Blades shearers excel
by Mike Isle
Canterbury shearers Tony Dobbs and Allan Oldfield confirmed their places at the 2019 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships when their blades shearing selection series finished in Christchurch last Friday.
With Fairlie farmer Dobbs again winning the New Zealand Corriedale blades shearing championship final, and Geraldine shearer Oldfield placing fourth, it confirmed their positions as winner and runner-up in a series of eight competitions, which started at Reefton in February.
They become the first part of the Shearing Sports New Zealand team confirmed for the 18th World Championships to be held in Le Dorat, France, on July 1 to 7 next year.
They will be joined in France by two woolhandlers to be decided in a selection series final at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March, and two machine shearers decided in the Golden Shears Open and New Zealand Championships Open finals in Masterton and Te Kuiti respectively.
Dobbs first won the title at the Canterbury show more than 30 years ago and won four times in a row after coming out of competition retirement in 2013, before being beaten last year by Rangiora shearer, Allen Gemmell.
On Friday, Dobbs was just fifth to finish the five sheep, quickest time being the 15min 47.44sec shorn by Gemmell, who had to ultimately settle for fifth place. Dobbs beat the runner-up, Scott McKay, of Christchurch, by just over a point.
Invercargill shearer, Troy Pyper led a Southland clean-up in the Open machine shearing final in which the runner-up was Nathan Stratford, also of Invercargill, followed by Brett Roberts of
Mataura, and new Canterbury Circuit champion Ringakaha Paewai, of Gore.
The 34-year-old Pyper, who won both the Corriedale Championship and the Canterbury Circuit in 2015, blasted through the 10 sheep in just above 12 minutes. He was more than a sheep ahead of all five other finalists, including almost a minute-and-a-half quicker than second-man-off, sole North Island finalist, Pongaroa farmer and eventual sixth placegetter David Buick, already winner of three finals in the North Island this season.
It’s been a triumphant last month for Pyper, who is now based in Canterbury working mainly for Barry Pullen and also for Delwyn Henriksen. He won the Ellesmere show title at Leeston and the Northern show final at Rangiora.