DARTS is back. Today sees the start of the World Matchplay, one of the sport’s biggest tournaments.

Despite no crowd and the venue change, fans will be delighted to see their favourite players approaching the oche on their TV screens once again.

Like other sports, the PDC went through a spell of suspension during lockdown, before returning in a makeshift version of its former self.

The Home Tour, which saw players compete against each other from their own abodes, was created to fill the void.

Bradford ace Cullen thinks the innovative competition, along with a running challenge, saved his adoration for the game.

“The home series was great for me,” he said. “I hadn’t been practicing. I sort of fell out of love with the game for a bit, having not played for a while.

“There was a massive difference. With the bookies covering it, we had to wait at the end of each leg a certain amount of time. It wasn’t as fluid as it normally is.

“I performed really well and got my hunger back. I thought I may as well do 5k everyday in May to keep my mind active too.”

Last week’s Summer Series reunited the players for the first time since pre-postponement.

Although Cullen didn’t play well, he was glad to return to the big stage.

The 31-year-old added: “It was nice to catch up with people. Darts wise, I will put it down to rust. I didn’t perform very well. It was good to be back out there but results wise it wasn’t the best.”

The 2020 Matchplay, which will be at Milton Keynes’ Marshall Arena instead of Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, represents good memories for the Wyke player. He reached the quarter finals two years ago, losing out to eventual winner Gary Anderson.

However, he will want to forget his last outing in the tournament, after getting whitewashed by Ian White 10-0 in the first round.

Cullen will face the Stoke dartist again on Monday, but hopes for a much improved performance.

He said: “I actually forgot about it until someone reminded me when I drew him. It was just a strange one because I didn’t feel comfortable in the warm up.

“Normally when a player loses to nil, it’s because they have played awful. I had chances at doubles, they just weren’t going in. At 7-0, I still thought I could win the match. When it goes to eight and nine, you just want to get a leg.

“I think it might be exacting revenge if it was someone I didn’t get along with, but me and Ian are good friends away from the oche.

“I prefer the crowd to be there but it is just a new thing for everybody. I don’t think my game is where I want it to be, but I believe a lot of it depends on what happens on the day.”