FORMER Ballarat bowler Matthew Flapper is now three victories away from a second triples title at the Australian Open Lawn Bowls Championship at Darebin.
Flapper and triples teammates Nick McIntyre and Ali Forsyth survived a tie-breaker yesterday to progress to the quarter-finals against a team skippered by Des Cann.
McIntyre, Forsyth and Flapper won the Australian Open triples two years ago.
In a remarkably tight match yesterday, Flapper’s team tied the first and second sets before winning the tiebreaker 3-0.
Skipper Forsyth had to drive the jack into the ditch with his final bowl to win the game.
Flapper said his team was yet to play at the level it did two years ago but was building towards the final.
“We’re still in it, so we’re in with a chance,” the 34-year-old former Central Wendouree bowler said.
“We’re yet to hit our straps but when we do, we’ll take some beating.”
Flapper was rolled in the second round of the singles in another tiebreaker yesterday.
The overall score was 8-10, 11-3 and 2-3.
He also has other headaches away from the Australian Open with a potential clash if his Ballarat-Geelong premier division pennant side Ocean Grove makes it through to the grand final.
Flapper, who is a skipper at Ocean Grove, is due to fly to New Zealand to represent Australia on the weekend of the premier division grand final.
Second-placed Ocean Grove is certain to finish top two in Ballarat-Geelong premier division, and is a chance to dislodge Victoria for top spot depending on this Saturday’s pennant results.
At worst, Grove will have two chances to progress to the premier division decider.
Meanwhile, former Webbcona bowler Brett Wilkie was knocked out of the Australian Open singles by Neville Wood-Bradley yesterday, and was beaten in the pairs with partner Sean Ingram, by British international Graeme Shadwell.
The Australian Open continues today.