Memorable Lakeside experience for Heydon

Nigel Heydon celebrates a crucial leg win against Richard Veenstra in their thrilling first-round match. Picture: Chris Sargeant at Tip Top Pics Ltd
Nigel Heydon celebrates a crucial leg win against Richard Veenstra in their thrilling first-round match. Picture: Chris Sargeant at Tip Top Pics Ltd

Nigel Heydon has started calling himself the Nearly Man after his latest televised loss.

Heydon was involved in a five-set thriller in the first round of the BDO World Championships at Lakeside eventually bowing out in a sudden-death deciding leg against eight seed Richard Veenstra.

The Lillington thrower missed two shots at bull to earn a second round tie against Scott Waites, the second of which came in the final leg when from 76 he hit single five and treble seven to set up his potential match shot.

And having previously seen a 2-0 set lead evaporate against eventual champion Adrian Lewis in the PDC World Championship, Heydon admits he is getting himself something of a reputation.

“I’m starting to get remembered for losses more than wins,” he said.

“But I don’t mind that.

“I play darts as a hobby and class myself as a pub player, a good pub player, and I enjoy it.”

Having recovered from 2-0 down to beat American Jim Widmayer in his preliminary round clash, Heydon got two chances over the weekend to sample the famous Lakeside stage, something he had dreamed of since a boy.

“It was a good experience, walking on to that stage, the same one as the likes of Eric Bristow and John Lowe.

“It would have been good to go further but it wasn’t to be.”

The fact that he was able to get on the stage at all owed much to his work colleagues and employers John Taylor Funeral Service who dipped into their pockets to ensure Heydon and wife Philippa were able to stay in a hotel while down in Surrey and put their daughter Melissa, who has Tuberous Sclerosis, in respite.

The 48-year-old admitted their “awesome support” allowed them to relax and enjoy the occasion but he admitted he had another worry going into the tournament, namely his glasses.

“We’ve got computers in at work and just before the worlds I got some varifocals.

“I couldn’t play darts and I was really struggling so I had to go back to single vision.

“They were a higher prescription than I’d had previously so I only had three or four weeks to practice with them.

“So I did quite well really.”

Heydon reeled off nine successive legs to overcome Widmayer and went on to record a higher average than Veenstra in his first round match which included a spectacular 132 finish to stave off defeat in the deciding set.

However, he said despite an upturn in form this year and his good showing at the World Championships, there are no thoughts of a return to the PDC Tour.

“I’ve been there, done it with the PDC,” he said.

“It’s every weekend and it’s hard when you are a working man.

“Plus there’s the standard of the pros, I did it in stages over the weekend but they do it consistently.”

Days after his exit, Heydon admits he is still gutted by his failure to land one of the two crucial bulls but what about that unusual route on his final visit to the board when he hit five and then treble seven to set up his bull shot?

“I was aiming for the treble 20 and normally from 71 I would go treble 17 but with the seven being next to the 19 I decided to go downstairs.

“I wasn’t aiming for five!”