HomeNewsArticle Display

Civil engineer bowls his way to world championship

Nick Brett rolls a ball, called a “bowl,” down the athletic field March 23, 2015, at Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. Currently, Brett is ranked as the number bowler in the world. Brett is the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

Nick Brett rolls a ball, called a “bowl,” down the athletic field March 23, 2015, at Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. Currently, Brett is ranked as the number bowler in the world. Brett is the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

Nick Brett picks up a bowl from the athletic field March 23, 2015, at Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. Currently, Brett, who has played Bowls for more than 28 years, is ranked as the number bowler in the world. Brett is the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

Nick Brett picks up a bowl from the athletic field March 23, 2015, at Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. Currently, Brett, who has played Bowls for more than 28 years, is ranked as the number bowler in the world. Brett is the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

The 2015 Co-operative Funeralcare International Open Champion trophy sits among four bowls at the athletic field on Royal Air Force Alconbury, England, March 23, 2015. Nick Brett, the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron, won the trophy when he defeated six-time world indoor bowls champion, Alex Marshall, March 6, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

The 2015 Co-operative Funeralcare International Open Champion trophy sits among four bowls at the athletic field on Royal Air Force Alconbury, England, March 23, 2015. Nick Brett, the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron, won the trophy when he defeated six-time world indoor bowls champion, Alex Marshall, March 6, 2015. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

Nick Brett rolls a ball, called a “bowl,” down the athletic field March 23, 2015, at Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. Currently, Brett is ranked as the number bowler in the world. Brett is the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

Nick Brett rolls a ball, called a “bowl,” down the athletic field March 23, 2015, at Royal Air Force Alconbury, England. Currently, Brett is ranked as the number bowler in the world. Brett is the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Jarad A. Denton)

ROYAL AIR FORCE ALCONBURY, England (AFNS) -- A cool, spring wind swept over the athletic field at Royal Air Force Alconbury March 23, as the reigning Bowls world champion reached down to pick up a weighted, scarlet ball from the grassy turf.

Balancing the weight in his right hand, Nick Brett, the water and fuels shop chief for the 423rd Civil Engineer Squadron, guided the ball, or "bowl," back before skillfully rolling it toward a smaller white ball, also called a "jack."

Eighteen days ago, a similar action, which makes up the fundamentals of a sport called Bowls, earned Brett the title of number one indoor bowler in the world, when he faced off against, and defeated, six-time world champion, Alex Marshall.

"It was an absolutely indescribable feeling," Brett, affectionately referred to in the bowling world as "The Ginger Ninja," said. "I've played for 28 years, and it all culminated when I was ranked number one in the world."

For Brett, his journey to the top began before he was born, as both his father and grandfather were avid bowlers. Growing up, Brett said he would watch bowls on TV and during matches his father participated in. He quickly picked up the basics of the sport, which has its origins dating back to the 13th century. Brett would watch his father deftly roll the bowls so they would stop as closely as possible to the jack.

"One day my dad was playing in his league," Brett said. "They were short a player and asked me to come in. I didn't do too badly, and kept progressing from there."

Progress, for Brett, meant playing in leagues and entering tournaments where he competed against thousands of others, with several vying for advancement to the next level, and ultimately the world championship. During the 2015 Co-operative Funeralcare Open, which also served as the world championship for Bowls, Brett's dedication to the sport paid off when he beat Marshall 12-4, 9-8 and earned enough ranking points to pass fellow indoor bowler, Paul Foster - who previously held the title of world indoor number one.

"The pressure was there," Brett said. "But, I managed to play pretty well."

Looking forward from his victory, Brett said he is already preparing to defend his title next year.

"You have to do it all over again," he said. "A week after I won the open, I won for England when I played against Ireland, Wales and Scotland."

The aggressive pursuit of his goals translates to his bowling strategy, and is what earned Brett his unique nickname.

"Bowls is typically a sedate game, but I'm more of an aggressive player," Brett said. "Although, I haven't had much patience over the years, the buttons just clicked lately. I went into the open thinking, 'whatever will be, will be.'"

Although Brett's newfound patience helped him secure his ranking, he said his newfound status has only reinforced his commitment to the sport.

"You have to be dedicated," he said. "You have to put the time in. No one can expect to turn up for the first time and be brilliant. There are a lot of lows before you hit that high."

Engage

Facebook Twitter
RT @ActingSecAF: Fanstastic first day @salondubourget with iconic @NASA astronauts like @WordenAlfred & @AstroHague! And great discussion…
Herculean Heights: Resilient leader at Youngstown reaches 10,000 hrs milestone. @910AW @USAFReserve #USAFhttps://t.co/dNmxl0nrmu
.@124FighterWing #pilot executes an austere landing at the Freedom Landing Strip, #NationalTrainingCenterhttps://t.co/HQ6xjGohcs
#USAF BMT is changing this #summer! #Airmen will spend more time on weapons familiarization, along w/ additions of… https://t.co/wlHwtx7XWO
#USAF #Airmen continues the process of making his childhood dream of playing professional football come true. https://t.co/iAl70c8GXS
The opening of Cargo City successfully transitions operations from the #USAF & Coalition Abdullah Al-Mubarak Air Ba… https://t.co/K73PkhjpNY
RT @AirmanMagazine: It started as a dare between two pilots... The @usairforce Hurricane Hunters save lives by flying through hurricanes t…
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks to this crew for making the right call and saving the life of a fellow service member. https://t.co/cP4KCIQFgD
The Space Test Program-2 will provide the #USAF with insight into the SpaceX booster recovery and refurbishing proc… https://t.co/qYhlj7Je9V
RT @ActingSecAF: Happy birthday @USArmy. 244 years of defending our nation. @SecArmy https://t.co/AfMoPxwbd8
RT @DeptofDefense: “They’re really noisy, but I love them.” This @USAirForce F-15 Eagle crew chief from the @142ndFW shares his motivation…
Today, America recognizes the birth of Old Glory with its own holiday. Flag Day was first celebrated in 1877 to mar… https://t.co/wqoEjdqQFy
#FollowFriday! @ActingSecAF Matthew Donovan is responsible for the affairs of the #USAF, including the organizing,… https://t.co/28IlKOKWMq
.@NellisAFB fixed wing aircrews are flight-testing new prototype helmets this summer, thanks in part to an accelera… https://t.co/4HSUGSk3Qg
The 2019 @warriorgames Opening Ceremony is set for 6/22 @AmalieArena w/@HunterHayes! Stay up to date with your… https://t.co/u34QuBnpdo
.@AETCommand's latest #podcast series dives into "Developing Mach-21 #Airmen," providing visibility on recruiting,… https://t.co/CGSHJonQAT
RT @ActingSecAF: Thanks to the support of Congress, the @usairforce is developing game changing technology. #fasterandsmarter https://t.co/…