Europe win gives Heydon the confidence to take on the world

Nigel Heydon shows off the Europe Cup after England's success in Budapest.
Nigel Heydon shows off the Europe Cup after England's success in Budapest.

Lillington thrower Nigel Heydon says helping England to Europe Cup success gave him the confidence to qualify for the World Professional Darts Championship.

Heydon was joined by Scott Mitchell, Paul Hogan and Daniel Day in the England quartet which claimed team gold in Budapest, with the 48-year-old reaching the quarter-finals of the singles in the process.

He had little time to celebrate, however, heading up to Bridlington in a bid to qualify for Lakeside.

Three victories in his group games took him through to the last 32 where 2-0 wins over American Tom Sawyer and Adam Smith-Neale secured him a coveted spot in January’s World Professional Darts Championship.

“The last two weeks have been a joy,” said Heydon.

“Hungary was like a darting Ryder Cup, enjoyable and very nervy at times but great to come back with the trophy.

“Bridlington I went into feeling good after Hungary.

“My form was a bit in and out but I felt I had nothing to lose and should just enjoy the experience.

“I hadn’t done the qualifiers for a few years but I knew what to expect which helped, I think.

“There were some tough games with the final being the toughest as I was playing Nuneaton-based Adam Smith-Neale who I know very well and who went on to win the Winmau World Masters on Sunday.”

Heydon continued his good form through the floor stage of the Winmau Masters, overcoming Callan Rydz, Edwin Torbjörnsson, Thibault Tricole and Dennis Harbour to reach the last 32.

The Undertaker then went two sets up in his best-of-five clash with world number three Jim Williams, only to spurn match darts on his way to a 3-2 defeat.

“On the floor I played really well, beating fellow England player Dennis Harbour to get to the stage games,” he continued.

“I went two sets up and had darts to win but it was not to be.

“I’ll wait until January 5 and the World Championships to try again.”