Premier League Darts: Rob Cross defeats Raymond van Barneveld

Rob Cross (left) shakes hands with opponent Raymond van Barneveld in Nottingham tonight. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rob Cross (left) shakes hands with opponent Raymond van Barneveld in Nottingham tonight. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Darts superstar Rob Cross recorded another splendid Unibet Premier League victory tonight (Thursday).

The former world champion from St Leonards saw off five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld 7-3 at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham.

The result left Cross second in the league, behind leader Michael van Gerwen by the slender margin of legs won against throw.

See also: * Premier League Darts: Rob Cross beats Michael Smith
* Premier League Darts: Rob Cross thrashes Daryl Gurney
* UK Open darts: Rob Cross beaten in final by Nathan Aspinall

Cross recorded a 101.21 average - his fifth ton-plus average in six Premier League matches - hit three 180s and a 129 outshot, and was successful with 30% of his attempts at a double.

The world number two was quick out of the blocks, landing that 129 for a 12-dart hold in the opening leg before a 13-dart leg break put him 2-0 up. Van Barneveld replied with back-to-back legs of his own, in 15 and 14 darts, to level at 2-2.

Cross then produced some tremendous scoring to reel off four straight legs and take command of the match, starting with an important fifth leg in which both players missed darts at a double.

A superb 12-dart break made it 4-2, a 14-darter featuring a 180 and 171 took the lead to 5-2 and a 15-dart break put Cross on the cusp of victory.

Cross missed four match darts in leg nine and van Barneveld finished 88 to stay alive at 6-3. Cross finally wrapped things up in the next leg, despite squandering four more match darts.

Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, Cross said: “I feel great. My performance could’ve been a little bit better really. I missed a few things, started to miss match darts and then you’re chasing it.

“I really enjoyed it, I’ve enjoyed the whole Premier League and the whole start to the year that I’ve made - and that’s the main thing.

“I feel more comfortable than I did last year. I still believe that I’m making inroads on my improvement. I’m enjoying it and that’s the main thing. Family life’s really good, everything’s great.”

Darts’ widest-reaching tournament, the Unibet Premier League sees nine of the world’s top players compete across 17 nights of action from February-May.

The top four players at the end of 16 nights will face off in the Play-Offs at The O2 on May 23, while the ninth-placed player following Judgement Night in Rotterdam will face an early elimination.

Cross has won four, drawn one and lost one of his six matches so far. Next Thursday he will face fifth-placed Gerwyn Price at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Berlin.

Standings (all played six matches): 1 Michael van Gerwen 9pts (+12 leg difference), 2 Rob Cross 9 (+12), 3 James Wade 7 (+7), 4 Peter Wright 7 (+3), 5 Gerwyn Price 7 (+2), 6 Mensur Suljovic 6 (-1), 7 Michael Smith 5 (0), 8 Daryl Gurney 5 (-10), 9 Raymond van Barneveld 2 (-14).