New world champ lets off steam over England’s outdoor selection policy

Nicky Brett after winning the world indoor singles title.
Nicky Brett after winning the world indoor singles title.
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World indoor bowls champion Nick Brett has laid into England outdoor team manager John Bell after revealing his frustration at continually being overlooked for the international side.

After winning his first-ever world indoor singles crown at Potters last month, the 41-year-old says he would now love to win gold for his country at the Commonwealth Games and World Championships, but fears he will never get the chance as long as Bell remains in charge.

The Yaxley ace, who has also won world pairs, Scottish and International Open crowns as well as 23 national titles, has not been picked at international level since 2012 and says he is not holding out much hope of a recall any time soon.

“It’s not going to happen,” said world number one Brett, who defeated Robert Paxton in the world indoor singles final at Potters.

“Myself and the team manager do not see eye to eye and he can’t man manage anybody, that’s the problem.

“If I do nothing else, I’ve done pretty much what I wanted to do in the sport.

“There are a couple of other things on my bucket list that I want to do, but they are probably not realistic ambitions – a Commonwealth Games gold medal or gold at the World [Outdoor] Championships, but they are not in my control and I will probably never get the chance now.”

England’s male bowlers have not won a Games gold medal since 2002, while you have to go back to 1996 to find the last time the English national anthem was played for the men at the World Championships.

It is a situation that is obviously deeply frustrating for Brett, who believes he is not the only player who has been snubbed by England, while he highlights the lack of success on the big stage as the reason for a time for a change at the top.

“It is very disappointing the way things have gone with the national squad,” he said. “I speak to lots of players who have not been selected, but who are good enough to play.

“I just want England to win gold medals and they haven’t done so since 2002, so how can the same man still behind charge?

“Arsene Wenger wouldn’t still be in charge of Arsenal if they had won nothing, so why should it happen in bowls with people who don’t win?

“The women pick the best women, that’s why they are winning gold medals . . . and the men can’t buy a gold medal.

“They haven’t won since 2002 when Tony Allcock picked the team.

“The players are there to be picked, but they are not picking the right ones. That’s only my opinion.

“I don’t necessarily say I should be picked, but Jamie Chestney should be, without a shadow of a doubt. He is one of the best players around who can’t even get in the top 28.”

Brett continued: “I am afraid England outdoors have lost the art of knowing who is the best and ‘let’s man-manage the best we have got’ as opposed to ‘we’re not going to man-manage anyone, let’s just pick this group who are just okay’.

“Some of them are better than okay to be fair, but they have had enough chances to have won gold medals and not done so. Me being English, I want to see England win gold medals, but since 2002 they haven’t done so.”