Comment & Analysis @paulprenders
The final night of the first phase is available to watch on the Sky Sports app on Monday – when world champion Peter Wright returns
Last Updated: 17/05/20 10:25pm
As the 32-night PDC Home Tour reached Night 31, it was a return of some familiar faces for a high-class night of action that saw world No 16 Joe Cullen win through with the best performance of the event so far.
It was second time lucky for Cullen, who had been surprisingly edged out by world No 135 Ryan Murray for top honours on Night 20, and he admitted that evening's entertainment in the shed at the bottom of his garden had lit a fire once again.
And his 106 average was better that of Jose De Sousa, whose 1-4.8 for the loss of just one leg had been the benchmark until Cullen's display against a stellar field that included the world No 3 and back-to-back Grand Slam champion Gerwyn Price.
«I don't play online at all, it hasn't really interested me but this is a way to keep your hand in,» Cullen said during the evening's action.
«I had fallen out of love with darts a bit, not to a great extent but enough to have not much motivation – until last week. I really enjoyed last week and I've really enjoyed tonight as you can tell by the results and performances.
Sunday's Final Standings – Group 31
|(1) Joe Cullen||6||10|
|(2) Keegan Brown||4||2|
|(3) Gerwyn Price||2||-1|
|(4) Bradley Brooks||0||-11|
PDC Home Tour – Sunday's fixtures (Group 31)
|Gerwyn Price 5-3 Bradley Brooks|
|Joe Cullen 5-2 Keegan Brown|
|Bradley Brooks 1-5 Keegan Brown|
|Gerwyn Price 3-5 Joe Cullen|
|Joe Cullen 5-0 Bradley Brooks|
|Keegan Brown 5-4 Gerwyn Price|
It has been last-chance saloon for the players over the last couple of days after the PDC announced that with all Tour Card holders given a chance to play, the final groups would be filled by those who previously finished second.
Price was back almost a month after being edged out by nine-dart Luke Woodhouse on the second night of the event, and the Iceman will wonder what more he could have done as another whirlwind display meant he missed out on the second phase of the tournament.
The Welshman had kicked off the evening with a dominant performance to see off 20-year-old rising star Brooks, coming back from 2-0 down to win five of the next six legs to register an opening victory.
NHS worker Brown was back for his third bite of the cherry and after technical issues scuppered his first attempt on Night 12, and the De Sousa blitz ended his second attempt on Night 25 he was running on coffee after two hours of sleep following a night shift in a blood laboratory.
A 106 average from Cullen was enough to account for Brown before Brown got himself on the board with a 5-1 win over Brooks to set the scene for the evening's defining action, a breathtaking contest between Cullen and Price.
There was little to choose between the two with both men knowing a win would leave them in control of their own fate, but after Price had taken the opener in 14 darts, Cullen reeled off the next three for a decisive two-leg advantage.
10 and 11 dart legs from the Iceman kept him in touching distance, but Cullen was too strong, a match average of 107 was sealed with a 13-dart leg to confirm a 5-3 win and on the brink of a place in the second phase.
And there was no letting up in his final match of the night. A 164 finish kicked off his match with Brooks, before six perfect darts had him on for a nine-darter, the only surprise being when he couldn't complete the perfect leg such was his standard.
But he wrapped up a 5-0 whitewash over Brooks to book his place at the head of the group and join Rob Cross, Nathan Aspinall, Gary Anderson, Dave Chisnall and Glen Durrant among a host of others in the second phase.
Brown had reward for evening's work by edging out Price in the final match of the group to pinch second spot, but the stage belonged to the Rock star after a scintillating evening back in his shed.
PDC Home Tour – The Winners
|Group One – Jamie Lewis||Group Nine – Martijn Kleermaker||Group 17 – Damon Heta||Group 25 – Jose De Sousa|
|Group Two – Luke Woodhouse||Group Ten – Nathan Aspinall||Group 18 – Stephen Bunting||Group 26 – Mike De Decker|
|Group Three – Dave Chisnall||Group 11 – Alan Tabern||Group 19 – Glen Durrant||Group 27 – Scott Waites|
|Group Four – Geert Nentjes||Group 12 – Max Hopp||Group 20 – Ryan Murray||Group 28 – Luke Humphries|
|Group Five – Nick Kenny||Group 13 – Carl Wilkinson||Group 21 – Rob Cross||Group 29 – Cristo Reyes|
|Group Six – Ryan Searle||Group 14 – Chris Dobey||Group 22 – Jesus Noguera||Group 30 – Gary Anderson|
|Group Seven – Jelle Klaasen||Group 15 – Darren Webster||Group 23 – Daniel Larsson||Group 31 – Joe Cullen|
|Group Eight – Jonny Clayton||Group 16 – Jeff Smith||Group 24 – Jamie Hughes|
PDC Home Tour – Monday's final first phase group
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