Geraldine shearer on top of world

Geraldine's Allan Oldfield, and Fairlie's Tony Dobbs hold the team's world championship trophy. At the left are runners-up Mayenseke Shweni and Bonile Rabile, of South Africa, and, on the right, English father and son team, George and Andrew Mudge. Photo:
Geraldine's Allan Oldfield, and Fairlie's Tony Dobbs hold the team's world championship trophy. At the left are runners-up Mayenseke Shweni and Bonile Rabile, of South Africa, and, on the right, English father and son team, George and Andrew Mudge. Photo: Supplied
Geraldine blade shearer Allan Oldfield didn't have long to savour his recent world championship victory but he can expect a big welcome home when he returns in two months' time.

Only days after stunning his rivals at the 18th world shearing and woolhandling championships in Le Dorat, he was competing again in a smaller event in Wales and this week he contested the 100th Royal Welsh Show at Llanelwedd which was opened by the Prince of Wales.

Oldfield took the world title in a stunning performance, his first at this level, with his fellow South Canterbury shearer Tony Dobbs of Fairlie, fourth.

Allan Oldfield is pictured with his  world championship trophies next to a shearing statue in downtown Le Dorat, France, with his father and coach Phil Oldfield, who placed second in the 2017 world championships.Photo: Supplied
Allan Oldfield is pictured with his world championship trophies next to a shearing statue in downtown Le Dorat, France, with his father and coach Phil Oldfield, who placed second in the 2017 world championships.Photo: Supplied
The two South Canterbury men combined to win the world teams' championship.

Oldfield's father and coach Phil Oldfield attended the world championships and returned to Geraldine last week.

He was struggling to adapt to the cold winter after extreme heat encountered in France but was jubilant about his son's performance in beating the reigning world champion Mayenseke Shweni, of South Africa.

''Allan is used to competing overseas in international competitions and he was on his game. In the final he blinded them with his speed.

''When the South African champion looked at Allan's pen he was stunned. He couldn't believe he could shear so fast.''

The Geraldine man shore his six sheep 2min 19sec faster than the South African.

Mr Oldfield said his son was also adaptable. He had to shear three Texel cross ewes that had just been weaned.

''There was not a lot of wool to cut and they were totally different from shearing a Romney or merino.

''Then he shore Suffolk lambs that had short, dense wool.''

Mr Oldfield said his son had not expected to win and having done so, was delighted.

''As his father and coach I was happy as well and I was pleased with others there I have mentored and coached like some Irish lads. It was very rewarding to see.''

Tony Dobbs, who is expected to return in the next week or so with his family, went ''pretty well,'' Mr Oldfield said, but thought he might be disappointed with his fourth placing.

Dobbs won the world title in 1988 and after a lay-off was third in Gore in 2014.

Mr Oldfield placed second in that world championship in 2017 and Tony Dobbs also finished runner-up in the team event.

Allan Oldfield can expect a big welcome home when he returns to Geraldine in September.

''We will make it a town event for him,'' Mr Oldfield said.

Before then, Allan will be travelling to the Falkland Islands with three others to shear 12,000 sheep followed by a short break in Italy.

Meanwhile, the other triumph for New Zealand at the championships was in the team woolhandling final, where Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, maintained New Zealand's stranglehold on the title.

There was some disappointment for the New Zealand team. For only the third time in the history of the championships, which began in 1977, New Zealand did not win either of the machine-shearing titles.

New Zealand team manager Ken Payne, of Balclutha, said it had been tough.

''We always knew the different sheep breeds and types of wool would be a challenge. Then there was the heatwave across Europe, about which we heard plenty while we were in Scotland for the Lochearnhead Shears beforehand.

''There were long days, up at 6am and not home before 10pm, and I think everyone had difficulty sleeping because of the heat. It was 32degC at 1am on our first night.''

All team members were physically drained and exhausted early in the week, but it would have been no different for most of the other teams, he said.

-By Chris Tobin

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