Back-to-back Players Championship titles for clinical Joe Cullen

Joe Cullen made it back-to-back Players Championship titles in Wigan with an 8-1 rout of Dimitri van den Bergh in the final of Event Four on Sunday.

Cullen coasted to victory in Players Championship Three on Saturday despite an overall average of 91.2 and completed a prestigious ProTour double 24 hours later.

The reigning Masters champion averaged 96.6 across the day as he extended his unbeaten run to 14 games and moved his PDC title tally into double figures.

“I felt so much better today,” said Cullen. “Yesterday I felt like I was pulling a lot on the trebles but I seemed to be finishing well, and in the games today I combined the two and got over the line again.

“I’m just playing well at the minute and even when I’m not playing well I think people know I should be playing well and can turn it on at any point.

“I think it’s just having that bit of fear factor, I’m winning stuff at the minute and things are going well.

“I’ve had worse weekends!”

Cullen began the day with a 6-3 win over Peter Hudson in Round One before edging out Luke Woodhouse in a last-leg decider.

The world number 11 then saw off Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 and averaged 102.5 in a 6-3 win over Keegan Brown, before denying Rob Cross in a last-leg shoot-out with an average of 103.

In the Semi-Finals, Cullen defied a 102.3 average to knock out world number one Gerwyn Price 7-5 despite averaging eight points fewer than his opponent.

Cullen dominated the final from the outset, securing the first leg with a 104 finish and doubling his lead with a ruthless 121 checkout.

Van den Bergh got off the mark with a 13-darter in leg three but that would prove to be his only meaningful contribution to the contest as Cullen reeled off a further five legs on the spin before sealing victory in style with a 127 checkout on the bull.

The double triumph secures ‘The Rockstar’ £24,000 in prize money and means he has now won three of the five available titles so far this season.

Van den Bergh enjoyed a fine run to his first final of the year and leapfrogs Jonny Clayton into the world number eight spot as a result.

The Belgian ace defeated Luc Peters, Andrew Gilding, Kevin Doets and Adam Gawlas before averaging 108.5 in a high quality last-leg win over Daryl Gurney.

He then overcame Krzysztof Ratajski 7-4 in the Semi-Finals but fell victim to a relentless Cullen in the decider.

Elsewhere, Ryan Joyce pulled off a 6-0 whitewash of World Champion Peter Wright in the Last 32 with a 103.6 average, meaning Price retains the world number one spot ahead of the Scotsman.

New Tour Card holder Cameron Menzies enjoyed a 6-4 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the Second Round, while Ryan Searle, Jose de Sousa and Damon Heta were among the notable First Round casualties.

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Players Championship Four Results

Sunday February 13

First Round
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Jim Williams
Krzysztof Kciuk 6-2 Jake Jones
Alan Soutar 6-3 Brian Raman
Martin Lukeman 6-1 Mickey Mansell
James Wade 6-5 Adam Hunt
Jon Worsley 6-2 Rusty-Jake Rodriguez
Ryan Meikle 6-4 Callan Rydz
Gordon Mathers 6-5 Nick Fullwell
George Killington 6-3 Ryan Searle
Berry van Peer 6-1 Richie Burnett
Raymond van Barneveld 6-1 Nathan Rafferty
Ricky Evans 6-1 Ricardo Pietreczko
Luke Humphries 6-4 Devon Petersen
Darren Webster 6-3 Ross Montgomery
Jules van Dongen 6-4 Martin Schindler
Jason Heaver 6-4 Scott Williams
Joe Cullen 6-3 Peter Hudson
Luke Woodhouse 6-5 Martijn Kleermaker
Eddie Lovely 6-3 Adrian Lewis
Jermaine Wattimena 6-4 John Henderson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Shaun Wilkinson
Jack Main 6-2 Jamie Clark
Chris Dobey 6-2 Jamie Hughes
Keegan Brown 6-5 Jim McEwan
Michael Smith 6-3 John Michael
Danny Jansen 6-3 James Wilson
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Josh Rock
Darius Labanauskas 6-3 Geert Nentjes
Rob Cross 6-2 David Evans
Andy Boulton 6-5 Ritchie Edhouse
Stephen Bunting 6-0 Boris Koltsov
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Peter Wright 6-2 Glen Durrant
Mike De Decker 6-5 Geert De Vos
Ryan Joyce 6-4 Jason Lowe
Joe Murnan 6-1 Max Hopp
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-4 Maik Kuivenhoven
Danny Baggish 6-3 Kevin Burness
Lewy Williams 6-4 Ross Smith
Radek Szaganski 6-1 John Brown
Jonny Clayton 6-4 Steve West
Bradley Brooks 6-4 John O’Shea
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Scott Waites
Madars Razma 6-2 William O’Connor
Mario Vandenbogaerde 6-1 Brendan Dolan
Scott Mitchell 6-5 Jeff Smith
Dave Chisnall 6-5 Pete Burgoyne
Connor Scutt 6-5 Steve Lennon
Adam Gawlas 6-4 Jose de Sousa
Simon Whitlock 6-5 Steve Haggerty
Mervyn King 6-4 William Borland
Niels Zonneveld 6-3 Keane Barry
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-1 Luc Peters
Andrew Gilding 6-2 Steve Beaton
Gabriel Clemens 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Kevin Doets 6-0 Tony Martinez
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 Jimmy Hendriks
Cameron Menzies 6-3 Jose Justicia
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Matt Campbell
Florian Hempel 6-5 Ted Evetts
Boris Krcmar 6-5 Damon Heta
Damian Mol 6-4 Brett Claydon
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Ian White
Lee Evans 6-5 Stu Wilson

Second Round
Gerwyn Price 6-2 Krzysztof Kciuk
Martin Lukeman 6-5 Alan Soutar
James Wade 6-1 Jon Worsley
Ryan Meikle 6-4 Gordon Mathers
George Killington 6-2 Berry van Peer
Ricky Evans 6-5 Raymond van Barneveld
Luke Humphries 6-2 Darren Webster
Jason Heaver 6-3 Jules van Dongen
Joe Cullen 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Eddie Lovely
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-1 Jack Main
Keegan Brown 6-5 Chris Dobey
Danny Jansen 6-2 Michael Smith
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Rob Cross 6-5 Andy Boulton
Stephen Bunting 6-2 Ron Meulenkamp
Peter Wright 6-4 Mike De Decker
Ryan Joyce 6-5 Joe Murnan
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Danny Baggish
Radek Szaganski 6-3 Lewy Williams
Jonny Clayton 6-3 Bradley Brooks
Vincent van der Voort 6-5 Madars Razma
Scott Mitchell 6-3 Mario Vandenbogaerde
Dave Chisnall 6-1 Connor Scutt
Adam Gawlas 6-3 Simon Whitlock
Niels Zonneveld 6-1 Mervyn King
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-2 Andrew Gilding
Kevin Doets 6-1 Gabriel Clemens
Cameron Menzies 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Mensur Suljovic 6-4 Florian Hempel
Damian Mol 6-4 Boris Krcmar
Daryl Gurney 6-2 Lee Evans
Losers: £750

Last 32
Gerwyn Price 6-3 Martin Lukeman
Ryan Meikle 6-3 James Wade
George Killington 6-5 Ricky Evans
Luke Humphries 6-2 Jason Heaver
Joe Cullen 6-2 Jermaine Wattimena
Keegan Brown 6-3 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Danny Jansen
Rob Cross 6-5 Stephen Bunting
Ryan Joyce 6-0 Peter Wright
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Radek Szaganski
Jonny Clayton 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Scott Mitchell
Adam Gawlas 6-0 Niels Zonneveld
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Kevin Doets
Cameron Menzies 6-4 Mensur Suljovic
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Damian Mol
Losers: £1,250

Last 16
Gerwyn Price 6-0 Ryan Meikle
Luke Humphries 6-4 George Killington
Joe Cullen 6-3 Keegan Brown
Rob Cross 6-3 Kim Huybrechts
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Ryan Joyce
Dave Chisnall 6-4 Jonny Clayton
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Adam Gawlas
Daryl Gurney 6-3 Cameron Menzies
Losers: £2,000

Quarter-Finals
Gerwyn Price 6-5 Luke Humphries
Joe Cullen 6-5 Rob Cross
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Dave Chisnall
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Losers: £3,000

Semi-Finals
Joe Cullen 7-5 Gerwyn Price
Dimitri van den Bergh 7-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Losers: £4,000

Final
Joe Cullen 8-1 Dimitri van den Bergh
Winner: £12,000
Runner-up: £8,000

Joe Cullen relishing Premier League Darts debut: “I’ve wanted it for a long time”

Joe Cullen says he will reap the benefits of his hard work and relish his long-awaited Premier League debut this season.

The Bradford ace is the only debutant to appear in this year’s new-look competition, which commences at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff on Thursday.

Cullen sealed his spot after claiming an emotional maiden TV title at the Masters last weekend; seeing off Gary Anderson, Michael van Gerwen and Jose de Sousa, before defeating Dave Chisnall 11-9 in the final.

Following a couple of near-misses, the Rockstar will now compete alongside seven of the world’s best players over 16 weeks as the popular invitational event returns to arenas across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany.

And the 32-year-old cannot wait to get started.

“I’ve wanted it for a long time and I think I’ve been close a few times,” he told Live Darts. “I think I’ve been one or two results away from potentially getting picked.

“I’ve probably obsessed over it a little bit and it’s been to my own detriment and undoing.

“I haven’t put that much pressure on myself this time and the results have shown; I’ve won the first TV tournament of the year and I’ve got 16 weeks to look forward to.

“I want to win it just as much as the other seven guys do but, first and foremost, I’m going to enjoy my time because I’ve worked hard to get here.”

Cullen faces a baptism of fire after he was drawn to play reigning champion and home favourite Jonny Clayton in Cardiff.

The world number 11, who could face another Welshman in the semi-finals should Gerwyn Price overcome James Wade, has the opportunity to be the pantomime villain at the Motorpoint Arena.

Nevertheless, he is excited by the challenge of silencing the home crowd.

“I’m actually really pleased with that,” he added. “Me and Jonny are great friends.

“To take on a Welshman in Cardiff – especially being the defending champion – is going to be special.

“Hopefully, I can keep the home crowd quiet and get the result for England.”

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Premier League Darts 2022 line-up confirmed | Joe Cullen set for debut

Joe Cullen will make his debut in the 2022 Premier League, with the eight player line-up confirmed for this year’s new-look tournament.

Cullen’s selection comes less than 24 hours after lifting his first televised title at The Masters, while world number one Gerwyn Price and World Championship runner-up Michael Smith return to the elite invitational after missing the 2021 season.

Heading up the class of 2022 are the world’s top three box-office stars Price, World Champion Peter Wright and five-time Premier League winner Michael van Gerwen, as well as reigning champion Jonny Clayton.

Former Premier League winners James Wade and Gary Anderson complete the star-studded line-up for the new season, which begins in Cardiff on Thursday.

The 2022 Premier League will return to being played in arenas across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany with a bumper £1 million prize fund on offer.

The new format sees the 16 league nights being individual events comprising Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and a final over the best of 11 legs – with a £10,000 bonus to each night’s winner.

Ranking points will also be awarded from each night – with five to the winner, three to the runner-up and two to the semi-finalists – to form the league table from which the top four players will progress to the Play-Offs.

Across the 16 weeks, players will face each other twice in a quarter-final tie to form the draw for 14 nights, with the additional two nights seeing the stars face off again.

The announcement of the competitors comes alongside the news that the 2022 Premier League will be the first event to feature the Winmau Blade 6 dartboard under a new five-year partnership.

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Premier League Darts 2022 line-up

Gerwyn Price
Peter Wright
Michael van Gerwen
James Wade
Michael Smith
Gary Anderson
Jonny Clayton
Joe Cullen

Premier League Darts 2022 Dates

Thursday February 3 – Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Thursday February 10 – M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool
Thursday February 17 – SSE Arena, Belfast
Thursday February 24 – Mercedes-Benz Arena, Berlin
Thursday March 3 – Westpoint Exeter
Thursday March 10 – The Brighton Centre
Thursday March 17 – Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham
Thursday March 24 – Rotterdam Ahoy
Thursday March 31 – Utilita Arena Birmingham
Thursday April 7 – First Direct Arena, Leeds
Thursday April 14 – AO Arena, Manchester
Thursday April 21 – P&J Live, Aberdeen
Thursday April 28 – 3Arena, Dublin
Thursday May 5 – OVO Arena, Glasgow
Thursday May 12 – Utilita Arena, Sheffield
Thursday May 19 – The O2, London
Thursday May 26 – Utilita Arena Newcastle

Joe Cullen secures maiden TV title with emotional Masters triumph

An emotional Joe Cullen secured the first televised title of his career at the 2022 Ladbrokes Masters with an 11-9 win over Dave Chisnall in the final.

Cullen had never previously reached a televised final, but triumphed at the first time of asking by clinching the season’s first silverware in Milton Keynes.

After thrashing Gary Anderson 10-1 on Saturday, the Bradford ace followed up Sunday’s earlier wins over Michael van Gerwen and Jose de Sousa with victory against Chisnall in a tense final.

Cullen held off Chisnall’s spirited fightback from 5-2 down in a dramatic final, as legs of 12, 14 and 12 darts saw ‘The Rockstar’ take command.

Chisnall, however, reeled off three legs in a row before Cullen sandwiched an 82 finish between 14-darters to regain command at 8-5, before taking out 126 to move to the brink of victory at 10-7.

He missed ten match darts across the next two legs as Chisnall kept his hopes alive and pulled back to 10-9, but Cullen pinned double 18 in the next to write his name into the history books.

The win comes only three months after Cullen’s mother passed away, and the 32-year-old emotionally celebrated the success with his father on stage.

“I’ve dreamed of this moment for a long time,” said Cullen. “I felt like I was going to win it at the start of the day, so to actually get over the line feels amazing.

“It’s bitter-sweet. I’d love my mum to have been here to see me do it but life’s not always fair. I miss my mum dearly so that’s definitely for her.

“I lost my mum in October and it’s absolutely gut-wrenching. That was for my mum.

“It was special to have my dad here. Losing a parent is always tough, so to have my dad by my side supporting me is great.”

Victory in the 2021 Masters sparked a run of four TV titles for Jonny Clayton, and Cullen is hoping to emulate that success after claiming his maiden big-stage triumph.

He added: “It’s a foot on the ladder and it’s something that a lot of players higher ranked than me haven’t done, so it can only be a positive going forward.

“Hopefully this is the first of many. I’ve proved I can do it on TV and it’s even more pleasing because I played well.

“My finishing all weekend has been pretty good but you can’t practice for the moment you have a dart to win a TV title.

“I felt comfortable for the whole game and then all of a sudden I thought I was going to win and that’s when it all goes to pieces, as you saw.

“The double 18 at the end was more a relief. I got over the line and that’s all that matters.”

Chisnall saw off World Championship finalist Michael Smith in Sunday afternoon’s Quarter-Finals and ended Jonny Clayton’s title defence with an 11-7 Semi-Final success.

However, he then suffered defeat in a ninth televised final of his career, extending his wait for an elusive maiden major.

“Joe deserved to win that,” admitted Chisnall. “It just wasn’t there tonight – I didn’t play that well but he let me in and I took my chances.

“The crowd were brilliant and I’ll be back – I’ll keep trying to win my first major and get the big trophy.”

Clayton’s defence of his Masters title saw him overcome world number one  and fellow Welsh star Gerwyn Price in the Quarter-Finals before losing out to Chisnall.

Five-time champion Van Gerwen was joined in losing at the quarter-final stage by Smith, Price and Simon Whitlock.

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Ladbrokes Masters 2022 Day Three Results

Sunday January 30

Afternoon Session

Quarter-Finals
Dave Chisnall 10-8 Michael Smith
Gerwyn Price 8-10 Jonny Clayton
Simon Whitlock 9-10 Jose de Sousa
Michael van Gerwen 7-10 Joe Cullen

Evening Session

Semi-Finals
Jonny Clayton 6-11 Dave Chisnall
Jose de Sousa 8-11 Joe Cullen

Final
Joe Cullen 11-9 Dave Chisnall

Joe Cullen claims opening PDC Super Series title

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.

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PDC Super Series 2021 Event One Results

Thursday February 25

First Round
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

Second Round
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
Losers: £500

Last 32
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
Losers: £1,000

Last 16
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
Losers: £1,500

Quarter-Finals
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Rob Cross
Joe Cullen 6-4 Gabriel Clemens
Jonny Clayton 6-2 James Wade
Jon Worsley 6-5 Michael Smith
Losers: £2,250

Semi-Finals
Joe Cullen 7-4 Nathan Aspinall
Jonny Clayton 7-0 Jonathan Worsley
Losers: £3,000

Final
Joe Cullen 8-7 Jonny Clayton
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £6,000

Cullen doubles his title tally for 2020 with PDC Winter Series success

Joe Cullen claimed his second PDC ranking title of the season at Players Championship 23 in Coventry, defeating Krzysztof Ratajski 8-4 in the final.

Cullen had lost in two Semi-Finals earlier in the week, but went the distance on Day Five of the PDC Winter Series to scoop the £10,000 top prize at the Ricoh Arena.

International Open champion last month, Cullen continued his blistering run of form, averaging 105 in the final to deny Poland’s Ratajski his second ProTour title of the season.

Cullen, however, had to survive a major scare in the opening round as he pulled off a sensational comeback from 5-0 down to defeat Justin Pipe 6-5.

However, he did not look back from there on in, defeating Chris Dobey 6-3 and Niels Zonneveld 6-4 before whitewashing Croatia’s Boris Krcmar 6-0 in the Last 16.

Cullen then averaged 98 in a 6-5 win over Daryl Gurney, surviving two match darts in the deciding leg, before powering past Andy Boulton 7-3 in the Semi-Finals.

The first two legs of the final were shared before Ratajski took out 77 to move in front.

Two missed darts at doubles from the Pole in leg four allowed Cullen to level, and after the next two legs were shared, a key moment saw Cullen finish 87 for an 11-darter to break and lead 4-3.

Cullen then moved two clear at 5-3 and 6-4 before breaking throw again to go within a leg of victory – which he duly sealed with a 74 checkout in leg 12.

“I was 5-0 down in the First Round against Justin [Pipe] and I just thought, don’t give up,” said Cullen.

“You never expect to win from 5-0 down, never in a million years, but it wasn’t so much that Justin tailed off, I just played well.

“Luckily I got through that and I’ve only gone and won it!

“I get really nervous before the first game, on ProTours, not TV events, you feel vulnerable in the First Round.

“I’ve played brilliant there [in the final] but it’s the ones you battle through when you know you’re not playing well.

“I’ve felt like I’ve not played my best stuff this week but I’ve still got the results and that’s where I’ve been lacking.

“It’s the same with a lot of players, when you’re on top form you look a million dollars, but there was no in between game, and I feel like if I can get the in between game somewhere near, I can do some real damage.”

Ratajski’s run to the final saw him register three ton-plus averages, including a stunning 112.5 in a 6-2 Quarter-Final success over a resurgent Adrian Lewis.

Elsewhere, Kim Huybrechts and Boulton both reached a ProTour Semi-Finals for the first time in more than two years.

World number one Michael van Gerwen suffered a Second Round defeat at the hands of in-form youngster Callan Rydz – who averaged 100.7.

Having picked up titles in each the first two days, Michael Smith ends the PDC Winter Series Order of Merit on top, while Jermaine Wattimena qualifies for the BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts as the highest ranked non-qualified player.

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PDC Winter Series Day Five Results

Saturday November 14

First Round
Callan Rydz 6-3 John Michael
Ricky Evans 6-1 Simon Stevenson
Toni Alcinas 6-3 Luke Humphries
Adrian Lewis 6-5 Ryan Searle
Conan Whitehead 6-2 Scott Taylor
Gabriel Clemens 6-3 Ted Evetts
Peter Jacques 6-4 Kai Fan Leung
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Michael Barnard
Keegan Brown 6-1 Krzysztof Kciuk
Ron Meulenkamp 6-5 Ross Smith
Christian Bunse 6-5 Martin Atkins
Devon Petersen 6-4 Matt Clark
Jan Dekker 6-5 Darren Penhall
Vincent van der Voort 6-3 Jeffrey De Zwaan
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 David Pallett
Nathan Aspinall 6-3 Jim Williams
Derk Telnekes 6-2 Maikel Verberk
Luke Woodhouse 6-2 Jeff Smith
Mickey Mansell 6-4 Aaron Beeney
Nick Kenny 6-5 Damon Heta
Ryan Meikle 6-5 Martin Schindler
Stephen Bunting 6-3 William Borland
Kim Huybrechts 6-2 Robert Thornton
Michael Smith 6-3 Steve Beaton
Keane Barry 6-5 Matthew Dennant
Ryan Joyce 6-1 Gavin Carlin
Ryan Murray 6-0 Adrian Gray
Daniel Larsson 6-5 Glen Durrant
Darius Labanauskas 6-2 Carl Wilkinson
Dimitri Van den Bergh 6-5 Jamie Hughes
Adam Hunt 6-0 Barrie Bates
Steve Brown 6-5 Max Hopp
William O’Connor 6-3 Benito van de Pas
Bradley Brooks 6-2 Richard North
Dave Chisnall 6-0 Marko Kantele
Steve Lennon 6-3 Mike De Decker
Jonny Clayton 6-1 Ciaran Teehan
David Evans 6-2 Richie Burnett
James Wade 6-4 Andy Hamilton
Andy Boulton 6-1 Alan Tabern
Jason Lowe 6-4 Madars Razma
Wayne Jones 6-4 Rowby-John Rodriguez
Ian White 6-5 Gary Blades
Lisa Ashton 6-3 John Henderson
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Scott Mitchell
Jelle Klaasen 6-4 Mark McGeeney
Karel Sedlacek 6-2 Scott Baker
Jesus Noguera 6-2 Maik Kuivenhoven
Josh Payne 6-5 Steve West
Brendan Dolan 6-2 Jitse Van der Wal
Kirk Shepherd 6-3 Kevin Doets
Daryl Gurney w/o Jonathan Worsley
Joe Murnan 6-5 Robert Collins
Joe Cullen 6-5 Justin Pipe
Chris Dobey 6-2 Reece Robinson
James Wilson 6-3 Martijn Kleermaker
Niels Zonneveld 6-4 Matthew Edgar
Danny Noppert 6-0 Yordi Meeuwisse
Boris Krcmar 6-3 Harald Leitinger
Jermaine Wattimena 6-2 Darren Webster
Scott Waites 6-2 Simon Whitlock

Second Round
Callan Rydz 6-4 Michael van Gerwen
Toni Alcinas 6-1 Ricky Evans
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Conan Whitehead
Peter Jacques 6-3 Gabriel Clemens
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-3 Keegan Brown
Ron Meulenkamp 6-2 Christian Bunse
Devon Petersen 6-4 Jan Dekker
Ritchie Edhouse 6-5 Vincent van der Voort
Nathan Aspinall 6-2 Derk Telnekes
Luke Woodhouse 6-3 Mickey Mansell
Ryan Meikle 6-3 Nick Kenny
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Stephen Bunting
Michael Smith 6-4 Keane Barry
Ryan Joyce 6-3 Ryan Murray
Darius Labanauskas 6-5 Daniel Larsson
Adam Hunt 6-0 Dimitri Van den Bergh
Peter Wright 6-1 Steve Brown
William O’Connor 6-4 Bradley Brooks
Dave Chisnall 6-3 Steve Lennon
David Evans 6-5 Jonny Clayton
Andy Boulton 6-5 James Wade
Jason Lowe 6-4 Wayne Jones
Ian White 6-5 Lisa Ashton
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-5 Jelle Klaasen
Karel Sedlacek 6-5 Jose De Sousa
Jesus Noguera 6-1 Josh Payne
Brendan Dolan 6-1 Kirk Shepherd
Daryl Gurney 6-5 Joe Murnan
Joe Cullen 6-3 Chris Dobey
Niels Zonneveld 6-2 James Wilson
Boris Krcmar 6-5 Danny Noppert
Jermaine Wattimena 6-1 Scott Waites
Losers: £500

Last 32
Callan Rydz 6-3 Toni Alcinas
Adrian Lewis 6-2 Peter Jacques
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Ron Meulenkamp
Ritchie Edhouse 6-4 Devon Petersen
Nathan Aspinall 6-5 Luke Woodhouse
Kim Huybrechts 6-5 Ryan Meikle
Ryan Joyce 6-3 Michael Smith
Adam Hunt 6-4 Darius Labanauskas
Peter Wright 6-1 William O’Connor
Dave Chisnall 6-2 David Evans
Andy Boulton 6-5 Jason Lowe
Dirk van Duijvenbode 6-3 Ian White
Karel Sedlacek 6-4 Jesus Noguera
Daryl Gurney 6-4 Brendan Dolan
Joe Cullen 6-4 Niels Zonneveld
Boris Krcmar 6-3 Jermaine Wattimena
Losers: £1,000

Last 16
Adrian Lewis 6-3 Callan Rydz
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Ritchie Edhouse
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Nathan Aspinall
Ryan Joyce 6-2 Adam Hunt
Peter Wright 6-4 Dave Chisnall
Andy Boulton 6-5 Dirk van Duijvenbode
Daryl Gurney 6-1 Karel Sedlacek
Joe Cullen 6-0 Boris Krcmar
Losers: £1,500

Quarter-Finals
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-2 Adrian Lewis
Kim Huybrechts 6-4 Ryan Joyce
Andy Boulton 6-5 Peter Wright
Joe Cullen 6-5 Daryl Gurney
Losers: £2,250

Semi-Finals
Krzysztof Ratajski 7-2 Kim Huybrechts
Joe Cullen 7-3 Andy Boulton
Losers: £3,000

Final
Joe Cullen 8-4 Krzysztof Ratajski
Winner: £10,000
Runner-up: £6,000

Clinical Cullen claims International Darts Open title

Joe Cullen secured his second European Tour title at the 2020 International Darts Open in Riesa with an 8-5 victory over Michael van Gerwen in the final.

Cullen, who defeated Van Gerwen 8-5 in the final to claim European Matchplay glory last September, repeated the feat against the world number one to land the £25,000 top prize.

A memorable triumph for the Bradford ace saw him average 97 in the final with four 180s and 57 per cent on the doubles to resign MVG to the runner-up spot for the second successive weekend.

The victory sees Cullen claim a Grand Slam spot for the first time as well as regain a place in the world’s top 16 and head into next week’s European Championship as the number one seed.

“Luckily for me, Michael just didn’t get going,” said Cullen.

“I didn’t think I was too great either but I won and surely I must be in the Grand Slam now?!

“I don’t think I’ve come close to losing [this weekend] but I’ve done enough in every game and I’ve won the title – get in!”

Van Gerwen took the opening leg of the final with a 116 checkout before Cullen replied with a 14-darter to draw level.

The next two legs were shared before Cullen landed double eight for a break of throw and a 3-2 lead, consolidating it with a 13-darter on double 16 in leg six.

Van Gerwen remained in touch at 5-4 behind, but Cullen continued his efficient finishing to go two clear again.

A 62 checkout kept Van Gerwen in touch, but a crucial last dart at double seven moved Cullen to the cusp of victory – which he sealed in the following leg with a 14-darter on tops.

Cullen began the final day with a 6-1 rout of a below-par Dave Chisnall, before overcoming a resurgent Ross Smith 6-4 with a 99 average.

He then swept aside Michael Smith 7-3 in the Semi-Finals with a 96 average and seven from nine on the doubles.

Van Gerwen, who was beaten by Jose de Sousa in last weekend’s European Grand Prix final, had to settle for second prize once again, making it the first year he has not won a European Tour title since 2012.

The Dutchman produced a mixed bag of performances through the final day in Riesa, firstly averaging 88 and surviving one match dart to edge out Andy Hamilton 6-5 in the Last 16.

He then ended a run of 12 games without a ton-plus average by averaging 102.2 in a 6-3 win over James Wade, before falling over the line 7-6 against Mensur Suljovic in the Semi-Finals. with an average of just 89.

Cullen goes into next Thursday’s European Championship in Oberhausen as the number one seed, while four-time champion Van Gerwen is the number five seed.

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International Darts Open 2020 Results

Sunday October 25

Afternoon Session

Third Round
Michael van Gerwen 6-5 Andy Hamilton
James Wade 6-2 Nathan Aspinall
Krzysztof Ratajski 6-5 Franz Rötzsch
Mensur Suljovic 6-2 Jamie Hughes
Ross Smith 6-4 Max Hopp
Dave Chisnall 1-6 Joe Cullen
Jesus Noguera 1-6 Michael Smith
Scott Baker 2-6 Danny Noppert

Evening Session

Quarter-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 6-3 James Wade
Krzysztof Ratajski 5-6 Mensur Suljovic
Ross Smith 4-6 Joe Cullen
Michael Smith 6-1 Danny Noppert

Semi-Finals
Michael van Gerwen 7-6 Mensur Suljovic
Joe Cullen 7-3 Michael Smith

Final
Joe Cullen 8-5 Michael van Gerwen