Two New Zealand shearers working in Australia have realised a dream by qualifying for tonight’s final of the PGG Wrightson Wool National Circuit championship at the Golden Shears in Masterton.
The event is one of the two major Open shearing titles, the winner of the circuit and the winner of the Golden Shears Open championship becoming the New Zealand team for the 2018-2019 transtasman series.
The two are Ethan Pankhurst, of Masterton but based in Mortlake Vic, and Stacey Te Huia, originally from Marton and Te Kuiti but based in Forbes NSW.
Each travelled from Australia to compete in the qualifying rounds of five shows with five different types of wool since the start of the season in October, Pankhurst qualifying for this morning’s 12-man semi-finals in fourth place, and Te Huia in 12th place despite having to miss the last round at Pahiatua last week to be with his father who had taken ill.
Today, Pankhurst stepped-up even further to qualify in second place for the final, beaten only by 2014 winner and multiple New Zealand representative Nathan Stratford, and ahead of 2013 winner John Kirkpatrick, while Te Huia also stepped up and made it at No 5 in the surviving six.
Qualifiers for the final of 15 sheep and the five varying wool types, starting about 7pm, are: Nathan Stratford, Ethan Pankhurst, John Kirkpatrick, Colin O’Neill, Stacey Te Huia, Grant Smith.