Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith celebrated victories at two shearing sports competitions over the weekend.
Smith's wins at the Taihape A and P Show on Saturday and the Rotorua A and P Show's Agrodome Shears on Sunday followed a win at Wairoa in his first competition for the New Year a week earlier.
After a 1.4pts victory over runner-up and Otorohanga shearer Digger Balme at Wairoa, the 32-year-old Smith stretched the margins to 3.35pts over leading challenger and four-times Golden Shears open winner and fellow Hawke's Bay shearer John Kirkpatrick on Saturday, and 4.6pts over King Country shearer Mark Grainger, the runner-up in Sunday.
Smith's wins have reinforced his favouritism for the 60th Golden Shears open title held in Masterton on March 7.
If Smith were to take out the Golden Shears it would be his seventh victory in the big event, overtaking Brian "Snow" Quinn's six wins from 1965-1972 and second only to the 16 wins by Sir David Fagan spanning 24 finals from 1986-2009.
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The other big winner at the weekend was former world teams champion woolhandler Keryn Herbert, who claimed the open woolhandling titles at both Taihape and Rotorua, the first North Island woolhandling competitions since the Central Hawke's Bay show in mid-November.
Herbert, now with 45 open wins to her name, had last won at the Poverty Bay Show in Gisborne in October 2018, but had a string of near-misses this season, placing third back at Gisborne, followed by second placings at Hawke's Bay, Wairarapa, Manawatu and Central Hawke's Bay.
Taihape teenager Reuben Alabaster became possibly the youngest-ever senior final winner with his victory at the Rotorua show, at the age of 16.
The winner of just one title in his only intermediate season in 2018-2019 and six as a junior the previous season, including the 2018 New Zealand junior championship, Alabaster won by 0.81pts from runner-up Brook Hamerton, of Hastings.
Among the vanquished was Simon Goss in fourth place, who on Saturday won at Taihape.
Also tasting victory in a different sporting code was sister Sarah Hirini, who captained the New Zealand Women's Sevens rugby team to gold in Hamilton on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Marton shearer and darts player Jimmy Samuels went close to just about the ultimate in double tops with the shearing development teams match at Taihape – his second international appearance in two different sports just three months apart.
The shearing board replaced the darts board for Samuels as he and Southland shearer Brett Roberts won the two places in the day's Shearing Sports New Zealand Development CP Wool Series team and then beat the touring Wales development team of Llion Jones and Ceredig Lewis.
Just over three months ago, Samuels was in a Phoenix darts New Zealand Silver Stems team competing in the US and finishing fourth in a world tournament.
It was a heavier piece of steel on Saturday as Samuels and Roberts first qualified for places in the team by being the top two Taihape open shearing heats competitors who had not previously represented New Zealand at shearing.
They then slugged it out for fastest time in the international of 10 second-shear sheep each, with Samuels just getting the nod in finishing in 9min 52sec. With the better quality, Roberts claimed overall top individual honours as New Zealand won by 8.15pts.
New Zealand representative Troy Pyper extended a dominance of recent shearing competitions in the top half of the South Island when he successfully defended his Tapawera Sports open title south of Nelson on Saturday.
It was Pyper's sixth win of the 2019-2020 season, and third in the first three weekends since the December break.
Among the wins were the Marlborough and Nelson A and P shows titles in November.
On Saturday he dominated in all aspects, finishing the 20 sheep in just under 17min 50sec, about 1min 15sec faster than runner-up and local hope Travers Baigent, of Wakefield, and also had the better quality to win by over 7pts.
RESULTS of Shearing Sports competitions in New Zealand during the weekend:
Taihape A and P Show Shears on Saturday, January 25, 2020:
CP Wool Series, Match 2 (10 sheep): New Zealand Development 79.1pts (Brett Roberts 9min 54sec, 36.3pts; Jimmy Samuels 9min 52sec, 42.8pts) beat Wales Development 87.25pts (Llion Jones 10min 12sec, 42.8pts; Ceredig Lewis 11min 17sec, 44.45pts) by 8.15pts.
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 16min 43sec, 57.1pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Pakipaki) 16min 58sec, 60.45pts, 2; David Buick (Pongaroa) 17min 10sec, 60.9pts, 3; Digger Balme (Otorohanga) 16min 27sec, 62.8pts, 4; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 17min 15sec, 63.35pts, 5; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 18min 25sec, 63.5pts, 6.
Senior final (10 sheep): Simon Goss (Mangamahu) 9min 58sec, 37.9pts, 1; Jordie Grant (Hastings) 10min 17sec, 40.45pts, 2; Llyr Jones (Llanwrst, Wales) 10min 11sec, 42.65pts, 3; Brook Hamerton (Hastings) 11min 40sec, 43.4pts, 4; Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 11min 41sec, 44.95pts, 5; Gethin Lewis (Rhayader, Wales) 10min 8sec, 45pts, 6.
Intermediate final (8 sheep): Liam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 10min 17sec, 38.725pts, 1; Topia Barrowcliffe (Piopio) 9min 27sec, 40.975pts, 2; Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 11min 2sec, 41.35pts, 3; Callum Pritchard (Pongaroa) 10min 3sec, 42.15pts, 4; Philip Price (Powys, Wales) 9min 32sec, 45.475pts, 5; Brayden Clifford (Waikaka) 11min, 46pts, 6.
Junior final (4 sheep): Adam Gordon (Masterton) 7min 32sec, 29.85pts, 1; Will May (North Lincolnshire, England) 7min 15sec, 34.5pts, 2; Jack Samuel (Llandrindod, Wales) 8min 38sec, 34.65pts, 3; Sam Jones (Powys, Wales) 7min 35sec, 36.5pts, 4; George Grossey (Somerset, England) 7min 56sec, 38.05pts, 5; Heath Barnsdall (Piopio) 8min 49sec, 38.45pts, 6.
Open final: Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 43.59pts, 1; Logan Kamura (Marton) 50.53pts, 2; Monica Potae (Kennedy Bay) 68.82pts, 3; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 69.5pts, 4; Stevie Smallman (Taihape) 78.66pts, 5.
Senior final: Danae Sciascia (Taihape) 52.238pts, 1; Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 53.056pts, 2; Jasmin Tipoki (Napier) 58.618pts, 3; Azuredee Paku (Masterton) 58.974pts, 4; Lucas Broughton (Gisborne) 64.4pts, 5.
Junior final: Vinniye Phillips (Taumarunui) 48.75pts, 1; Kayla Douglas (Dannevirke) 49.5pts, 2; Te Ana Phillips (Taumarunui) 49.91pts, 3; Anne Cannell (Gisborne) 56.794pts, 4; Laycie Bennett (Taihape) 58.564pts, 5.
Tapawera Sports Shears at Tapawera on Saturday, January 25, 2020:
Open final (20 sheep): Troy Pyper (Invercargill/Amberley) 17min 49.63sec, 63.13pts, 1; Travers Baigent (Wakefield) 19min 4.5sec, 70.28pts, 2; Paul Hodges (Reefton) 19min 50.46sec, 72.27pts, 3; Jotham Rentoul (Tapawera) 21min 16.69sec, 80.23pts, 4.
Open Plate (10 sheep): Baden Barker (Tapawera) 12min 50.31sec, 51.02pts, 1; Enkhnasan Chuluunbaatar (Mongolia/Takaka) 12min 59.12sec, 53.36pts, 2; Frank Bint (Tapawera) 13min 21.28sec, 55.06pts, 3.
Senior final (8 sheep): Hamish Barker (Tapawera) 14min 57.66sec, 65.88pts, 1; Lewis Street (Tapawera) 14min 57.31sec, 66.87pts, 2; Mark Rogers (Brightwater) 17min 42.54sec, 69pts, 3.
Intermediate final (4 sheep): Ben Forrester (Rangiora) 6min 2.34sec, 28.62pts, 1; Kelly Poehls (Makara/Rangiora) 8min 50sec, 37.5pts, 2; Kimberley MacLean (Motueka) 8min 51.44sec, 41.57pts, 3.
Junior final (2 sheep): Richard Lancaster (England) 6min 28.31sec, 34.92pts, 1; James O'Reilly (Ireland) 5min 36.25sec, 36.31pts, 2; Jason West (Nelson) 5min 34.21sec, 54.71pts, 3; Tom Curnow (Wakefield) 6min 30.1sec, 60.51pts, 4.
Cleanshear (2 sheep, Open 3mins, Senior 4mins): Troy Pyper (Invercargill/Amberley) 2.5pts, 1; Paul Hodges (Reefton) 5.5pts, 2; Travers Baigent (Wakefield) 6.5pts, 3; Mark Rogers (Brightwater) 8pts, 4.
Open: Travers Baigent (Wakefield) 1, Baden Barker (Tapawera) 2, Troy Pyper (Amberley) 3.
Senior: Lewis Street (Tapawera) 1, Hamish Barker (Tapawera) 2.
Agrodome Shears at the Rotorua A and P Show at Ngongotaha on Sunday, January 26, 2020:
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Maraekakaho) 17min 36sec, 60.7pts, 1; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 17min 38.4sec, 64.67pts, 2; Aaron Haynes (Palmerston North) 17min 51.3sec, 64.715pts, 3; John Kirkpatrick (Pakipaki) 17min 26.1sec, 68.805pts, 4; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 18min 37.9sec, 69.295pts, 5.
Senior final (10 sheep): Reuben Alabaster (Taihape) 12min 3sec, 47.55pts, 1; Brook Hamerton (Hastings) 11min 51.2sec, 48.36pts, 2; Gethin Lewis (Rhayader, Wales) 10min 45sec, 48.83pts, 3; Simon Goss (Mangamahu) 10min 57.9sec, 49.595pts, 4; Micah Doeke (Adelaide, Australia) 11min 42.1sec, 52.405pts, 5.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Topia Barrowcliffe (Piopio) 7min 46sec, 35.133pts, 1; Llyr Evans (Wales) 8min 30.8sec, 41.04pts, 2; Philip Price (Powys, Wales) 8min 35.4sec, 41.937pts, 3; Dyfan Evans (Ruthin, Wales) 9min 32.6sec, 44.463pts, 4; Dyfan Jones (Aberystwyth, Wales) 9min 8.4sec, 45.253pts, 5.
Junior final (4 sheep): Sam Jones (Wales) 7min 53sec, 32.615pts, 1; Clay Harris (Piopio) 8min 6.9sec, 36.595pts, 2; Eoghann Mackay (Scotland) 7min 56.1sec, 38.555pts, 3; Billy Nankivell (England) 8min 50.3sec, 39.765pts, 4; Ola Gudmestad (Osthusvik, Norway) 8min 54.3sec, 45.465pts, 5.
Open final: Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 37.094pts, 1; Monica Potae (Kennedy's Bay) 56.56pts, 2; Angela Stevens (Napier) 59.38sec, 3; Samantha Gordon (Masterton) 67.22pts, 4.
Senior final: Lucas Broughton (Gisborne) 46.85pts, 1; Jasmin Tipoki (Taumarunui) 72.85pts, 2; Bianca Hawea (Masterton) 78.932pts, 3; Tramon Campbell (Gisborne) 85.42pts, 4.
Junior final: Te Ana Phillips (Taumarunui) 50.75pts, 1; Vinniye Phillips (Taumarunui) 56.59sec, 2; Anne Cannell (Gisborne) 57.84pts, 3; Sylvia Dickson (Raetihi) 82.97pts, 4.