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Stratford scores big at Great Yorkshire Show

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Invercargill shearer Nathan Stratford has scored the first win of the CP Wool New Zealand Shearing team UK Tour with a classy victory at one of the biggest shows in England.

Stratford won the Great Yorkshire Open final today at Harrowgate by 1.15pts from emerging English hope Stuart Connor, but he and teammate David Buick, of Pongaroa, suffered their second defeat in two test matches on tour, when beaten by the England pair of Adam Berry and Antony Rooke.

Stratford had markedly the best quality points in ther six-man Open final and the test match, each shorn over 20 sheep per shearer.

Just fourth to finish the Open final, his quality points, particularly in the pen judging, were crucial in giving him victory by 1.15pts from runner-up and emerging English hope Stuart Connor.

Buick had to settle for fourth place after winning the race. Buick shore the 20 sheep in 15 minutes, 11 seconds ahead of second-man-off Berry.

It was Stratford’s second win in the UK, having won the Corwen Shears Open on his first New Zealand team tour of the region in 2012, and Buick’s first final on his first trip to the region.

The Kiwis had a mixed performance in the test, with Nathan having best quality points but slowest time and Buick having the fastest time but the inferior quality points, the outcome an England win by 1.3pts.

Beaten by both Scotlnd and England in the opening tests of the tour, Stratford and Buick now head for a four-test series in Wales with a big mountain to climb, New Zealand having not won the annual series in Wales since 2011.

The first test against Wales is at Cothi on July 20, the last at Corwen on July 28.

New Zealand team manager Russell Knight also had some success at the Great Yorkshire Show, as runner-up in the veterans event. He had won a veterans event at the Golden Shears in Masterton in March.

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