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Lucky number seven

Rowland Smith has won the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship seven times. PHOTO/PETE NIKOLAISON

Hawke’s Bay gun Rowland Smith has claimed his seventh win in the Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship in Masterton on Saturday.

This feat comes second only to Sir David Fagan who has taken the title 16 times.

Smith’s first Golden Shears open victory was in 2013.

He has won it each year since, with the exception of 2015, won by Gavin Mutch.

Golden Shears president Sam Saunders said the event went off without a hitch and the crowd turned out in the masses for the final day.

“It was brilliant.”

The stadium was packed full of people wanting to watch the finals and he said the whole competition was “undoubtedly a success”.

“Hopefully it encourages them all to come back next year.”

The South Island had possibly its biggest night in the 60 years of the Golden Shears with a near clean sweep of major titles on the last of the championship’s four days.

But the south was left still without the big one, as it has done since 1989, with Smith claiming Golden Shears Open Shearing Championship for a seventh time despite a spirited challenge from 10-times finalist Nathan Stratford and first-time finalist and fellow Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels, who were second and third respectively.

The southern imprint was otherwise everywhere, highlighted by Canterbury-based Southland shearer Troy Pyper’s role in New Zealand’s first transtasman test shearing win in three years, Central Otago-based Gisborne wool handler Joel Henare’s eighth consecutive Golden Shears Open woolhandling title, and Marlborough gun Angus Moore’s second PGG Wrighson National Shearing Circuit final win, eight years after his first.

Earlier in the day, 23-year-old Brandon Maguire Ratima, of Winton, added the Golden Shears Senior shearing title to the Intermediate title he won two years ago, and Amber Poihipi, 29, of Ohai, who voluntarily upgraded from Junior soon after the start of the season in October, won the Senior woolhandling title.

Marlborough shearing contractor Sarah Higgins joined the part by winning the women’s Invitation shearing event.

One of the few northern triumphs on a busy last day was that of Te Kuiti wool handler Keryn Herbert who won the North Island Open Wool handling Circuit final, to claim a place in next season’s New Zealand transtasman team with Smith, Moore and Henare, although the team selection depends on availability.

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