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Mutch post big warning in bid for second World title

Taranaki farmer and Scotland shearing World championships hope Gavin Mutch loomed large as a possibility to regain the title he won in 2012 when he lead the field after the first round of heats in Invercargill today.

Shearing on the second of the four days of the 40th anniversary World shearing and woolhandling championships in Invercargill's ILT Stadium Southland, Mutch was one of just four shearers to go under six minutes for the five lambs, posting the fastest time of 5min 34.597sec, and maintaining just enough quality to claim the No 1 seeding, with the second round on second-shear adult sheep tomorrow (Friday) and the longwool round on the busy last day which will culminate with the six-man final on Saturday night.

Mutch (pictured below), a farmer at Whangamomona whose win at tiny King Country township Aria on Waitangi Day followed a similar path to his World title win in Masterton five years ago, leads by just 0.72pts from surprise second-placed England representative Dean Nelmes.

Next is TAB favourite, Napier shearer and four-times Golden Shears Open champion John Kirkpatrick, chasing the elusive World individual World title for a fourth time, posting fourth-fastest time and best shearing board points.

The second-fastest time was recorded, remarkably by Senior grade shearer Aaron Bell,who is from Waipawa but represents Cook Islands, taking 5min 48.479sec. and was in 12th place, maintaining hopes of a place in the eventual top 12 for Saturday's semi-finals.

Just as remarkably, nine countries are currently represented among the top 12, and 12 in the top 18.

The leading contenders after the first round are: Gavin Mutch (Scotland) 1, Dean Nelmes (England) 2, John Kirkpatrick (New Zealand) 3, Nathan Stratford (New Zealand) 4, Ivan Scott (Ireland) 5, Ian Montgomery (Northern Ireland) 6, Gwion Evans (Wales) 7, Shannon Warnest (Australia) 8, Jack Robinson (Northern Ireland) 9, Lee Molkenbuhr (Falkland Islands) 10, Ian Jones (Wales) 11, Aaron Bell (Cook Islands) 12, Luis Pincol (Chile) 13, Paul Phillips (Falkland Islands) 14, Stanley Allingham (Ireland) 15, Thimoleon Resneau (France) 16, Luis Sorossal (Spain) 17, Hamish Mitchell (Scotland) 18.

For full results click here.