East Shepparton has lost its golden tinge.
Commonwealth Games gold medallist Josh Thornton will no longer dazzle in the Goulburn Valley Bowls Division after deciding to return to Corowa for the next summer of bowls.
Thornton came to the region in 2014-15 to play at Shepparton Park before taking on the coaching gig at East Shepparton the following season.
He coached the division one team to two consecutive finals appearances in the most recent seasons, although East exited in straight sets in both.
East Shepparton president Chris Johnson said the impact Thornton made was exceptional as the para-sport triples gold medallist heads to play at Corowa RSL.
‘‘It’s unfortunate on our behalf because he was a pretty influential coach and got us into the finals,’’ Johnson said.
‘‘He’ll be sorely missed, but we just wish him all the best.’’
Having worked for Bowls Victoria as the north-east bowls manager, Thornton has taken up a job as customer service manager on the gaming floor at Corowa RSL.
The ace skip’s most successful times have come in the past year, winning the men’s pairs title with good friend Barrie Lester at the Australian Open in Broadbeach, before returning to the same Gold Coast greens last month.
Johnson said it was a highlight for the club to have a gold medallist in in its midst.
‘‘It was a big accolade especially for us at East Shepparton, he never treated it as a disability, so to have someone win gold was great for us,’’ he said.
East Shepparton is now on the hunt for another playing coach as well as someone to continue with the proposal for East to construct a third undercover green, a project which Thornton was heavily involved in.