It’s official - Nicky Brett is the best indoor bowler in the world.
The 40 year-old requirements manager at the Ministry of Defence ended a year at number one in the world rankings by putting the icing on the cake at the weekend - winning the World Championships for the first time.
He beat Robert Paxton 12-12, 12-9 in Sunday afternoon’s final at Hopton-on-Sea and described it as ‘an absolute dream come true’.
“It doesn’t get any better than this,” he said. “I have watched all the best players in the world play in the World Championships from when I was knee-high to a grasshopper and my dream, like every other youngster, was always to be the world champion.
“But to be honest I never thought I was good enough. I thought I was just an okay sort of player but to win the world title is something else.
“When I got into the top 16 six years ago, I just wanted to play the best and see how good I was. The guys up there are top quality and I was just hoping to do okay.
“Now, to call yourself world champion and to hear other people describe you as the world champion, is terrific.”
Brett was watched by mum Mary, wife Sam and daughters Lauren (17) and Chloe (15) as he completed the full set of major singles titles after also having won the International Open and the Scottish Open.
He added: “The support was fantastic. It was the first time I had ever reached the world indoor singles final and I may not ever do it again, so to have friends and family there was great.”
Apart from the coveted trophy he also collected a winner’s cheque for £55,000. And he said he felt he’d earned it.
“I have come through the qualifying school, he added. “It took me probably about 10 years to reach the top 16 in the world. It is not easy.
“You use all your holidays to play bowls to try and qualify, with your family at home doing their thing. I have put a lot of hard yards in.
“And I have taken a lot of knocks with people saying you’re this, you’re that and selectors saying you’re not good enough.
“But I have just kept going forward in my own way and it’s paid off.”
Brett, who bowls for Huntingdon, reached the final for the first time with wins over James Rippey, Les Gillett, Greg Harlow and David Gourlay.
Against Paxton it was a superb last bowl in the first set which really set him on his way. He picked up two points to force the draw and from then on it was plain-sailing.
He said: “I can’t remember much about the final, but I do remember playing a monster of a bowl, the last on the final end of the first set.
“If I hadn’t got that then the second set would probably have panned out much differently.
“I then scored a four on the first end of the second set, which was a massive boost. That came totally out of the blue as there didn’t look like being a four the whole game.
“That gave me momentum, something to hold on to for the next four or five ends.
“And then I picked up that three on the third end to take me away again. It was then a case of not doing anything stupid and I stayed focussed to see it out.
“The ambition now is to retain the world title and stay at number one.”
Brett’s next big tournament is the International Open in Blackpool in March and says his future ambitions include the Commonwealth Games.
The next Coomonwealth games are held in Australia in 2018.