Soham darting ace Brett Claydon comes through seven-day Milton Keynes event to claim PDC Tour Card
For the second time in his career, Brett Claydon is celebrating getting his hands on the ‘golden ticket’.
Earlier this month the Soham darting ace spent seven gruelling days in Milton Keynes battling it out with several hundred other players to secure a coveted PDC Tour Card.
It was a feat that he achieved previously in 2021, earning him the opportunity of playing on some of the biggest stages for a two-year spell.
And Claydon will now get that chance again throughout 2024/25 after he racked up enough Q-School points to grab one of the 10 Tour Cards on offer in Buckinghamshire.
“Everyone says that the Tour Card is the golden ticket in darts,” said the former Soham Town Rangers and Newmarket Town footballer. “There are only 128 Tour Card holders across the game, so to get one is a big achievement on its own.
“I would say it was the most confident I’ve ever been going into Q-School. I’ve done a lot of travelling to events to get that confidence and it’s great to see that the hard work has paid off.
“I didn’t pick up a point on the first day, but I averaged 94 and I knew I was playing well. It was just a case of sticking to what I was doing, preparing right and taking my chances.”
The UK Open at the start of March is the first big tournament on Claydon’s agenda, with European qualifiers, the Players Championship and the World Championship all the source for much excitement.
For the 41-year-old, he is hoping that the experience will be different to three years ago when the country was still gripped by the impact of the Covid pandemic.
“Last time it was Covid and so I didn’t get to take anyone with me to events,” added Claydon.
“There was no company and it was just a very strange time to get a Tour Card for the first time. It will be a lot more laid back and sociable this time.
“I’ve got to try to hit the ground running, but I know I can do that. The seven days straight at Q-School were tough mentally, but I prepared right and stuck with it.
“I have to process things the same way in the big events – starting with the UK Open – and then see where it takes me. It’s an exciting time.”
At some stage throughout the year, Claydon may find his path crossing with Luke Littler.
The teenage sensation recently put the sport on the front and back pages of newspapers with his run to the final of the World Championships at Alexandra Palace in London.
Like everyone, Claydon was mightily impressed, although he was already acutely aware of the soon-to-be 17-year-old’s talent.
“I came across Luke at a competition in Bristol last year,” said Claydon, who plays darts locally for Witchford and Cedars Park. “I think he won two of the four events and you could see the talent.
“He threw some ridiculous stuff and I remember telling people that they had to watch this kid. I’d seen him live and he was amazing.
“It was fantastic what he did at the Worlds. He took the sport to a whole new level and hopefully we can all jump on the bandwagon and keep the sport moving forwards.
“To deal with that pressure at 16, he’s done so well and I’m sure he’ll win plenty of big tournaments.”