Big PDC darting events await Soham's Brett Claydon after he lands Tour Card
After 10 long years of toil and setbacks, Brett Claydon finally has his hands on a much coveted PDC Tour Card.
The Soham-based darting ace, who had been playing for Walsham-le-Willows Sports Club up until the pandemic, has been mightily close before, so much so that he was widely known on the circuit as the best player to have never earned themselves a Tour Card.
But last week he put that right, coming through seven days in Milton Keynes to clinch one of the 13 Q-School Order of Merit places available.
It means for the next two years he will get the opportunity to rub shoulders with the sport’s well-renowned names on some of the biggest stages.
Asked how he felt to have got himself over the line, the 38-year-old replied: “Relief – that’s the main feeling at the moment. I played well but in the final stages it was looking like I could miss out by a leg or two if other results went against it.
“I’m over the moon though. Ten years I’ve waited for this. I’ve been around the PDC circuit and heard plenty of times I’m the best player to have never got a Tour Card.
“That puts pressure on because you start to think you should be doing better. There are doubts at times, but I’ve had belief in myself.
“All the days putting in the hard work, coming home from work and practicing, believing that one day it will happen. It’s happened now, and that’s also down to the support I’ve had from family and friends.
“I’ve also had amazing support since getting the Tour Card from my four sponsors – Xtax Accountants, Prestige Fire Safety, Avocet Staffing Ltd and the Rose & Crown in Somersham.”
Having now achieved one of his major goals, Claydon – a former Newmarket Town and Soham Town Rangers footballer – is determined to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead.
He is set to feature in the PDC Super Series opener in Bolton this week, with the first major tournament of the year – the Ladbrokes UK Open – scheduled for March 5. It’s the start of what he hopes will be a fruitful period.
“I’ve got the full backing from my partner and my family – they don’t want me to do anything else,” he added. “I’m going to be giving it my all, making sure that I practice more often.
“When my partner picked me up after Q-School, she said to me I’ve got to do it properly.
“I’ve proved I can do it, now I’ve got to show I can against the big boys. It’s going to be a busy time in the coming weeks.
“The first major of the year is soon and I’m going to be playing it – that’s an amazing feeling.
“Hopefully I can pick up a good few scalps along the way. I know I’m going to have to be at my best but that suits my style.”
Claydon was also pleased to see his Walsham team-mate Andrew Gilding – a former UK Open semi-finalist – get his hands on a Tour Card.
“I’ve played in the same team as Andrew for a while and it was nice to be looking out for each other,” said Claydon.
“We had some good banter going and got some good messages of support from people we’ve played with.”