BRADFORD darts ace Joe Cullen faces a big ask to pull something out of the bag at Betfred World Matchplay next weekend, as his terrible form continued in midweek.

The world number 15 was in action in Milton Keynes on Tuesday and Wednesday, as Players Championship events 13 and 14 rolled into town.

Before the tournament started, the Wyke native took to social media, issuing a rallying cry after conceding he had been below-par of late:

Sadly, it seemed to have little effect, as he bombed out of both events at the first hurdle to unheralded opponents.

Cullen took on world number 122 Aaron Hunt on Tuesday, but was beaten 6-4 by his opponent.

Hunt went on to be immediately knocked out by Dutchman Wesley Plaisier, who made it all the way to the final, losing a high-quality thriller 8-7 to Ross Smith.

The Bradfordian was back the following day taking on world number 92 Owen Roelofs.

And the young Dutchman came out on top 6-4, before bowing out at the next stage to Northern Ireland's Nathan Rafferty.

But there was a Dutchman who did go far in event 14, and that was Plaisier again.

He was terribly unlucky, averaging over 100 in the showpiece against Jonny Clayton, just as he did against Smith.

But the Welshman, Cullen's best friend in darts, was imperious, and won 8-5 with an average of 106.05.

Clayton had been struggling for form over the past year, but he was back to his best here, claiming a first PDC ranking title since May 2023 as a result.

Cullen, Smith and Clayton are all next back in action from July 13-21 at the World Matchplay, which will take place at its usual venue of the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

The first round draw for the tournament took place yesterday, with Cullen pitted against Brendan Dolan in his opener.