Blades team winners Tony Dobbs (left) and individual champion Allan Oldfield

Titles in the bag

by Ann van Engelen

The Allflex New Zealand Shearing and Woolhandling team dominated the 18th World Championships winning three of the six titles in France.

Pride of place went to Canterbury blade shearers Allan Oldfield and Tony Dobbs who scored a double by beating previous regular champions South Africa and then finishing first and fourth respectively in the Individual championship. Mr Oldfield stunned the South Africans by shearing the six sheep in 12 minutes 29 seconds, beating the defending champion Mayenseke Shweni by 2 minutes and 19 seconds.

The teams woolhandling final saw Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, maintain New Zealand’s stranglehold on the title, from the victory by Joel Henare and Maryanne Baty in Invercargill two years ago. Hawke’s Bay shearers Rowland Smith and Cam Ferguson were third in the teams event and were second and third in the individual event.

New Zealand team manager Ken Payne, of Balclutha, said those who work in the woolsheds in New Zealand are used to tough conditions, but the conditions of the competition in France tested them further.

“Although New Zealand had won four titles in Invercargill two years ago, there were no foregone conclusions about this trip. 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.”

“In many ways, this was the ultimate test, which is what a world championship is supposed to be about,” he said. “Once the team switched onto competition mode, and the adrenalin took over, New Zealand became a formidable opponent across all events, and the performances seemed to get better as things went along.”

Mr Oldfield was taught by father Phil Oldfield, who was third in the 2017 championships and by Mr Dobbs in a shearing school in 2010. Since 2016 he has won a unique grand slam of four major UK show titles.