Premier League Darts: Is 'the old Rob Cross' coming back?
Rob Cross showed signs of returning to something like his old self during a promising start to darts' Unibet Premier League.
The world number five from St Leonards sits sixth in the 10-man league table after the opening five nights at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes.
Cross endured a difficult 2020, but performed pretty well against some of the sport's top players and spoke positively about his game throughout last week.
As reported last week, the 2018 world champion drew with Jose de Sousa, beat James Wade and lost to Michael van Gerwen in his opening three matches.
Cross then saw off league leader Jonny Clayton 7-3 on night four last Thursday before ending the first week with a 7-5 loss against 2020 world champion Peter Wright.
The 30-year-old broke Clayton's throw to lead 2-1 and although the Welshman levelled at 3-3 after Cross missed three darts for 4-2, Cross broke straight back to go 4-3 ahead.
That was the start of four consecutive legs for Cross, who pulled off an important 89 finish to make it 6-3 before wrapping up victory in the next leg.
Cross is the only player so far to have beaten Masters champion Clayton, who hit a nine-darter against De Sousa just 24 hours before facing the local man.
Against Wright, Cross fired in checkouts of 118 and 102 en route to a 3-1 lead. He then produced an 11-dart leg to go 5-3 up, but Wright reeled off the remaining four legs to snatch victory, with Cross missing two darts at a double to go 6-4 ahead.
It means Cross has five points from his opening five matches. He's just two points behind Clayton, but only one above ninth-placed De Sousa in a tightly-bunched table.
The Premier League will continue with four consecutive nights of action next week, after which the bottom two players in the standings will be eliminated.
Cross, nicknamed Voltage, will face Gary Anderson on Monday night, Dimitri Van den Bergh on Tuesday, Nathan Aspinall on Wednesday and Glen Durrant on Thursday.
The competition is being played behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions and every night is televised live on Sky Sports.
League standings (all played 5 matches): Jonny Clayton 7pts, Dimitri Van den Bergh 6, Nathan Aspinall 6, Michael van Gerwen 6, Peter Wright 6, Rob Cross 5, James Wade 5, Gary Anderson 5, Jose de Sousa 4, Glen Durrant 0.