Shearing: Rowland Smith smashes world record

Rowland Smith in action at an earlier event. Photo/File
Rowland Smith in action at an earlier event. Photo/File

Hawke's Bay shearer Rowland Smith has emulated older brother Matthew by smashing a world shearing record in England.

Finishing at 4am today NZST, the 30-year-old father-of-two shore 644 romney and crossbred ewes in eight hours at Trefranck Farm, near St Clether, in Cornwall, beating the previous record of 605 set by Invercargill shearer Leon Samuels in Southland on February 20 this year.

It was the latest in a string of World shearing records in the family, including the ultimate record of 731 ewes in nine hours by Matthew Smith at Tefranck on July 26 last year.

In January 2011, Rowland Smith, who grew up around Ruawai in Northland and now farms a small block at Maraekakaho, near Hastings, shore 562 in a two-stand eight-hour record of 1066 with second brother Doug at Waitara Station, between Napier and Taupo, and a year earlier Matthew had set a solo eight-hour record of 578 on the same property.

Rowland Smith's wife, Ingrid (nee Baynes) had also been in on the action in a King Country woolshed in January 2009 when she set a women's solo-eight-hour lambs record of 470 while also claiming a two-stand record of 903 with mother Marg Baynes, of Wairoa.

The record-breaking family members were all present as the latest milestone unfolded, the two-metres-tall Rowland Smith always comfortably ahead of the target as he shore four consecutive two-hour runs of 161 each.

The previous record for a two-hour run during an eight-hour record was 153, shorn by Samuels pre-lunch during his success and by Te Kuiti hearer Stacey Te Huia post-lunch when he set a record of 603 in December 2010.

While Smith averaged 44.72 seconds a sheep caught, shorn and despatched, and with cutter changes every 15 minutes, the shearing time on the sheep, each carrying over 3kg of wool, regularly cut under 35 seconds.

In his record five months ago Samuels shore successive two-hour runs of 149, 153, 151 and 152, averaging 47.6 seconds a sheep.

A message posted on behalf of Samuels on facebook pre-shear offered best wishes as thousands of shearing sports followers around the World settled-in to watch live-streamingof the record which started at 7am local time and finished at 5pm, with half-hour breaks for morning and afternoon smoko and an hour for lunch.

"Enjoy it, embrace it, because days like this don't come around too often," the post said. "You and your team have our full support. Best of Luck."

Up and coming Te Kuiti shearer Jack Fagan, who long with father and shearing legend Sir David Fagan was at the record bid, predicted beforehand Smith was capable of shearing 640 on the smooth-combing sheep.

The record was shorn under the close control of judges Eddie Archer, of South Africa, John Fraser, of New Zealand, and Welsh officials Arwyn Jones and Martyn David, while a large team of helpers included woolhandlers Leanna Wharerau, of Hastings, and Gwennan Paewai, of Wales.

There'll be little letting-up for Smith who on Wednesday and Saturday, at the Royal Welsh Show and the Corwen Shears respectively, joins New Zealand teammate John Kirkpatrick in a bid to draw the CP Wool UK Tour's four-match series against Wales, which the Welsh already lead 2-0.

- The Country

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