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Woolhandler Henare bounces back for 5th Lumsden title in row

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Retirement after 10 years of top international sport seemed great for multiple World, Golden Shears and New Zealand woolhandling champion Joel Henare.

But being back may be even greater for the 28-year-old father-of-three and defending Golden Shears Open champion, who, having barely taken a break, todaywon his fifth-consecutive Northern Shears Open title today at Lowther, Five Rivers, near Lumsden.

Having initially come back for the national Corriedale championships in Chritchurch in November, and finishing second, Henare confirmed immediately after championing the fleece of the longwool ewes today that he’ll back-up defending the national crossbred lambs woolhandling title in Winton on tomorrow (Saturday).

Southland has been good to him, it being where he won the World individual and teams titles in 2017, repeating a double he scored in Masterton in 2012.

The other big winner on the day was North Canterbury-based Southland shearer Troy Pyper who won the 20-sheep shearing final by just 0.21pts from fellow New Zealand representative David Buick, of Pongaroa, in northern Wairarapa.

Leon Samuels, of Ohai, took third place overall, but with fastest time of 17min 4848.83sec, pipping Pyper by just under five seconds. Defending champion Brett Roberts, of Mataura, was fourth.

The Senior shearing final was won by Brandon Maguire Ratima, of Winton, the Intermediate final provided the first South Island win for Daniel Biggs, of Mangamahu Valley, north of Whanganui, and the Junior final was won by James Wilson, of Ryall Bush.

The Senior woolhandling final was won by Sarah Davis, of Rerewhakaiitu, near Rotorua, and the Junior woolhandling final was won by Balclutha-based Heaven Little.

It was a big day for Japanese shearer and woolhandler Yuki Yamamoto, who from almost 90 shearers and woolhandlers in the championships was the only one to contest both shearing and woolhandling.

She was runner-up in the Junior woolhandling final and scored the best quality marks in the Junior shearing heats but did not reach the final.

Aged 33 and from Nagoya, she has also worked in Scotland and Australia, and stacking up the competition appearances, and had been placed third in a Junior shearing final at Reefton in 2018.

Following in the footsteps of trailblazing Japanese shearer Shun Oishi, she said: "I love everything about the shearing work, especially the team working together."

She will be returning to Australia soon, and then Japan to teach others to shear.

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