Amberley) 17min 11.1sec, 65.18pts, 5; Jade Maguire-Ratima (Winton) 15min 53.31sec, 66.29pts, 6.
Intermediate final (4 sheep): Tyson Crown (Mataura) 9min 46.1sec, 41.3005pts, 1; Mitchell Menzies (Ranfurly) 10min 49.97sec, 46.7485pts, 2; Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 9min 59.38sec, 47.619pts, 3; Eve Peddie (Oxford) 11min 16.25sec, 48.0625pts, 4; Chris Dickson (Masterton) 10min 49.09sec, 49.7045pts, 5; Braydon Clifford (Gore) 10min 25.44sec, 49.772pts, 6.
Junior final (3 sheep): Henry Mayo (England) 9min 37.4sec, 40.87pts, 1; Atawhai Hadfield (Ruakituri) 10min 7.28sec, 43.6973pts, 2; Kelly Poehls (Makara) 11min 9.72sec, 45.8193pts, 3; Adele Lemercier (France) 10min 42.28sec, 46.114pts, 4; Adam Gordon (Masterton) 12min 38.55sec, 72.2608pts, 5.
Blades final (5 sheep): Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 16min 44sec, 60pts, 1; Scott McKay (Christchurch) 16min 4.6sec, 61.03pts, 2; Mike McConnell (Timaru) 16min 14.29sec, 62.1145pts, 3; Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 16min 27.35sec, 64.1675pts, 4; Allen Gemmell (Rangiora) 15min 47.44sec, 64.772pts, 5; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 18min 23.25sec, 66.9625pts, 6.