Lakeside legend Wolfie believes he can still rule the world
He's old and grey, he's got aches and pains and he's not in very good form.
But Martin ‘Wolfie’ Adams insists he’s got every chance of crowning his 25th consecutive appearance in the BDO World Championships with a fourth title win.
The 61 year-old Lakeside legend from Deeping gets the 2018 show on the road in the opening match on Saturday afternoon and he couldn’t be facing a tougher start.
He’s up against number two seed Mark McGeeney, the current number one in the BDO rankings, and for once unseeded Wolfie is the big underdog.
“That suits me fine. All the pressure’s on Mark. He’ll be doing all the worrying beforehand, not me,” said Wolfie.
“I know only too well that anything can happen at the Lakeside.
“I faced the big favourite Tony O’Shea once in the first round and beat him in nine straight legs. That was unheard of.
“My form in 2017 has been very up and down - one minute I’m playing really well and the next I can’t hit a barn door.
“That’s why I’m not seeded this year.
“But the main thing is I’m back again. I love playing at the Lakeside - it’s the highlight of the year for me and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Adams’ erratic form over the past 12 months has been attributed to health problems and a subsequent lack of practice .
Though given the all-clear from prostate cancer, he now suffers from joint pain and foot problems as a result of the treatment he received.
“Well, I think it’s the treatment - it could just be down to old age,” he quipped.
“As we get older different things affect the body. I’m just happy to be here and still playing darts.”
The last time McGeeney and Adams met was at the Belgium Open in August and McGeeney was a 4-0 winner.
“I remember it well,” recalled Wolfie. “I had this terrific pain right up my shin. It was really weird and I just couldn’t settle. But when it was all over I just gave a big smile and a wave and wished Mark the best of luck. It’s no good complaining.”
Wolfie lifted the trophy in 2007, 2010 and 2011 and regards his 7-6 victory over the late Phil Nixon in their classic see-saw final in 2007 as his finest moment.
He added: “To win the title again in my 25th year would be immense. That would equal winning the first one.
“Can I win it again? Of course I can. When I’m good I’m good and I honestly believe there’s another title in me.
“Sometimes the wheels come off and I can’t hit a thing but whatever happens on Saturday I’ll enjoy it.
“And if it doesn’t happen for me this year there will be many more opportunities.
“Lionel Smith was playing county darts for Staffordshire until he was 75 and if he can do that, why can’t I keep playing at the Lakeside into my seventies ?” he reasoned.
“Why not? Who’s going to stop me? The only people who can stop me are the other players and if I keep doing the circuit and play well enough, I will keep getting to the Lakeside.
“What else would I do? I’d be lost without my darts. The only other thing I do is a spot of gardening.”
This year’s first prize is £100,000 and Adams admits the cash would ‘come in handy’.
“It’s a long time since I’ve had a big pay-day but I’ve never relied on the prizemoney,” he said. “I do well enough on the exhibition circuit and through sponsorships. Darts has been good to me. I love it. Long may it continue.”
Wolfie at the Lakeside
Reached quarter-finals: lost 4-2 to Magnus Caris
Reached semi-finals: lost 5-4 to Raymond van Barneveld
Reached quarter-finals: lost 4-1 to Steve Beaton
First round: lost 3-1 to Roger Carter
First round: lost 3-2 to Robbie Widdows
Reached quarter-finals: lost 5-4 to Chris Mason
First round: lost 3-2 to Steve Coote
Second round: lost 3-1 to Ronnie Baxter
Reached semi-finals: lost 5-4 to Tony David
Second round: lost 3-1 to Bob Taylor
First round: lost 3-2 to Ritchie Davies
Finalist: lost 6-2 to Raymond van Barneveld
Reached semi-finals: lost 6-2 to Raymond van Barneveld
Finalist: beat Phil Nixon 7-6
Reached semi-finals: lost 6-4 to Mark Webster
Reached semi-finals: lost 6-4 to Ted Hankey
Finalist: beat Dave Chisnall 7-5
Finalist: beat Dean Winstanley 7-5
Reached quarter-finals: lost 5-2 to Tony O’Shea
First round: lost 3-2 to Jimmy Hendriks
Reached quarter-finals: lost 5-2 to Jan Dekker
Finalist: lost 7-6 to Scott Mitchell
First round: lost 3-0 to Jeff Smith
Reached quarter-finals: lost 5-4 to Jamie Hughes