Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams launched his bid for a fourth BDO World Championship crown in dramatic fashion at the Lakeside Country Club this afternoon (January 8).
The 60 year-old Deeping legend overcame Newcastle’s Ryan Joyce 3-2 after a thrilling first round tie that went right down to the wire.
Adams eventually drew on all his vast experience - he is after all making his 24th consecutive appearance at the big event - to seal his place in the last 16 by winning a sudden-death deciding leg 6-5.
Joyce, who is nicknamed ‘Relentless’, breezed past Dennis Nilsson in the preliminary round in impressive style yesterday and came so close to knocking out one of the tournament favourites.
He led for most of the game but number five seed Wolfie is famous for thriving under pressure rather than crumbling and so it turned out today.
“I’m renowned for Lakeside classics and that was certainly another one,” said Adams afterwards. “It was beautiful. Ryan played aboslutely brilliant and was certainly a tough not to crack.
“But I rolled back the years to get the job done.”
Joyce added: “Martin has been there and done it all so many times whereas I am here for the first time. His experience got him through at the end - no doubt about that.”
Both men kicked off the match with 15-dart legs before Joyce found double 11 in the third leg for a crucial break of throw. Adams then missed double 20 for a 116 checkout to level and Joyce took full advantage, taking out 74 on double 16 to claim the opening set.
Adams broke early in the second set with an 86 checkout, before quickly adding a second leg to move 2-0 ahead. Wolfie squandered five match darts in the next leg as Joyce claimed a leg back, but he eventually levelled proceedings with a brilliant 118 checkout to win the second set.
Joyce bounced back in style and crashed in an 11-dart leg to immediately break Adams’ throw in the third set. Adams bounced back with a 25 checkout after Joyce wired a dart at bullseye, before moving 2-1 ahead in the set with a superb 115 checkout.
Nonetheless, Wolfie missed three darts at double 16 for the set as Joyce pinned the same target to level, before firing in a timely 180 in the fifth leg as he claimed the third set with a 42 checkout.
Adams fired back in the fourth set with an immediate break of throw, before Joyce levelled proceedings. Adams once again broke the throw with a brilliant 11-dart leg, before forcing a deciding set by taking out double three at the second attempt.
Joyce kicked off the final set with a break of throw, taking out 61 on double 4, before taking out 41 to move within one leg of victory. Adams fired back with a superb 129 checkout, before taking out 86 to level the set at 2-2.
Joyce once more moved within a leg of victory when he pinned double 18 in the fifth leg before missing one match dart at the same target, with Wolfie punishing him with a 115 checkout to stay alive.
Double 18 saw Joyce move 4-3 ahead and was poised for the match on 86 but Adams refused to be beaten as he pinned double six with his final dart in hand to level the game once again.
It was Wolfie who then moved within a leg of victory with a 46 checkout before Joyce pulled out a sensational 164 checkout to force a sudden death leg.
Adams drew on all of his experience to bang in a timely 180 and despite Joyce leaving himself on double 20, Adams pinned double 9 to win an absolute epic.
Wolfie finished with a 30.58 average and Joyce with 29.29 while in the 180 stakes it was 5-3 to Adams.
Adams will next meet the winner of tomorrow night’s match between England’s Brian Dawson and Canada’s Jeff Smith.