Devon’s world champion wool handler competes at county’s lamb shearing & dog trials event

Sheepdog champion Jed Watson

Sheepdog champion Jed Watson

First published in Farmer

The reigning world champion wool handler, Devon-based Hilary Bond, narrowly lost out on picking up another title at the Devon County Show’s Lamb Shearing competitions.

Hilary, a working farmer from Bovey Tracey, was beaten by close rival Gwenann Paewai at the well supported event held at Home Farm, Sidbury, near Sidmouth.

Eighty five contenders from all over the UK took part in the shearing competitions which saw 75 sheep relieved of their fleeces in less than 18 minutes in the very keenly fought Open Championship Final which was won by Dean Nelmes, from Warmwell near Dorchester, who sheared 15 lambs in 15 minutes and six seconds.

Devon shearers were not far behind with Ross Crang from Combe Martin placed second with a time of 16 minutes; Hywell Jones from Mid Wales came third; Sam Bullingham, from Okehampton was placed fourth; and last year’s winner, Nick Harding, from Woolsery in North Devon, was placed fifth.

Ollie Allen, Devon County Show Secretary, said the event attracted more shearers than for many years and there was definitely a group of young shearers coming through who relished the opportunity to compete.

“It was great to see so many young people with a desire to develop their skills and confidence through the shearing competition which provided a great focus for a farm-friendly day. In all there were eight classes ranging from the Under 21s, through Novice Blade Shearing and Wool Handling finishing with the Open Championships. In total, 788 ewes and ewe lambs were relieved of their fleeces during the day.”

Sheep shearing is judged on a combination of speed, quality of shearing and the sheep are judged in the pen once shorn, which in turn requires competitors to be extremely fit and skilful. Wool handling is often overlooked, but correct handling and wrapping of fleeces can make a big difference to wool grading and their end value.

In the sheepdog trails, one of England’s most successful trialists, farmer Jed Watson from Postbridge, Dartmoor, took first place with his dog Mirk.

Competition organiser and working sheep farmer Victor Pitts, from Exminster, added: “The weather was a lot better than anticipated, thank goodness, and Hurricane Bertha didn’t disrupt the trials.”

Trialling dates back nearly 150 years to a time when shepherds set about devising a test to reflect tasks that a sheepdog and shepherd undertake in everyday work.

The Devon County Show is grateful to the events’ sponsors who include Albert Cook; George Mudge, Gavin Stevens & Co, NSA SW; the SW Texel Club, Animax; Roger Rottenbury, Westridge Vets, Mole Valley Farmers and Waitrose, Sidmouth.

The Devon County Show is immensely grateful to Alan Derryman of Home Farm for hosting the event by kind permission of Sir John and Lady Cave of Sidbury Manor.

Lamb Shearing Competitions - Sunday 10th August - List of Results: Class 1 - The Albert Cook Under 21 Championship Restricted to unclassified and junior shearers who are under 21 years of age on the day of the competition. Ernie Smith Perpetual Challenge Trophy awarded to John Malseed.

1st John Malseed, Chagford, Devon 2nd Tom Wall, Highbridge, Somerset 3rd Will Dale, Bridgnorth, Shropshire 4th Chris Potter, Shropshire Class 2 - The George Mudge Young Farmers Championship Open to YFC members. BOCM Pauls Perpetual Challenge Shield awarded to Ross Crang.

1st Ross Crang, Combe Martin, Devon 2nd Nick Harding, Bideford, Devon 3rd Robert Lee, West Huntspill, Somerset 4th Chris Potter, Shropshire 5th Tom Wall, Highbridge, Somerset Class 3 - The Gavins Stevens & Co Junior Championship.

Open to any age. This competition is restricted to competitors who are classified as Junior Shearers only, by the British Isles Shearing Competition Association (BISCA). The Peter Webber Perpetual Trophy awarded to Chris Potter.

1st Chris Potter, Shropshire 2nd Charlie Parry, South Wales 3rd Dan Hutchings, West Somerset 4th John Malseed, Chagford, Devon 5th James Westcott, Willand, Devon Class 4 - The NSA SW Region Intermediate Championship.

Open to any age. This competition is restricted to competitors who are classified as Intermediate Shearers only, by the British Isles Shearing Competition Association (BISCA). The George Mudge & Co Perpetual Trophy awarded to Robert Lee.

1st Robert Lee, West Huntspill, Somerset 2nd Ian Smerdon, Totnes, Devon 3rd Ross Thomson, Dawlish, Devon 4th Alec Brand, Wiveliscombe, Somerset 5th Chris Potter, Shropshire Class 5 - The SW Texel Club Woolhandling Championship.

Open to any age. Competition to be run in accordance with the regulations of British Isles Wool Handling Competition 1st Gwennan Paewai, Sidbury, Devon 2nd Hilary Bond, Bovey Tracey, Devon Class 6 - The Devon County Show Senior Championship.

Open to any age. This competition is restricted to competitors who are classified as Senior Shearers only, by the British Isles Shearing Competition Association (BISCA). The Roger Rottenbury Perpetual Trophy awarded to Nick Harding.

1st Nick Harding, Bideford, Devon 2nd Richard Carter, Newent, Gloucestershire 3rd Ed Gingell, Dernlane, East Sussex 4th Robert Lee, West Huntspill, Somerset 5th Ed Goodfellow, Bridport, Dorset Class 7 - The Animax Ltd Open Championship.

Open to any age. The Roy Coker Perpetual Trophy awarded to Dean Nelmes.

1st Dean Nelmes, Warmwell, Dorset 2nd Ross Crang, Combe Martin, Devon 3rd Hywel Jones, North Wales 4th Sam Bullingham, Okehampton, Devon 5th Nick Harding, Bideford, Devon Class 8 - The George Mudge & Co Novice Blade Shearing Championship Open to any age. 1st Tim Collins, Salisbury, Wiltshire 2nd Ed Goodfellow, Bridport, Dorset 3rd Dean Nelmes, Warmwell, Dorset

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