The last thing a National Sheep Dog Championship needs is a tie, but it meant more than everything for Northland farmer Neville Child, when he grabbed the coveted green tie, which is the symbol of supremacy at the 2018 New Zealand Sheep Dog Championships, which ended near Blenheim on Saturday.
Winning the tie in a dramatic Friday-afternoon long head runoff, (after he and dog Harry were last-in for the top-seven showdown after the South Island championships of the previous four-and-a-half days), was some compensation for the loss of his only previous championship-winner's tie, which was in a bag that was stolen when a vehicle was broken-into outside a motel while he was en route to last year's South Island championships.
Now a veteran of 11 island or national title runoffs, the 67-year-old had won that tie as New Zealand long head winner with star dog Deal at Omarama in 2006, and as to its whereabouts and the chances of a replacement, Child lamented during the North Island championships at Te Aute last month: "It's somewhere around Wellington or Hutt Valley now. You can't just go and get another one. You've got to earn it."
To complete the picture, Child headed a Northland family quinella, beating runner-up and brother Murray Child and Dice, of Maungakaramea, by half a point.
Alex Matthews, of Mangamahu, caused a couple of boilovers when he won the Zig-Zag hunt with 2016 third placegetter Rex and the straight hunt with Bonnie, his first two titles at island or national level, while the championships wrapped-up on Saturday with a short head and yard win for Wairarapa and Southern Hawke's Bay centre trialist Guy Peacock and Chief.
Matthews' straight hunt win also came with a leap from last-man-in, while the Zig-Zag victory was part of a Wanganui centre quinella with Mark Lourie and Bella, of Parapara-Makirikiri.
Peacock's win was his third New Zealand title, having in 2002 been one of the youngest to ever claim an island or national title, at the age of 25.
Winners in the South Island championships, from which the top seven in each class qualified for the national titles runoffs, were Eion Herbert, of Tapawera, with Bell in the long head, Ginger Anderson, of Gore, with Boss in the short head and yard, Pohangina's Dave Stuart in the Zig-Zag hunt, and Leo Edginton and Robert, of Tolaga Bay, in the straight hunt.
The New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Association on Saturday named its team for a test match against Australian in Sydney in October. The team is: captain Andy Clark and Girl (Canterbury), Merv Utting and Prince (Poverty Bay), Guy Peacock and Chief (Wairarapa and SHB), Graeme Brier and Sumo (King Country), non-travelling reserve Mark Copland and Zoe (Canterbury), manager Graham White.
RESULTS of the South Island and New Zealand Sheep Dog Trial Championships at Meadow Bank Farms, Omaka, Marlborough, on May 28-June 2, 2018:
South Island championships:
Long head: Eion Herbert (Tapawera), Bell, 96pts, 1; Steve Murphy (Whangamomona), 95.75pts, 2; Murray Child (Maungakaramea), Dice, 95.5pts, 3; Brian Dickison (Gore), Ash, 95.25pts, 4; Tom Manson (Raupunga) Pip. 95pts, 5; Scott McRae (Wellsford), Cory, 94.4pts, 6; Neville Child (Maungatapere), Harry, 94pts, 7.
Short head and yard: Ginger Anderson (Gore), Boss, 98.5pts, 1; Stuart Child (Te Kuiti), Mitch, 98.25pts, 2; Merv Utting (Gisborne), Prince, 98pts, 3; Kevin Lamont (Cheviot), Trump, 97.75pts, 4; Guy Peacock (Dannevirke), Chief, 97.5pts, 5; Graeme Brier (Piopio), Sumo, 97pts, 6; Andy Clark (Tai Tapu), 96.5pts, 7.
Zig-Zag Huntaway: Dave Stuart (Pohangina), Charm, 98pts, 1; Alex Matthews (Mangamahu), 97.5pts, 2; Mark Lourie (Parapara-Makirikiri), Bella, 97pts, 3; Scott McRae (Wellsford), Toby, 96.75pts, 4; Tom Manson (Raupunga), Spud, 96.5pts, 5; Gerard Brown (Dannevirke), Brew, 96pts, 6; Lloyd Smith (Palmerston), Charlie, 95.5pts, 7.
Straight Huntaway: Leo Edginton (Tolaga Bay), Robert, 97.5pts, 1; Murray Child (Maungakaramea), Ralf, 97.1pts, 2; Trevor Rumbal (Taumarunui), Thug, 97pts, 3; Clark Chrystal (Tutira), Trix, 96.5pts, 4; Dave Stuart (Pohangina), Gus, 96.4pts, 5; Rebecca Baynes (Wairoa), Tom, 96.2pts, 6; Alex Matthews (Mangamahu), Bonnie, 96.1pts, 7.
New Zealand championships:
Long head: Neville Child (Maungatapere), Harry, (94, 95) 189pts, 1; Murray Child (Maungakaramea), Dice, (95.5, 93) 188.5pts, 2; Eion Herbert (Tapawera), Bell, (96, 92) 188pts, 3; Tom Manson (Raupunga), Pip, (94, 91.5) 186.5pts, 4; Scott McRae (Wellsford), Cory, (94.4, 91) 185.5pts, 5; Brian Dickison (Gore), Ash, (95.25, 85) 180.25pts, 6; Steve Murphy (Whangamomona), Sharp, (95.75, 84), 179.75pts, 7.
Short head and yard: Guy Peacock (Dannevirke), Chief, (97.5, 97.5) 195pts, 1; Merv Utting (Gisborne), Prince, (98, 96.5) 194.5pts, 2; Graeme Brier (Piopio), Sumo, (97, 97) 194pts, 3; Ginger Anderson (Omarama), Boss, (98.5, 94) 192.5pts, 4; Stuart Child (Te Kuiti), Mitch, (98.25, 93.5) 191.75pts, 5; Kevin Lamont (Cheviot), Trump, (97.75, 89.5) 187.25pts, 6; Andy Clark (Tai Tapu), Girl, (96.5, 67) 163.5pts, 7.
Zig-Zag Huntaway: Alex Matthews (Mangamahu), Rex, (97.5, 98) 195.5pts, 1; Mark Laurie (Parapara-Makirikiri) Bella, (97, 96) 193pts, 2; Scott McRae (Wellsford), Toby, (96.75, 94.5) 191.25pts, 3; Gerard Brown (Dannevirke), Brew, (96, 95) 191pts, 4; Lloyd Smith (Palmerston), Charlie, (95.5, 93.5) 189pts, 5; Tom Manson (Raupunga), Spud, (96.5, 92) 188.5pts, 6; Dave Stuart (Pohangina), Charm, (98, 90) 188pts, 7.
Straight Huntaway: Alex Matthews (Mangamahu), Bonnie, (96.1, 98) 194.1pts, 1; Rebecca Baynes (Wairoa), Tom, (96.2, 96) 192.2pts, 2; Leo Edginton (Tolaga Bay), Robert, (97.5, 994), 191.5pts, 3; Murray Child (Maungakaramea), Ralf, (97.1, 93.5) 190.6pts, 4; Clark Chrystal (Tutira), Trix, (96.5, 92) 188.5pts, 5; Trevor Rumbal (Taumarunui), Thug, (97, 91) 188pts, 6; Dave Stuart (Pongahina), Gus, (96.4, 69) 165.4pts, 7.
Winners of the C.P. Perry M.B.E. Memorial Shield (top centre for 2018): Northland 1, Wanganui 2, Hawke's Bay 3.