Jackson has his sights set on more Potters joy

Billy Jackson, the English outsider who won the Potters Holidays World Indoor Singles Championship for the first time last year, hopes to go one better this time around.

Billy Jackson, the English outsider who won the Potters Holidays World Indoor Singles Championship for the first time last year, hopes to go one better this time around.

Jackson is now aiming to become the first player to win both the World Singles and World Pairs title in the same year at the event's long-established home at Potters Leisure Resort, Hopton.

The World Singles Championship is the flagship event of a three-week festival of world-class bowls and gets under way this morning with a pairs qualifier.

Staged on the WBT's world-renowned portable rink, the championships will feature the top 24 bowlers in the world, joined by qualifiers from the UK, Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel and New Zealand.

Jackson, the 39-year-old world

No 10 from Lincoln, became one of the lowest-ranked players to win the sport's richest prize last January - overwhelming a star-studded field which included world number one and record five-time world champion Alex Marshall, MBE, fellow Scot Paul Foster, a three-time former winner and five former champions.

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Runner-up in the 2009 World Pairs championship, Jackson had lifted that trophy with his long-time partner David Gourlay both in 2006 and 2007.

"It would be good to be the first at Potters to win both titles simultaneously," said Jackson on the eve of the defence of his title. "And David and I haven't got a bad record in the Pairs, have we?

"Winning the singles title last year changed my whole attitude to the game - especially on the confidence side of things. It's made me realise I'm as good as the others now!"

Jackson has been much in demand in his year as world champion.

"I've done a few club openings and presentations - and really enjoyed that. And I was invited to the Lincolnshire Sports Awards, and was voted 'Sportsman of the Year' - which was a fantastic surprise.

"And it was great to be invited to the BBC's 'Sports Personality of the Year' show - and it was good to get a mention on the big screen. Later I found myself chatting to my new mate Frank Bruno at the bar.

"But my fondest memory is still picking up the trophy on the green - and holding it up in front of the TV cameras and photographers.

"I actually watched the whole match for the first time over Christmas - and was pretty pleased with the way I played, though there were some shots that I would have played differently now."

Jackson will open his 2010 singles campaign against either experienced Canadian Hirendra Bhartu or compatriot Scott Whiting, a 20-year-old qualifier from Kent.

"I don't know Scott at all, but will have a chance to watch their match on the day after my first Pairs match.

"I'm looking forward to getting back to Potters - it's like a second home to most of us, everybody knows you there. I hope I'll have my usual bungalow - it's become lucky for me now.

"My main goal is to do well enough to secure a place in the top eight for next season. I did better than I've ever done at the Scottish Open at the beginning of the season, so I'm pleased with my form. Let's hope the nerves hold out once I get onto the portable rink."

Jackson is expected to meet Marshall in the singles final on Sunday, January 24 - but he faces stiff competition in his half of the draw from local hero Mervyn King, the 2006 champion from Norfolk, England's eighth seed Andy Thomson, champion in 1994 and 1995, Cambridgeshire's Greg Harlow, the fifth seed and runner-up in 2006 and in-form Scot Paul Foster, winner of last month's Scottish International Open and currently top of next season's provisional world rankings.