Star shearer home after testing tour

22:41, Aug 01 2012

New Zealand shearing representative Nathan Stratford reckons he's like a bottle of wine - getting better with age.

Stratford was last night welcomed home at Invercargill Airport by his wife, Lisa, and children Seb, 5 and Lexie, 9 months, after a six-week tour of Britain with the national shearing team.

New Zealand drew test series against Scotland and Wales and beat Northern Ireland in a one-off test match.

However, a test against England was cancelled because of wet weather.

A highlight for Stratford was winning the open final in the 20-lamb Corwen Shears event in Wales - his first international victory.

It was also the first time the 38-year-old had represented New Zealand on the British tour after trying to make the team for about seven years, he said.

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"[I am] getting better with age, so they reckon, like a bottle of wine," he said.

The tour was all he expected, with the Kiwi team shearing in front of crowds of 3000-plus screaming fans which made for a great atmosphere and intense competition.

However, Stratford was now looking forward to spending time with his family.

"It's great to be home," the international representative said. evan.harding@stl.co.nz

The Southland Times