Flapper bowling for town and country

by admin

Ocean Grove lawn bowler Matthew Flapper wants to put his town on the map when he represents Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this month, Meagan Rooth reports for the Geelong Advertiser . With his green and gold uniform ready to go — after a slight adjustment to the length of his pants — the 35-year-old flies to Scotland this weekend. Flapper will skip Australia’s triples and fours in the bowls event, which stretches the duration of the games. And the enormity of that task is not lost on him. “This could be a once in a lifetime opportunity — and I’m grateful for it,” he said. “It’s something I’ve got to grasp and make the most of. “I want to make the people who’ve supported me proud. “When I go over, obviously I will be representing Australia. But I’ll be representing Ocean Grove, too.” Since learning of his selection in March, Flapper has been following a strict training program, including camps and custom drills and fitness. The Ocean Grove Bowls Club coach has had to report back to national coaches each week with his progress. “It’s been pretty full-on,” he said. “It was not unusual for me to finish work, get changed into my running gear at the office and run to the Barwon Heads bluff.” Flapper was introduced to the lawn bowls at 12. But his form on the green accelerated about three years ago when he shed more than 50kg. He made his senior international debut 18 months ago and has never looked back, earning a spot on Australia’s five-strong men’s outfit for Glasgow. Flapper and his wife, Linda, had even booked flights to Scotland before his selection was confirmed. He hopes to check in some extra baggage, preferably a heavy metal, on return. “I don’t believe a gold medal is out of the question,” he said. “We are prepared to take on Scotland, who is the favourite. “We play every day of the Games and we want to be at our best on the first day right through to the 10th.” Flapper also thinks New Zealand, South Africa, Malaysia and England could challenge for a podium place. “We have to fear none but respect all,” he said. Flapper was the guest of honour at a send-off function at the bowls club last night. He will march with the Australian team at the opening ceremony on July 23 before fronting up at the Kelvingrove Lawn Bowls Centre first thing the following morning to compete. Caption: Ocean Grove lawn bowler Matt Flapper wants to put his seaside town on the world map when he represents Australia at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Picture: Leanne Churchill