Falkland Islands shearers and wool handlers performed superbly and were excellent ambassadors for the Islands at this year’s shearing and wool-handling Golden Shears World Championships which was featured at the Royal Highland Show in Scotland.
The Falklands official team consisted of shearers Stefen Turner and Jan Clarke and wool handlers Pilar Castro and Tara Wilson - however adding to the Islands group were wool handlers Holly Willams, India Clarke and Kayleigh Anderson, the latter two who had been on the competition circuit during the season.
Not only that but the entire skilled ensemble had a large family and friends entourage along too to give noisy support - no doubt very welcomed by them in such a pressurized international atmosphere.
In effect one of those visitors and supporters of the Falklands Team was none else than HRH Princess Anne who congratulated and cheered the Team. Princess Anne represented the Crown during the Falklands Liberation fortieth ceremonies held in the Isands last year.
Wool-handler Pilar told Penguin News “Even though I have done a few shows I still get nervous but once you’re up and once you hear the crowd (our local crowd) cheer for your country it gets me in the mood that you can do this.”
Asked if she’d learned anything from the experience she said “I’ve been told everywhere you go it will always be different; nowhere will be the same as home but that’s good because to me it’s all about experience - you learn something new every day.” In this case she said it was the tucking in of the neck and rolling the fleece up as the commentator put it “like a sausage.”
After two days of hard graft the final results for the Falklands wool handling official team was as follows - Tara Wilson 12th and Pilar Castro 20th (field of 41) with Pilar finishing fastest each time in her group; something of which she is rightly proud.
Tara speaking to Penguin News after the first day told us she had cost herself some points “I had not placed the fleece in the basket to be judged. I was able to unroll the fleece and correct my mistake but it cost me a lot of points on time. Apart from that it was not too bad for me. Nerves played a big part…” Clearly Tara got into her groove and can proudly declare herself 12th in the world.
Stefen and Jan also did well against a field of 56; Stefen took 21st and Jan 31st. Holly (Stefen’s fiancée) told us that he “wasn’t too happy with his first round and felt he could have done better however his second went a lot better. Unfortunately they scrapped the third so he couldn’t gain his points back that he lost from the first round. Overall though he did well finishing 21st.”
Holly who was also competing said her wool handling went pretty well and she was happy with her placing “considering I haven’t competed in UK for 8 years or properly worked in a shed for that time either - I really enjoyed it.”
Kayleigh Anderson told Penguin News after her competition day at the Golden Shears that she and India had been “competing on and off throughout the season. I have only done the Three Counties and the Highland. We both made it into quarter finals at the Three Counties and today made 24th (Kayleigh) and 25th (India)…”
She felt the day had gone well for them both “but there is always room for improvement.”
Ultimate winner of the individual machine shearing was Welsh shearer Gwen Lloyd Evans while Scotland’s Rosie Keenan won the wool handling.