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Great start for the Kiwi hope in All Nations Blades

New Zealand blade shearer Tony Dobbs has taken the first jump on his opposition for the World title by with a top performance in the Southland All Nations blade shearing championship in Invercargill today.

Dobbs, a Fairlie farmer who came out of shearing retirement to shear for New Zealand at the 2014 World Championships in Ireland and finish third, is targeting defending World champion Mayenzeke and fellow South African blades master Bangani Joel who he must beat to win the big blade shearing title at the four-day World shearing and woolhandling championships which started with the All Nations events today and end with six World Championship finals on Saturday.

Today Dobbs lined up with the South Africans among 35 in the All Nations blade shearing heats, and topped the qualifiers, heading Shweni by almost seven points, with Joel, a World blade shearing record holder, qualifying third of 12 for the semi-finals.
Dobbs had a major victory over South Africa's best in a three-way match also against Australia in Errowanbang, NSW, late in 2014 and now aims for a double in Invercargill, in the All Nations and in the World Championship blade shearing event for which the heats are on Friday.

Results from the All Nations Blade Shearing Championship heats (2 sheep each, top 12 shearer to semi-final): Tony Dobbs (New Zealand) 17min 18.239sec, 32.412pts, 1; Mayenzeke Shweni (South Africa) 8min 44.383sec, 39.219pts, 2; Bangani Joel (South Africa) 9min 12.218sec, 40.611pts, 3; Ken French (Australia) 9min 28.691pts, 4; Shane Casserly ( Balclutha, NZ) 8min 19.788sec, 42.489pts, 5; Johnathan Dalla (Australia) 10min 1.935sec, 44.097pts, 6; Allen Gemmell (Rangiora, NZ) 9min 20.53sec, 44.527pts, 7; Noel Handley (Rangiora, NZ) 8min 4.558sec, 45.228pts, 8; Peter Heraty (Ireland) 10min 56.58sec, 46.329pts, 9; Peter Race (Twizel, NZ) 8min 19.343sec, 46.467pts, 10; Peter Casserly (Balclutha, NZ) 11min 33.693sec, 49.185pts, 11; Phil Oldfield (New Zealand) 9min 25.82sec, 49.291pts, 12.