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Joe Cullen bidding to break his TV duck
Joe Cullen is aiming to reach new territory in the Ladbrokes World Championship tonight – by breaking his duck.
The 23-year-old Wyke pro makes his fourth appearance at the Alexandra Palace showdown still looking for a first win.
Beaten by Terry Jenkins in successive years, Cullen went down 3-0 to former champion John Part at this stage 12 months ago. Now 16th seed Peter Wright stands in his way.
Cullen said: “It’s frustrating but I don’t know what it is. I’ve played in front of 1,000s on the stage in Europe but just haven’t got that win on TV over here.
“I’m sure it’s going to come. Wes Newton took five or six years to win on TV and look at him now – he’s one of the best around.”
Scotsman Wright is one of the most colourful characters on the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) circuit. He is known for his Mohawk haircut and gets his Snakebite nickname from his favourite drink.
Wright stirred up Michael van Gerwen in last year’s tournament by calling him “not good enough” – and lost their second-round clash 4-2 after winning the first two sets.
Cullen added: “I’ve played Peter three times and he is 2-1 up. But I beat him 9-5 in the UK Open.
“I’m quite happy with my form. Apart from one weekend in Wigan, when I lost in the first round both days, I haven’t gone out in a tournament like that since June.
“I lost in the final of a non-PDC tournament, the Irish Masters, so it’s been going okay.
“Peter’s a tough player but the draw could have been worse. I’ve just got to take my chances when they come.”
Cullen’s is the third match on opening night, and once again he is immediately followed by reigning champion Phil Taylor.
The Power is inevitably the pre-tournament favourite to claim an unprecedented 17th title – and Cullen cannot see past him.
He said: “I just go for Taylor every year, and it’s not often wrong. He just never seems to play badly.
“Even on a bad night he’ll be averaging 100 – that’s a good night for most of us.”
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