Soham darting ace Brett Claydon enjoys first season as a PDC Tour Card holder
The closing few weeks of the season were so positive that Brett Claydon is disappointed to have seen it come to an end.
The year 2021 has been uncharted territory for the Soham-based darting ace, who back in February earned himself a first ever coveted PDC Tour Card.
He started life on the circuit with just one victory across four days at the Players Championship before losing to Danny Baggish on his television debut at the Coral UK Open.
However, the summer and beyond brought some eye-catching results, most recently in the PDC Super Series events where he defeated some of the sport’s big names, including former BDO world champions Stephen Bunting and Scott Mitchell, as well as one-time Premier League winner Glenn Durrant.
Claydon also gained revenge on Baggish for the defeat in the spring, overcame number one seed Joe Cullen and defeated World Cup of Darts winner John Henderson.
And while the results did not go his way, he also took on five-time world champion across the BDO and PDC Raymond van Barneveld and this year’s World Championship semi-finalist Dave Chisnall.
All of which has left the 39-year-old feeling like he belongs in such esteemed company.
“I am very happy with how it has gone going into my second year,” said the former Soham Town Rangers and Newmarket Town footballer.
“The last few weeks especially have been great. I felt like I owed Danny (Baggish) one and while I didn’t play great against Barney (Van Barneveld), it is always good to play players like that.
“Chizzy (Chisnall) was a bit of a learning curve game when I missed some chances, but when you are beating people like Stephen Bunting and Scott Mitchell, you have to take confidence from that.
“These have been world champions at one stage and it does help you to believe – if they can do it, why couldn’t I one day?
“It’s given me a major boost and I’m really happy with how I’m playing, but what it’s also shown me is that I can go to even higher levels.
“I’ll need to do that next year to make sure I build upon all of the hard work.”
Claydon credits his Suffolk Super League outings with Stowmarket-based Cedars Park as one of the leading factors behind his positive conclusion to 2021.
Matches resumed locally during the summer after Covid-19 restrictions were lifted, and he feels that having that competitive element has helped to drive him on.
“It’s actually helped more than I thought,” added Claydon, who is nicknamed The Shredder. “When the rules didn’t allow people to mix, you’re just practising on your own and there’s no pressure.
“It can get a bit too easy and you go through the motions too much.
“But having that competitive edge, playing games where you need to win a deciding leg for your team and team-mates, all of that has helped with my instincts when it comes to PDC events.
“Andrew Gilding (PDC Tour card holder) and Stephen Burton (former PDC Tour card holder) play in the same team as me and we help drive each other on as well.”
While things now wind down ahead of the next campaign, Claydon does have a big event coming up on November 29.
He will travel to the Barnsley Metrodome, looking to earn himself a place at the William Hill World Darts Championship, which gets under way at Alexandra Palace on December 15.
He said: “It’s all very upbeat going into it. Some of my friends on the circuit like Ryan Meikle and Darren Webster have told me I’m finally showing what I can do.
“I’m actually a bit gutted the season has finished but I’ve got to get myself ready for the World Championship qualifier.
“I’ll be practising when I can, keeping active over Christmas and will hopefully kick on from there.”