Annual competition displays shear talent

Winner Ali Graham with runner-up Alfie Vernon,  third place Jim Bukhott and fourth placed Peter Milburn.
Winner Ali Graham with runner-up Alfie Vernon, third place Jim Bukhott and fourth placed Peter Milburn.

Sheep-shearers from all over the UK and as far afield as New Zealand and Norway took part in a speed shearing contest in Bonchester Bridge at the weekend.

In total 26, shearers took part in the 18th annual competition held in front of huge crowds in the village’s Horse and Hound Inn on Saturday night, once again organised by veteran shearer Geordie Bayne but hosted for the first time by new landlord Charles Taylor.

Glen Wilson in action at this year's speed sheer contest at Bonchester Bridge.

Glen Wilson in action at this year's speed sheer contest at Bonchester Bridge.

First up in the open final, Yorkshireman Johnathon Easton was disappointed to be red-carded by the judges when he set the pace with a time of 28.11 seconds.

Next up, local lass and twice winner of the John Falla Cup, Una Cameron received a great ovation from the crowd as she fleeced her lamb in 26.52, but once again the judges showed red cards.

Scottish champion Callum Shaw, from Fife, was next up and proved he was the star act, showing all the experience and confidence of a winner and in a blur had his lamb away, timed by timekeepers Carol Robertson and Simon from St Boswells at 24.22.

Last up, local favourite Glen Wilson, of Selkirk, had the crowd on their feet as he made a valiant attempt to better his second place last year, but a slightly fractious lamb spoiled his effort and he had to settle for runner-up slot once again with a time of 29.09.

Open winners of the Bonchester Bridge speed shear competitim.

Open winners of the Bonchester Bridge speed shear competitim.

The senior competition once again proved to be fiercely competitive, with 13 shearers competing for the Howahill Shield.

The eventual winner was Rothbury man Ali Graham, making his first appearance at Bonchester. His time of 30.33 was a new record time for a senior. Runner-up was Alfie Vernon, from Hexham, with 36.17. In third place was Kiwi Jim Bukhott 36.56 and fourth was Peter Milburn, from Rothbury, on 39.76.

Thanks to sponsors and raffle, about £300 was raised for Cancer Research UK.