A Sudbury Town darts player has set his sights on the glitz and glamour of professional darts after getting a taste of the big time.
In recent weeks, leading Suffolk and Cambridgeshire Super League arrowsman Brett Claydon has rubbed shoulders with household names including Raymond van Barneveld in qualifying events.
Last month saw the 30-year-old, who is a PDC associate member, head to Crawley for the first two Speedy Services UK Open qualifiers.
In the first he suffered a 6-2 defeat in the opening round against Alex Roy.
Twenty four hours later he suffered defeat by the same scoreline, this time at the hands of Ricky Evans.
“When I was down there it seemed strange walking around and practising alongside the likes of Michael van Gerwen and Raymond van Barneveld,” said Claydon.
“The format of the PDC events are different to those I play in back home and it was hard to get into that mindset of playing best of 11 matches, but the whole thing is a learning curve.”
Having received an insight into the level he needs to be at if he is to make it in the PDC ranks, Claydon will look to improve when taking to the oche in Wigan this weekend for the third and fourth Speedy Services UK Open qualifiers.
Although the draw has yet to be made, he could be pitted against the likes of current darting stars Gary Anderson, James Wade or Robert Thornton, all of whom are among the entry list for both events.
“Over the last two months I have probably been throwing the best darts of my life,” said Claydon.
“My scoring has been really consistent and there is nothing wrong with that, the only thing that is letting me down is my doubles. If I can up the percentage of them I hit then hopefully I can go better than last time out.”
Now Claydon is in desperate need of sponsors to help him reach the top and achieve his ambitions.
“Having spoken to my family and manager I have decided to spend the next two years really knuckling down and giving it a go to see if I am good enough to compete regularly at that level,” said Claydon.
“It is just the expense of doing all the various qualifying tournaments. Although I am signed up to take part in several events, I can’t do them all as it gets very costly.
“If I could just get a bit of sponsorship behind me it would really help.”