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World Number One Nick Brett forced to withdraw from World Indoor Championships

Even three weeks after hearing his wrist snap when he fell on it while playing golf, Nick Brett was hopeful that competing at the World Indoor Championships at Potters would be on his horizon.

“I had just walked off the green where it is elevated and it was a little bit slippery and my feet just went from under me,” said the 46-year-old former World Indoor Singles Champion and World ranked number one.

“I put my arm out to stop my fall and it certainly did that. I heard a crack and knew I had done something but it was not until I had some x-rays that I was informed it was a clean break. They said it would take three weeks for the healing process to reach the half-way point, but I went back to the hospital early, thinking that they would take the cast off and put a strap on.

“But no, what they actually said was it was healing the wrong way and I thought I was going in to surgery that same day to have it broken again and re-set.

“After a CT scan and a chat with a consultant they decided to put a new cast on with the hand in a different position and I have to wait another three weeks to see if it is better.”

Nick had been optimistic about playing and had even been practising left-handed up until this week.

“I had a couple of roll ups using my left hand to see if I could maybe lead for Greg in the pairs and then be alright for the singles and mixed but that completely went out of the window when it was clear I wouldn’t be able to do that,” Nick said.

“I could do lasting damage if I don’t do what I am told. The annoying thing is I felt like it was healing and I had started to be able to hold a bowl.

“I feel really disappointed. This could have happened at any point in the last year but it has happened now.

“I like the world championships and had been looking forward to it, even though it is going to be so very different this year. But even though there will be no crowds it is still competitive and that’s something that we just have not had for months.

“I still thought I had a chance until just this week, but it was only a very slim chance after knowing I had broken it.”

It is yet another blow after the World Championships, due to be held on the Gold Coast in May 2020, was postponed due to Covid-19. So how has Nick adapted to life without bowls since March?

He said: “After we got stopped in March there was no bowls at all in April and then throughout May, June and July I played once a week in a league for a local club where Chloe plays.

“Then I started playing golf which was my downfall in the end. I haven’t played for a number of years but actually enjoy it.

“I do get frustrated but nowhere near on the same level as I do with bowls because with golf I know I am never going to be good so I am more accepting that you can be brilliant one hole and rubbish the next.

“In golf it is quite easy to go from the sublime to the ridiculous.”

Now the civil servant will have to be content with doing some commentary at Potters rather than playing in the tournament.

He said: “It is very weird up here, very flat with and people have masks on everywhere which is obviously the new normal.

“It is going to be very different with the new set up, there’s a black sheet all the way down the side where the stands would normally be.”

Nick thinks the ‘usual suspects’ will be knicking around the final stages of the singles championship, adding: “I think the last few years have proved that anyone in the top 16 can win an event but I think that this year more than ever, there is no guarantee that someone in the top 16 will win.

“The most interesting this about this year is that nobody has bowled a bowl in anger. They have rolled up but have not played in anything with stuff riding on it.

“The pairs will help some out in the singles because it will give them game time but overall I think there will be shocks that noone can predict.”

After Nick’s own ‘wonder bowl’ from last year went viral and garnered some much needed media attention for the game, does he think there will be more eyes on Potters this time round?

“I would like to think there will be a few more people watching this year,” he said.

“Whether that was the best bowl in the world or not I do not know, the one that Alex bowled earlier on in the same game was probably better but I do not care- I think I think the whole package was right- the commentary, the way Greg told me what he wanted.

“I would like to think the bowl has done some good, because like everyone else I want the WBT to move forward and have more events.

“I do not care who bowls a bowl that goes viral, as long as it benefits the sport.

“What would have been nice would have been to see it feature on the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. That would have been great for our sport as it definitely does need a helping hand in the current climate more than ever.

“Hopefully something good happens again this year and we can get it out there in an even better way.”

The full interview will feature in the February issue of Bowls International.