Mother takes NI title
Proud Manawatu sporting mum Ronnie Goss could have been forgiven for having her mind elsewhere as she competed in the North Island shearing and woolhandling championships in Marton on Saturday.
Her daughter Sarah was representing New Zealand in the IRB Women's Sevens in the United States at the same time.
But the Kimbolton farmer was able to focus for a few important moments as she won the open woolhandling.
She described it as a "shock" after beating former world teams champions Keryn Herbert, of Te Awamutu, and Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, in a six-person showdown during the 50th anniversary Rangitikei Shearing Sports.
It should not have been too much of a surprise, for the now 44-year-old Goss had won two titles last summer, and has been a regular top performer at Marton and former North Island championships venue Feilding. She also won the Golden Shears Open woolhandling title in 2008.
The Gosses are a shearing family, with son Simon finishing second in Saturday's intermediate shearing final to prolific winning Masterton teenager David Gordon.
Rugby-playing daughter Sarah, who scored tries against Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands in her team's opening two matches of the tournament in Houston, Texas, has had to put her shearing career on the backburner to concentrate on a sevens and university.
But, she will take up the handpiece again for a women's invitation event at the Golden Shears in Masterton from February 28 to March 2.
Sweat dripped off shearers in hot conditions during the event, which attracted some of the best shearers in the world.
Feilding's Murray Henderson joined a quality lineup in the open final, won by Rowland Smith.
Lance Waddell, who was keeping the scores and supplied the shearing machines, said he had been coming for the past 27 years and during that time shearers had got faster.
He put that down to better equipment.
Mr Waddell said the hot weather was excellent for shearers as it meant the lanolin in the wool warmed, and the wool lifted off sheep easily.
A crowd of about 120 watched, and 1200 young ewes had their wool taken off during the heats and finals through the day.
Two-metres tall 2011 New Zealand Open champion Smith made another giant leap into contention for his first Golden Shears Open title with victory in an exciting 20-sheep open final at Marton.
It was the 26-year-old Hastings-based Northland shearer's fourth win in six events in a fortnight since returning to the competition scene after honeymooning with wife and record-holding woman shearer Ingrid Baynes.
Having won at Horowhenua a fortnight ago and then a weekend double at Taihape and Rotorua last week, Smith had to rely on pen-quality points after a frantic race with Te Kuiti veterans Digger Balme and David Fagan, and Dannevirke shearer Adam Brausch.
Balme, 48, dominated at the end, finishing the 20-sheep final first in 16min 19.81sec, 14 seconds ahead of Fagan, who just pipped Smith, with Brausch another three to four blows away, bouncing back strongly after the disappointment of an aborted world record attempt last week.
Ultimately, Smith won by less than a point from the 51-year-old Fagan, who on Friday nudged even closer to a career tally of 620 open-class wins with a victory at the Dannevirke A&P Show, his third of the season.
Results of the 50th anniversary Rangitikei Sports Shears at Marton on Saturday:
Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 16min 34.37sec, 63.269pts, 1; David Fagan (Te Kuiti) 16min 33.98sec, 64.149pts, 2; Adam Brausch (Dannevirke) 16min 37.39sec, 65.42pts, 3; Digger Balme (Te Kuiti) 16min 19.81sec, 67.941pts, 4; Murray Henderson (Feilding) 17min 39.73sec, 68.337pts, 5; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 18min 31.74sec, 71.937pts, 6.