Reigning Golden Shears and New Zealand Open shearing champion Rowland Smith continued on a relentless march in quest more of the top honours and a possible second world title when he won the Te Puke A and P Show's Open final on Saturday.
Completing a Hawke's Bay clean sweep of the four titles at the show, it was 32-year-old Smith's 8th win in a row in three weeks since resuming at Wairoa on January 19.
It took his career tally to 143 open wins, 43 of them in the two years since he cracked the century at the Counties Shears in February 2017.
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It was his first win at Te Puke, meaning he has won open titles at 31 of the 59 shearing venues currently on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar.
Sir David Fagan's 642 Open wins included victories at 25 of the current venues, and 26 where shearing competitions are no longer staged.
Hawke's Bay–based Smith faced three Te Kuiti shearers in the bid for his 4th win in nine days and won by 2.66pts from Fagan's son, Jack, the runner-up in a four-man final of 15 sheep each.
It needed the better quality points, after Smith was beaten to the finish by both the younger Fagan and first-man-off Digger Balme, who completed the job in 12min 42sec but ultimately had to settle for 4th place behind Smith, Fagan, and Mark Grainger, who had won the Tauranga show title by a similar margin from Fagan last month.
Napier shearer Ricci Stevens had his 3rd win in his last season of senior shearing, Elsthorpe farmer had his 2nd in the Intermediate final, and Atawhai Hadfield, of Ruakituri, had his 8th win of the season in the junior final.
RESULTS from the Te Puke A and P Show Shears on Saturday, February 9, 2010:
Open final (15 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 13min 4sec, 44.667pts, 1; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 12min 56sec, 46.933pts, 2; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 13min 40sec, 51.467pts, 3; Digger Balme (Te Kuiti) 12min 42sec, 51.767pts, 4.
Open Plate (6 sheep): James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 6min 50sec, 24.5pts, 1; Turi Edmonds (Raetihi) 6min 9sec, 24.95prs, 2; Marshall Guy (Kaeo) 6min 23sec, 25.65pts, 3; Willie McSkimming (Taumarunui) 6min 35sec, 27.083pts, 4.
Senior final (7 sheep): Ricci Stevens (Napier) 8min 21sec, 33.621pts, 1; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 8min 36sec, 35.8pts, 2; Pauline Bolay (Canada) 8min 31sec, 35.836pts, 3; David Hodge (Te Puke) 8min 34sec, 39.986pts, 4.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): Mark Ferguson (Elsthorpe) 7min 21sec, 31.85pts, 1; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 7min 3sec, 31.95pts, 2; Keith Swann (Wairoa) 7min 28sec, 33.4pts, 3; Liam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 7min 12sec, 33.6pts, 4.
Junior final (3 sheep): Atawhai Hadfield (Ruakituri) 5min 29sec, 27.117pts, 1; Levi King (Gisborne) 5min 35sec, 28.417pts, 2; Topia Barrowcliffe (Piopio) 5min 55sec, 28.75pts, 3; Matthew Smith (Otorohanga) 6min 58sec, 31.567pts, 4.