By Phil Lanning
JOE CULLEN has been handed a shock place in the £1m Cazoo Premier League – with Fallon Sherrock and Rob Cross left out.
The Bradford ace grabbed his first ever TV major title at the Ladbrokes Masters, breaking down in tears on stage on Sunday night.
But the victory also gave Cullen a debut call-up into the prestigious 17-week Premier League which starts on Thursday night in Cardiff alongside Gerwyn Price, Peter Wright, Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Michael Smith, James Wade and defending champion Jonny Clayton.
Sherrock was a potential pick after several excellent stage performances and huge box office appeal. Meanwhile Cross had won the European Championship last October, a TV major usually enough to earn a Premier League place. Cross becomes only the second reigning TV major holder to ever miss out.
Cullen said: “I did think it would be tough to leave me out. I don’t think my wife will be too pleased!
“We spoke about being away so much. But I’ve earned it, I’ve worked hard for it. Bring on the Premier League.
“My family knows how hard I’ve worked. My daughter is nine, I’ve only seen one of her birthdays in all her life. So I’ve sacrificed a lot. I deserve a shot.
“It was always going to happen. I was hoping it was this year. But I’m not obsessed over it. I’ve gone on and won a TV event.”
The 2022 Cazoo Premier League will return to being played in arenas across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Germany with a bumper £1million prize fund on offer.
The eight players will contest 16 mini-events during the season ahead of the Play-Offs, where the eventual champion will be crowned.
It’s also been announced that Winmau will supply the dartboards for the PDC with a five-year deal, replacing previous partners Unicorn.
Images by Taylor Lanning.