Thursday, December 7, 2023

Bond breaks women’s shearing record with an hour to spare

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Sheep shearer Sacha Bond powers ahead to crack magic 600 in eight hours.
Sacha Bond, shown during her preparation for the record she smashed in a remote Northern Southland woolshed on Saturday. Photo: Supplied
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King Country shearer Sacha Bond has smashed the solo women’s eight-hour strongwool record in Southland.

The 29-year-old shore 601 at Fairlight Station, south of Lake Wakatipu, on Saturday.

This was 91 more than the previous record of 510, set by Canadian Pauline Bolay in December 2019 at Waikaretu, in Waikato.

Needing an average of over 127.5 for each of the four runs, from the start at 7am to the 5pm finish, Bond was well ahead from the outset, shearing a consistent day of 150, 150 and 150 in the first three runs, and 151 in the last.

She passed the previous record with more than an hour to spare.

In her record three years ago, Bolay shore successive two-hour tallies of 127, 125, 131 and 127 to beat by three the previous record of 507 shorn by King Country shearer Kerri-Jo Te Huia at Te Hape, near Bennydale, on January 10, 2012.

But the category of record is possibly best known for the 470 shorn at Mangapehi, also near Bennydale, on January 13, 2009, by Wairoa shearer Ingrid Baynes with mother Marg in a two-stand record that hasn’t yet been challenged.

Judging convenor Peter Artridge and New Zealand panelists Robert McLaren, Alistair Emslie and North Island official Bart Hadfield gave the green light for the weekend’s record to go ahead after a Friday-afternoon wool-weight, in which the clip from 20 of the target-flock lambs averaged 1.034kg of wool each, comfortably exceeding the minimum requirement of 0.9kg.

The four runs – 7am-9am, 9.30am-11.30am, 12.30pm-2.30pm and 3pm-5pm – represent the standard eight-hour working day in New Zealand woolsheds, allowing breaks for morning and afternoon tea and lunch.

Maximum temperatures of 28-32degC had been forecast for the district for what was the 11th record attempt of the records society’s 2022-23 year.

All but one have been successful, including two records set just two days apart in December on the men’s eight-hour solo strongwool lambs record, which now stands at 754.

On Bond’s team on Saturday was partner Coel L’Huillier, who shore 677 in a three-stand men’s record in December 2019.

World Sheep Shearing Records Society chair Paul Harris, who was unable to be present because of judging commitments at one of the three shearing sports competitions also taking place nationwide on Saturday, said the spate of record attempts in the past year was not unexpected, and included some shearers whose dreams had been delayed by the global pandemic.

It takes a year or more to plan and prepare for most record attempts, and gather the resources and support teams to make sure it all happens on the day, he said, and in some cases shearers have been targeting the more achievable records.

The record broken by Bond at the weekend is regarded as one of the premier-level goals, a 600-lambs tally for women having been seen in recent years as a possibility if everything lined up on the day.

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