INDEPENDENT NEWS

First win in eight years for the big man

Published: Mon 30 Nov 2009 11:16 AM
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On behalf of Shearing Sports New Zealand
November 30, 2009
First win in eight years for the big man


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Jerome McCrea, the Wanganui shearer who on Saturday had his first win in eight years, by beating World champion paul Avery at Stratford. McCrea was pictured in action at the Central Hawke's Bay Show in Waipukurau on November 14.
Shearing has seen one of its more popular wins with Wanganui gun Jerome McCrea beating World champion Paul Avery on the champion's home stage in Stratford.
A serious knee injury once had 35-year-old McCrea thinking his shearing was over for good, and he hadn't won a title in eight years until his triumph in an 18-sheep final at the Stratford A and P Show on Saturday, but now he's after the big one - the next World championships in Wales next July.
"That's the lure," he said. "Everyone's going for it."
Re-entering the competition scene only last January, the journey really started when after less than two months he qualified for the six-man Golden Shears open final in Masterton, sharing the drama of the comeback 16th win by King Country icon David Fagan, at the age of 47.
McCrea had reached the final in his last season of shearing in 2002, when his abilities as a shearer were almost concealed by his image as a monster biker, on his beloved Harley Davidson.
But he said after his win at the weekend the bike had been gone at least three years, replaced by a boat, and he's working on shedding the extra kilos which once propped-up the profile.
Once over 100kg, but having been fit enough to become one of Wanganui's top rugby referees, he's been in the gym and is down to 91kg, but reckons there's more to come-off yet.
"After the Golden Shears I decided to get into-it, and lose a bit of weight," he said. "Life's not much fun if you're overweight."
His two Golden Shears finals are the highlights of his career, especially the big night 10 months ago.
"I did give myself a chance of making it," he said. "Everyone else was saying I couldn't."
He followed-up the fifth placing in Masterton by reaching the North Island Shearer of theYear final and the New Zealand open semi-final in Te Kuiti, and this season, chasing the competitions around the country and including three trips to the South Island, he had been sixth in the New Zealand Corriedale final won by Fagan in Christchurch, and third to Avery in Nelson a week before Saturday's win, which he secured with the better qualifying points after Avery won the race by six seconds.
Avery, who had won his home event more times than he could remember, incurred significiant penalties for a cut about two-thirds of the way through the contest, watched by a crowd tightly packed under cover as rain disrupted much of the rest of the show, but in the end-result it didn't matter.
"Jerome had a blitzer," said the 42-year-old Avery after what was the last event on the Shearing Sports New Zealand calendar before Christmas.
It leaves a six-week break until his defence of the national lambshearing title at Raglan when the competition season resumes on January 9, but Avery will be looking for as much shearing as possible to get ready for his own bid for a chance to defend his World title, with the race for New Zealand's two positions now shaping as the keenest since the first world shearing championships were held 32 years ago.
Although runner-up on Saturday, it was still a proud day for Avery, who watched 15-year-old son David compete for the first time. Having shorn less than a hundred sheep in his life, the teenager was third in the novice event.
Having spent two years building, and running a stock pregnancy testing business in the winter, and done some contracting, McCrea is also turning his shearing shearing journey back into a family thing with sons Jack, 11, and Brad, 9, and wife Tanya regular travelling companions on the journeys which in the North Island have seen hiom also competing in Gisborne and Hawke's Bay.
"They are loving it," he said.
Results from the Stratford A & P Show at Stratford on Saturday, November 29, 2009:
Open (18 sheep): Jerome McCrea (Wanganui) 15min 19sec, 55.16pts, 1; Paul Avery (Stratford) 15min 13sec, 56.58pts, 2; Shane Rawlinson (Matau) 16min 16sec, 62.51pts, 3.
Senior (10 sheep): David Hape (Dannevirke) 12min 3sec, 41.95pts, 1; Phillip Rangiwai (Mataura) 12min 58sec, 50.5pts, 2; Joseph Maher (Taihape) 12min 59sec, 51.25pts, 3.
Intermediate (6 sheep: Ian Howe (Uriti) 9min 45sec, 36.91pts, 1; Nathan Gleeson (Stratford) 9min 55sec, 40.25pts, 2; Haven Matthews (Whanganui) 12min 10sec, 44.66pts, 3.
Junior (4 sheep): Cushla Gordon (Masterton) 10min 51sec, 43.05pts, 1; Dougan Butler (Inglewood) 8min 54sec, 43.45pts, 2; Daniel Bishop (Te Popo) 9mi n 45sec, 48.5pts, 3.
Novice (1 sheep): Manahi Fox (Masterton) 5min 42sec, 30.1pts, 1; Chris Hay (Whanganui) 2mni 56sec, 31.8pts, 2; David Avery (Stratford) 4min 9sec, 42.5pts, 3.
ENDS

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