Com­peti­tors a cut above

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - By CHE BAKER

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.

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