Template - Date: Players Championship 16

The Bradford ace’s love of the Barnsley Metrodome – where he also took victory in April – continued as he picked up the £10,000 first prize to conclude the weekend’s ProTour action. Cullen had withdrawn during last week’s European Darts Open event in Leverkusen to return to the UK after his father suffered a heart attack, but after seeing him on the road to recovery enjoyed a memorable success in Barnsley.

Cullen’s day was book-ended by tight contests against Austrian aces, with Rowby-John Rodriguez taking him to a deciding leg in the first round. The 27-year-old then overcame Scotland’s Jamie Bain, Belgium’s Mike De Decker and Dutch ace Benito van de Pas before coming through an 11-leg quarter-final with Nathan Aspinall.

Cullen then raced past Daryl Gurney in the semi-finals – having previously overcome the Northern Irish ace in the final when he won a Players Championship exactly three months earlier. Cullen took that form into the early stages of the final, winning the opening leg on double ten, hitting a 102 finish to break and an 11-darter for a three-leg lead.

The next two were shared before Lerchbacher, aided by a key 96 checkout, hit back to level at four-all, but Cullen regained his composure by taking out 60 in leg nine before following up a 180 with double ten to seal the title.

An emotional Cullen dedicated the win to his father, admitting: “He’d be proud of me. Hopefully he’s on the mend now, he’s back home and obviously things are looking up so I wanted to do it for him.

Cullen had made his breakthrough into the world’s top 32 last year after reaching his first TV quarter-final at the Coral UK Open, and now moves up to a career-high 21st on the PDC Order of Merit. Lerchbacher produced a day of brilliant darts to win through to his first ranking final.

The two-time World Championship qualifier battled past Tony Newell, Robert Owen, Mark Webster and Robert Thornton to reach the quarter-finals, with three of those matches going to a deciding leg. He then saw off former World Youth Champion Keegan Brown 6-4 and came from behind to edge out Steve Beaton 6-5 in the semi-finals, earning £6,000 for his day’s efforts.

Gurney was bidding to win his second Players Championship title of the year, but now travels to Las Vegas to make his World Series of Darts debut on the back of a semi-final appearance. He defeated Paul Nicholson, Matthew Edgar, Jermaine Wattimena, Saturday’s Players Championship winner Darren Webster and his Northern Irish World Cup team-mate Brendan Dolan as he won through to the last four on the day.

Another recent Players Championship winner, Steve Beaton, also made it through to the last four, as he overcame Simon Preston, Aden Kirk, Andy Boulton, Kirk Shepherd and Ian White before agonisingly missing out against Lerchbacher. White was appearing in the quarter-finals for a tenth time on the PDC ProTour this year to continue his strong 2017 form, while Dolan had won through to the last eight for the first time since February.

Former World Youth Champion Brown and recent PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour event winner Aspinall, meanwhile, enjoyed their best runs of 2017 on the ProTour as they also won through to the quarter-finals. The tournament was the last before the cut-off for BetVictor World Matchplay qualification, with Justin Pipe holding on to claim the final ProTour Order of Merit place.

Pipe’s semi-final appearance on Saturday had moved him above Chris Dobey in the standings, with the youngster unable to recover 24 hours later as he joined Jonny Clayton, Ronny Huybrechts, Dimitri Van den Bergh, Vincent van der Voort, Robbie Green and Mark Webster in missing out on Blackpool places.

The next Players Championship weekend will be held on August 5-6 at the Barnsley Metrodome, with coverage being streamed worldwide at PDCTV-HD and through a series of bookmakers’ websites.

The WMP Qualifiers are:

1 Michael van Gerwen
2 Gary Anderson
3 Peter Wright
4 Adrian Lewis
5 Dave Chisnall
6 James Wade
7 Mensur Suljovic
8 Phil Taylor
9 Raymond van Barneveld
10 Jelle Klaasen
11 Michael Smith
12 Kim Huybrechts
13 Ian White
14 Robert Thornton
15 Benito van de Pas
16 Simon Whitlock

ProTour Order of Merit Qualifiers
Daryl Gurney
Alan Norris
Joe Cullen
Rob Cross
Mervyn King
Gerwyn Price
Cristo Reyes
Stephen Bunting
Darren Webster
Steve Beaton
James Wilson
Steve West
Kyle Anderson
John Henderson
Christian Kist
Justin Pipe

Draw Bracket
1 Michael van Gerwen v
16 Simon Whitlock v
8 Phil Taylor v
9 Raymond van Barneveld v
5 Dave Chisnall v
12 Kim Huybrechts v
4 Adrian Lewis v
13 Ian White v
2 Gary Anderson v
15 Benito van de Pas v
7 Mensur Suljovic v
10 Jelle Klaasen v
6 James Wade v
11 Michael Smith v
3 Peter Wright v
14 Robert Thornton v

PDC Players Championship 16

Sunday 9th July – Barnsley

First Round

Richard North 6|Simon Whitlock
Kirk Shepherd 6|Brian Woods
James Richardson 6|Harry Robinson
John Michael 6|Ronnie Baxter
Barrie Bates 6|Steve West
Andy Boulton 6|Andrew Gilding
Steve Beaton 6|Simon Preston
Aden Kirk 6|Chris Quantock
Ian White 6|Kevin Painter
Mick Todd 6|Luke Woodhouse
Joe Murnan 6|Ronny Huybrechts
Ryan Palmer 6|Sven Groen
Rob Cross 6|Yordi Meeuwisse
Kevin McDine 6|Jonathan Worsley
Jonny Clayton 6|Dirk van Duijvenbode
Scott Taylor 6|Richie Corner
Kim Huybrechts 6|Josh Payne
Keegan Brown 6|Paul Harvey
Robbie Green 6|Antonio Alcinas
Lee Bryant 6|Jamie Lewis
Cristo Reyes 6|Jimmy Hendriks
Steve Lennon 6|Andy Jenkins
Christian Kist 6|Craig Gilchrist
Simon Stevenson 6|Ritchie Edhouse
Robert Owen 6|Alan Norris
Zoran Lerchbacher 6|Tony Newell
Mark Webster 6|Ross Twell
Jamie Caven 6|Vincent Kamphuis
Stephen Bunting 6|Mick McGowan
Bryan de Hoog 6|Stuart Kellett
Robert Thornton 6|Ron Meulenkamp
Jeffrey de Zwaan 6|Wayne Jones
Diogo Portela 6|Michael Smith
Ryan Searle 6|Ted Evetts
Jan Dekker 6|Adam Hunt
Peter Jacques 6|Berry van Peer
James Wilson 6|Jim Walker
Nathan Aspinall 6|Martin Schindler
Wes Newton 6|Kyle Anderson
Devon Petersen 6|Jim Brown
Benito van de Pas 6|Andy Hamilton
Callan Rydz 6|Madars Razma
Peter Hudson 6|Dimitri Van den Bergh
Darren Johnson 6|Steve Hine
Joe Cullen 6|Rowby-John Rodriguez
Jamie Bain 6|Mark Walsh
Mike De Decker 6|Chris Dobey
Michael Barnard 6|Matthew Dennant
Richie Burnett 6|Jelle Klaasen
Terry Roach 6|Dennis Smith
Vincent van der Voort 6|Matt Clark
Brendan Dolan 6|Mark Barilli
Ricky Evans 6|Mervyn King
Ryan Meikle 6|Martin Lukeman
Justin Pipe 6|William O’Connor
Jeffrey de Graaf 6|Stephen Burton
Daryl Gurney 6|Paul Nicholson
Matthew Edgar 6|David Pallett
Jermaine Wattimena 6|Terry Temple
Max Hopp 6|Ray Campbell
Darren Webster 6|Maik Langendorf
Ryan Harrington 6|Mickey Mansell
John Henderson 6|Paul Rowley
Callum Loose 6|John Bowles

Last 64

Kirk Shepherd 6|Richard North
John Michael 6|James Richardson
Andy Boulton 6|Barrie Bates
Steve Beaton 6|Aden Kirk
Ian White 6|Mick Todd
Ryan Palmer 6|Joe Murnan
Rob Cross 6|Kevin McDine
Scott Taylor 6|Jonny Clayton
Keegan Brown 6|Kim Huybrechts
Robbie Green 6|Lee Bryant
Cristo Reyes 6|Steve Lennon
Christian Kist 6|Simon Stevenson
Zoran Lerchbacher 6|Robert Owen
Mark Webster 6|Jamie Caven
Stephen Bunting 6|Bryan de Hoog
Robert Thornton 6|Jeffrey de Zwaan
Ryan Searle 6|Diogo Portela
Jan Dekker 6|Peter Jacques
Nathan Aspinall 6|James Wilson
Wes Newton 6|Devon Petersen
Benito van de Pas 6|Callan Rydz
Darren Johnson 6|Peter Hudson
Joe Cullen 6|Jamie Bain
Mike De Decker 6|Michael Barnard
Terry Roach 6|Richie Burnett
Brendan Dolan 6|Vincent van der Voort
Ryan Meikle 6|Ricky Evans
Jeffrey de Graaf 6|Justin Pipe
Daryl Gurney 6|Matthew Edgar
Jermaine Wattimena 6|Max Hopp
Darren Webster 6|Ryan Harrington
Callum Loose 6|John Henderson

Last 32

Kirk Shepherd 6|John Michael
Steve Beaton 6|Andy Boulton
Ian White 6|Ryan Palmer
Rob Cross 6|Scott Taylor
Keegan Brown 6|Robbie Green
Christian Kist 6|Cristo Reyes
Zoran Lerchbacher 6|Mark Webster
Robert Thornton 6|Stephen Bunting
Jan Dekker 6|Ryan Searle
Nathan Aspinall 6|Wes Newton
Benito van de Pas 6|Darren Johnson
Joe Cullen 6|Mike De Decker
Brendan Dolan 6|Terry Roach
Ryan Meikle 6|Jeffrey de Graaf
Daryl Gurney 6|Jermaine Wattimena
Darren Webster 6|Callum Loose
LOSERS £1,000

Last 16

Steve Beaton 6|Kirk Shepherd
Ian White 6|Rob Cross
Keegan Brown 6|Christian Kist
Zoran Lerchbacher 6|Robert Thornton
Nathan Aspinall 6|Jan Dekker
Joe Cullen 6|Benito van de Pas
Brendan Dolan 6|Ryan Meikle
Daryl Gurney 6|Darren Webster
LOSERS £1,500


Steve Beaton 6|Ian White
Zoran Lerchbacher 6|Keegan Brown
Joe Cullen 6|Nathan Aspinall
Daryl Gurney 6|Brendan Dolan
LOSERS £2,250

Semi Finals

Steve Beaton 5|6 Zoran Lerchbacher
Joe Cullen 6|2 Daryl Gurney
LOSERS £3,000


Zoran Lerchbacher 4|6 Joe Cullen 
WINNER £10,000
RUNNER UP £6,000