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Southern man gets nod for World Champs

Southland shearer Nathan Stratford has created a promoter's dream by winning a place in the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in Invercargill.

The 42-year-old with the traditional Southland accented "R" won selection in the New Zealand team in Christchurch today with a stunning second place to three-times World championships contender John Kirkpatrick, of Napier.

But more stunning was the elimination of hot-favourite and reigning World champion Rowland Smith, of Hastings, finishing third and missing selection by just 0.032pts..

They and three others had faced a gruelling 10-months, six-rounds points series to reach the final shorn over 20 sheep each at the Canterbury Show, comprising eight full-wooled sheep, six scond-shear and six lambs.

Kirkpatrick hit trouble on the first sheep and featured in a brave fightback, as 30-year-old Smith dominated the pace, pipped at the end for time honours only by second Southland hope and 2000 World Championships runner-up Darin Forde.

Forde finished in 18min 11.82sec., Smith two seconds later and Kirkpatrick next, 18 seconds further back. But Stratford was for only a brief moment in front and ultimately had still one more lamb in the pen as both Forde and Smith switched off for the last time.

The event completed the selection of the team which was named a short time later.

The CP Wool Shearing Sports New Zealand team for the 2017 World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships in ITL Stadium South, Invercargill, on February 8-11, is: machine shearers John Kirkpatrick (Napier), Nathan Stratford (Invercargill); blade shearers Tony Dobbs (Fairlie), Phil Oldfield (Geraldine); woolhandlers Joel Henare (Gisborne), Maryanne Baty (Gisborne).

The result of today's machine shearing selection final (20 sheep, first two shearers selected): John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 18min 31.25sec, 65.363pts, 1; Nathan Stratford (Invercargill) 19min 15.22sec, 67.111pts, 2; Rowland Smith (Hastings) 18min 13.85sec, 67.143pts, 3; David Buick (Pongaroa) 18min 35.16sec, 69.658pts, 4; Darin Forde (Lornville) 18min 11.82sec, 70.591pts, 5; Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 19min 15.44sec, 70.822pts, 6.

From Doug Laing, Media officer, Shearing Sports New Zealand