27 Jul 2016

NZer Matt Smith breaks world shearing record

1:40 pm on 27 July 2016

New Zealander Matt Smith has broken one of the biggest world records in shearing sports in England overnight.

He smashed the world solo nine-hours ewe shearing record with a new tally of 731 in the first global shearing record attempted in the Northern Hemisphere.

The previous record of 721 had stood for more than nine years since being shorn by Hawke's Bay shearer Rodney Sutton in 2007.

Shearing Sports New Zealand spokesperson Doug Laing said it was only the third time in 20 years the record has been broken.

"This is probably the toughest of all shearing records to set. When it was set at 721 ten years ago there were people who wondered if it would ever be broken again," he said.

The shearing started at 5am and finished at 5pm, a standard woolshed day including hour-long breaks for breakfast and lunch, and a half-hour each for morning and afternoon tea.

With his brother, world champion and multiple Golden Shears and New Zealand champion Rowland Smith among the sizeable contingent of helpers, and needing an average of under 44.9 seconds a sheep caught, shorn and dispatch, Smith was immediately ahead of the pace with 164 in the first two hours to breakfast.

It was three more than the previous two-hour run record of 161 shorn by Southland shearer Darin Forde when he shore a record of 720 in 1997, and three more than when Rodney Sutton struggled through the first two hours of his record 10 years later.

Smith, 32, grew-up in Northland and had also been based in Hawke's Bay before settling in the UK with wife Pippa whom he married in 2014 St Clever Parish Church, near where the record took place at Trefranck Farm.

He had been a regular shearing in the Northern Hemisphere since the age of 17 and, having shorn an eight-hour record of 578 in Hawke's Bay in 2010, set his sights on a record attempt in the UK.

He decided to shear a flock of Romney and crossbreds which would meet the requirements of the World Sheep Shearing Records Society.

The all-clear for the record was given only in the standard day-before wool-weigh in which 10 sample sheep shorn before the three judges, from New Zealand, Australia, and Wales, met the standard of an average of more than 3kg of wool per ewe.

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