The mighty southern men of shearing stepped up yet again to take the first three placings in the New Zealand Spring Shears open crossbred full wool shearing championship final in Waimate on Saturday.
The six-man final over 16 sheep each was won by Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, beating surprise runner-up Casey Bailey, of Riverton, by less than seven-tenths of a point.
Almost a point back was third placegetter, Invercargill shearer and 10-times event winner Nathan Stratford, who won the season-opening New Zealand Merino Shears open title for the fifth time a week earlier.
Waikaka shearer Braydon Clifford added to the South's success by winning the senior final and former Invercargill shearer Troy Pyper (now based in North Canterbury) successfully defended the New Zealand Winter Comb title on Merinos on the opening day of the championships.
It wasn't just the blokes flying the flag for the south.
Former Golden Shears senior woolhandling champion Amber Poihipi, of Ohai, also in Southland, claimed a double triumph with wins in Spring Shears and South Island Woolhandling Circuit senior finals on Friday, confirming she will graduate to open class by next season.
It was Pyper who made the pace in Saturday's Spring Shears open shearing final, in which he was the only shearer to average under a minute a sheep and finished in 15min 39.15sec.
Samuels was next 35 seconds later but was able to pull back the time-points deficit with the best points for the board job, and third-best in the pens.
It was his first win in the event (he came third in 2019 and 2020) and maintained the form which produced wins in both national all-breeds circuit finals in Te Kuiti last April.
It was a disastorous first South Island final for Gisborne shearer Tama Nia Nia, who was making good progress midway through the showdown when a sheep kicked the handpiece into his face, causing a cut requiring several stitches and forcing his withdrawal from the race.
The heats on Saturday constituted the second round of the new season's PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit in which both Stratford and Samuels are near certain to make the finals, after just two of the five qualifying rounds.
Fairlie's Tony Dobbs won the open blade shearing title, returning to the stage where, last year, he reached the unprecedented milestone of 100 blade shearing wins.
The senior Winter Comb final on Friday saw a big upset, with winner Russell Ratima, from Aria in the central North Island, and Alex Clapham, from Yorkshire, England, having almost no competition history in New Zealand between them.
Ratima had failed to make it past the senior heats in Alexandra the previous weekend but won on Friday by a wide margin of more than 12pts.
He and Clapham graduated from the bottom half of the 12 semi-final qualifiers at Waimate and were the last two into the six-man final amid the exit of Alexandra winner Scott Cameron, who had been the top qualifier in the heats.
Clapham has been in New Zealand for about two years and is currently living in Roxburgh.
He said it was his first competition Downunder, describing it as part of "living the dream out here in New Zealand".
Masterton's Matene Mason won the open novice shearing final, for open-class shearers who have otherwise not won an open title.
North Canterbury shearer and 2020-21 No-1 ranked junior Reuben King won his first intermediate shear title, and the junior final was won by Jack Pringle, of Balclutha.
Joel Henare, of Gisborne, added the open woolhandling title to the one he won at Alexandra a week earlier, while Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, won the South Island open woolhandling circuit final.
Maraea Iwikau, of Taumarunui, won the Spring Shears junior woolhandling title, and the junior circuit final was won by Emma Martin, of Gore.
It was a busy two days, with 150 competitors and 18 events held under Alert Level 2 conditions.
Results from the Waimate Shears' New Zealand Spring Shearing and Woolhandling Championships on Saturday on October 8-9, 2021:
Open final (16 sheep): Leon Samuels (Invercargill) 16min 15.1sec, 56.3175pts, 1; Casey Bailey (Riverton) 16min 48.94sec, 57.0095pts, 2; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 17min 12.6sec, 58.005pts, 3; Troy Pyper (Invercargill) 15min 39.15sec, 58.395pts, 4; Hugh De Lacy (Parnassus) 16min 20.5sec, 66.2125pts, 5; Tama Nia Nia (Gisborne) 6.
Open Novice (10 sheep): Matene Mason (Masterton) 11min 55.04sec, 40.252pts, 1; Lionel Taumata (Gore) 12min 17.57sec, 41.0785pts, 2; David Gordon (Masterton) 10min 14.42sec, 41.521pts, 3; Jimmy Samuels (Marton) 9min 25.03sec, 42.6515pts, 4; Corey Smith (Waimate) 11min 37.09sec, 48.5545pts, 5; Alex Smith (Rakaia) 14min 56.19sec, 48.9095pts, 6.
Senior final (8 sheep): Braydon Clifford (Waikaka) 10min 37.09sec, 38.2295pts, 1; Taare Edwards (Ashburton) 12min 3.72sec, 42.436pts, 2; Tyson Crown (Mataura) 11min 47.62sec, 43.131pts, 3; Josef Winders (Rotorua) 10min 36.27sec, 43.8135pts, 4; Chris Malcolm (Winton) 11min 24.32sec, 44.716pts, 5; Jason White (Waimate) 12min 28.43sec, 46.1715pts, 6.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): Reuben King (Rangiora) 9min 12.71sec, 36.6355pts, 1; Blake Crooks (Timaru) 9min 4.97sec, 37.4485pts, 2; Chase Rattray (Ashburton) 9min 39.66sec, 40.783pts, 3; Jordan White (Balclutha) 9min 7.73sec, 43.7865pts, 4; James Wilson (Winton) 8min 20.26sec, 44.413pts, 5; Tes Paewai (Wales) 9min 39.19sec, 47.3595pts, 6.
Junior final (3 sheep): Jack Pringle (Balclutha) 6min 41.97sec, 26.4318pts, 1; Josh Devane (Taihape) 6min 38.78sec, 26.6057pts, 2; Lachie Crafar (Rangiwahia) 8min 0.16sec, 31.31453pts, 3; Mark Calder (Balclutha) 6min 37.5sec, 32.5417pts, 4; Emma Martin (Gore) 8min 38.67sec, 39.6002pts, 5; Tyrell Rakete-Miller (Invercargill) 6min 25.25sec, 49.2625pts, 6.
Novice (1 sheep): Molly Clayton (Waimate) 4min 17.85sec, 23.879pts, 1; Jess-Rose Toa (Ashburton) 5min 17.7sec, 39.885pts, 2; Dre Roberts (Mataura) 4min 3.62sec, 41.181pts, 3; Toni Ditmer (Rangiora) 5min 20.06sec, 57.003pts, 4; Shorty (Gisborne) 3min 27.34sec, 80.367pts, 5.
Women (2 sheep): Sarah Hewson (Blenheim) 3min 46.97sec, 17.3485pts, 1; Tes Paewai (Wales) 3min 52.59sec, 19.1295pts, 2; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 4min 1.78sec, 21.089pts, 3; Emily Te Kapa (Scotland) 4min 18.79sec, 24.9395pts, 4; Jills Angus Burney (Masterton) 3min 37.41sec, 25.8705pts, 5; Emma Martin (Gore) 6min 26sec, 53.55pts, 6.
Open blades (4 sheep): Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 13min 52.65sec, 51.6325pts, 1; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 15min 54.94sec, 57.747pts, 2; Noel Handley (Rangiora) 12min 5.6sec, 58.28pts, 3; Allan Butcher (Waimate) 17min 55.45sec, 69.5225pts, 4; Jordan White (Balclutha) 18min 31.94sec, 82.597pts, 5.
Intermediate blades (2 sheep): Aku Waihape (Pleasant Point) 8min 45.31sec, 43.7655pts, 1; Wendy Parsons (-) 8min 57.13sec, 51.3565pts, 2; Shaun Burgess (Rakaia) 12min 19.67sec, 58.4835pts, 3; Evelyn McGregor-Koch (Glenorchy) 11min 34.93sec, 63.2465pts, 4; Jills Angus Burney (Masterton) 14min 27.01sec, 64.8505pts, 5; Ruby Stone (Waimate) 12min 6.65sec, 71.3325pts, 6.
Women's Invitation Blades: Wendy Parsons (-) 4min 19.37sec, 33.9685pts, 1; Jills Angus Burney (Masterton) 8min 13.75sec, 54.6875pts, 2; Evelyn McGregor-Koch (Glenorchy) 5min 44.13sec, 71.2065pts, 3; Ruby Stone (Waimate) 5min 5.55sec, 72.2775pts, 4.
New Zealand Winter Comb Shearing Championships:
Open final (10 sheep): Troy Pyper (Cheviot) 19min 13.78sec, 75.589pts, 1; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 21min 19.11sec, 76.6555pts, 2; Stacey Te Huia (Alexandra) 19min 42sec, 80.5pts, 3; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 20min 55.34sec, 85.867pts, 4; Jocky O'Neill (Alexandra) 21min 21.39sec, 91.7695pts, 5; Ant Frew (Pleasant Point) 21min 17.87sec, 97.0935pts, 6.
Senior final (5 sheep): Russell Ratima (Aria) 12min 54.21sec, 67.1105pts, 1; Alex Clapham (Yorkshire, England) 15min 15.77sec, 79.7885pts, 2; Hohepa Te Rata-Taituha (Taumarunui) 11min 55.49sec, 85.5745pts, 3; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 16min 34.57sec, 87.9285pts, 4; Taare Edwards (Ashburton) 14min 26.46sec, 90.323pts, 5; Tyson Crown (Mataura) 15min 22.31sec, 107.3155pts, 6.
Open final: Joel Henare (Gisborne) 92.70pts, 1; Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 124.14pts, 2; Tia Potae (Milton) 126.07pts, 3; Cheri Peterson (Milton) 146.412pts, 4.
Senior final: Amber Poihipi (Ohai) 98.57pts, 1; Heaven Little (Alexandra) 113.764pts, 2; Charlotte Stuart (Omarama) 125.3pts, 3; Destiny Paikea (Heriot) 147.66pts, 4.
Junior final: Maraea Iwikau (Taumarunui) 95.99pts, 1; Tatuana Keefe (Raupunga) 117.06pts, 2; Lea Brabant (Germany) 132.69pts, 3; Jess-Rose Toa (Ashburton) 143.19pts, 4.
South Island Woolhandling Circuit:
Open final: Pagan Karauria (Alexandra) 40.314pts, 1; Keryn Herbert (Te Kuiti) 67.218pts, 2; Cany Hiri (Mataura) 72.988pts, 3; Kelly McDonald (Lake Hawea) 88.828pts, 4.
Senior final: Amber Poihipi (Ohai) 60.402pts, 1; Sarah Davis (Rerewhakaaitu) 62.494pts, 2; Heaven Little (Alexandra) 80.034pts, 3.
Junior final: Emma Martin (Gore) 70.294pts, 1; Charis Morrell (Alexandra) 70.85pts, 2; Brittany Kellet (Ashburton) 76.944pts, 3; Ani Mason (Prebbleton) 90.72pts, 4.