Nick Brett heads to Perth this weekend not only as the defending Co-Operative Funeralcare Scottish International Open champion, but also as the new world No.1, as he seeks an unprecedented third straight success at the Dewars Centre. He has made this event his own over the past three years, winning twice in succession and reached the final in 2012, where he lost to Paul Foster. It is that sort of form, allied to his International Open success back in March, that makes him the one to beat in the first event of the WBT season.
“I wouldn’t have said I’m in tip-top nick and there is still some ground to be made up if I am going to repeat the form of last year,” admitted Brett, who now plays for Huntingdon after making the switch back from the City of Ely. “The last three seasons at Perth I have done pretty well, but you only need one bad game to change that around. Hopefully it stays the same as it has been.” He says he is not feeling the added pressure of being world number one and is taking it all in his unflustered stride. He went on: “It doesn’t really bother me to be fair. It’s the first time I have ever been world number one, but we’re all all looking to win our first games and accumulate points. Luckily for me over the past couple of years, things have gone well.
“You only have to lose one game, though, and the world number one tag has gone already. If you lose in the first round, you’re not going to get enough points to be the world number one the following season.” He will face former Ely teammate, teenager Robert Elmore, in the first round, a player who he is very accustomed with. “I won the British Isles Triples title with Robert, so I would say we know each other very well,” said Brett. “He will be a tough opponent, as would all English qualifiers. “I am going to need some lady luck if I am going to get through one round, never mind the second, third and fourth. “With it being the first tournament of the year, we’re all on that level playing field searching for that first 10 points and you’re just hoping you do enough to sneak into the next round.”
Despite being the sport’s number one and the holder of two ranking titles and nowadays compared to the likes of Foster, Alex Marshall and Greg Harlow, Brett still feels he has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as those legends of the bowling world. “It’s either my fifth or sixth year in the top 16, but I still see a lot of those guys as above me really,” he admitted. “I have been lucky enough to win enough games over the last two or three years to be number one, but these guys have been doing it for 20 years or more and have won much more than I have – and they have won the World Indoor Singles and I haven’t. They have gathered the grand slam, so to speak, I am still one short.”
On the one major prize he hasn’t yet won, the World Indoor Singles crown, Brett says he would quite happily lose in the first round of both the Scottish and International Opens if it meant winning the title at Potters in January. “Yes, that would probably do it,” he admitted. “You have to go there and play very well, as everyone takes their A-game to Potters. Over the last couple of years my form has been pretty good, but I have been beaten by someone who has played fantastic. I am hoping I can be the one that plays fantastic next time round. “I lost to Alex [Marshall] last year, who was fantastic, and Mervyn [King] the year before that and he was unbelievable. And then it was Andy Thomson prior to that and he ended up winning it. I’m not quite getting over the final hurdle. “I have played well, but they have played even better and I would take playing rubbish and win any day!”
report courtesy of Dominic Picksley - Press Association