Nick Brett is best known for bowling the world’s most famous bowl, but now hopes he’ll be better known as a Commonwealth gold medallist after clinching a dramatic victory in the men’s triples against Australia alongside Louis Ridout and Jamie Chestney.
The “Brad Pitt of Bowls” became a viral sensation when his audacious and physics-defying bowl at the World Indoor Championships in 2020 racked up millions of views online.
This summer, Team England, supported by funding raised by National Lottery players, comprises of over 400 athletes, all vying for medal success.
Despite his celebrity status in the world of lawn bowls, Yaxley’s five-time World Indoor champion had to wait until 2022 to get his Commonwealth call.
The 48-year-old civil servant made up for lost time, winning gold in the most dramatic of circumstances as England let a 12-1 lead slip to 12-12 before taking the final two ends to win 14-12 and spark jubilant scenes at Victoria Park.
“[It feels] absolutely outstanding,” said Brett, who leapt into the arms of teammate Chestney as Australian Ben Twist’s final bowl went long. “One of the best feelings I’ve ever had in the game.'
“We’ve all got a bucket list; gold medal in a home Commonwealth Games is on the list.
“Playing with these two, who have played fantastically, is there too – they have been outstanding.”
The gold medal looked secure for Brett, Chestney, and Ridout as they led 12-1 after nine ends, but England versus Australia is seldom that simple.
The Australian trio of Twist, Barry Lester, and Carl Healey made a comeback more at home in the annals of classic Ashes Tests than in the quaint surroundings of Leamington Spa.
The Aussies fought back to level at 12-12 with two ends to play, before Chestney remained the calmest man on the green to draw one on the 17th end, and land another for good measure on the end to seal gold.
“I’m absolutely over the moon, I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet,” said Chestney.
“To get over the line – there’s no feeling like it, the best moment of my career.”