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Smith hottest of favourites for Golden Shears title

Reigning Golden Shears champion Rowland Smith is expected to go into his defence of the title as possibly the hottest favourite to win the glamour event after completing a rare winning treble over the weekend.

Smith won the Open finals at the Taumarunui Shears on Friday, the Apiti Sports on Saturday and the Pahiatua Shears on Sunday, just a week after completing a career century of wins with another weekend treble – the South Island Shearer of the Year and Southern Shears Open titles in Gore and the Counties Shears at Pukekohe.

He's had nine wins in a row since his last defeat at the Rotorua A and P Show four weeks ago, the wins including the Southland All Nations International Open final in Invercargill, a support event at the World Championships for which he had missed selection in the New Zealand team.

It was again a commanding performance by Smith on Sunday as he won by almost 4 points from four-times Golden Shears champion, fellow Hawke's Bay shearer and new World champion John Kirkpatrick. Third was 2006 Golden Shears champion Dion King.

Although King was first to finish the 20-sheep final, taking 17min 6.83sec, Smith made up the time-points deficit and more with clearly the best quality points.

Waipawa shearer Aaron Bell loomed large as the favourite for the Golden Shears Senior final, adding a win at Pahiatua to a win at Taumarunui on Friday and second place on Saturday at Apiti to Whangamomona shearer Darren Alexander. Bell also won in Invercargill, in the All Nations Senior final, and was third in the Golden Shears Senior final last year.

They were separated on Sunday by Taumarunui shearetr Conan Te Kene, adding another dimension to the Senior-grade prospects at the Golden Shears in Masterton.

Cody Greig, of Levin, won the Intermediate final by just over two-tenths of a point from Connor Puha, of Kimbolton, while Mark Ferguson, of Elsthorpe, won the Junior final by just under half a point from runner-up Paora Moanaroa, of Eletahuna.

Results from the Pahiatua Shears on Sunday, February 26, 2017:

Open final (20 sheep): Rowland Smith (Hastings) 17min 19.57sec, 60.229pts, 1; John Kirkpatrick (Napier) 17min 21.55sec, 64.028pts, 2; Dion King (Flaxmere/Alfredton) 17min 6.83sec, 64.442pts, 3; Rikihana Chase (Taihape) 17min 18.31sec, 67.466pts, 4; Aaron Haynes (Feilding) 18min 39.82sec, 68.191pts, 5; Paerata Abraham (Masterton) 17min 10.84sec, 72.742pts, 6.

Senior final (10 sheep): Aaron Bell (Waipawa) 11min 18.49sec, 43.925pts, 1; Conan Te Kene (Taumarunui) 10min 41.69sec, 44.185pts, 2; Darren Alexander (Whangamomona) 11min 11.79sec, 44.59pts, 3; Nick Greaves (England) 12min 0.95sec, 46.548pts, 4; Ricci Stevens (Napier) 11min 57.76sec, 47.388pts, 5; Paraki Puna (Napier) 12min 7.43sec, 51.572pts, 6.

Intermediate final (8 sheep): Cody Greig (Levin) 11min 3.88sec, 45.444pts, 1; Connor Puha (Kimbolton) 12min 3.03sec, 45.652pts, 2; George Olof (England) 12min 12.87sec, 47.894pts, 3; John James (Wales) 12min 26.93sec, 48.347pts, 4; Laura Bradley (Woodville) 11min 52.32sec, 48.491pts, 5; Sean Gouk (Taupo) 12min 37.14sec, 6.

Junior final (5 sheep): Mark Ferguson (Elsthorpe) 10min 5.66sec, 37.683pts, 1; Paora Moanaroa (Eketahuna) 8min 30.53sec, 38.127pts, 2; Anne-Lise Humstad (Norway) 9min 57.97sec, 39.699pts, 3; Cullum Pritchard (Pongaroa) 9min 18.26sec, 39.913pts, 4; Darren Bryant (Levin) 10min 5.99sec, 41.1pts, 5; Mark Baxter (Pongaroa) 10min 20.6sec, 47.83pts, 6.