The Welsh development shearing team is returning home without a win in any of its five matches in New Zealand - but still with a kick in the step, after a series of compatriot triumphs over the weekend.

Young Welsh shearers scored three wins, including two at the prestigious Southern Shears in Gore on Saturday.

Especially prominent was 19-year-old Sam Jones, from Corwen, who won the Southern Shears junior final, his sixth win of the New Zealand season.

Jones headed south after the main shear in Te Kuiti to complete a double in the South Island with victories at the Otago Shears and the Southern Shears just a week part.


Soon afterwards Philip Price claimed his first win in New Zealand in the intermediate final, but perhaps the most satisfying was the senior final win by 23-year-old Gethin Lewis, of Rhayader, at the Counties Shears in Pukekohe on Sunday.

It was Lewis's first win in New Zealand, after placings in 11 other intermediate and senior finals over the last three seasons.

He's now headed for the Golden Shears in Masterton on March 4-7 with the weekend's wins sparking Welsh hopes of something matching the junior and intermediate wins by Hefin Rowlands and eventual World Championships shearer Alun Lloyd Jones respectively in a St David's Day triumph in 2014.

Lewis's win was part of a likely historical first senior-grade UK trifecta, with second place going to Ross Thomson, of Dawlish, England, and third place, to Meirion Evans, of Machynlleth, also in Wales.

The Welsh development team of Llion Jones, of Llanwrst, and Ceredig Lewis, of Aberystwyth, (neither of whom has won an open title, nor represented Wales at full-international level), was beaten in the last CP Wool Shearing Series match.

The New Zealand Development Counties Shears team of Te Kuiti shearers Mark Grainger and Jack Fagan won by a wide margin of almost 22pts, 10 days after the same pair won the Aria Sports match by almost 12pts on Waitangi Day.

The tests proved a popular attraction across mainly smaller towns of the rural North Island, with New Zealand teams being made up of the top two open heats competitors on the day who had also not been in official New Zealand test teams - although Fagan had been a stand-in selection in the UK.

Welsh Development team shearer Llion Jones at Pukekohe in the last of five matches against New Zealand Development teams. Photo / Doug Laing SSNZ
Welsh Development team shearer Llion Jones at Pukekohe in the last of five matches against New Zealand Development teams. Photo / Doug Laing SSNZ

Hawke's Bay shearer Lachie Baynes and Paraki Puna won the opening match in Wairoa, Brett Roberts, of Mataura, and Jimmy Samuels, of Marton, won the second in Taihape, and Fagan and Waipawa-based Axle Reid, from Taihape, won the third at the Rangitikei Shearing Sports in Marton.


Welsh manager Nicky Beynon said that while the team hadn't had the results they wanted "the boys" had taken a lot out of the series, with hopes of becoming full internationals or even aiming for the world title won by Welsh shearer Richard Jones in France last July.

"Most of the boys we've been up against have gone on to shear in the open finals on the days, so they were very strong teams," he said.

"Both Llion and Ceredig feel they have benefited a lot."

Beynon, Llion Jones and Ceredig Lewis are all heading back to the Northern Hemisphere today, but both the manager and Shearing Sports New Zealand chairman Sir David Fagan expect a similar series will take place again next summer, while a full New Zealand team is expected to shear a series of test matches in the UK in July.

Results from the Counties Shears at Pukekohe on Sunday:

CP Wool Shearing Series(12 sheep): New Zealand Development 85.8pts (Mark Grainger 11min 36sec 42.13pts; Jack Fagan 11min 30sec; 43.67pts) beat Wales Development 107.73pts (Llion Jones 12min 38sec, 52.98pts; Ceredig Lewis 12min, 54.75pts) by 21.93pts.