Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Thornton ready to take on best

Shepparton Park bowler Josh Thornton is looking forward to taking on the nation's best when he takes to the rinks in Tweed Heads at the Australian Indoor Singles Championships next week.

GREGOR MACTAGGART August 14, 2014 3:10am

Shepparton Park Bowls Club member Josh Thornton will be competing at the Australian Indoor Championships at Tweed Heads next week.

Life could not be much better right now for Josh Thornton.

The 32-year-old has recently made Shepparton home after accepting a new role as North East Victoria regional manager for Bowls Australia.

But for all the work, there is still the opportunity to play for Thornton, who flies out tomorrow bound for Tweed Heads, where he will compete at next week’s Australian Indoor Singles Championships.

‘‘This is the first time for me to qualify for this and now I’m down to the last 32 in the country,’’ Thornton said.

‘‘There were seven qualifying sections throughout Victoria and I won the event in the Goulburn Valley which was fantastic because I’ve been so close in the past on a number of occasions without quite getting there.’’

Getting to the nationals is only part of the story for Thornton, who has spent numerous hours at his new home club Shepparton Park honing his talents ahead of the trip north.

‘‘I’ve virtually lived here for the past two months, putting in the hours to be ready for the competition,’’ he said. ‘‘It has been a good way to introduce myself to the other members, the whole club has made me so welcome.’’

Among the rivals Thornton will come up against at Tweed Heads in the August 18 to 21 tournament are reigning champion Tony Woods from Clayton in Melbourne’s south-east, Brett Wilkie, who won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland and good mate Barrie Lester.

Lester, who won bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, will go from rival to teammate following the singles championship, with Thornton and Lester teaming up to tackle the national qualifier for the World Indoor Pairs.

The pairs competition runs from August 27 to 29 with the prize for the winners a trip to England in January.

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