There’s been a boilover at the Golden Shears in Masterton tonight with new World Champion shearer John Kirkpatrick failing to reach the glamour Golden Shears Open final for only the second time in 20 years.
It was an early quarterfinals elimination for the 46-year-old four-times Golden Shears Open champion, who first shore in the “Goldies” final in 1997, having won the Intermediate final in 1993 and Senior final a year later.
Fifth in each of his first two finals, he has been no further back than third ever since, apart from 2009, when he missed a place in the top six, and 2015 when he was not competing because of a shoulder injury.
An air of drama drifted across the War Memorial Stadium as Kirkpatrick came out of the first of the five six-man Top 30 quarterfinal heats with the unlikely high score of 45.799pts, but even a correction was not enough and he was 18th, missing by over 1.3pts on a place in the top 12 for the Saturday afternoon semi-finals.
Three weeks ago, Kirkpatrick won the World Championships final in Invercargill, a dream of 15 years since 2002 when he became the first shearer to beat the great David Fagan in the Golden Shears Open final for 13 years.
The qualifiers were headed by 2006 champion Dion King, formerly of Flaxmere and now giving Wairarapa a big chance of claiming the big title for the first time. Hot favourite Rowland Smith, of Hastings, qualified in 6th place, and Ants Frew, of Kurow, was the only one of the 12 to reach a Golden Shears Open semi-final for the first time.
In order of qualification, the 12 vying for a place in shearing’s most-revered top six tomorrow night are: Dion King (Flaxmere/Alfredton), David Buick (Pongaroa), Gavin Mutch (Scotland/Whangamomona), Aaron Haynes (Feilding), Tony Coster (Rakaia), Rowland Smith (Hastings), Darin Forde (Lornville), Nathan Stratford (Invercargill), Murray Henderson (Feilding), Paerata Abraham (Masterton), Anthony Frew (Kurow), Mark Grainger (Te Kuiti).
From Doug Laing, media officer, Shearing Sports New Zealand.
For further information: Doug Laing, media officer, Shearing Sports New Zealand, ph 0274-690644. Shearing Sports New Zealand on facebook or Pete Nikolaison, Golden Shears Media Group, <Link: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> email@example.com or phone 0064-21-488-137 or 0064-27-5788-137.