Rob Cross said he ‘can’t wait to get out there’ as he prepares to begin his defence of the William Hill World Darts Championship title.
The St Leonards-based thrower, who famously defeated Phil Taylor in the final 12 months ago, will be in action on the opening night of darts’ biggest ever event tonight (Thursday).
Cross will take on the winner of the tournament’s opening fixture between World Matchplay semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan and Indian qualifier Nitin Kumar as he aims to repeat last year’s incredible success.
See also: * World Darts Championship: Rob Cross to face De Zwaan or Kumar
* Cross sinks Taylor to win world title
* Cross stuns van Gerwen in classic to reach world final
“I’ve been working hard in practice to make sure I’m ready and I can’t wait to get out there,” said Cross, speaking to the Professional Darts Corporation.
“It’s the biggest tournament in the world so you’ve got to be ready.
“I might be a little bit edgy in the first game, but I was last year too and it went well for me then, and coming back to Alexandra Palace might bring out the best in me.
“Last year was completely different because there was no pressure on me, but I’m really looking forward to it. I love the set play format.”
A field of 96 players from 28 countries will compete for a record £2.5m prize money and Cross, the new world number two, is priced at 22/1 with sponsors William Hill to win back-to-back titles.
The William Hill World Darts Championship will be broadcast live on the dedicated Sky Sports Darts channel from today until January 1 and worldwide through the PDC’s international broadcast partners.
Tickets are still available, with very limited availability for some sessions. Group bookings are still available in the tiered seating areas for the afternoon sessions on December 19 and 20.