Competitors a cut above
Speed and precision will be on the minds of the New Zealand shearing team on Saturday as they try to outclass Australian shearers in the New Zealand versus Western Australia Shearing Challenge. The head-to-head battle will take place at the New Zealand Merino Shearing and Woolhandling Championships being held in Alexandra from Friday. New Zealand Merino Shearing Society president Graeme Bell said the New Zealand team would be putting in an extra effort to win the challenge after losing to the Australian team at the Perth Royal Show last month. Colin O’Neill, of Alexandra, and Tony Coster, of Rakaia, represented New Zealand at the show but the team of three that will take on Australia will be selected by the top semifinal qualifiers at the championships. Hopefully the home ground advantage will give New Zealand the leading edge, Mr Bell said. The challenge will take place at the championship’s annual corporate dinner on Saturday night and tickets to the event, at Molyneux Stadium, will be sold at the door on the night. All other events during the championships are free and Mr Bell urged the public to go along and watch the strong Central Otago contingency competing. This year 24 teams consisting of two shearers and two woolhandlers will be taking part and a strong number of entries have been received in the open shearing and woolhandling categories. Mr Bell said there had been a ‘‘big increase’’ in entries in the junior and senior woolhandling sections, reflecting the enthusiasm of young people to compete.
Top job: New Zealand shearer Tony Coster, of Rakaia, shears a sheep at the Perth Royal Show in Australia. He will be in Alexandra this week to take part in the New Zealand Merino Shearing and Woolhandling Championships on Friday and Saturday.