Current world darts champion Rob Cross achieved his first career victory over two-time former world champion Gary Anderson tonight (Thursday).
St Leonards-based Cross, the world number three, triumphed 7-5 against fourth-ranked Anderson at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Judgement Night in the Unibet Premier League.
In his post-match interview with Sky Sports, Cross said: “We were both pretty ropey. A lot of missed doubles and the scoring wasn’t as high as I thought the game was going to be. I’m grateful obviously to win, but it wasn’t a great game.”
Cross had lost his previous five meetings with Anderson, but broke throw in the opening leg with a 13-darter featuring a 180. He then held throw in the second leg after Anderson missed several darts at a double.
Anderson held throw in the third leg despite a Cross 180, and then followed his first 180 by finishing 82 in two darts to level at 2-2. Cross broke again in the next leg by hitting double five only for Anderson to hit straight back on double one for 3-3.
Cross broke in 15 darts to go ahead again before checking out 75 in two darts for a 14-darter and a 5-3 lead. Anderson held throw in 15 darts with the help of a 180, but Cross began leg 10 with a 180 and clinched it on double four to go 6-4 up.
Although Anderson hit his fourth 180 on his way to a 13-darter in leg 11, Cross landed his fourth maximum in the decider and hit double 16 to seal victory.
“The 75 (in leg eight) was massive on my throw,” continued Cross. “Usually Gary plays exceptionally well against me and it wasn’t the case tonight. I’m grateful for the two points anyway.”
The win keeps Cross third in the table having won six and lost three of his first nine matches, all of his wins coming in his last seven games.
“It’s getting more congested up there,” he added. “Those two points are probably going to be invaluable for tonight, but we need to keep looking to win in the coming weeks to maintain the position.
“I absolutely love it (the Premier League). I have to admit I’m maybe a little bit fatigued, but no excuses - I’m glad to win and we move on to the weekend and be fresh for then.”
The Unibet Premier League is a 16-week roadshow event featuring 10 of the sport’s top players. The bottom two in the table after tonight’s games, Gerwyn Price and Mensur Suljovic, have been eliminated, and the top eight will continue on to compete for places in the top four - and with it qualification for next month’s play-offs.
Unibet Premier League standings (all played nine matches): 1st Michael van Gerwen 16pts (+32 leg difference), 2nd Michael Smith 14 (+25), 3rd Rob Cross 12 (+9), 4th Simon Whitlock 10 (+5), 5th Gary Anderson 9 (+1), 6th Daryl Gurney 9 (-2), 7th Raymond van Barneveld 8 (-9), 8th Peter Wright 6 (-19), 9th Mensur Suljovic 4 (-13), 10th Gerwyn Price 2 (-29).
Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)