A lifetime’s dream fulfilled as Huntingdon IBC star Nicky Brett scoops world glory
- Credit: James Bass
World title on Sunday - new job on Monday. Welcome to the whirlwind world of Nicky Brett!
The Huntingdon IBC star fulfilled a lifetime ambition when lifting the Just Retirement World Indoor Championship title for the first time at the weekend.
World number one Brett beat fellow England international Robert Paxton 9-9, 12-9 in the final at the Potters Resort, Hopton-on-Sea, to earn a cool £55,000 payday.
But, it was seeing his name appear alongside some of the game’s greats, which proved really special for Brett, who climbed to the top of the bowls world some 29 years after he first picked up a wood.
Brett, who started a new role with the Ministry of Defence the next morning, said: “It is a lifetime’s dream to win the title and it is just starting to sink in.
“I’ve seen all the big names win it down the years – the likes of Tony Allcock, David Bryant, Andy Thomson, Richard Corsie and, more recently, Alex Marshall – and it means so much to have my name on the winners’ list along with them.
“I feel very privileged to be able to say I’m the world champion as not too many people will ever get the chance to do that.
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“I would love to win it again as no-one could then say the first time was a fluke.
“You always need a bit of luck on your side to win any tournament, but it also takes maximum concentration to come through five extremely difficult matches.
“You are not going to play well through the whole tournament and sometimes it comes down to grinding out a result.
“I had to do that a couple of times and I also played well on other occasions to end up on the final Sunday with the trophy in my hand.
“I’ve not really had chance to celebrate as I started a new job the next day, but it’s safe to assume I won’t get to see much of the money living with three females!”
Brett’s wife Sam and daughters, Lauren (who turns 17 today, Wednesday, and has been promised a bigger card as a result of her father’s triumph!), and Chloe (15) were quick to join in the celebrations on the famous blue rink.
And Brett’s decision to deliver a cartwheel en route to collecting the trophy was a nod to his daughters’ keen interest in gymnastics. Chloe is also a bowler who has played alongside her father at county level.
There were also tears as well as somersaults in the immediate aftermath of Brett’s victory. He was understandably emotional when thinking of the man who first introduced him to the sport.
Brett’s late father, Brian, was a capable player himself and set the wheels in motion for his son when calling him up for a match after another player had dropped out.
Brett was also quick to acknowledge that his nerveless final delivery of the opening set was a huge moment – not just in the final, but also in his career.
He went into the last end trailing by two shots but, already holding one shot, he coolly guided in another to share the set.
And that gave him the platform to claim victory courtesy of a blistering start to the second set which saw him gain nine shots in the opening four ends.
Brett added: “It’s the biggest bowl I’ve ever played. Losing the first set would have put me in big trouble as I would have needed a tie-break to stand any chance of winning.
“That was the defining moment in the match as I started the second set so well. It was a huge momentum shift. I must admit the second set felt like an eternity, but I managed to keep my nose in front.”
Brett’s next big tournament is the International Open in March. He will head to Blackpool with the pressure of being the new world champion as well as defending champion.