Plough­ing ahead to na­tion­als

Clutha Leader - - FRONT PAGE - MARY-JO TOHILL

It’s never too early to think about qual­i­fy­ing for next year’s na­tion­als, and top notch Clin­ton plough­man Scott McKen­zie has done just that, af­ter two suc­cess­ful com­pe­ti­tions in Otago last week­end.

Third in the sil­ver plough event at the re­cent New Zealand Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships at Kir­wee in Can­ter­bury, McKen­zie, 43, is work­ing hard to re­turn to the form that saw him rep­re­sent his coun­try at two World Plough­ing Con­tests, at Slove­nia in 2009, and Swe­den in 2011, where he put in cred­itable per­for­mances.

Just af­ter that, a thumb in­jury took him off the scene. ’’I wasn’t al­lowed to get it wet or dirty - ba­si­cally I couldn’t do any­thing.’’

Family, farm and work com­mit­ments also con­trib­uted to putting his com­pet­i­tive plough­ing pas­sion tem­po­rar­ily to one side. But af­ter a two-year ab­sence, he re-en­tered com­pe­ti­tion last sea­son, which re­sulted in qual­i­fi­ca­tion for the na­tion­als.

And af­ter gain­ing run­ner-up in the over­all cham­pi­onship be­hind South­lander Alas­tair Ruther­ford of Wai­mumu, at the Toko­mairiro Plough­ing As­so­ci­a­tion match near Mil­ton on Satur­day, then win­ning the Taieri cham­pi­onship the fol­low­ing day, he has qual­i­fied for next year’s New Zealand Plough­ing Cham­pi­onships to be held at Thorn­bury near River­ton in South­land, in April.

McKen­zie started plough­ing com­pet­i­tively in 2003. Com­pe­ti­tion is pretty stiff in OtagoSouth­land, with the re­gions tak­ing a good chunk of the sil­ver­ware at na­tion­als. ’’We’ve got some good young bug­gers coming up, par­tic­u­larly Hay­den Al­li­son.’’

The 25-year-old Mil­ton plough­man fin­ished sixth in the sil­ver plough at na­tion­als this year be­hind McKen­zie, and also qual­i­fied for na­tion­als, af­ter his per­for­mance at the Taieri event.

‘‘It’s great to have this level of com­peti­tor lo­cally. You can’t have a good com­pe­ti­tion without good com­peti­tors.’’

McKen­zie will be com­pet­ing in two fur­ther qual­i­fiers, hosted by the Thorn­bury and Cen­tral South­land clubs, this week­end.

‘‘Then I’m go­ing to take to my plough and do some butcher­ing,’’ said.

This will in­volve fitting new plas­tic mould boards, which stop soil stick­ing to the plough, and fall­ing into the fur­row.

‘‘I’ve been told by peo­ple to get them on.’’ He would dearly love to qual­ify for the worlds, pos­si­bly in 2019, in the United States.

MARY-JO TOHILL

Clin­ton plough­man Scott McKen­zie in action at the Toko­mairiro Plough­ing As­so­ci­a­tion com­pe­ti­tion on Satur­day.

Mil­ton up-and-comer Hay­den Al­li­son.

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