Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith got the year of his hoped-for second world title under way in good fashion when he won the Wairoa A and P Show's Open shearing title on Saturday.
Making the now regular trip to the home show of wife, former shearer and fellow-record-breaker Ingrid, 2014 World Champion Smith beat almost as tough a field as could be gathered, including reigning World Champion John Kirkpatrick and 2010 World Champion Cam Ferguson, both also now shearing contractors in Hawke's Bay.
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But pushing Smith hardest in a pulsating four-man final was former Golden Shears runner-up Aaron Haynes, who chased all the way to succumb by just six seconds in the race for fastest time, Smith's 17min 40sec for the 20 sheep.
Showing he had come through well after a personal best of 610 ewes in nine hours in a Manawatu woolshed during the week, Haynes also had just 13 strokes against him in the board judging, but Smith had the better pen afterwards to win by 1.05pts to claim the Wairoa title for a third time in a row. Kirkpatrick was just 0.75pt back in third place.
Kirkpatrick's son-in-law and workmate Ricci Stevens dominated the senior final, beating runner-up Alex Smith, of Rakaia, by 3pts, and Leam Pritchard, of Pongaroa, won the intermediate final which included 2018 Golden Shears junior champion Brook Hamerton.
Home-show favourite Atawhai Hadfield claimed the junior title, and father and competition convenor Bart Hadfield enjoyed a win in an East Coast Wairoa team, when he and Wairoa shearer Lachie Baynes beat Welsh combination Lloyd Rees and Aled Jones at the start of the CP Wool Series.
RESULTS from Wairoa A and P Show Shears on Saturday, January 19, 2019:
Wales Tour (12 sheep): East Coast Wairoa (Lachie Baynes 13min 6sec, 47,72pts; Bart Hadfield 13min 29sec, 52.87pts) 100.59pts beat Wales (Lloyd Rees 13min 2sec, 49.6pts; Aled Jones 14min 1sec, 52.8pts) 103.4pts.
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 17min 40sec, 58.05pts, 1; Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 17min 46sec, 59.1pts, 2; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 17min 55sec, 59.85pts, 3; Cam Ferguson (Waipawa) 18min 31sec, 63.3pts, 4.
Senior final (12 sheep): Ricci Stevens (Napier) 12min 52sec, 44.93pts, 1; Alex Smith (Rakaia) 14min 7sec, 47.93pts, 2; Sion Lewis (Wales) 12min 20sec, 50.83pts, 3; Ross Thompson (England) 15min 25sec, 53.42pts, 4.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Leam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 9min 25sec, 33.52pts, 1; Keith Swann (Wairoa) 9min 2sec, 35.27pts, 2; Brook Hamerton (Ruawai/Hastings) 8min 58sec, 35.57pts, 3; Llyr Jones (Wales) 11min 50sec, 37.92pts, 4.
Junior final (4 sheep): Atawhai Hadfield (Ruakituri) 6min 48sec, 28.4pts, 1; Emlyn Jones (Wales) 6min 53sec, 30.4pts, 2; Shaun Fairclough (Wales) 6min 46sec, 31.8pts, 3; Josh Hopkins (-) 8min 11sec, 44.8pts, 4.
Novice final (1 sheep): Ryka Swann (Wairoa) 4min 25sec, 20.25pts, 1; Jerome Papworth (Alfredton) 6min 31sec, 24.55pts, 2; Archie Harding (-) 5min 8sec, 31.4pts, 3; Simon Priestley (-) 3min 48sec, 54.4pts, 4.
Veterans (2 sheep): Buck Wesche 3min 31sec, 20.55pts, 1; Graeme Roadley 3min 49sec, 21.95pts, 2; David Hodge 3min 22sec, 25.6pts, 3; Colin Baynes 5min 6sec, 28.3pts, 4.