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Shearing Sports New Zealand

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Shearing Sports New Zealand

Scottish shearer and Taranaki farmer Gavin Mutch was in confident form but not making any predictions on the eve of his second attempt on the World eight-hour lambshearing record, set to start east of Stratford tomorrow (December 18) at 7.30am.

The 30-year-old father-of two, shearing in the woolshed of a Pohokura Daddle farmers Ken and Donna Lobb, is targeting the record of 736 shorn near Rotorua 12 months ago by Irish shearer Ivan Scott, the first overseas shearer to set a solo shearing record in New Zealand. Christchurch-based Scott set his record on December 19 last year, breaking the previous record of 731 set in December 2002 by Justin Bell, now farming in Southern Hawke's Bay.

Just a few days before Scott's success, Mutch abandoned his first attempt at the record with 542 lambs shorn in six hours, the target moving out of range as his own condition deteriorated. His crew's encouragement convinced him quickly that he should have another go, and he said from his home today:

"Last year was a great learning curve, it wasn't a bad experience." His determination has been evidenced by his absence from shearing competitions this season, and he said he made the decision to focus only on the record after making a one-day trip to the Poverty Bay Show in Gisborne in October, from the farm he and wife Pip lease from her family at Kohuratahi.

He stepped-up the cycling and running around the hills, but has also had a solid run of shearing to prepare him for the record bid which will be on open-faced romneys from the flocks of the Lobbs and fellow Taranaki farmer Ian Rawlinson. With his parents Moira and Neil having arrived from Huntly in Aberdeenshire for the record bid, and also Christmas and to see the latest arrival in the family, Mutch's first job will be to keep pace with Scott's tallies of 187, 185, 179 and 180 over the four two-runs into which the day is divided under rules set by the World Sheep Shearing Records Society, which has appointed three judges to oversee the quality of the shearing, including one from South Africa.

The first run is from 7.30am-9.30am, the second 10am-noon, the third 1pm-3pm, and the last 3.30pm-5...30pm, and Mutch said: "As long as I get a decent enough start I'll be happy. I'm not one of those stupid people who say they're going to go for 200 in the first run, and thenm don't do it."

The attempt is the first of three record bids so far registered with the society. Far North shearer Matt Smith has nominated January 15 for an attempt on the world eight-hour ewes record of 560 at Waitara Station, between Napier and Taupo, and Te Kuiti shearer Stacey Te Huia is set to tackle the same record four days later, near Bennydale.

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