GRIFFITH’S Peter Thornton and John Ritorto have booked their places for the southern hemisphere’s biggest and most lucrative bowls event – the Australian Open.
The duo earned their positions over the weekend at the ACT qualifiers held at the Queanbeyan Bowls Club in Canberra.
Both will feature in the pairs section of the tournament after Thornton and partner Thomas Webb (Corowa), and Ritorto and Chris Wallace (Sydney) fought off stiff competition.
Thornton also qualified for the fours alongside Thomas Webb, Danny Webb and James Dunn.
There are only places for 64 pairs teams at the Australian Open – and now Griffith has representation on two of them.
“We’re just a small club compared to some of the bigger ones Australia-wide, so it’s a terrific achievement,” Thornton said.
“There’s only 32 places in the fours as well, so to be in amongst that is great.”
Thornton and Ritorto’s qualification comes ahead of next month’s Griffith Exies Masters tournament, which the pair created last year.
Some of the world’s best bowlers will take part in the competition, which begins on October 8, and Thornton said he was pleased to get some good form under his belt in the lead-up.
“It’s obviously very good to play against this calibre of bowler - it’s not just Australia, but the world, because they always try and come around here to qualify for the Open,” he said.
Thornton also confirmed 16-year-old bowls prodigy Dawn Hayman – who he described as the “most promising Australian junior going around” – is locked in for the Griffith Exies Masters.