Flapper's eye on bronze

Nathan Rice, Matt Flapper and Wayne Ruediger competing at the Commonwealth Games.

Nathan Rice, Matt Flapper and Wayne Ruediger competing at the Commonwealth Games.

AUSTRALIAN skipper Matt Flapper will battle for a bronze medal on Monday night.

The Ballarat lawn bowls export will clash with Wales in the men’s triples as Flapper hunts for a medal in his debut Commonwealth Games.

Flapper and teammates Wayne Ruedigger and Nathan Rice fell four shots short of reaching the gold medal match after staging a late semi-final fightback against South Africa on Sunday  night (AEST).

Australia’s Jackaroos trailed 5-13 after the ninth end but kept chipping away and picked up a handy four shots on the 12th to edge back into contention.

A huge crowd was roaring when the Jackaroos drew within one shot with three ends to play at the picturesque Kelvington Lawn Bowls Centre, overlooked by the University of Glasgow.

Flapper nudged out a South African bowl with his first delivery, the Jackaroos two shots down, for the final end.

He was left heartbreakingly close when his final shot narrowly missed and slid through the gap trying to take the Jack back to where the Jackaroos had numbers.

It was their first loss of the  Games in the Australian men’s triples after working through five sectional matches, including tight wins against England and Malaysia, and surviving a three-shot win against Jersey in the quarter final in the early hours of Sunday morning.

There was little reprieve for Flapper after the semi-final  – the Jackaroos’ four, featuring Flapper and former Ballarat bowler Brett Wilkie, launched its campaign against Papua New Guinea on Sunday night.

Flapper grew up and launched his bowling career in Ballarat, predominantly at Central Wendouree where he was also the greenskeeper.

He now coaches and plays pennant in the summer with Ballarat-Geelong premier bowls club Ocean Grove.

South Africa will meet Wales in the men’s triples gold medal match.

melanie.whelan@fairfaxmedia.com.au

More on the Commonwealth Games pages 45,46

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