Bowls Dream

by admin on March 26, 2014

Three Ballarat products have been named to compete in the Australian bowls team for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, as Michael Pollock reports for the Ballarat Courier. Former Ballarat bowlers Matt Flapper and Brett Wilkie have been selected for the able-bodied team alongside Victoria Bowling Club’s Tim Slater, who is part of the bowlers with a disability team. The games will be held in Scotland, Glasgow from July to August. The trio have been familiarised with the conditions of Scotland after being part of a successful Australian outfit at the Eight Nations titles held there in August last year. “The conditions that you face in the UK has given Victoria a chance to represent and Ballarat should be very proud of having three representatives,” Flapper said. “The conditions over there will be cold and wet, which doesn’t scare us Ballaratarians.” Slater, 22, said being selected “was the best feeling I’ve had in my life”. “It’s been about two years in the making now – I got dropped out of our premier side earlier this year because my form wasn’t that good but my confidence has risen with the training camps we’ve been doing in Maribyrnong.” The selection of the team reflects somewhat of a changing of the guard for Australian bowls, with all 10 of the able-bodied team members under the age of 40. Wilkie and Flapper are the two oldest at 39 and 35 respectively. The team also includes seven Commonwealth Games debutantes. Wilkie is one of the most senior members on the team and enjoyed success at the last Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, where he secured a silver medal. “This is the first year that each player will contest two disciplines and has a crack at two gold medals,” Wilkie said. “I learnt how to play the game in Ballarat and it has been good for us to see the venue and know that we can play well there.” Tim Slater BALLARAT CLUBS: Waubra, Victoria CURRENT CLUB: Victoria AGE: 22 TITLES: Australian national pairs silver (2013), named best first year bowler at national championships (2013), Victorian state pairs gold (2013) Matthew Flapper BALLARAT CLUBS: Creswick, Central Wendouree CURRENT CLUB: Ocean Grove AGE: 35 ACHIEVEMENTS: Eight Nations men’s triples gold medal, pairs silver medal and fours silver medal (2013), Australian Open triples champion (2011), Victorian state triples champion (2014), Victorian state pennant champion (with Ocean Grove, 2013-2014). Brett Wilkie BALLARAT CLUBS: Webbcona CURRENT CLUB: Club Helensvale AGE: 39 TITLES: Australian Open singles champion (2009), national singles champion of champions (2011), world championship fours gold medal (2012), world champion of champions singles gold (2009) Caption: Former Ballarat bowler Matthew Flapper has secured selection in the his first Commonwealth Games team