Careful cuts see veteran take title
Renwick veteran shearer Chris Jones proved that speed is sometimes no substitute for quality when he won the open final at the Nelson A&P Show.
The 54-year-old finished a minute and a half behind Ikamatua's Rhys Liddell in the four-man final on Saturday, but incurred few board and outside faults to pip the younger man.
It was Jones' first title in about 20 years of trying.
"I've been coming here since the mid-1990s and this is my first win, so it's pretty sweet," he said.
He was also happy for Marlborough to get one over Nelson in their long-standing rivalry. "It's your local circuit, and these are the ones you really enjoy."
A fulltime shearer for 34 years, Jones said he found it easier the older he got, as technique became more important than strength.
Liddell, who gave up shearing six months ago to work on his father's dairy farm, finished his 20 sheep in 22 minutes and 38 seconds, only to lose to Jones by 95.150 points to 95.200.
He wasn't too disappointed, saying the only training he had done was shearing 300 sheep last week.
Jones couldn't quite complete the double for the weekend, coming second to fellow Marlburian Tony Nott in the Top of the South open competition on Sunday. The only Nelson shearer to win on Sunday was Travis Baigent in the senior final.
Although Jones finished his 20 sheep ahead of Nott in 24min 27sec, he lost by 92.150 points to 90.100.
Both are among four top of the south shearers with a chance of qualifying for New Zealand's premier all-breeds championship finals at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March. Jones is currently 10th equal with former Ikamatua shearer Jason Win, while Nott is fourth and Ward's Angus Moore third.