BACK IN THE DAY WITH: Martin Phillips: for years a fixture at the Lakeside and one-time major winner

In this column, we always go back in time with a particular darter. Today we do so with Welshman Martin Phillips.

Martin Phillips was born on April 30, 1960, in Dolgellau. He made his debut with the BDO in 1988 and managed to qualify for the World Championship for the first time three years later. At Lakeside Country Club, however, he went down 3-1 in the opening round against defending champion Phil Taylor.

A year later, Phillips was there again at the World Championship and this time with more success. In the first round, he defeated Dutchman Bert Vlaardingerbroek 3-1. In the second round he caused a huge sensation by sending five-time world champion Eric Bristow home 3-2. Eventually, he was defeated in the quarter-finals by Taylor again.

In 1993 and 1994 at the World Championships he went out in the second round each time against Bobby George. In 1994 and 1998 he became European Champion pair with respectively Eric Burden and Sean Palfrey and in 1997 also World Champion pair with Palfrey. However, Phillips was hardly active internationally during those years and it would take nine years until he managed to qualify for the World Championships again in 2003.

Semi-finals at BDO World Championship

At that 2003 World Championship it went wrong immediately in the opening round against John Walton and for the next three years he again failed to qualify for Lakeside. Phillips decided to return to playing more international tournaments and it paid off. At the 2010 World Championship, he defeated Dave Prins, Paul Carter and Scott Waites in succession. A meeting with Martin Adams followed in the semi-finals, but sadly for Phillips, the eventual world champion would prove too strong 6-4.

The following year, Phillips again managed to reach the semi-finals, but again Adams proved too strong, 6-4. Phillips subsequently participated in the World Championship five more times, most recently in 2019, but never advanced beyond the second round.

Winmau World Masters 2014

Still, Phillips was quite successful after 2010. His wins included the Belgium Open and the German Masters in 2014, and the Romanian Open in 2018. But his biggest success came at the Winmau World Masters in 2014. There, Phillips defeated Jamie Hughes 7-3 in the final, good for the only major title of his career.

Phillips remained loyal to the BDO throughout his career, but was allowed to participate in the Grand Slam of Darts a year later thanks to his semi-final finish at the 2010 World Championship. There he finished second in a group with Adrian Lewis, Co Stompé and Vincent van der Voort. In the last sixteen, he eventually lost 10-8 to compatriot Mark Webster.

Phillips did not participate in any tournaments since 2019. The now 63-year-old Welshman is enjoying his well-deserved retirement.

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