by Chris Tobin
It was a proud moment for South Canterbury in Le Dorat, France, early on Monday (NZtime) as Geraldine’s Allan Oldfield (28) clipped his way to a world blade-shearing championship title. His teammate, Fairlie’s Tony Dobbs, placed fourth.
The two men had earlier combined to take the teams world title.
“So stoked to have come away with the world title and also the teams blade title with Tony in France,” Oldfield, who was making his first appearance in the world championships, commented on his Facebook page.
“A massive thanks to everyone who helped me get here and for those supporting me, especially my wonderful partner Yana and my father for training me and being there with me.
“Thanks to my brother for travelling to France to support me, to my mother and the rest of my family and other supporters around the world watching on livestream at crazy hours of the day and night.
“I’ve made lots of new friends and caught up with old ones. I look forward to doing it all again in Scotland in three years.”
More than 90 people offered their congratulations on his Facebook page, including Dobbs who had been beating Oldfield in competitions in New Zealand last summer.
“Great result, was great to be a part of history with you,” said Dobbs, who was runner-up in the world championships in Invercargill two years ago. Oldfield’s father Phil was third in that event.
The veteran Dobbs is also a former world champion, having won the title in 1988 and coming third in Gore in 2014.
Oldfield showed good form going into the competition, winning the Lochearnhead Shears in Scotland, and in winning in Le Dorat he eclipsed defending champion Mayenseke Shweni of South Africa.
The other triumph for New Zealand at the championships was in the teams woolhandling final, where Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, and Pagan Karauria, of Alexandra, maintained New Zealand’s stranglehold on the title.
There was some disappointment for the New Zealand team. For only the third time in the history of the championships, which began in 1977, New Zealand did not win either of the machine-shearing titles.
New Zealand team manager Ken Payne, of Balclutha, said it had been tough.
“We always knew the different sheep breeds and types of wool would be a challenge. Then there was the heatwave across Europe, about which we heard plenty while we were in Scotland for the Lochearnhead Shears beforehand.
“There were long days, up at 6am and not home before 10pm, and I think everyone had difficulty sleeping because of the heat. It was 32 degrees (Celsius) at 1am on our first night.”
All team members were physically drained and exhausted early in the week, but it would have been no different for most of the other teams, he said.
Results: Individual final (6 sheep): Allan Oldfield (New Zealand) 12min 29sec, 58.45pts, 1; Mayenseke Shweni (South Africa) 14min 48sec, 63.4pts, 2; Bonile Rabela (South Africa) 15min 42sec, 71.437pts, 3; Tony Dobbs (New Zealand) 15min 30sec, 73.667pts, 4; Johnathon Dalla (Australia) 14min 49sec, 79.783pts, 5; Andrew Mudge (England) 16min 26sec, 86.8pts, 6.
Teams final (six sheep): New Zealand (Tony Dobbs/Allan Oldfield) 1; South Africa (Bonile Rabela/Mayenseke Shweni) 2; England (Andrew Mudge/George Mudge) 3; Australia (Johnathon Dalla/Ken French) 4; Ireland (Peter Heraty/Martin Hopkins) 5; Scotland (Mark Armstrong/Brian Perks) 6.
Machine shearing individual final (20 sheep): Richard Jones (Wales) 15min 30sec, 57.8pts, 1; Rowland Smith (New Zealand) 14min 32sec, 57.95pts, 2; Cam Ferguson (New Zealand) 14min 48sec, 59.8pts, 3.
Teams final (20 sheep): Scotland (Gavin Mutch/Calum Shaw) 14min 36sec, 56.7pts, 1; Wales (Alun Lloyd Jones/Richard Jones) 16min 57sec, 58.25pts, 2; New Zealand (Cam Ferguson/Rowland Smith) 16min 13sec, 61.8pts, 3.
Woolhandling individual final: Aled Jones (Wales) 121pts, 1; Rosie Keenan (Scotland) 130.6pts, 2; Pagan Karauria (New Zealand) 141.3pts, 3; Sheree Alabaster (New Zealand) 149.7pts, 4.
Teams final: New Zealand (Sheree Alabaster/Pagan Karauria) 165.7pts, 1; Scotland (Rosie Keenan/Audrey Lamb) 187.3pts, 2; France (Lucie Grancher/Adele Lemercier) 193.7pts, 3.