It was a bit more than a dream come true for Taranaki shearer Darren Alexander as he won the Golden Shears Senior shearing title, emulating the win by father Lloyd Alexander in 1988.
At one stage headed for a climb-up to the Open-class, in which his father also shore a Golden Shears final, the 23-year-old, Alexander held back still a couple of wins short of automatic promotion to shear one more season in the class.
But he came to wonder if his last throw of the dice might be good enough as the class compacted with shearers making finals in the grade among the most watched throughout the season.
Even after Napier shearers Paraki Puna and Ricci Stevens were eliminated in the heats, Alexander, from Whangamomona, still had to worry about such shearers as rising Waipawa gun Aaron Bell, who shore for Cook Islands at last month’s World Championships, just missing on a place in the semi-final but winning the Southland All Nations Senior title along the way.
In today’s six-man final of 12 sheep each, Alexander wondered if he would have the quality to pull it off, after beaing beaten to the button by more a whiole sheepo by both Bell and first-man off Conan Te Kene, of Taumarunu, taking 12min 26.865sec.
Bell didn’t, slipping to third, and neither did Te Kene, as Alexander won by 0.829pts from runner-up and 2016 Intermediate champion Tegwyn Bradley, of Woodville.
“I didn’t expect that after the way Aaron was going this season,” said Alexander, clutching the prized winning ribbon. “I was expecting it to be him.
Not even born when his father won, and only starting to develop an interest after learning to shear at the age of 14 and said as the winning ribbon reflected in the silver Doug Buick Memorial Tray: “I didn’t expect that after the way Aaron was going this season. I was expecting it to be him. It’s pretty cool.”
The previous biggest win was the 2014 New Zealand Championships Intermediate final in Te Kuiti.
Golden Shears Senior Shearing final (12 sheep): Darren Alexander (Whangamomona) 13min 27.36sec, 51.451pts, 1; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 13min 47.255sec, 52.280pts, 2; Aaron Bell (Waipawa) 12min 34.761sec, 52.738pts, 3; Nicholas Greaves (England) 14min 6.21sec, 56.561pts, 4; Lionel Taumata (Mataura) 13min 22.165sec, 57.358pts, 5; Conan Te Kene (Taumarunui) 12min 26.865pts, 59.509pts, 6.