Southland’s Nathan Stratford has won the 50th NZ Shearing Circuit Final on Saturday. The cancellation of the Golden Shears led to a slimmed down Nationals held in the South Island for the first time. The final of the PGG Wrightson Vetmed series was held at the Armidale Merino Stud in the heart of rural Maniototo. Nathan Stratford won the event in 2014 and was ranked No 1 among the 12 shearers this year. However Masterton shearer Paerata Abraham was top qualifier for the final and posted the fastest time — 23min 14.8sec…beating Stratford in the final by 0.78sec. Stratford however had the best-quality points and took the title by 2.2 pts, from Parnassus shearer Hugh De Lacy, who also had better-quality points with Paerata Abrahams third. Defending champion Leon Samuels, of Invercargill crashed out in the semi finals.