In this column, we regularly go back in time with a particular darter from yesterday. Today we do so with Englishman Mark Dudbridge.
Mark Dudbridge was born on January 11, 1973 in Bristol. In 2002 he made his first international appearance, and how! The man nicknamed 'Flash' burst onto the scene with overall victory at the Winmau World Masters, beating Tony West 7-4 in the final.
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Despite that success, he chose to switch to the rival PDC organisation soon after. As a result, Dudbridge never played a BDO World Championship. In his debut year with the PDC he won the Ireland Open Autumn Classic. Partly because of that he was allowed to play at the PDC World Darts Championship for the first time in 2004, where he caused a resounding surprise in the opening round by sending reigning world champion John Part packing. Eventually his adventure ended in the quarter-finals after a 5-1 defeat to Kevin Painter.
Dudbridge was clearly on a roll that year. After wins against Wayne Mardle, Alan Warriner, Peter Manley and Ronnie Baxter, he reached the final of the World Matchplay on his debut. In that final, however, he was clearly outclassed 18-8 by Phil Taylor.
In his second World Championship appearance in 2005, he immediately caused fireworks in the first two rounds by beating Richie Burnett and, again, Part. Victories against Denis Ovens and Wayne Mardle followed, allowing him to play another major final, a rematch against Taylor. In that final, however, "The Power" again proved too strong, 7-4.
Dudbridge finished fifth in the Premier League Darts later that year and also reached the quarterfinals of the World Grand Prix, but he still began to slip in the world rankings. In 2014 he made it to the World Championship for one last time, but lost 3-0 to Gary Anderson in the opening round.
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In 2017, Dudbridge had already lost his Tour Card for a while but somewhat surprisingly recaptured that Tour Card by finishing second on the PDC Challenge Tour. His comeback proved short-lived as he lost his Tour Card again two years later though.
Since then, Dudbridge has made sporadic appearances on the World Seniors Darts Tour (WSDT). Last year, he lost out in the quarter-finals at the World Seniors Championship after a 3-1 defeat to Kevin Painter. Early this year, Dudbridge also ventured into Q-School, without success, however.