Joe Cullen made a low-key return to action after his disappointing last-16 loss at the Masters to late replacement Daryl Gurney.

He had an underwhelming start to the Players Championship, with those first two events on the PDC Pro Tour for 2024 taking place last week in Wigan.

Bradford ace Cullen would usually have been straight back to it for events three and four, which were held in Leicester on Monday and Tuesday.

But he decided to take some time off, missing both of those tournaments in the East Midlands, and announcing a short break from social media:

The Wyke star’s last major tournament action came nearly three weeks ago, when he was looking to regain the Masters crown he won in 2022.

In the 2024 tournament, he won a thrilling opener 6-4 against Josh Rock, which should have put him into a last-16 clash against Gerwyn Price.

But the Welshman, one of the world’s best, pulled out of the Masters at the last minute, and was replaced by the highest-ranked available player not already at the tournament, with that being Gurney in this instance.

Cullen was understandably favourite to beat the Northern Irishman, but Gurney impressed in beating him 10-8, before his own run in Milton Keynes ended in the quarter finals.

It was a trip a bit closer to home last week for Cullen, but he was knocked out of PC1 immediately last Monday, going down 6-3 to Germany’s Lukas Wenig in the last-128.

He did win his PC2 opener the following day however, coming out on top 6-3 against American Jules van Dongen.

Cullen saved his best performance of the week by far for his last-64 game against late bloomer Michele Turetta, averaging just under 94.

But the 38-year-old Italian, fresh from a shock win over Dave Chisnall the previous day, proved inspired, winning the sixth leg in just 11 darts on his way to a superb 6-4 victory.