Irishman breaks 8-hour shearing record

Last updated 00:19 20/12/2008

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A young Irishman who left school at the age of 14 to help on the family farm has become the first overseas shearer to break a solo world tally record in New Zealand.

Ivan Scott, 27, shore 736 romney lambs today to break the world eight-hour strongwool lambshearing record at the Onuku Maori Trust Farm at Rerewhakaaitu, southeast of Rotorua.

Scott had a strong opening with a record 7-9am run of 192, but left it until just three minutes before the 5pm finish to break the record of 731 set by Taihape shearer Justin Bell in December 2002.

Now a farmer at Weber in southern Hawke's Bay, 35-year-old Bell was one of Scott's right-hand men throughout the four two-hour runs regulated by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, and among the first to congratulate him at the end.

"Those two hour-runs are bloody tough," said Bell, who set his record at Opepe near Taupo. Two years later he broke the nine hour-hour record.

Taranaki-based Scottish shearer Gavin Mutch on Monday abandoned a similar bid after six hours.

Scott shore 745 sheep today, but had nine rejected by judges Peter Artridge (Australia), Doug Oliver (North Island) and John Hough (South Island), and was also close to breaking the 12-point penalty barrier which could have seen him warned about his quality, and even disqualified.

With about an hour of the day spent catching lambs, the average time per lamb was about 32 seconds. They cut an average of just over 1kg of wool each, comfortably over the minimum requirement of 0.9kg.

Scott said he had not considered challenging the nine-hour record of 866, held by Napier shearer Dion King, although he had previously shorn 878 in an unjudged nine-hour day at work.

He has been largely based in New Zealand since first arriving in 2000, and lives in Rolleston, 22km southwest of Christchurch.

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