Lillington’s Nigel Heydon was relishing being back in the big time after a fantastic run to the quarter-finals of the Austrian Darts Open at the Multiversum in Schwechat, Vienna.
Heydon beat home favourite Roxy-James Rodriguez 6-4 in the first round of the European Tour event before recovering from 5-3 down to edge out Robert Thornton 6-5 and then routing Ian White 6-0 to set up a last-eight clash against Michael Smith.
A 6-5 defeat denied the 45-year-old a semi-final clash against Terry Jenkins and a possible final showdown with Phil Taylor, but Heydon said the weekend had given him confidence he could still compete at the highest level.
“It’s three years since I’ve been on the big stage,” said Heydon who was this week back at his job at John Taylor Funeral Service.
“It’s what we play the game for. I want to be at that level every week.”
It could have been even better for Heydon, who missed two match darts to beat Smith.
However, he said he was fortunate not to have bowed out in the second round against Thornton.
“I got lucky against Robert, he gave me a few chances.
“He had a shot at double top to win it.
“Ian missed doubles and I kept plugging away, while against Michael I missed doubles throughout the game.
“In the tenth leg I left 90, hit the treble 20 but hit single 15. I threw the last dart in anger, aiming at the seven but bust.
“I still had another chance at 90, hit single 20 and treble 20 but missed the double five.
“Those were the two match darts.
“It’s a shame as my side of the draw had opened up.
“I was playing well and my averages were going up.”
The European Tour qualifier in Barnsley at the start of July is next on the agenda for Heydon, who has been getting in quality practise time with Southam PDC prospect Ted Evetts.
And, he said that following on from a back operation and a switch to wearing glasses, he is now getting back to the levels he reached when breaking on to the pro scene.
“I’m in no pain and I’m almost able to throw like I used to,” he said.
“I’m used to the glasses. There are no excuses.”