Southern shearer targets open title

 Kahn Culshaw, of Ashburton, on his way to winning the Otago junior shearing title in Balclutha yesterday. Photo by Helena de Reus.
Kahn Culshaw, of Ashburton, on his way to winning the Otago junior shearing title in Balclutha yesterday. Photo by Helena de Reus.
Young shearers and woolhandlers fought for three titles at the Otago Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Balclutha yesterday.

The three winners of yesterday's competition hailed from outside the region, with Emma-Kate Rabbidge (Wyndham) winning the New Zealand junior woolhandler title, Kahn Culshaw (Ashburton) winning junior shearing, and David Gordon (Masterton) taking intermediate shearing.

The annual event, also dubbed the Otago Shears, is held over two days and continues today in the Balclutha War Memorial Hall.

Today, Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford will be looking for a major breakthrough for South Island shearing when he tackles the open competition.

With top New Zealand shearers David Fagan and John Kirkpatrick hailing from the North Island, no South Island shearer has won the competition's open title in the past 12 years.

Stratford has missed the final in the last two years, but reached four of the previous eight showdowns, with best placings of third in 2004 and 2007.

The event in Balclutha is also the first in an unofficial ''Grand Slam'' dating back to the 1970s, when it was won for the first time by 1977 world champion Roger Cox.

The Grand Slam also includes, in successive weeks, the Southern Shears in Gore and, in the North Island, the Pahiatua Shears and the Golden Shears.

Results -Junior New Zealand woolhander: Emma-Kate Rabbidge (Wyndham), 117.750 points, 1; Daine Rehe (Christchurch), 131.626, 2; Rhiann Jones (Wales), 135.100, 3; Waimarama Manukau (Gore), 204.876, 4.

Junior shearing: Kahn Culshaw (Ashburton), 39.033 points, 1; Corey Smith (Rakaia), 41.971, 2; Rimene Pagan (Alexandra), 42.485, 3; Jan Hartman (Germany), 43.163, 4; Dylan Jones (Wales), 45.649, 5.

Intermediate shearing: David Gordon (Masterton), 33.099 points, 1; Andrew Leith (Dipton), 39.695, 2; Alex Smith (Gisborne), 41.375, 3; Ethan Pankhurst (Masterton), 42.742, 4; David Jackson (Sefton), 49.596, 5.