Flapper ready for challenge

Matt Flapper is hoping for another big BPL. (Bowls Australia)

Tara Murray

There is plenty of fire in the belly for Melbourne eXtreme star Matt Flapper ahead of the Bowls Premier League 19 competition.

The competition kicks off on Monday, with the best bowlers in Australia taking to the green in the shortest format.

Flapper has played in all but one series with the Club Sunbury-based franchise since it joined the competition.

eXtreme is yet to win a title, having gone close twice, finishing runners-up in BPL18 and BPL15

Flapper said they were keen to finally breakthrough and get that win.

“We’ve been close a couple of times,” he said.

“The first one hurt a bit more. It was heart breaking last year to be so clos. There is fire in the belly to go one better, it would be massive for the franchise.”

The former Aussie star will again headline the eXtreme line up, with Kylie Whitehead in the side for a second time.

She was the women’s most valuable player in the last edition.

“She dominated,” Flapper said. “You would have thought she had been playing for years, not for the first time.

“She made no fuss and just fitted in and she just brings it. I’m sure she will bring it again.”

The eXtreme will have a new member this time round with Ray Pearse stepping in with Ali Forsyth out with illness.

Pearse is no stranger to the BPL, having previously represented the Sydney Lions and Perth Suns, with his most recent event being at BPL13 in April 2021.

Flapper said it was a really nice phone call to make to let Pearse know they were keen for him to step in.

“He is one of the best players in Australia,” he said. “I played with him when he made his debut for Australia back in the day.

“We’ve had a bit of a connection and the mutual respect has grown over a long time.

“It’s a little bit exciting and he’s a good bloke who should fit in well. I rang him up and he said that it wasn’t the phone call he was expecting.

“He had to check that he could get the time off work. It wasn’t long before he returned my phone call.”

With this edition of the BPL in Moama, Flapper said they were hoping to have plenty of support as they search for glory.

He said they needed to get off to a good start.

“Anything can happen,” he said. “We need to chalk up early wins and set ourselves up for Thursday and Friday.

“In finals anything can happen. I’ll have some good support from Ocean Grove and Club Sunbury. Hopefully they’ll get behind us and hopefully have something to cheer on.”

Melbourne eXtreme will also be represented in the Junior BPL Challenge which is for under-18 players.

Emilee Davies, Jonty Hayes and Logan Marshall were successful at the Sunbury qualifying event, and will represent the Melbourne eXtreme in the decider.