Southland shearer Troy Pyper backed-up his selection for a return to the New Zealand team for this summer's transtasman series with a successful defence of the Ellesmere A and P Show on Saturday.
However, Pyper didn't have it all his way in a four-man final at the Leeston showgrounds, with a narrow victory over runner-up, former national representative and Marlborough shearer Angus Moore.
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There were just 12 seconds in it as Pyper was first to the finish, shearing the 10 long-wooled sheep in 9min 53sec, and once all the time and quality points had been collated Pyper got the nod by just 0.1pts.
Top qualifier from the heats was Waimate-based Chilean international and first-season open-class shearer Luis Pincol, who was then eliminated in the semi-finals as Pyper made his move into the showdown.
Starting with Ellesmere, Pyper had seven wins in New Zealand last season, including a second New Zealand Corriedale Championships title in Christchurch.
With three transtasman tests behind him in 2015-2017, Pyper regained a place when runner-up and first New Zealander home in the national Merino Championship won again by West Australian shearer Damien Boyle in Alexandra on October 5.
Pyper plans to continue the shows in New Zealand before heading to the away test in the 2019-2020 transtasman series.
There, he will team with fellow Southland shearer Nathan Stratford and new international Paerata Abraham, of Masterton, in Dubbo, NSW, on November 29.
The Dubbo visit will also include test matches for New Zealand's two new World Champion teams – blades shearers Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, and Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and woolhanders Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, and Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape.
Meanwhile, Waikaka shearer Brayden Clifford, runner-up at the Waimate Spring Shears on October 12, on Saturday successfully defended the Ellesmere intermediate title he won last year, while William Duncan scored his first junior win by a narrow margin over Alice Watson, from Marlborough.
Results from the Ellesmere A and P Show shears at Leeston on Saturday, October 20, 2019:
Open final (10 sheep): Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 9min 53sec, 36.95pts, 1; Angus Moore (Ward) 10min 5sec, 37.05pts, 2; Ant Frew (Pleasant Point) 11min 19sec, 38.85pts, 3; Lionel Taumata (Gore) 10min 44sec, 39.2pts, 4.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): Brayden Clifford (Waikaka) 8min 14sec, 29.9pts, 1; Matt Hunt (Waikaka) 7min 13sec, 30.85pts, 2; Mitchell Menzies (Ranfurly) 8min 10sec, 31.5pts, 3; James Webster (Christchurch) 8min 40sec, 37pts, 4.
Junior final (3 sheep): William Duncan (-) 8min 45sec, 33.58pts, 1; Alice Watson (Blenheim) 8min 43sec, 34.15pts, 2; Adam Thompson (Feilding) 8min 20sec, 47pts, 3; James Wilson (-) 12min 14sec, 50.7pts, 4.