Two Hawke's Bay shearers have taken the top spots in the New
Zealand championships open final in Te Kuiti.
Winner Rowland Smith and runner-up John Kirkpatrick fought
off Te Kuiti shearing legend David Fagan to take the lead
positions in a close battle.
Fagan, winner of five individual world titles, was first to
finish the 20- sheep contest but had to settle for fourth
place once quality points were counted.
Smith and Kirkpatrick will represent New Zealand at this
year's world championships.
Taihape woolhandler Sheree Alabaster won the New Zealand Open
woolhandling title for a seventh time, after the surprise
semifinal elimination of reigning World and Golden Shears
champion Joel Henare.
Open class woolhandler Logan Kamura, of Marton, was second,
and third was Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu.
In other events, Kirkpatrick won the New Zealand Shears Open
Circuit shearing over five fine-woolled merinos, five
crossbred ewes and five lambs.
Masterton-based shearer Casey Bailey, of Riverton, won the
senior shearing final.