The Co-operative Funeralcare Final between Alex Marshall and Nick Brett was filled to the brim in the arena and the audience were treated to a final of quality bowls though both players did have their off moments throughout the 11 end finals. In set one it was soon apparent that Brett, or the Ginger Ninja, as the audience have dubbed him was really and truly on fire and playing some absolutely incredible bowls making Marshall work so hard to stay with him, and Marshall felt the pressure as Brett just did not let him in and Brett stormed the first set 4-12. Into the second and Marshall had regrouped and made Brett fight for each bowl through to the 4th end where it was all squared at 3 all. In ends 5 and 6 Brett took a single and a double to go 3 up on the match and then Marshall stormed right back at him taking two doubles in ends 7 and 8 to go 7-6 up. Brett stole a single in the 9th to go 7 across and a double in end 10 to go two ahead leaving Marshall looking for a three on the final end, being two down Marshall had his last bowl and played an outstanding bowl to split Bretts away to hold the three he required, Brett had his last bowl and had to draw and again Brett was applauded by the audience as he played a draw bowl to rest just inside Marshall’s to go 1 up and it was game set and match to the Ginger Ninja. 4-12, 8-9
This meant that not only did Brett win the Co-operative Funeralcare International Open here at Blackpools Newton Hall but also meant that he has overtaken the great Paul Foster MBE to become the World Indoor No 1 on the WBT Ranking List for next season
It was tearful Brett who hugged his mother with the trophy and said “ It is all but just a dream and I am so lost for words I just cannot speak” It was also nice to see that the first text he had on his mobile phone was from Paul Foster MBE congratulating Nick Brett on his tremendous achievement and relegating Paul to No.2 spot.
The first semi of the day saw a blistering start with Jonathan Ross coming out of the blocks taking the first two ends from Alex Marshall MBE with two doubles. Marshall responded with two singles and a double in the next three ends and Ross taking another single to make the score 5 all by end 7. Both players really playing well and Ross playing the best we have seen for quite a while. Ross took a single in the 8th end to go 6 – 5 up and was holding game in the ninth leaving Marshall to play an incredible shot – Marshall converted a double and took the set away from Ross 7-6.
The second set saw a slightly bewildered Ross wondering how he had llost the first set and before he had gathered himself it was the old ‘Tattie’ Marshall that opened up with a triple and two singles in the first 4 ends with Ross only taking a single. Into the 5th end Ross took a double and repeated that in the 6th with Marshall just missing on both occasions by mere fractions when tryingto draw for shot making the match level on the 5th end 5 across. Then Marshall turned the heat up yet again and forced Ross into playing wiyh a bit pof weight and it was here that the Ross magic seemed to sesert him as he missed yet again and Marshall took a triple and a four in the next to ends to close out Ross from the final. Marshall goes through 2 sets to 0 6-7, 5-12.