BOWLS: Brett chasing world championship glory

Nicky Brett.
Nicky Brett.
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Nicky Brett plans to complete his bowls CV this week.

The only major honour that’s eluded the 40 year-old from Yaxley in his bowls career is the word indoor bowls championships.

In six previous championships, Brett, who bowls for City of Ely and Warboys White Hart, has yet to get beyond the semi-finals and tonight (January 18) he launches his title bid against James Rippey in Hopton-on-Sea.

Brett goes into the championship as the world No 1 after the best year of his bowls career, but admits this is the trophy he really wants,

“This is the big one on the indoor bowls calendar,” said Brett, “and it’s the only one I’ve got missing from my CV.

“I would love to get my hands on the trophy this year, but if not, I will be back next year.

“I’m playing well enough to win it, but you need a bit of Lady Luck at times as well to come through a championship like this.

“There are players like Greg Harlow and Alex Marshall who are always going to be in contention and there are plenty of unseeded players who could upset the odds as well.”

First-round opponent Rippey is an established, world-class bowler.

“James has been around for a long time,” said Brett, a married father of two teenage girls.

“I’ve known him since I was playing in under 21s and he’s won major tournaments on the circuit.

“Whoever you play, the first round is always tough. You just want to get it out of the way.

“There is perhaps a bit of extra pressure on me because I’m world No 1, but there’s more pressure on the No 16 who has to win to stay in the rankings.

“I’ve been there myself and I know which I prefer.”

Brett started playing bowls when he was 12 years old. “Warboys were a player short,” he remembered, “so my dad asked me if I fancied a game and I’ve been playing just about every week ever since.”

In his teens, Brett was also a promising cricketer. He was an all-rounder for Cambridgeshire Under 17s before a knee injury set him back and he decided to concentrate on bowls.

Brett, who works in the civil service, said: “There isn’t a lot of money in bowls. Over the years, it must have cost me thousands of pounds. But I play the game because I enjoy it.”

BBC television are covering the world championships, which conclude on Sunday.