New Zealand woolhandling champion Sheree Alabaster was a surprise early elimination from the Golden Shears Open Championships when the heats were held in Masterton today.

Eight times the New Zealand champion and world champion in 2008, and also the North Island woolhandling delegate to Shearing Sports New Zealand, Alabaster was disappointed but accepted her failure to make the top 16 for the quarterfinal, after a good field of 43 started in the first round.

"That's the way it is," she said, with still a possibly bigger focus ahead in a New Zealand World Championships team selection event to be held on the last day of the Shears tomorrow.

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Also out of the open was fellow North Island team selection finals qualifier Eramiha Neho, of Dannevirke.

The open championship's quarter finals saw that event's field cut to eight for the semi-finals tomorrow afternoon, headed by Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra.

Karauria is becoming a big threat to the hopes of defending champion and warm TAB favourite Joel Henare, of Gisborne, who qualified in second place.

The qualifiers in order are Pagan Karauria (Alexandra), Joel Henare (Gisborne), Chelsea Collier (Gore), Candy Hiri (Mataura), Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti), Ana Braddick (Eketahuna), Tia Potae (Milton) and Tina Elers (Mataura).