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National shearing circuit showdown gualifiers named

The son of the most successful national shearing circuit champion is looming as a challenger to add his own name to a winner’s last which dates back 51 years.

Jack Fagan, of Te Kuiti, has qualified in second place for the 2024 PGG Wrightson Vetmed National Shearing Circuit top 12 shootout on the last day of the Golden Shears which start in Masterton on Thursday and end on Saturday.

He was sixth in the final last year and third in 2022.

The event incorporates the McSkimming Memorial Triple Crown, which was first presented in 1973, and in a career of more than 640 Open victories worldwide was won nine times by Sir David Fagan, in 1986, 1988, 1992, 1995, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2008.

Based on points for placings in heats at five rounds on different types of wool during the summer, the top dozen was decided at the second-shear round at the Pahiatua Shears on Sunday.

Two-times winner and 19-times finalist Nathan Stratford, of Invercargill, was reaffirmed as favourite, having received maximum points at Alexandra (finewooled merino) in September, Waimate (longwool) in October, and Christchurch (corriedale) in November, and second-best points on lambs at Marton four weeks ago, and at Pahiatua.

Top points at Pahiatua were scored by Kaiwaka shearer and eventual Pahiatua Shears Open final winner Toa Henderson, who had started the series with just the single starter’s point at the New Zealand Merino Shears in Alexandra.

With all points counted, 2021 winner Leon Samuels, was in third place, 2019 winner Paerata Abrahan, of Masterton was in fourth place, and Henderson in fifth.

A countback to placings at Alexandra was needed to decide the last qualifier, with Marlborough shearer Duncan Higgins getting the nod ahead of Gore shearer Lionel Taumata, after the pair was tied on the lower-than-usual threshold of 12points for the series.

The qualifying points now count for nothing, with the outcome decided after two semi-final heats on three of the wool types on Saturday morning and the top-six final on three sheep on each of the series’ five types on Saturday night.

Reigning champion Angus Moore, of Seddon, did not contest this season’s series, from which the top 12 include Samuels, Mataura shearer Brett Roberts, Stratford and Fagan from last year’s final.

The winner will be an automatic selection in the 2024-2025 New Zealand transtasman series team, and a year’s lease of a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, sponsored by PGG Wrightson, which is in its 22nd as major sponsor of the event.

Points and placings for the 12 qualifiers: Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 58pts, 1; Jack Fagan (Te Kuiti) 38pts, 2; Leon Samuels (Invercargill/Roxburgh) 37pts, 3; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 33pts, 4; Toa Henderson (Kaiwaka) 33pts, 5; David Gordon (Masterton) 30pts, 6; Brett Roberts (Mataura) 22pts, 7; James Ruki (Te Kuiti) 19pts, 8; Duncan Leslie (Owaka) 18pts, 9; Dionn Morrell (Alexandra) 17pts, 10; Hugh De Lacy (Rangiora) 16pts, 11; Duncan Higgins (Blenheim) 12pts, 12.

Other points: Lionel Taumata (Gore) 12pts, 13; Alex Smith (Rakaia) 10pts, 14; Chris Dickson (Masterton) 10pts, 15; Adam Gordon (Masterton) 9pts, 16; Corey Battowcliffe (Piopio) 8pts, 17; Floyde Neil (Taumarunui/Boyup Brook WA) 6pts, 18; Kyle Mita (Masterton) 2pts, 19.

 

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