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Smith proves to be man for all seasons

Story by Doug Laing, Shearing Sports New Zealand.

Rowland Smith continued his relentless march towards a century of Open-class wins when he completed a weekend double with a three-point winning margin over runner-up Gavin Mutch in the Horowhenua Shears Open final on Sunday.

Third to finish the four-man, 20-sheep final in another showdown between the last two World title winners, Hastings shearer and 2014 World champion Smith made-up for a near 2pts time deficit and small board-points deficit with clearly the best points in the pens. It was his 6th win of the season and sets him up as one of the form shearers to watch in next month's All Nations Open shearing events at the 2017 World Championships in Invercargill.

Mutch, the 2012 World champion, had produced the fastest time (18min 6sec) and managed to score second-place on Sunday by 0.9pts from 2017 New Zealand representative John Kirkpatrick, the pair headed towards a big Scotland-New Zealand showdown in Southland from February 8.

With Taihape shearer Rikihana Chase fourth it was a near repeat of the result at the Wairoa A and P Show 24 hours earlier, the same group competing in each final.

Conditions, however, could hardly have been more different, with organisers in Levin doing a commendable job keeping the show running in what Wendy Rolston said was "bloody horrible" weather.

But despite the weather, entries were good in all grades except Junior, including several who'd made the near-340km journey after competing at Wairoa.

There was a big moment for Laura Bradley, of Woodville, when she had her first Intermediate win, beating multiple-show winner Anaru Wakefield, of Porangahau, on time and ultimately by 0.4pts.

The winner of six Junior finals in 2014-2015 as well as reaching the Golden Shears and New Zealand championships finals, Sunday's showdown was her 17th final, which had included minor money in four of Wakefield's six wins this season.

Darren Alexander, of Whangamomona, won Sunday's Senior final, local Darren Bryant the Junior final, and the Novice event was won by Liam Pritchard, of Pongaroa.

Results from the Horowhenua Shears at Levin on Sunday, January 22, 2017:

Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 18min 45sec, 66.55pts, 1; Gavin Mutch (Whangamomona) 18min 6sec, 69.55pts, 2; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 19min 4sec, 70.45pts, 3; Rikihana Chase (Taihape) 18nin 41sec, 72.9pts, 4.

Senior final (10 sheep): Darren Alexander (Whangamomona) 12min 19sec, 47.45pts, 1; Aaron Bell (Marton) 12min 1sec, 48.25pts, 2; Paraki Puna (Napier) 12min 40sec, 52.7pts, 3; Tegwyn Bradley (Woodville) 12min 3sec, 57.75pts, 4.

Intermediate final (6 sheep): Laura Bradley (Woodville) 9min 13sec, 38.15pts, 1; Anaru Wakefield (Porangahau) 9min 51sec, 38.55pts, 2; Cody Greig (Levin) 8min 29sec, 41.95pts, 3; James McKenzie (Wales) 9min 9sec, 43.6167pts, 4.

Junior final (4 sheep): Darren Bryant (Levin) 10min 50sec, 46pts, 1; Annalise Hunstad (Norway) 10min 25sec, 49pts, 2; Callum Pritchard (Pongaroa) 7min 50sec, 50.75pts, 3; Nathan Handy (Whangamata) 11min 58sec, 68.65pts, 4.

Novice (2 sheep): Liam Pritchard (Pongaroa) 7min 42sec, 43.1pts, 1; Jack McKinnon (Rangiwahia) 8min 53sec, 47.15pts, 2; Cory P:routing (Levin) 6min 47sec, 48.85pts, 3; Samantha Pritchard (Pongaroa) 10min 26sec, 86.3pts, 4.