Created: Monday, 03 November 2014 09:05
Pongaroa farmer David Buick returned from his Australian crossbred shearing title victory to retain the Wairarapa Spring Shears open title on Saturday.
As he did last year, the 36-year-old beat former World and Golden Shears champion Cam Ferguson, stamping himself as a real contender for the Golden Shears and New Zealand Championships titles later in the season.
With a small field of just eight entering the open event, the two were hot favourites to quinella the event.
In a 15-sheep final they beat fellow contenders Noel Gardiner, of Wanganui, and Peter Clendon, of Masterton, by more than a sheep
Ferguson took time honours, finishing in 15min 3sec, which surprised locals who reckoned it would take at least a minute longer for the quickest shearer to clear his pen of the tough and feisty Wairarapa perendales.
Finishing 10 seconds later, Buick more than made up the time-points deficit with the quality the experts reckoned would carry the day.
He said afterwards the sheep were tougher than his Australian experience of just seven days earlier when he won the Romney Shears final at Warrnambool, Vic.
A Golden Shears open finalist in Masterton for the first time last year, 14 years after winning the intermediate title at the World's premier annual shearing event, he plans to give 2014-2015 his best shot by competing in as many shows as possible, including the Canterbury Show in Christchurch on November 14.
Running a small shearing operation and also having recently leased more land around Pongaroa, a big goal would be to become the first home-region shearer to win the Golden Shears Open.
The Senior final on Saturday was a big moment for Northern Hawke's Bay shearer Willie Lambert, whose sole previous win was at the Wairoa show last January.
He had tough opposition in South Island-based Masterton shearer Ethan Pankhurst, but won the race by 55 seconds and kept a sufficient hold on quality to claim victory by more than three points.
It emulated the feat of 15-year-old brother Hemi Lambert, who won the Junior final, following victory eight days earlier in the Hawke's Bay Show's Great Raihania Shears, where their sister, Teresa, won her first woolhandling title.
The intermediate shearing final on Saturday was won by Gisborne shearer Ramone Smith, who had also won at Warrnambool.
But South Island-based Gisborne woolhandler Joel Henare was not so fortunate, failing to qualify for Saturday's Open woolhandling final, ending a run of five wins in a row which started with the Ireland All Nations title in May.
The honours went with New Zealand 2010 World Champion team members Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu, and Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, winner and runner-up respectively. Logan Kamura, of Marton, was third, in what was his fourth finals appearance in his last five shows, dating back to his maiden Open win in the Taranaki Shears last March.
Rahna Williams, of Hastings won the senior woolhandling final and Danielle Fox, of Gisborne, scored a maiden win in the Junior final.
The next North Island show on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar is at Feilding next Saturday.