The year just gets better and better for Te Awamutu Bowling Club's newly-crowned men's singles champion Warwick Flintoff.

The 51-year-old has been selected in the New Zealand team to contest the 8th International Deaf Bowls Championships in Christchurch from January 4-15, 2019.

Flintoff went into the selection trials at Pukekohe on May 26-27 with a 'sink or swim' attitude, being only a second year bowler up against tried-and-true bowlers with up to 40 years playing experience.

"I was so determined to fulfil a dream of mine to get in the team," he said.


"I'm chuffed to bits to be selected and get to play against the likes of Scotland, Wales, Australia, Northern Ireland and Ireland.

"I couldn't be prouder to be involved with the New Zealand deaf team from Aotearoa."

Flintoff said competition at the trials was tough and there was the added pressure of knowing only six of the 13 men who trialled got to be selected, plus one reserve.

"I was very focused bowls wise. I think I did a good job but there is always room for improvement."

Flintoff continues raising his standards and embracing the mental toughness as well as the physical demands of his sport.

His selection is remarkable for a player who only took up the sport in 2016, showing that deaf people can definitely be involved in high-level sports competition if they work hard.

He will have plenty of old heads to call on in the New Zealand team should he need any advise.

Three of his teammates have a wealth of bowling experience, one having played competitively for 40 years, another one for 30 years and one for 10 years.


Flintoff sees his national deaf team selection as an opportunity to get the word out there and have more people come to understand deaf bowling.

The International Deaf Bowls Championships is held every four years and alternates between northern and southern hemispheres.

This year's event is being held at the Burnside Bowling Club in Christchurch where the last World Bowls was held.

The championships will be contested over five playing days. The remainder of the time will involve practice days, meetings of the controlling body and rest days.

Organising committee spokeswoman Lorraine McLeod reports that six countries have confirmed but entries don't close until August.

"Most countries send teams of six men and six women plus a manager for each team, so we are anticipating about 120 players and supporters.

"Judging by the entries we have already received, there seems to be a mix of ages and most have had previous international experience."

Flintoff's trip to Christchurch and accommodation will set him back $2000.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to help offset his expenses can email

The full New Zealand men's team is John Lavell, Barry Gernhoefer, Callum Cargo (Christchurch), Roy Williams (Rangiora), Rangi Komene (New Plymouth), Warwick Flintoff (Te Awamutu). Reserve, Roger Strong (Invercargill).