26 May 2014

NZ shearer wins world title

1:44 pm on 26 May 2014

New Zealand shearer Rowland Smith has won the individual machine shearing title at the World Shearing Championships in Ireland.

The Hawke's Bay shearer added the title to his Golden Shears and New Zealand open titles.

His win in the individual shearing event pushed the defending champion, Scotland's Gavin Mutch, into second place.

But Mutch and Scottish teammate Hamish Mitchell won the team event, leaving New Zealand's Smith and John Kirkpatrick in third place, behind Wales.

Doug Laing of Shearing Sports New Zealand said Smith was the only one of the New Zealand shearing and wool handling team to win a final event at the world championships at Gorey in Ireland.

"He's fulfilled a dream at the age of 27 of winning the world title. Gavin Mutch, the defending champion, a Scotsman living in New Zealand, had to settle for second place," he said.

"The interesting thing was New Zealand was unable to win any of the other events. In fact, five different nations shared the six winning medals today, which is unprecedented in the 37-year history of the world championships."

In the wool-handling, England's Hilary Bond won the individual title over Ronnie Goss of New Zealand and Wales took the teams title ahead of New Zealand.

In the blade shearing, South Africa dominated as expected, but New Zealand pair Tony Dobbs and Brian Thomson, were second and third in the individual final and second in the teams event.

The finals were delayed for about two hours after the giant tent being used as a venue in Gorey, County Wexford, was evacuated, apparently because of concerns about the roof.

"About 1.30 in the afternoon the six finals were about to get underway and something went bang in the upper reaches of the big dome that they've got here, this huge circus tent, and everybody was ordered out - evacuated in fear the thing might collapse," Mr Laing said.

"They put the whole show two hours behind time. The right examination was done and the programme started again and we did see the six finals go ahead, with probably in excess of 1200 people in the tent itself and several hundred more outside who couldn't get into the tent."