In this column, we regularly reminisce about a "forgotten darter" from the past. Today it is the turn of Englishman Ronnie Baxter.
Ronnie Baxter was born on Feb. 5, 1961, in Blackpool. In the 1980s, Baxter played mainly on the North American circuit. In the early 1990s, he began participating in international tournaments within the BDO circuit and qualified for the World Championship for the first time in 1991. In the opening round he won 3-1 against Belgian Bruno Raes, but a round later Jocky Wilson was too strong 3-1.
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Baxter grew to become one of the better players in the BDO in the following years, winning the Welsh Open twice, the German Open, Denmark Open and Swiss Open, among others. In 1997 Baxter managed to reach the final of a major for the first time. He was unable to win, however, as he lost 3-2 to Australian Graham Hunt in the final of the Winmau World Masters at the Paragon Hotel in London.
Two years later, Baxter started the BDO World Championship as one of the big favourites. After wins against Richie Burnett, Kevin Painter, Roland Scholten and Andy Fordham, he faced Raymond van Barneveld in the final. After a 3-1 and 5-4 lead he eventually lost 6-5.
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Shortest final ever
A year later he was back in the BDO World Championship final at Lakeside Country Club. However, this turned out to be a huge disappointment, as after barely 46 minutes (the shortest World Championship final ever) Baxter had to walk away with a 6-0 defeat.
In 2001 "The Rocket" switched to the PDC. There he had already reached the final of the World Matchplay in 1998 (BDO players could also participate then), after he had caused a huge shock in the quarter-finals by eliminating Phil Taylor. In a particularly exciting final, he lost 19-17 to Rod Harrington.
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Fifth major final
A year after his move to the PDC, Baxter managed to qualify for the final of the Las Vegas Desert Classic. However, his fifth major final did not turn out to be the right one either, as he lost 3-0 to Phil Taylor in the final.
In the years that followed, Baxter remained one of the players to reckon with in the PDC, with several quarter-final and semi-final finishes at majors. However, reaching a sixth major final was no longer possible. In 2018, Baxter finally lost his Tour Card. Since then, he has been making occasional appearances on the World Seniors Darts Tour.