6 Mar 2017

Smith wins fourth Golden Shears Open title

8:47 pm on 6 March 2017

Hawkes's Bay shearer Rowland Smith had a clean sweep of wins at this year's Golden Shears competition in Masterton.

The 30-year-old won his fourth Golden Shears Open title, his first National Championship all-breeds title and also helped the New Zealand team beat Australia in the trans Tasman test.

Mr Smith missed out on competing for New Zealand at the World Championships last month after he finished third in the selection series, but at the weekend he proved that he had what it takes to win another world title.

Roland Smith (right) and second Aaron Haynes from Feilding.

Roland Smith (right) and second Aaron Haynes from Feilding. Photo: Supplied

In the final he overtook the pacemaking Taranaki-based 2015 champion and Scotland international Gavin Mutch on the last two sheep to finish first in 17min 19.05sec, 23.886sec, winning by a comfortable margin of 3.325pts.

"Gavin Mutch started off, as he does, pretty fast and got the jump on everybody. I tried to keep to what I do and shear my sheep rather than worry about what anyone else is doing.

"I managed to stay steady and claw it back (the time). I managed to finish off in front of him and still do a good job which was always in the back of your mind - to keep the job right."

Rowland Smith competing for the title.

Rowland Smith competing for the title. Photo: Supplied

Feilding shearer Aaron Haynes came in second and Nathan Stratford from Invercargill took third place.

In the woolhandling Joel Henare from Gisborne won his fifth golden shears title, Sheree Alabaster from Taihape came second and Alexandra based Pagan Karauria claimed third place.

Joel Henare

Joel Henare won his fifth golden shears title. Photo: Supplied

In other results, Maryanne Baty from Gisborne won the North Island Circuit Open Final and Sir David Fagan's son, Jack, won the Young Farmer Blue Ribbon Open Shearing Championship and the Māori-Pākehā Teams Event with Turi Edmonds from Raetihi.

Drop in competitor numbers

Shearing Sports New Zealand spokesperson Doug Laing said there were less competitors than usual this year.

"Entry numbers are a bit down, they have been throughout the season from show to show. This year there was a lot of people thinking 50/50 as to what the impact would be after the world championships...

"Probably a lot of competitors have headed straight back home, including some who might have normally been at Golden Shears, but are needed back in the UK where they have things like lambing runs to get back to."

Mr Laing said the sliding number of sheep in the country, now down to about 28 million, is another factor.

"That means less shearing work ... and things like drought conditions have had an impact this season in certain areas, people might not have had shearing at the right time and then the work has crashed.

"Shearers and woolhandlers are able to go to Australia at the drop of a hat and get consistent work."

There will some thinking from the industry in terms of how the sport will cope with this said Mr Laing.

He said Rowland Smith has confirmed that he will take on the world record for eight hour ewe shearing in the UK in July.

The current record of 605 ewes was set a few weeks ago by Leon Samuels in Invercargill.