FORMER Ballarat bowler Matthew Flapper will make his formal debut as an Australian bowler at the Asia-Pacific Merdeka International in Kuala Lumpur starting Monday.
The 34-year-old, who has played for Ballarat-Geelong premier division side Central Wendouree, will fly out today for his first tournament with the national team.
The Asia-Pacific International could yet prove a stepping stone for Flapper towards the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Scotland.
“I am very honoured and didn’t expect it,” Flapper said.
“Obviously I have to go away with an open mind and focus on this event and do as well as I can.
“If I go well it might lead to other things, but right now I am still thinking about this.”
Flapper is part of a four-player team for the International, along with Melbourne bowlers Dylan Fisher and Carla Odgers, and Claire Duke from NSW.
The Merdeka International covers several bowls disciplines, with Flapper to compete in singles, mixed fours, mixed pairs and men’s pairs. Australia is one of 10 nations contesting the tournament, along with Singapore, China, Japan, New Zealand and the host nation.
“Australia is right up there,” Flapper says. “We’re probably one of the top three or four countries that play the game.
“New Zealand, and the locals Malaysia, will be tough but I think Australia is one of the big three.”
Flapper will return to Ballarat-Geelong premier division, but at the opposite end of the competition with Geelong association side Ocean Grove.
He will miss round one of the premier division to compete in Malaysia.