Machine shearing success for NZ

The New Zealand machine shearing team (from left) Rowland Smith, of Hastings, John Kirkpatrick, of Napier, and manager John Hough, of Rakaia, are introduced to the crowd before the machine shearing finals at the Golden Shears World Shearing And Woolhandling Championships, in Ireland, on Sunday. Photo by Shearing sports New Zealand.There were only a few blows in it.

Our blade shearers put up a good fight but favourite South Africa proved too strong on the day.

Nonetheless, a New Zealander still took a place on the podium at the Golden Shears World shearing and woolhandling championships, in Ireland, on Sunday. Rowland Smith, of Hastings, won the glamour event - the individual machine shearing title.

Hopes were high for the New Zealand blade shearers Tony Dobbs, of Fairlie, and Brian Thomson, of West Melton.

Both put up promising performances in the lead up to the finals and opening rounds of the championships .

Dobbs only returned to the competition circuit last October after an 18-year break.

On the day, Dobbs and Thomson were third and fourth respectively in the individual blade shearing final and were second in the team final.

The six world champions were spread across five nations, which was unprecedented for the competition.

South Africa retained both the individual and teams titles in blade shearing, Scotland won the machine shearing teams event.

England won its first world title in the individual woolhandling, while Wales broke New Zealand's dominance in the teams event.

The competitions drew thousands of spectators and performances in the heats were enough to bring the house down, literally.

The final competitions were delayed more than two hours when a guy-rope broke on the marquee where the events were being staged and it had to be evacuated.

The world event emerged from the Golden Shears International Shearing Championships founded in Masterton in 1961.