World shearing records tumble
World shearing records are coming under attack from shearers warming up for the World Shearing Champs in Invercargill on February 8-11.
Two Welshmen became the first from their country to break a world record in New Zealand on Wednesday at Mangapehi, between Te Kuiti and Benneydale, while the day before, just 30km away two Kiwis broke another.
A third world record will be attempted on Tuesday at Waitara Station, at Te Pohue, between Napier and Taupo.
At Mangapehi, Te Kuiti-based Welsh shearers Delwyn Jones and Matthew Evans, who arrived in New Zealand last month to prepare for the record bid, joined Ryan Miller, from Gore, in breaking the three-stand eight hours record for strongwool lambs.
They shore 1825 lambs, adding 41 to the record previously set at 1784 by King Country shearers Digger Balmer, Roger Neil and Dean Ball 18 years ago.
The record bid of four two-hour runs began at 7am and ended at 5pm, with all three achieving the milestone of 600 lambs, despite five lambs being rejected by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society judges during the day.
Evans, from Swansea, topped the tallies with runs of 156, 154, 151 and 153 for a total of 614, Miller had runs of 157, 152, 149 and 151 for a total of 609, and Jones, from Corwen, shore 602 with runs of 150, 151, 150 and 151.
Needing an average of just over 446 a run, the trio had the record bid under control from an early stage and needed just 415 in the final run starting at 3pm.
The only other Northern Hemisphere shearer to have broken a shearing record in New Zealand is Ivan Scott, from Ireland.
On Tuesday, Coel L'Huillier, of Te Akau, and Kelvin Walker, of Taumarunui, set a two-stand ewes record for eight hours.
The crowd packed into the woolshed had to wait till the last moments of a 480-minutes day before seeing a world ewe-shearing record broken by just two sheep.
Shearing at Te Hape, east of Benneydale, L'Huillier and Walker shore 1068 to beat the two-stand eight-hours strongwool ewes record of 1066 which had been set by brothers Rowland and Doug Smith on January 11, 2011 at Waitara Station.
L'Huillier, who in 2013 helped set a five-stand lamb shearing record, shore successive two-hour runs of 134, 133, 135 and 135 for a total of 537, while record-attempt newcomer Walker shore 134, 130, 133 and 134 for a total of 531.
The record bid started with rain falling outside at 7am, but it got finer and warmer as the day stretched into the afternoon. The pair needed a combined 268 in the last run from afternoon smoko, matching the 268s of the first and third runs, and supporters stood in applause as the pair each hit the pens for their last crucial catches moments before the clock struck 5pm.
At Waitara Station on Tuesday, Luke Mullins, from Taihape, Eru Weeds, from Southland, and James Mack, from Waikato,will attempt a three-stand ewes record that was established just over a year ago.