JOE Cullen says he is looking forward to being in front of a crowd at Butlin’s again for a televised tournament this weekend.

The Wyke-based darts star is competing in the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals held between this Friday and Sunday.

A total of £500,000 in prize money is up for grabs including £100,000 for the eventual winner of the tournament, staged at Butlin’s Minehead Resort in Somerset.

It is the first time the event has been played in front of a crowd in two years due to the restrictions of the pandemic and Cullen says he cannot wait for his first match back in front of them this Friday.


The 32-year-old, who is ranked sixth in the event’s order of merit, said: “I’m going there to win it and as a minimum in a tournament I set myself the target of going there to at least reach the quarter-finals.

“Minehead is one of my favourite tournaments now.

“Everyone stays on-site at Minehead. Everything is on top of you. You leave your room and there are fans everywhere.

I’m genuinely looking forward to it. I’m playing on the main stage which holds 4,000 people

“It’s the first one back at Minehead with fans for two years. They have waited two years for this. They are all double sessions too.”

Cullen also predicts a tough field ahead at the event, starting with his first round opponent, Scotland’s Andy Boulton, as the world’s best 64 players battle it out for the Players prize.

The Players Championship Finals are the best of 11 legs in the first and second round, this extends to best of 19 legs in the third stage and quarter-finals and best of 21-leg matches will decide who wins in the semi-finals and Sunday’s final.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Joe Cullen in action at a previous tournament. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDCJoe Cullen in action at a previous tournament. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Cullen added: “I expect the usual suspects to do well, the likes of Michael Van Gerwen, Peter Wright and Jonny Clayton.

“Andy Boulton has been a decent player for a long time. He’s older than me, but I have more experience bigger stage-wise. If I play well against him, I’ll win.

“It’s a short form of first to six. It’s more exciting for the viewers. The first to 10 would cater for a slower start, like going 2-0 or 3-0 down.”

Cullen also says it is a boost for the tournament to be screened on mainstream TV. All of the weekend’s action will be shown live on 1TV4, meaning the regulars at Cullen’s sister’s pub who have asked where they can watch it, will be able to see the Bradford darts star in action.

He will be looking to improve on his performance in his last high-profile.

Cullen crashed out of the Grand Slam of Darts in the second round stage following a 10-5 defeat to Michael Smith in the televised tournament, played in Wolverhampton.

Cullen got off to a great start at the event in the Black Country, which was eventually won by Gerwyn Price.

Cullen initially successfully navigated a tricky Group G to qualify alongside Dutch ace Van Gerwen.

The Bradford star beat John Henderson 5-0, lost to Van Gerwen but beat Lisa Ashton in his final group game.

Meanwhile, Cullen added keeping busy, including carrying on playing darts, has helped him following the death of his mother last month.