IT was a nail-biting finish at the Zoetis/RUAS National Sheep Shearing championships at Balmoral Show. Jack Robinson from Claudy and Tom Perry from Strabane fought furiously to “beat the clock” when shearing the 11 sheep presented.
Encouraged by the capacity crowd at the final, where there was standing room only, Jack Robinson had his 11 sheep shorn in 10.09 minutes with Tom Perry following closely with a time of 10.26 minutes. An impressive result considering the condition of the sheep this year, following the mild winter and spring.
The speed of shearing was not the only element being assessed. Teams of judges supervised each competitor closely during the shearing and inspected the wool and sheep afterwards. When the judges added their points for wool quality, shearing technique and the safety of the sheep to the timing results it was again Jack Robinson who took the lead.
Jack will now captain the NI team at the Six Nations’ Shearing Championships at the Royal Welsh Show in August, which will include second placed Tom Perry and third placed Ian Montgomery from Ballymena.
Fourth place at the Zoetis/RUAS National Shearing Championships was taken by James McAuley, Ballyclare, with Jonathan McKelvey, Castlederg, in fifth place and William Jones, Templepatrick, in sixth place.
This is the sixth year in succession for Jack Robinson to win the National Final at Balmoral. This feat is made even more impressive given that Jack’s focus is no longer primarily on sheep shearing and is instead on the running of the home farm and his young family. Jack actively supports young shearers hone their skills, hosting courses in conjunction with Ulster Wool Board and the Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster on his farm.
He commented: “Shearing is physically demanding, and technique is vitally important if we are to maintain and improve the quality of local wool. I am impressed by the enthusiasm of the young shearers who attend the courses.”
Paul Redmond, from the sponsors Zoetis, the manufacturers of Cydectin, congratulated all of the shearers in the final and presented them with their awards. He said that the company was delighted to be associated with the skills and enthusiasm portrayed in the competition and its popularity with the general public.