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Brett Claydon buzzing for Czech Darts Open after recent Raymond van Barneveld victory

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Having beaten one of the sport’s biggest names to book his place, Brett Claydon heads into this weekend’s Czech Darts Open full of confidence.

After seeing off Maik Kuivenhoven and Kevin Burness during last month’s qualifying event in Barnsley, five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld stood in the Soham darting ace’s way of securing his slot in Prague.

But the Dutchman proved to be no match for Claydon as he averaged 90 and produced a 12-dart leg on his way to a 6-4 victory.

Brett Claydon. Picture: PDC Europe
Brett Claydon. Picture: PDC Europe

“At the time it didn’t sink in straight away,” said the former Soham Town Rangers and Newmarket Town footballer.

“I’d just beaten one of the best players ever – it was such a surreal feeling.

“It wasn’t until he came up to me the next day, shook my hand and said that I fully deserved it that it started to sink in.

Brett Claydon. Picture: PDC Europe
Brett Claydon. Picture: PDC Europe

“I knew I was playing well going into the game, but I’d played Barney twice before and not really turned up. He’d played well and won the games comfortably.

“But it just all happened for me this time. I took my form into the game and managed to beat him.”

The 39-year-old’s focus is now on making an impact on the continent, with the event in eastern Europe set to get under way tomorrow.

He makes the trip having made an impression during a recent competition in Austria, where he overcame Rainer Sturm in a last-leg decider before going toe-to-toe with one of the most in-form players on the PDC circuit in James Wade.

Brett Claydon and James Wade. Picture: PDC Europe
Brett Claydon and James Wade. Picture: PDC Europe

It all means that what would have been once a daunting journey now holds little fear for ‘The Shredder’.

“I think in the last two months I’ve really kicked on and that’s been shown in the results,” said Claydon, who is in his second year as a PDC Tour Card holder.

“I think my mindset is in a lot better place now and I don’t let bad shots or bad legs take a hold of me.

“And the timing of shots is key, I’ve learned that. If my opponent starts with a 60 then I need to make that pay by throwing a 140 or 180 – it’s all about momentum. If they do slack I’ve got to pounce and that’s what I’ve been trying to do.

Brett Claydon and Rainer Sturm. Picture: PDC Europe
Brett Claydon and Rainer Sturm. Picture: PDC Europe

“Someone like James is probably playing the best darts of his life and you have to take that on the chin, but going up against him is an experience in itself.

“The way I’m playing at the moment hopefully gives me a good chance of going deep in Prague. It’s a big opportunity and one I’m keen to take.”

As he begins to clock up the air miles, it will see Claydon spending more time away from his family and his day job.

And that only adds further fuel to his desire to make an impact on upcoming tournaments.

“It can be tough and there will be a few days were I don’t see the kids or my partner,” he said.

“Being self employed helps a bit because I think if I was employed they’d end up letting me go because of all the time off I need.

“I’m lucky that the person I work with is very lenient and has the attitude that this is something I’ve got to give my all to.

“It makes me even more determined to make being away worthwhile, especially when I’m away for a week or so.

“My partner always says to me just make sure that I bring home the bacon, as long as it’s a juicy bit!”