Rockstar Reaches Maiden Matchplay Semi Final
Joe Cullen was amongst the winners on Day 6 of the 2023 Betfred World Matchplay, after beating Daryl Gurney 16-11 in the Quarter Finals. The Rockstar will return to action on Saturday night as he prepares for his first Semi Final at the Winter Gardens, facing Nathan Aspinall who came through the other Quarter Final a 16-12 winner over Chris Dobey.
The Bradford born player started strong in front of a lively Blackpool crowd, breaking throw 3 times in the opening mini session as he claimed all 5 legs without reply from his opponent. Gurney instantly broke back after the break, before finding finishes of 86 and 92 to go within 3 legs of the former Masters Champion.
Cullen included 8 180s over the course of the Semi Final and included the highest finish of the match, hitting a 142 checkout on double 14 in the 14th leg of the match. Superchin got to within 2 after breaking in the 18th leg on double 18 but was instantly broken back, as the Englishman went within 5 of a place in the Final 4.
Joe continued to surge in Blackpool, firing consecutive 13 dart legs against the former Grand Prix winner to lead 14-10. The Rockstar sealed victory after hitting a score of 100 to leave double tops before returning next visit to hit the target first dart and complete another 13 darter.
â€œIt was a battle, but I ground that result out. I think the first session won me that game. It was pretty even after that, but I found some big scores and big finishes when I needed them most.â€_x009d_
â€œIt feels great to be in the semi-finals. I feel like I can win this tournament, but itâ€™s about producing it on the day. This sport has been my life over the last decade, so it would mean everything to win this title. I believe Iâ€™m good enough, and now I want to write my name into history.â€_x009d_
Cullen reached the Quarter Finals back in 2018 as his best run at the Winter Gardens before tonight, beating Gurney and Gerwyn Price in the 1st Round. The Englishman remains on course for a first PDC Major title and knows what it takes to achieve success, having beat Dave Chisnall in Milton Keynes to win the 2022 Masters.
The Winmau player moves through to face Nathan Aspinall who will also appear in his first World Matchplay Semi Final, with the Asp coming through a 16-12 winner over current Masters champion Chris Dobey. The Stockport player threw his highest average of the competition so far, scoring 99.33 with 10 180s in Blackpool.
The remaining Betfred World Matchplay Quarter Finals resume on Friday live on Sky Sports, with former Premier League and Grand Prix winner Jonny Clayton opening the action against Ryan Searle. World Number 6 Luke Humphries faces Damon Heta in the other match on Day 7 from the Winter Gardens.
By Harry Masterson
Images courtesy of Taylor Lanning/PDC
2023 Betfred World Matchplay: Day 6 Results
Joe Cullen (13) 16-11 Daryl Gurney
Nathan Aspinall (9) 16-12 Chris Dobey
Day 7 Order of Play:
Ryan Searle (15) v Jonny Clayton (7)
Damon Heta (14) v Luke Humphries (6)