Take the train for the mowing contest
Commuter rail riders might well wonder what’s in the bearded passenger’s bag on occasional trips between Hutt Valley and Wellington.
They’d be right if they guessed it was a pair of blade shears used by the stranger, a world champion shearer heading to his next competition – Allan Oldfield, now from Hutt Valley suburb Waiwhetu but hails from Geraldine in the South Island, where he learned to mow with his father and fellow competitor, Phil Oldfield.
At the weekend, that was perhaps the easiest part, because on the other hand, with expenses always to be taken into account and rugby fans having booked all but the most expensive plane tickets to Christchurch, the 31-year journey north from the A and P Show to Rangiora in North Canterbury was via Timaru in South Canterbury.
As it happened, the flights were $100 less each way than going through Christchurch, but to say it was worth it defies all logic, because the plane tickets still cost him around $420, while the price at the end was only $250.
Where it was worth it was that his victory in the Open Blades final in Rangiora earned him maximum points in the second round of the eight rounds of New Zealand’s World Wool Championships. New Zealand selection series.
To travel to Scotland in June to defend the title he won in France in 2019, he needs to be first or second in the series when it ends at Easter, and he couldn’t afford to drop an event at first.
Oldfield and his 2019 World Tag Team Champion partner Tony Dobbs of Fairlie, winner of the first round at Waimate and runner-up on Saturday, were due to have missed the event while on national transtasman test match duty in Australia.
It wasn’t until this match was postponed as facilities were needed as a flood evacuation center,
that they made the decision to compete at Rangiora, and he will do so again on Saturday for the third round at Ashburton, followed by the Golden Blades in Christchurch at the Cup week and the Garden City Spectacle, each pre -book well in advance to keep costs down.
But he says it’s not until round five at Reefton in February that the series will start to sort itself out, and only then can he think about picking and choosing which of the rounds he can still do, in a series entirely based in the South Island.
With sheep numbers in continuous decline and little commercial work at present for blade shearers, Oldfield keeps the bank account going with machine shearing at Wairarapa and maintains the blades by doing small numbers on lifestyle blocks, as a mixed crowd near Geraldine over the southbound weekend, including a Drysdale Ram, a Valais Black Crusader and a Coopworth Black.
On Saturday, it was just 0.31 pts between Oldfield and Dobbs in a four-way final of four sheep apiece, which Oldfield beat in 11 minutes.
Third were former New Zealand team member Allen Gemmell of Loburn and Oldfield’s father Phil was fourth.
In machine shearing, Pleasant Point shearer Ant Frew’s three-year wait for another win was rewarded with a 0.79pt Open final victory over Rangiora shearer Hugh De Lacy, who had won at the Selwyn Spring Show in Ellesmere seven days earlier.
De Lacy was first in the final four, shearing 13min 10.3sec for the 12 sheep. But, then finishing in 13min 42.59sec, Frew comfortably had the tidiest sheep pen afterwards and won the day with the best quality points.
Frew had mowed about 10 finals since his last victory, over lambs at Methven in March 2019, and on Saturday he became the seventh different winner in seven open finals across the country in the first three weeks of this season, none having asked for more. only one win.
Freshman Open mower Taare Edwards of Ashburton won the Open Plate, Liam Norrie of Cheviot, the senior final Emily Pike of Australia took the middle honors as the only mower in the grade, and Lydia Thomson of Rangiora claimed her first junior title, securing her sixth final.
The new contest organizer, Mark Herlihy, was satisfied with the day, with 36 shearers competing, including 15 in the Open grade.
Results of the Nord A and P shears in Rangiora on Saturday October 22, 2022:
Open final (12 sheep): Ant Frew (Pleasant Point) 13min 42.59sec, 48.71pts, 1; Hugh De Lacy (Rangiora) 13min 10.03sec, 49.5pts, 2; Toko Hapuku (Methven) 13min 51.91sec, 51.1pts, 3; Lyall Windleburn (Rangiora) 14min 7.66sec, 56.63pts, 4.
Open Plate (7 sheep): Taare Edwards (Ashburton) 9min 8.16sec, 37.27pts, 1; Tamihana Karauria (Alexandra) 8min 59.37sec, 41.68pts, 2; Jordan Boyes (Owaka) 7min 59.88sec, 41.71pts, 3; Duncan Higgins (Blenheim) 9min 47.35sec, 41.94pts, 4.
Senior Final (7 sheep): Liam Norrie (Cheviot) 10min 46.62pts, 1; 37.9 points, 1; Mitchell Menzies (Ranfurly) 10min 10.88sec, 39.26pts, 2; Blake Crooks (Timaru) 11min 24.09sec, 44.35pts, 3; Cody Davidson (Hakatere) 11min 12.6sec, 46.2pts, 4.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): Emily Pike (Australia) 10min 47.66pts, 1; 59.38 points, 1.
Junior final (3 sheep): Lydia Thomson (Rangiora) 9min 34.53sec, 37.73pts, 1; Robyn Krause (Germany) 9min 38.06sec, 40.24pts, 2; Levi Beedles (Rangiora) 10min 48.66sec, 53.1pts, 3.
Blades (4 sheep): Allan Oldfield (Geraldine / Hutt Valley) 11min 0.81sec, 42.04pts, 1; Tony Dobbs (Fairlie) 11min 51.91sec, 42.35pts, 2; Allen Gemmell (Loburn) 11min 33.91sec, 44.7pts, 3; Phil Oldfield (Geraldine) 12min 51.19sec, 47.56pts, 4.
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