Former World and Golden Shears champion Gavin Mutch scored his first win in the South Island by pouring on the pace to claim a comfortable Canterbury Shears New Zealand Corriedale Championships Open title victory in a North Canterbury woolshed on Friday.
Mutch sacrificed some quality for time in his quest for the big title in a five-man final at Marble Point Station, off State Highway 7 near Hanmer Springs.
Mutch shore the 12 sheep in 15min 2sec for the 12 sheep, putting more than a sheep around the rest of the field.
It gave him a buffer of almost 5 time-points and an eventual time-and-quality winning margin of 3.49pts from runner-up and Manawatu farmer and shearer Aaron Haynes.
Third place went to reigning two-times PGG Wrightson National circuit champion Angus Moore, who was second off the board in 16min 25.35sec, with Haynes next to finish in 16min 40.19sec.
Originally from Aberdeenshire in Scotland, Mutch became the third overseas shearer among the seven winners of the title over the last 10 years.
The others were Australian Shannon Warnest in 2011 and world lamb shearing record holder and Irish gun Ivan Scott in 2014.
Mutch was the winner of the 2012 World Championships final in Masterton and three years later on the same board, became the first and still only shearer from overseas to win the Golden Shears Open.
Mutch has been shearing, farming and living in New Zealand for more than 20 years, and was the No 1-ranked junior in his first season Downunder in 1999-2000.
He has been consistently among the top shearers in New Zealand in 19-seasons of open-class shearing.
Mutch was also a consistent winner in his mainly-annual returns to Scotland, and was gearing-up for a world title bid at the 200th anniversary Royal Highland Show in 2022.
He has however, had just 19 open final wins in his New Zealand career - including a 2007 New Zealand lamb shearing championship win, nine Golden Shears open finals, five National Circuit finals in Masterton, three New Zealand open finals, three NZ Shears Circuit finals and five North Island Shearer of the Year finals in Te Kuiti.
Mutch was sixth in the 2006 Corriedales final won by Southland shearer Justin Meikle in Christchurch in 2006. Other South Island placings were in Lumsden's longwool final in 2007, the Waimate Spring Shears final in 2014, Winton's crossbred lambs final in 2015, and Waimate again last month.
Meanwhile, Northern Southland shearer Brayden Clifford, from Waikaka, had his first senior win and became the fifth winner in five senior finals this season, with victory by 0.51pts over North Canterbury shearer Sam Thomson in their grade's final over eight sheep each.
Masterton shearer Adam Gordon extended a remarkable start to intermediate shearing with a fourth win in four shows, at Waimate, Gisborne, Hastings and now Marble Point, and the junior final was won by Reuben King, from Waitomo.
World champion blade shearer Allan Oldfield, of Geraldine, finally got New Zealand's biggest title with the clippers when he won what was his eighth Golden Blades final in nine years.
But it was one of the closest calls in the history of blade shearing competition, with Oldfield scraping home by just 0.09pts from defending champion and near-perennial winner, 2019 world teams champion teammate and Fairlie farmer Tony Dobbs, whose better points in judging in the pens almost gave him his 101st win in open-class blades competition.
It was almost as close in the race for fastest time, Oldfield getting through the five sheep in 17min 35sec, just over three seconds ahead of second-man-off and eventual third place getter Mike McConnell, of Waikari.
Oldfield's previous best in the Canterbury final was third in 2013, as Dobbs was embarking on a string of wins coming out of an 18-year retirement from competition.
Oldfield's father, (and 2017 World championships place getter), Phil Oldfield was fifth in Friday's final, his fifth in the last 13 years.
Meanwhile, Central Otago woolhandler Pagan Karauria had her 35th open win, and fourth Corriedale championship win in the less familiar environment of a u-shaped board and a two-tables final on Thursday.
Karauria's first open title came in the same event in her first open final at regular event the Canterbury Show in Christchurch in 2006. She won it again in 2014 and on Thursday made it two in a row after winning in Christchurch last year.
While the general impact of the coronavirus crisis limited the size of the field at Marble Point, Karauria still had to work hard to beat runner-up and 2019 and 2020 Golden Shears open finalist Candy Hiri, of Gore, with third place going to Seddon-based occasional competitor and 2009 Golden Shears senior champion Ratapu Moore.
Aiesha Thompson, from Napier but based in the South Island, won the senior final, her second win in the grade, having won at the New Zealand Merino Championships in Alexandra last year, while Alice Robinson, of Renwick, won the junior final.
Results from the Canterbury Shears New Zealand Corriedale Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Marble Point Station, Hanmer Springs, on Thursday-Friday November 5-6, 2020:
Open final (12 sheep): Gavin Mutch (Scotland) 15min 2sec, 59.77pts, 1; Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 16min 40.19sec, 63.26pts, 2; Angus Moore (Seddon) 16min 25.35sec, 64.1pts, 3; Ringakaha Paewai (Gore) 17min 41.69sec, 64.75pts, 4; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 17min 42.28sec, 65.28pts, 5.
Senior final (8 sheep): Brayden Clifford (Waikaka) 17min 26.16sec, 67.88pts, 1; Sam Thomson (Waipara) 17min 22.72sec, 68.39pts, 2; Chris Malcolm (Winton) 16min 36.47sec, 69.45pts, 3; Kyle Stevens Mita (Masterton) 18min 3sec, 71.9pts, 4; Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 17min 1.49sec, 72.45pts, 5.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Adam Gordon (Masterton) 14min 57.34sec, 58.37pts, 1; Cody Davidson (Hakatere) 15min 21.72sec, 60,75pts, 2; Chase Rattray (Ashburton) 16min 16.44sec, 65.99pts, 3; Alice Watson (Blenheim) 17min 29.28sec, 66.13pts, 4; Clay Harris (Pip Pio) 18min 35.87sec, 68.29pts, 5.
Junior final (3 sheep): Reuben King (Waitomo) 11min 50.56sec, 49.19pts, 1; Harley James Ransfield (Ohai) 11min 23.93sec, 50.86pts, 2; Emma Martin (Gore) 17min 6.06sec, 82.97pts, 3.
Blades final (5 sheep): Allan Oldfield (Geraldine) 17min 24.35sec, 60.42pts, 1; Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 18min 2.16sec, 60.51pts, 2; Mike McConnell (Waikari) 17min 27.6sec, 63.58pts, 3; Richard Watson (Medbury) 19min 22.19sec, 72.31pts, 4; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 21min 0.19sec, 75.41pts, 5.
Open final: Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 120.94pts, 1; Candy Hiri (Gore) 142.93pts, 2; Ratapu Moore (Seddon) 154.94pts, 3; Ebony Turipa (Gore) 169pts, 4.
Senior final: Aiesha Thompson (Napier) 120.28pts, 1; Amber Poihipi (Ohai) 121.13pts, 2; Nova Kumeroa Elers (Mataura) 3; Sunni Te Whare (Ohai) 4.
Junior final: Alice Robinson (Renwick) 119.09pts, 1; Awhina Edmonds (Masterton) 125.764pts, 2; Sylvia Nikolaison (Cheviot) 147.59pts, 3; Charis Morrell (Clyde) 176.72pts, 4.