Rockstar Returns in Hungarian Trophy Defence
Former Masters champion Joe Cullen comes in for the defence of the Hungarian Darts Trophy this weekend in Budapest, as the Euro Tour reaches its penultimate event of the year. The Rockstar claimed his third victory on the Euro Tour last year at the BOK Sportcsarnok after he beat William Oâ€™Connor 8-2 in the Final.
2023 could be a bit of dart ja vu for the Bradford born player, with the draw confirming Joe could be in for a repeat of the 2022 Final in his first match of the tournament. Cullen will face either fellow Winmau player William Oâ€™Connor or former Premier League and Matchplay winner James Wade on Saturday in Hungary.
The Magpie ran Michael van Gerwen all the way in the recent World Series of Darts Finals in Amsterdam despite defeat, having beaten Gabriel Clemens 6-2 in the First Round at the AFAS Live.
Luke Humphries comes into Budapest searching for his 6th Euro Tour title in his darting career, adding to his tally earlier in the year having defended his European Darts Matchplay title with an 8-7 victory over Dirk van Duijvenbode in the Final.
The former World Youth Championship winner has made himself into a real force on the European Tour, with either Gabriel Clemens or Keane Barry set to face the World Number 6 in the Second Round at the BOK Sportcsarnok.
Gerwyn Price along with Dave Chisnall are the only players to secure multiple Euro Tour victories this year, with the Iceman winning the European Darts Open and the International Darts Open in the space of 7 days.
The World Number 4 will hope to put his defeat to fellow Red Dragon player Keegan Brown behind him this weekend in Hungary, with the Number 1 Welsh player set to face either youngster Nathan Rafferty of former BDO World Champion Stephen Bunting.
Recent World Series of Darts Finals winner Michael van Gerwen comes into the Hungarian capital looking for a staggering 37th Euro Tour title. Mighty Mike has only claimed the one tournament in 2023, defeating Luke Humphries 8-6 in the Final of the Belgian Darts Open in Wieze.
The Dutchman despite missing the World Cup of Darts and exiting early in the World Matchplay, has enjoyed yet another successful year winning three times on the World Series stage as well as becoming the most successful player in the history of the Premier League, after claiming his 7th crown against Gerwyn Price at the O2 Arena.
Van Gerwen will start his Hungarian Darts trophy campaign against the winner of Red Dragon player Robert Owen and Ross Smith, with Stack Attack including a 9-dart leg at a Pro Tour Event earlier in the year against Ritchie Edhouse.
Jonny Clayton returned to the main stage last week at the World Series of Darts Finals, beating Martin Schindler in the 1st Round before falling to defeat against the tournament number 1 seed Rob Cross.
The Ferret went on to reach his first Matchplay Final earlier in the year, and with regards the Euro Tour he claimed the Austrian Darts Open back in April, beating Josh Rock 8-6 in the Final with a 101.36 average.
Jonny will play in the final Second Round match of the tournament on Saturday night, facing either Joe Murnan or Jermaine Wattimena for a place in the Last 16.
Czech Darts Open winner Peter Wright will hope to become the third multiple Euro Tour winner this year coming into the Hungarian Darts Trophy this weekend.
Snakebite came close at the recent World Series of Darts Finals, beating Haupai Puha and Raymond van Barneveld before falling to an 11-9 Semi Final defeat against Matchplay Champion Nathan Aspinall in Amsterdam.
Wright will face either former 2 Time BDO World Champion Scott Waites or Latvian international Madars Razma in the 2nd Round, with Scotty 2 Hotty set to appear in the Final 2 Euro Tour Events of the year.
Former UK Open champion Danny Noppert included a 105+ average in defeating compatriot and former Finalist Dirk van Duijvenbode at the World Series of Darts Finals, but still searches for his first win on the European Tour.
The Freeze will start his campaign on Saturday afternoon at the BOK Sportcsarnok, facing the winner of either Denmark international Vladimir Andersen or recent MODUS Super Series weekly winner Anton Ostlund in the 2nd Round.
Daryl Gurney returns to Euro Tour action having missed only 2 events in 2023, showcasing a very successful qualification record for Superchin. The Northern Irishman reached the Semi Finals of the Austrian Darts Open, losing a last leg decider against eventual winner Jonny Clayton 7-6 in Graz.
The former World Grand Prix winner enters in the First Round where he will face former Grand Slam of Darts winner Jose de Sousa in Budapest.
Emerging talent Gian van Veen has secured his passage into the remaining 2 Euro Tours of the year, after coming through the Tour Card qualifiers in Hildesheim and Barnsley. GVV included an impressive 114+ average over Damon Heta in the 2nd Round of the European Darts Matchplay, missing no darts at double in a 6-0 whitewash over the Australian Number 1.
The 21-year-old will face veteran Brendan Dolan in the 1st Round, with the History Maker pulling of one of the biggest upsets of 2023, having defeated defending World Matchplay champion Michael van Gerwen 10-7 in the First Round at the Winter Gardens.
The Hungarian Darts Trophy starts from midday live on PDC TV and Viaplay, with Joe Murnan facing Jermaine Wattimena in the opening match of the tournament at the BOK Sportcsarnok.
By Harry Masterson
2023 Hungarian Darts Trophy: Order of Play
1st Round: Afternoon
Joe Murnan v Jermaine Wattimena
Vladimir Andersen v Anton Ostlund
Sebastian Bialecki v Mihaly Vida
Madars Razma v Scott Waites
Andy Boulton v Scott Waites
Scott Williams v Richard Veenstra
Mike de Decker v Andrew Gilding
Gian van Veen v Brendan Dolan
Gabor Jagicza v Luke Woodhouse
Robert Owen v Ross Smith
Rowby-John Rodriguez v Patrick Kovacs
William Oâ€™Connor v James Wade
Daryl Gurney v Jose de Sousa
Nathan Rafferty v Stephen Bunting
Ricardo Pietreczko v Nandor Major
Gabriel Clemens v Keane Barry