Scottish Woolhandlers' development team of Isla Shaw and Katie O’Sullivan came home in style after a solid performance at the Six Nations competition in Rambervillers, North-east France.

With newly crowned world champion Rosie Keenan and second placed Audrey Aiken at the Royal Highland Show unavailable to attend, this was a real opportunity for the Scottish ladies to star

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The Six Nations comprises of the four home nations and the Republic of Ireland and France alternately hosting machine shearing, woolhandling and blades competitions. The Six Nations Woolhandling – established in Wales in 2015 – is a team event with two competitors working together to take the shorn fleece and present it in a way that is more marketable or profitable for the producer and removal of any contaminated wool.

The individual competition was held offered a great opportunity for a trial run for the main competition the following day. Each competitor had two shearers with one sheep each to work with, Katie and Isla had similar quality points, however clean up time left them finishing in seventh and 11th respectively in the heats. Katie went on to the semi-finals finishing sixth overall the next day.

Hot favourites coming into the competition were the Welsh team of Ffion Jones and Sarah Reese as the current world team champions. The French team of Lucie Grancher, world individual finalist, and Adele Lemercier together as world team finalists were also hot contenders having the home advantage.

With previous days results in the individual competition, time proved a major factor in the placings. A flawless performance from master wool handler Hilary Bond Harding of England with novice teammate Emily Gould claiming victory with total points of 124.8.

A strong and speedy performance from seasoned Northern Irish team Jayne Harkness Bones and Rachel Murphy took the runner up spot with 140.4.

Being slightly slower than the top two teams and slightly poorer quality points sealed third place for the Scottish rookie team with 153.3 points.

The biggest surprise of the competition was France bowing out for fourth place, the first team finished but quality let them down in the end finishing on 166.4 points. Another surprise early exit was that of the Welsh dragons, with poor quality points and a relatively slow time proved the girls didn’t transition well to the French method of woolhandling from that of the UK finishing with 177 points.

In other competitions, Katie shore in the Ladies coming third from a field of 12 and in the Senior competition fifth of 25 when shearing Merinos which was a novel experience.

At the Machine Shearing Six Nations competition, in Clonmany, Co Donegal, up and coming team of Cammy Wilson, Stuart Robson and Lewis Harkness stood in for the current team members. Despite great shearing, the boys were out classed against the current world champions and several world team representatives finishing sixth overall. The Blades shearing competition at the Royal Welsh Show saw veteran team of Mark Armstrong and Willie Craig finish fourth.

Leading Awards

Six Nations Woolhandling – 1, England: 0.48 Time, 56 Board, 64 Fleece, 124.8 total; 2, Northern Ireland: 0.44, 58, 78, 78, 140.4; 3, Scotland: 0.53, 59, 89,153.3; 4, France: 0.34, 68, 95, 166.4; 5, Wales: 1.20, 57, 112, 177; 6, Ireland: 1.09, 111, 156, 273.9.