Former World Champ Bounces Back From Shoulder Operation To Win Taranaki Shears Title

Published: Sun 26 Nov 2023 02:59 PM
Former World and Golden Shears champion Gavin Mutch, recovering from a shoulder operation 12 weeks ago, returned to the old stamping-ground of Taranaki to win the Taranaki Shears Open shearing final at the Stratford A and P Show on Saturday.
Now managing a farm in Southern Hawke’s Bay, the Scotland international is in his 25th season in New Zealand, and was based for most of the time at Whangamomona.
He was Shearing Sports New Zealand’s No 1-ranked Senior shearer in 2001-2002 and has now won 26 Open finals in New Zealand, including the 2012 World Championship final and in 2015 becoming the only non-New Zealand shearer to win the Golden Shears Open final, but he has won in 11 different countries.
His other wins in New Zealand include the 2020 New Zealand Corriedales Championship in Christchurch, the 2022 New Zealand Spring Shears title in Waimate, 3 at the Stratford show, and 1 in the Taranaki Shears when they were held as a separate event in the town’s Town Hall.
After 4 wins last season, it was his first win of 2023-2024, which has now produced 10 different winners in 15 Open finals throughout the country since the start of the season at Alexandra 2 months ago.
Always good for a crack at the pace, Mutch was pipped for time-honours by multi-stand World record hopeful and comparative competition rooky Trevor Holland, of Inglewood, in a four-man final over 15 sheep on Saturday.
Holland, who is preparing for his part in a five-stand record on strongwool lambs in Southland on January 14, cleaned them up in 13min 6sec, but Mutch, finishing 13 seconds later, had the better quality to turn the tables in the final count and win by 1.8834pts. Mark Grainger, of Te Kuiti, was 3rd, and 4th place went to first-year Open shearer Daniel Biggs, of Mangamahu.
Kapua Brown, of Taumarunui, added the Senior title to the Spring Shears title he won in Waimate on October 7, and Patea shearer Blake Mitchell, who had his first win in July at the Corwen Shears in Wales claimed his first title in New Zealand by winning the Intermediate final by more than 4pts from runner-up and Southland shearer Cody Waihape, who won a final at Pleasant Point earlier this month.
Napier shearer Kaivah Cooper travelled across-island for his 5th Junior win of the season, while Alex Jansen, of Stratford, won the Novice final on a day notable for the turnout, with 77 entries across the 5 classes, compared with 50 last year.
Afterwards, Marton shearer Jimmy Samuels won the Toko Rughby Club’s Open speedshear, his 67th win in the shearing sports short-form, coming on the back of two recent win in Australia.
The last competitions before Christmas are shearing-only championships at the Whangarei and Rotorua A and P shows next Saturday.
Results from the Taranaki Shears at the Stratford A and P Show on Saturday, November 26, 2023:
Open final (15 sheep): Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Dannevirke) 13min 19sec, 48.2833pts, 1; Trevor Holland (Inglewood) 13min 6sec, 50.1667pts, 2; Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti) 14min 8sec, 50.2pts, 3; Daniel Biggs (Mangamahu) 15min 1sec, 53.85pts, 4.
Senior final (8 sheep): Kapua Brown (Taumarunui) 9min 24sec, 38.33pts, 1; Bruce Grace (Wairoa/Napier) 10min 16sec, 39.8pts, 2; Aiden Tarrant (Taumarunui) 10min 10sec, 41.25pts; Forde Alexander (Taumarunui) 11min 19sec, 43.58pts, 4.
Intermediate final (6 sheep): Blake Mitchell (Patea) 8min 34sec, 35.7pts, 1; Cody Waihape (Mataura) 10min 27sec, 40.18pts, 2; Coby Lambert (Napier) 10min 12sec, 44.93pts, 3; Lydia Thomson (Rangiora) 11min 39sec, 45.78pts, 4.
Junior final (4 sheep): Kaivah Cooper (Napier) 7min 5sec, 30.5pts, 1; Joel Burton (Taumarunui) 7min 15sec, 33.75pts, 2; Gevius (Gevo) Hughes (Taumarunui) 7min 9sec, 35.95pts, 3; Lachie Cameron (Pohangina) 9min 3sec, 38.65pts, 4.
Novice final (1 sheep): Alex Jansen (Stratford) 3min 32sec, 33.6pts, 1; Joe Smith (Stratford) 4min 19sec, 36.95pts, 2; Jorge Coplestone (Mangamingi) 3min 25sec, 37.25pts, 3; Beth Kerley (Wairoa) 9min 48sec, 47.4pts, 4.

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