Joe Cullen secured the first ranking title of 2021 at the PDC Super Series in Bolton with a narrow 8-7…
Joe Cullen secured the first ranking title of 2021 at the PDC Super Series in Bolton with a narrow 8-7 victory over Jonny Clayton in the final.
Cullen, who claimed the final Players Championship title of last season, made it back-to-back triumphs as he sealed the £10,000 top prize at the Bolton Whites Hotel.
The world number 16 averaged 95.8 across the day and held his nerve to edge out his close friend Clayton in a hard-fought decider.
“Winning the first tournament is a perfect start to what I believe will be a big year for me,” said Cullen.
“It wasn’t the best final. It’s hard playing against Jonny because he’s a great friend and he’s got such a relaxed attitude about the game.
“Previously when I’ve felt uncomfortable in games I’ve been beaten, but lately I feel like I’ve got a chance of winning games even when I’m playing badly. It’s a brilliant feeling to have.
“I’ve been putting the work in. I gave myself a week-and-a-half off after Ally Pally and then got back on the practice board, so I’m pleased it’s paying off.”
Cullen began his run with a last-leg victory over Ryan Meikle before following up a 6-4 success over Ryan Murray with a 103 average in a 6-2 win over fellow Yorkshireman Scott Waites.
Another deciding-leg victory followed as ‘The Rockstar’ edged past Chris Dobey with a 100 average before overcoming German number one Gabriel Clemens 6-4 in the Quarter-Finals.
Two-time European Tour event winner Cullen then dispatched Premier League finalist Nathan Aspinall 7-4 to seal his spot in the final.
Fresh from his winning The Masters in January and his subsequent selection for the Premier League, Clayton was seeking back-to-back titles and made a solid start by taking the opening two legs.
Cullen responded by winning the next three, but a typically tight contest saw the pair stay within a leg of one another until leg 12 as Cullen found double ten to lead 7-5.
Clayton landed a 108 checkout to break straight back before making no mistake on double seven to send the contest to a decider.
Strong scoring on throw from Cullen saw him leave 90 after nine darts, but four missed doubles for the match gave Clayton an outside chance of stealing the win.
However, Cullen denied the Welshman a chance to take out 56, finding the match-winning double ten at the sixth attempt to seal victory despite an average of just 86.5.
Clayton had registered three ton-plus averages on his way to the final, including a blistering 109.6 in a 7-0 whitewash of fellow Welshman Jon Worsley in the Semi-Finals.
Worsley, who regained his Tour Card at Qualifying School last week, enjoyed a landmark run to his first PDC Semi-Final, notably defeating Damon Heta and Michael Smith en route.
Smith had begun the day by landing a nine-darter in his 6-3 win over Belgian newcomer Geert de Vos in Round One.
Elsewhere, 19-year-old newcomer Lewis Williams enjoyed a superb start to life as a PDC professional as he defeated Michael van Gerwen 6-5 en route to the Last 16.
Irish youngster Keane Barry also started the season brightly by defeating Danny Baggish, Glen Durrant and Ian White on his way to the Last 16 – where he was eventually halted by Clemens.
Raymond van Barneveld’s return to ProTour action ended in a 6-5 defeat to World Championship semi-finalist Stephen Bunting in Round One.
Van Barneveld had battled back from 5-1 down to force a decider, but only for Bunting to seal it in style with a 125 checkout.
PDC Super Series 2021 Event One Results
Thursday February 25
Gerwyn Price 6-1 Lisa Ashton
Gary Anderson 6-1 Peter Jacques
Ryan Searle 6-3 John Michael
Steve Beaton 6-4 Kai Fan Leung
Rob Cross 6-3 Steve Brown
James Wilson 6-5 Jason Heaver
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Peter Hudson
Boris Koltsov 6-5 Jason Lowe
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Darius Labanauskas
Martin Thomas 6-1 Harald Leitinger
Ricky Evans 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker
Nick Kenny 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp
Devon Petersen 6-4 Jake Jones
Mickey Mansell 6-4 Berry van Peer
Callan Rydz 6-3 Madars Razma
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Andy Boulton
Joe Cullen 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Ryan Murray 6-2 Ciaran Teehan
Ross Smith 6-2 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Scott Waites 6-2 Bradley Brooks
Danny Noppert 6-4 Krzysztof Kciuk
Chris Dobey 6-2 Karel Sedlacek
Brendan Dolan 6-3 Keegan Brown
Steve Lennon 6-3 Mike De Decker
José de Sousa 6-1 Zoran Lerchbacher
Gordon Mathers 6-4 Josh Payne
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Steffen Siepmann
Adam Hunt 6-5 Steve West
Ian White 6-0 Justin Pipe
Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-3 Martin Schindler
Glen Durrant 6-3 Luke Humphries
Keane Barry 6-4 Danny Baggish
Michael van Gerwen 6-4 Matthew Edgar
Mark McGeeney 6-4 Derk Telnekes
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Luc Peters
Lewis Williams 6-4 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Niels Zonneveld
Alan Soutar 6-5 Adrian Lewis
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Maik Kuivenhoven
Adam Gawlas 6-4 Darren Webster
James Wade 6-1 David Evans
Scott Mitchell 6-5 Gary Blades
Stephen Bunting 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Kirk Shepherd 6-2 Lorenzo Pronk
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 William Borland
Simon Whitlock 6-3 John Henderson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-1 Martin Atkins
Jesus Noguera 6-2 Luke Woodhouse
Peter Wright 6-4 Andrew Gilding
Michael Unterbuchner 6-3 Chas Barstow
Jon Worsley 6-1 Ryan Joyce
Geert Nentjes 6-5 Michael Rasztovits
Damon Heta 6-1 Martin Lukeman
Jeff Smith 6-1 Andy Hamilton
Boris Krcmar 6-3 Mervyn King
Eddie Lovely 6-4 Alan Tabern
Michael Smith 6-3 Geert De Vos – *Smith hits a nine-darter*
Max Hopp 6-1 Jack Main
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Joe Murnan
William O’Connor 6-4 Ritchie Edhouse
Mensur Suljovic 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Ted Evetts 6-0 Daniel Larsson
John Brown 6-5 Jermaine Wattimena
Brett Claydon 6-2 Aaron Beeney
Gary Anderson 6-2 Gerwyn Price
Ryan Searle 6-4 Steve Beaton
Rob Cross 6-4 James Wilson
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Boris Koltsov
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Martin Thomas
Ricky Evans 6-5 Nick Kenny
Devon Petersen 6-4 Mickey Mansell
Jelle Klaasen 6-5 Callan Rydz
Joe Cullen 6-4 Ryan Murray
Scott Waites 6-4 Ross Smith
Chris Dobey 6-4 Danny Noppert
Steve Lennon 6-5 Brendan Dolan
Gordon Mathers 6-4 José de Sousa
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Adam Hunt
Ian White 6-5 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Keane Barry 6-3 Glen Durrant
Michael van Gerwen 6-2 Mark McGeeney
Lewis Williams 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Alan Soutar 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Adam Gawlas
James Wade 6-3 Scott Mitchell
Kirk Shepherd 6-3 Stephen Bunting
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Simon Whitlock
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-1 Jesus Noguera
Michael Unterbuchner 6-1 Peter Wright
Jon Worsley 6-5 Geert Nentjes
Damon Heta 6-2 Jeff Smith
Eddie Lovely 6-5 Boris Krcmar
Michael Smith 6-4 Max Hopp
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 William O’Connor
Ted Evetts 6-5 Mensur Suljovic
John Brown 6-3 Brett Claydon
Gary Anderson 6-4 Ryan Searle
Rob Cross 6-1 Daryl Gurney
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Ricky Evans
Jelle Klaasen 6-3 Devon Petersen
Joe Cullen 6-2 Scott Waites
Chris Dobey 6-3 Steve Lennon
Gabriel Clemens 6-5 Gordon Mathers
Barry 6-4 Ian White
Lewis Williams 6-5 Michael van Gerwen
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Alan Soutar
James Wade 6-2 Kirk Shepherd
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Jon Worsley 6-2 Michael Unterbuchner
Damon Heta 6-3 Eddie Lovely
Michael Smith 6-3 Vincent van der Voort
Ted Evetts 6-4 John Brown
Rob Cross 6-2 Gary Anderson
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Jelle Klaasen
Joe Cullen 6-5 Chris Dobey
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Keane Barry
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Lewis Williams
James Wade 6-5 Krzysztof Ratajski
Jon Worsley 6-3 Damon Heta
Michael Smith 6-3 Ted Evetts
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Rob Cross
Joe Cullen 6-4 Gabriel Clemens
Jonny Clayton 6-2 James Wade
Jon Worsley 6-5 Michael Smith
Joe Cullen 7-4 Nathan Aspinall
Jonny Clayton 7-0 Jonathan Worsley
Joe Cullen 8-7 Jonny Clayton