As It Happens

The story behind this 'perfect' World Indoor Bowls shot

As Nick Brett got ready to make to make his shot at the pairs final of the World Indoor Bowls Championships on Monday, the crowd laughed at him.

'It seems to have got a lot of people's attention,' says bowling champ Nick Brett

In this screenshot from a World Bowl Tours video, Nick Brett smiles as the audience laughs at the seemingly impossible shot he's been asked to attempt. Seconds later, he hits the target. (World Bowls Tour)


As Nick Brett got ready to make to make his now famous shot at the pairs final of the World Indoor Bowls Championships on Monday, the crowd laughed at him.

"They thought, 'Oh, he's never going to do this.' I imagine that's what the laugher was about," the British indoor bowler told As It Happens host Carol Off. 

They had all just heard Brett's partner Greg Harlow lay out the game plan. In order to make the shot, Brett would have to bowl his green ball 24 metres down the carpet, and get it to slip through a six-inch gap between the opponent's two red balls in order to hit the target. 

The ball itself is about five inches wide, he said, leaving only a hair's breadth of clearing room.

"I sort of stepped back and thought, 'Yeah, not going to be the easiest in the world. But it's not impossible. I'll give it a go,'" he said. 

"And lo and behold it was, well, perfect I would say."

Indoor bowls champ pulls off shot 'so good, it is ridiculous'

2 years ago
Britain's Nick Brett makes a seemingly impossible shot during the pairs final of the World Indoor Bowls Championships. (Submitted by World Bowls Tour) 1:06

When Brett made the shot, the crowd at the Potters Leisure Resort in the U.K. went wild. 

"That is ridiculous. That is just so good, it is ridiculous," said the announcer. "What a ball. That was outrageous."

'We're looking to grow this sport'

The clip has been all over sports media. 

Tyler Lauletta of Business Insider called it "one of the sports highlights of the year."

Dan Gartland of Sports Illustrated admitted he'd never heard of indoor bowls before he came across this clip, but now he has "all the respect in the world for these athletes in their silly shirts."

Indoor bowls — also known as carpet bowling or indoor lawn bowling — is sort of a combination of curling and bocce ball. The goal is to roll balls as close as possible to a target, known as the jack. 

Brett comes from a long line of indoor bowlers. His father and grandfather played before him. He says he's thrilled at the opportunity to promote the sport to a new audience. 

"We're looking to grow this sport, and if anyone wants to get involved in the sport ... we're more than happy to oblige any new members," he said.

Brett and Harlow went on to beat Scotland's Paul Foster and Alex Marshall in the pairs final on Monday, making them world champions.

Brett also won a quarter-final game in the singles tournament on Friday, and will next compete in the world singles semi-final against Jason Greenslade of Wales on Saturday. 

In the meantime, he is basking in the glow of the spotlight. He says his 19- and 20-year-old kids are particularly impressed. 

"They can't believe who's retweeted it and now many views it's had. It's unbelievable," he said. "It seems to have got a lot of people's attention." 

Still, he's not letting it get to his head.

"Obviously, it's a pretty good bowl. I mean, lots of other bowls have been better or at least equally as good," he said.

Written by Sheena Goodyear. Interview produced by Chloe Shantz-Hilkes.


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