The BDO World Championship kicks off on Saturday (January 5) and Lakeside legend Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams will be there.
Only this time the 62 year-old from Deeping St James won’t be strutting his stuff on the stage at the iconic Frimley Green venue. Instead he’ll be a spectator as the drama unfolds.
For the first time in a quarter of a century, Adams won’t be appearing on the oche at the big week-long event.
On this occasion the three-times champion failed to qualify and he’s put it down to health issues.
Fortunately though it’s nothing to do with prostate cancer, with which he was diagnosed in 2016.
“The cancer has gone,” he said. “I’m all clear on that front and that’s great news. But I’ve had a rough old year really for other reasons.
“First it was my feet aching and then my shoulder started hurting. I just found it so difficult to practice. I couldn’t throw for more than 20 minutes. I had a scan and there was some ligament damage in my shoulder and then they said it was arthritis.
“I’m having injections and that’s helping a bit but I’m still not completely right yet.
“It all meant I didn’t go to enough tournaments to gain automatic entry like I normally do. I played in the qualifying competition but didn’t make it through.
“Never mind. It’s not the end of the world. As you get older winning doesn’t happen as often as you’d like. You just have to grin and bear it.
“ It will seem strange not competing after so many years but I’m still going to be there for the week.
“I’ve been invited to do a bit of punditry for Eurosport.”
Wolfie won the title in 2007, 2010 and 2011 and still has hopes of matching Eric Bristow’s five wins.
“That has always been my aim,” he said, “and I’m not giving up on that just yet. Hopefully the shoulder will be better next year and I’ll be giving it a serious go.”
Wolfie showed signs he was getting back to somewhere near his best form when he won the Italian Open at the end of November.
Over 400 players took part and Adams took the title and a winner’s cheque for 1,000 euros with a 6-5 win over Spain’s Ricardo Perez Ibarra in the final.
BDO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2019
Mal Cuming v Justin Thompson
Brian Lokken v Krzysztof Kciuk
Paul Hogan v Wes Newton
David Cameron v Andy Hamilton
Oliver Ferenc v Ryan Hogarth
Mark McGrath v Adam Smith-Neale
Jim Widmayer v Nigel Heydon
Roger Janssen v Wouter Vaes
Mark McGeeney v Derk Telnekes
Martin Phillips v Conan Whitehead
Richard Veenstra v Widmayer/Heydon
Scott Waites v Jeffrey van Egdom
Michael Unterbuchner v Cuming/Thompson
Wayne Warren v Mark Layton
Wesley Harms v Tony O’Shea
Willem Mandigers v Hogan/Newton
Jim Williams v Janssen/Vaes
Daniel Day v Dean Reynolds
Scott Mitchell v Ferenc/Hogarth
Dave Parletti v Lokken/Kciuk
Gary Robson v Cameron/Hamilton
Chris Landman v Kyle McKinstry
Glen Durrant v McGrath/Smith-Neale
Ross Montgomery v Scott Baker