Friday, April 12, 2024

Main man from the Mainland

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Southland’s Leon Samuels ends 35-year drought as he takes out top prize.
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Southland shearer Leon Samuels became the first South Islander to win the Golden Shears Open shearing title in 35 years in a dramatic six-man final of 20 sheep each in Masterton.

The winner of the New Zealand Shears Open final in Te Kuiti last April and a member of the New Zealand team at the World Championships in Scotland two months later, Samuels was second in the race – the only shearer to get within a sheep of miracle-man and Wairarapa shearer David Buick, who shore the final in 16m 16.064s, one of the quicker times in the 62 years of the event.

It was just two and a half years after Buick was so badly injured in an accident on his Pongaroa farm the prognosis was that he might not walk again.

But ultimately it was a Southland one-two, with 40-year-old Samuels, originally from Mangakino in the Central North Island but based in Southland or Australia for many years, and with only one previous Golden Shears Open final beforehand (third in 2020), winning by 1253 points from runner-up and Riverton shearer Casey Bailey, in the final for the first time.

Losing some points in judging of the sheep in the pens, Buick was a further 1.26pts back in third place, followed by Southland veteran Nathan Stratford, James Ruki, of Te Kuiti, and Hawke’s Bay-based Scotland international Gavin Mutch.

The last South Island shearer to win the open was Edsel Forde in 1989, and it was Forde who was also the last shearer from the South Island to win the New Zealand Shears Open (in 1993) until Samuels won it 11 months ago.

Among those in the crowd of about 1000 was Alexandra great Brian “Snow” Quinn, who won the Golden Shears Open title six times between 1965 and 1972.

The drama started before the shears began, with eight-times winner Rowland Smith out with injury.  Northland gun and prolific winner Toa Henderson was then eliminated in the quarterfinals.

Stratford won a third PGG Wrightson National Shearing Circuit final, with just a 0.355pts margin to Samuels in second place, in another Southland quinella.

From left, Angus Moore, Leon Samuels and Nathan Stratford. Leon Samuels won the trans-Tasman test against Australia, held during the Golden Shears.

It was Stratford’s 20th National circuit final, and on the night he also shore his 18th trans-Tasman test, a New Zealand team record celebrated by teaming with Samuels and Marlborough shearer Angus Moore in an all-South Island win over Australians Daniel McIntyre, Nathan Meaney and Josh Bone.

But there were just 2.51pts in the test-match result, the closest margin in trans-Tasman shearing tests since an Australian victory in Warrnambool, Victoria, in 2013, and NZ’s narrowest win since 2009.

The first test in the annual home-and-away series was in Euroa, Victoria, in October 1974, and there have now been 71 tests, Australia winning 38 and NZ 33.

It also gave NZ a 2-0 weekend, after woolhandlers Tia Potae and Cushla Abraham won their match against the Australian woolhandling team of Marlene Whittle and Alexander Scholl on Friday night.

Also in Saturday night, Joel Henare, 32, from Gisborne and stepping back from some competition this season to focus on his children in Motueka, won the Golden Shears Open woolhandling title for a 10th time in a row, but with a narrow margin of just six points from Alexandra hopeful Pagan Rimene.

The North Island Open woolhandling circuit final, carrying a place in the 2024-2025 New Zealand trans-Tasman series team, was won by Keryn Herbert, of Te Kuiti.

But, having represented Cook Islands at the 2023 World Championships in Scotland, the team position went to runner-up Ngaio Hanson, of Eketāhuna, who despite also having represented New Zealand at the World Championships in Scotland, is yet to win an Open woolhandling final.

The second woolhandling member of the trans-Tasman team next season will come from the NZ Merino Shears final in Alexandra in October this year.


Results from the 62nd Golden Shears International Shearing and Woolhandling Championships at Masterton on Thursday-Saturday February 29-March 2, 2024:

• International

Lister Transtasman Shearing New Zealand (Leon Samuels 14m 53.94s, 65.28pts; Nathan Stratford 17m 3.02s, 67.568pts; Angus Moore 16m 19.76s, 67.821pts) 200.669pts, beat Australia (Daniel McIntyre 16m 11.08s, 65.554pts; Nathan Meaney 15m 30.34s, 65.6pts; Josh Bone 17m 35.94s, 71.464pts) 202.61pts.    

• Trans-Tasman Woohandling: New Zealand (Cushla Abraham, of Masterton/Tia Potae, of Kennedy Bay) 302.6pts, beat Australia (Marlene Whittle, of Coleraine, Vic/Alexander Schoff, of Chinchilla, Qld) 339.2pts.

• Shearing:

PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit final: Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 17m 48s, 66.153pts, 1; Leon Samuels (Invercargill/Roxburgh) 16m 44.821s, 66.508pts, 2; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 17m 36.462s, 67.023pts, 3; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 16m 50.912s, 68.013pts, 4; David Gordon (Masterton) 18m 11.587s, 74.046pts, 5; Toa Henderson (Kaiwaka) 16m 45.366s, 75.868pts, 6. 

• Bayley’s Golden Shears Open final: Leon Samuels (Invercargill/Roxburgh) 16m 37.697s, 56.585pts, 1; Casey Bailey (Tiverton) 17m 18.856s, 57.843pts, 2; David Buick (Pongaroa) 16m 16.064s, 59.103pts, 1; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 17m 41.91s, 59.596pts, 4; James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 18m 38.826s, 64.391pts, 5; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Dannevirke) 17m 36.608s, 66.68pts, 6. 

• Golden Shears Senior final: Forde Alexander (Taumarunui) 12m 36.273s, 44.898pts, 1; Gabriel Winders (Invercargill) 13m 18.718s, 47.936pts, 2; Nathan Bee (Wyndham) 12min 30.431s, 47.939pts, 3; Bruce Grace (Wairoa/Napier) 14m 3.753s, 50.438pts, 4; William Sinclair (Balclutha) 13m 48.349s, 50.5pts, 5; Blake Crooks (Rangiora) 14m 4.408s, 50.72pts, 6.

• Trust House Golden Shears Intermediate final: Tini Papanui (Feilding) 11m 7.542s. 41.002pts, 1; Dylan Young (Gisborne) 10m 0.938s, 41.547pts, 2; Ethan Fladgate (Kihikihi) 11m 31.51s, 41.576pts, 3; Emma Martin (Gore) 11m 47.137s, 41.982pts, 4; Tomo Glyn Davies (Wales) 11m 33.506s, 43.55pts, 5; Julian Karl (Traunstein, Germany) 11m 38.138s, 44.40pts, 6.

• Farmers Weekly Golden Shears Junior: Kaivah Cooper (Napier) 7m 37.755s, 1; 30.688pts, 1; Orlando Ratima (Hunterville) 8m 27.023s, 32.351pts. 2; Lachie Cameron (Pohangina) 8m 6.148s, 32.507pts, 3; Thomas Marchant (Pokeno) 7m 50.896s, 35.545pts, 4; Marshall Buckman (Apiti) 7m 55.552s, 36.378pts, 5; Jet Schimanski (Gore) 9m 4.14s,41.207pts, 6.     

• Cydectin Novice final: Ashlin Swann (Wairoa) 5m 43.19s, 23.16pts, 1; Karl Schoff (Chinchilla, Queensland) 5m 52.881s, 27.644pts, 2; Ryan Craw (Coromandel) 5m 21.203s, 28.56pts, 3; Rebecca Dickson (Tikokino) 7m 27.019s, 29.351pts, 4; Grady Collis (Tauhoa) 6m 38.079s, 30.404pts, 5; Bugs Butler (Tikokino) 6m 44.53s, 30.726pts, 6. 

• Abraham Shearing Women’s Invitation: Laura Bradley (Papatawa) 7m 29.93s, 31.163pts, 1 Emma Martin (Gore) 8m 54.959s, 34.081pts, 2; Nicki Guttler (Australia) 9m 19.903s, 34.662pts, 3; Catherine Mullooly (Matawai) 8m 0.655pts, 34.7pts, 4; Danielle Mauger (Australia) 9m 43.13s, 36.823pts, 5; Alice Watson (Seddon)  8m 57.279s, 39.197pts, 6. 

• Wairarapa-Moana Maori-Pakeha Teams: Adam Gordon (Masterton) and Corey Palmer (Dipton) 67.975pts, 1; Cory Barrowcliffe (Piopio) and Hugh De Lacy (Rangiora) 75.921pts, 2; Lionel Taumata (Gore) and Paul Robertson (Australia) 78.075pts, 3.  

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