St Leonards star confident ahead of World Matchplay opener

Rob Cross says he is '˜ready to perform to the best of my ability' as he gets set for one of the Professional Darts Corporation's top tournaments.

Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 7:01 pm
Updated Wednesday, 25th July 2018, 7:04 pm
Rob Cross will face Mervyn King in round one of the BetVictor World Matchplay tonight. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

The world champion from St Leonards will face Mervyn King in round one of the BetVictor World Matchplay at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool, tonight (Sunday).

The match is the third of four scheduled for the evening session, which will start at 7.30pm.

“I feel ready to perform to the best of my ability,” said Cross. “Mervyn is a good player, but I’m going to produce and I’m going to play well, so if he’s going to beat me, he’s going to have to play better than me.”

Cross is making only his second Winter Gardens appearance having beaten Ian White in round one last year before narrowly losing to two-time world champion Adrian Lewis.

After reaching World Series finals in Las Vegas and Shanghai over the last fortnight, Cross is on a high as he returns to Blackpool.

“A lot has changed in the last 12 months,” said the world number three. “I really enjoyed making my debut at the Winter Gardens last year - it was a unique experience playing there.

“This is only the beginning for me. I believe in myself and I feel my fitness has improved over the last few weeks, which is also helping me.”

The prestigious event, televised live on Sky Sports, sees 32 players competing for £500,000 in prize money, including a first prize of £115,000 for the winner along with the newly-titled Phil Taylor Trophy.

Cross is the 4/1 joint favourite for the title with tournament sponsors BetVictor alongside two-time world champion Gary Anderson following the shock defeat for world number one Michael van Gerwen last night. He is rated 2/9 to win his first round match.

See also: * St Leonards star is runner-up in Shanghai* Cross sinks Taylor to win world titleBenefit 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 (