Josh Thornton is within touching distance of a Commonwealth Games medal.
The East Shepparton coach and his bowlers with a disability open triples teammates Tony Bonnell and Ken Hanson have been in top form on the Gold Coast this week.
The trio qualified for this afternoon’s semi-final in first position after various strong performances across the Broadbeach Bowling Club greens, and will play fourth-ranked South Africa from 4pm for a spot in the gold medal match.
Perhaps the most impressive showing from Thornton’s trio came in its final group stage match on Monday night.
Thornton led magnificently throughout the 16-11 victory over New Zealand in what was widely tipped as a precursor to the eventual big dance.
‘‘We had a good victory against our biggest rivals in New Zealand, and to have a good victory leading into the finals is pleasing,’’ Thornton told Bowls Australia after the clash.
‘‘So now we wait for (tomorrow) for the semi-finals.
‘‘We’ve always felt that as a team, if we go out and perform at our best we’re going to give it a good shake.
‘‘All three of us played well (on Monday), and I think that’s a big thing.
‘‘If we play at our best, we’re going to be tough to beat ourselves; if we go out and play well, hopefully the result will look after itself.’’
Earlier in the tournament, Thornton’s team defeated Scotland 18-6, South Africa 13-10 and Wales 22-12, with its only loss a 12-16 result against England.
New Zealand takes on England in the other semi-final today, with the two victors to do battle for gold from 12.30pm tomorrow.
‘‘I think all teams that make the semi-final stages are going to be tough to beat,’’ Thornton said.
‘‘But at the same time I think we’re going to be confident enough to know that if we play well we should do well.’’
Meanwhile, Mooroopna export Fiona Fowler (nee Themann) and her Scottish Thistles suffered a heartbreaking loss yesterday to effectively end their hopes of progressing to the netball semi-finals.
When the final whistle blew after a see-sawing affair it was Malawi which held the ascendancy over Scotland by one goal.
When coupled with earlier losses to New Zealand (29-60) and England (28-74) it means Fowler’s Thistles would need close to a miracle to advance out of Pool B after today’s clash against Uganda.
Scotland found some solace in its second game with a 51-47 triumph over Wales though, and will look to finish the tournament on a high by getting the better of Uganda from 4pm.
Fellow Goulburn Valley export Bruce Quick’s seventh appearance at the Games will begin and end today.
Quick — who spent two decades living in Shepparton — will take on the rest of the field in the 50m pistol event this morning, and will be aiming to make qualification into this afternoon’s final.