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Woolhandling surprise at World champs

The Cook Islands has emerged as an unlikely World shearing and woolhandling championships hope after Southlander Tina Elers' performance to lead a field of 34 after the first round of the woolhandling championship in Invercargill's ILT Stadium today.

Elers,, from Mataura, was in the same heat as 2012 champion and New Zealand Master Woolhandler Joel Henare and managed to avoid the glare shone on the warm favourite for the event.

But at the end she was in front after the lambswool round, Henare surprisingly being only seventh going into the second round tomorrow on fullwool, after which the top eight, based on points combined from the two rounds, will go to the semi-final.

Cook Islands had already been performing impressively, with Waipawa shearer Aaron Bell maintaining a place in the top 12 in the machine shearing championship with a round to go before the top 12 shearersd are identified for the semi-finals.

Second place today was held by new Australian representative Sophie Huff, with second New Zealand representative Mary-Anne Baty placed third.

The top 12 in the first round were : Tina Elers (Mataura) 45.07pts, 1; Sophie Huff (Australia) 49.768pts, 2; Mary-Anne Baty (New Zealand) 50.63pts, 3; Jonathon Haakul (Norway) 54.22pts, 4; Mel Morris (Australia) 63.28pts, 5; Adele LeMercier (France) 66.47pts, 6; Joel Henare (New Zealand) 68.12pts, 7; Robyn Charlton (Wales) 72.93pts, 8; Rachel Lumley (England) 73.25pts, 9; Audrey Lamb (Scotland) 74.25pts, 10; Taoya Rossel (Spain) 75.53pts, 11; Margaret Passino (USA) 79.59pts, 12.