Northland shearer Toa Henderson again sounded a warning he means business with a round-trip of 1400kms to win the Central Hawke’s Bay A and P Show’s Open shearing final on Saturday.
It was just a 48-hour trip, leaving midday Friday from home in Kaiwaka, between Auckland and Whangarei, and back again on Sunday, ready to be back work in the woolshed at 7am on Monday.
It could have been earlier, but he said: “Not enough sheep up here for 5am any more. I wish it was.”
It wasn’t the first successful central districts raid for Henderson, who made similar trips to win the Apiti Open final, north of Feilding, at the end of February 2020, and the Poverty Bay Gisborne Shears title the following October, and winning the Open title.
Having been a particularly lower grades shearer, including a Golden Shears Junior final and finishing runner-up to brother Tane Henderson in the 2008 Senior final before moving to West Australia for about 10 years, there’s little to hide a goal to be back there again; making the top six for Golden Shears final, and, per chance, winning it.
Golden Shears favourite and Hawke’s Bay show winner Rowland Smith, who grew up in Northland, wasn’t among the 16 starters on Saturday, from which Henderson made it into the top eight for the semi-final by just one place, and by just 0.15pts into the final.
It was in the top four, shearing 20 sheep each, that Henderson, on Stand four, found his gear, up against three others who had also done a bit of travelling in the last 24 hours.
Former World and Golden Shears champion, Scotland international and Southern Hawke’s Bay farmer Gavin Mutch, and Masterton shearers Paerata Abraham and brother-in-law David Gordon had all shorn the previous day at the Canterbury Shears in Christchurch, but showed they were ready for the race which was shaping as one of the great finals, with everyone having a lick at the lead.
A recurring shoulder injury saw Mutch withdraw with about eight sheep remaining, and Henderson established a lead soon at the other end of the board and finished in 17min 49sec, 16 seconds ahead of Abraham, with Gordon finishing in 18min 19sec.
Henderson had the better quality and finished with a comfortable margin of 3.81pts.
“It was good once I settled down and got a bit of a lead,” Henderson said. “I did just what I needed too for the win, and I’m just slowly learning more what I need to do when I get to finals. I’m really starting to feel good now when I do get to them.”
He hopes to make another trip south to the Taranaki Shears in Stratford on November 26, do the Whangarei A and P Show shears a week later, and as many as he can in the New Year to get in trim for the Golden Shears in Masterton on March 2-4.
Gordon’s brothers,, Joseph and Adam, had to settle and second and third places respectively in the Senior final, which was won by Daniel Biggs, of Mangamahu, but there was a win for family when Samantha Gordon claimed the Open woolhandling title, just her second Open victory.
She won the Rangitikei Shearing Sports Open woolhandling final in February 2021, and is following in the footsteps of sister Cushla Abraham, who has this season won the New Zealand Merino Shears title in Alexandra and the Wairarapa A and P Show final, and is in the New Zealand team for a transtasman woolhandling test match on November 24.
Runner-up in the final on Saturday was 2017 World championships runner-up Mary-Anne Baty, with Ngaira Puha, of Kimbolton, third and multiple World titles winner Sheree Alabaster, of Taihape, was fourth.
The Intermediate shearing final continued the good form for Gisborne shearer and winner Dylan Young, while Reuben Crawford, from Northland but soon exiting two years as a student at the Smedley cadet training farm west of Waipukurau, and planning to shearing to “see the country”, was a surprise Junior final winner, with Hawke’s Bay and Wairarapa shows winner Cheyden Winiata, of Nuhaka, in the showdown, along with wo others in their third seasons of competition.
Former Golden Shears Junior woolhandling winner Te Anna Philips, of Taumarunui, won Saturday’s Senior final, and the Junior woolhandling final provided a first win for Tatijana Keefe, of Raupunga.
The good entry of 127 shearers was highlighted by the number of newcomers among the 14 in the Novice grade, won by Lachie Cameron, from Ashhurst, and 22 in the Junior class. Alice Anderson, of Waipukurau, won the Novice woolhandling.
Results from the Central Hawke’s Bay A and P Show Shears at Waipukurau on Saturday, November 12, 2022:
Open final (20 sheep): Toa Henderson (Kaiwaka) 17min 29sec, 64.74pts, 1; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 17min 45sec, 68.55pts, 2; David Gordon (Masterton) 18min 19sec, 68.9pts, 3; Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Dannervirke) DNF, 4.
Senior final (8 sheep): Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 9min 47sec, 40.725pts, 1; Joseph Gordon (Masterton) 9min 31sec, 42.55pts, 2; Adam Gordon (Masterton) 9min 47sec, 44.475pts, 3; Paul Swann (Wairoa) 9min 51sec, 45.675pts, 4.
Intermediate final (5 sheep): Dylan Young (Gisborne) 6min 45sec, 35.85pts, 1; Bruce Grace (Napier) 8min 24sec, 40pts, 2; Josh Devane (Taihape) 8min 43sec, 42.35pts, 3; Mollie Moffett (Bay View) 9min 57sec, 43.45pts, 4.
Junior final (3 sheep): Reuben Crawford (Tikokino) 6min 46sec, 38.3pts, 2; Ryka Swann (Wairoa) 5min 52sec, 40.6pts, 2; Cheyden Winiata (Nuhaka) 7min 17sec, 43.5167pts, 3; Emma Kendrick (Feilding) 9min 30sec, 43.8222pts, 4.
Novice (1 sheep): Lachie Cameron (Ashhurst) 5min 25sec, 28.25pts, 1; Ashlin Swann (Wairoa) 7min 30sec, 31.5pts, 2; James Robinson (Waipukurau) 4min 11sec, 39.55pts, 3; Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 4min 16sec, 40.8pts, 4.
Open final: Samantha Gordon (Masterton) 159.9pts, 1; Mary-Anne Baty (Gisborne) 175.9pts, 2; Ngaira Puha (Apiti) 186.7pts, 3; Sheree Alabaster (Taihape) 229.9pts, 4.
Senior final: Te Anna Phillips (Taumarunui) 102.14pts, 1; Sarah Davis (Rerewhakaaitu) 123.28pts, 2; Tira Ngarangione (Gisborne) 129.68pts, 3; Summer Pritchard (Pongaroa) 134.06pts, 4.
Junior final: Tatijana Keefe (Raupunga) 76.7pts, 1; Te Whetu Brown (Wairoa) 104.76pts, 2; Tre Ratana Sciascia (Feilding) 120.66pts, 3; Mikayla Reihana (Dannevirke) 184.2pts, 4.
Novice: Alice Anderson (Waipukurau) 59.1pts, 1; Kendra Ngarangione (Gisborne) 63.94pts, 2; Ngahuia Salmond (Te Kuiti) 79.8pts, 3; Kalyah Ferguson (Otane) 99.1pts, 4.