Rob Cross victorious in BoyleSports World Grand Prix
It was third time lucky for darts superstar Rob Cross as he achieved his maiden victory in the BoyleSports World Grand Prix on Monday night.
After suffering first round defeats in 2017 and 2018, both against Steve Beaton, the world number two from St Leonards began the 2019 event with a two sets to one win against Mensur Suljovic.
Cross said: "I never seem to relax here so I'm just grateful to win. Mensur wasn't at his best and maybe we showed each other too much respect, but I've practised hard and I was confident."
In a tournament which adopts the unusual double-start format, a first round clash against the world number nine at the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin was a tough draw for Cross.
But he started well by winning the first two legs, aided by a handful of missed finishing doubles from Suljovic in the opener. Austrian star Suljovic opened his account with a 13-dart hold in leg three, but Cross held his own throw to clinch the first set 3-1.
World Matchplay champion Cross lost the second set 3-0, despite landing a 180 in all three legs. He missed two darts at a finishing double in the first leg, one at the bullseye in the second and six at double 16 in the third.
Former Champions League winner Suljovic made it four straight legs with a 14-dart hold at the start of set three only for Cross to reel off the subsequent three legs and swing a topsyturvy match his way.
A brilliant 171 followed by double 18 finish brought Cross level at 1-1 in the final set and a 14-darter, featuring a superb 156 start, put him 2-1 ahead. Suljovic missed two darts at a finishing double in a high class next leg, allowing Cross to seal victory on double 10.
Former world champion Cross was due to face reigning BDO world champion Glen Durrant in an eye-catching second round showdown on Wednesday night.
The 29-year-old Cross, nicknamed Voltage, also took part in two Players Championship events in Dublin just prior to the World Grand Prix.
He lost 6-4 against Conan Whitehead in round two of Players Championship 28 on Saturday having beaten Rowby-John Rodriguez 6-2 in round one.
Cross made it to the last 16 of Players Championship 27 on Friday, eventually being edged out 6-5 by runner-up Krzysztof Ratajski.
He previously overcame James Richardson 6-3 in round three (with a 108.6 average), Andy Boulton by the same score in round two and Jelle Klaasen 6-5 in round one.
Fellow local player Adrian Gray was beaten in round one of both Players Championship events, losing 6-3 to Chris Dobey on Saturday and 6-1 to eventual champion Gerwyn Price on Friday.