Cross clinches second major title following World Matchplay success
Rob Cross clinched the World Matchplay title for the first time as he defeated Michael Smith 18-13 on Sunday evening at Blackpool’s Winter Gardens.
Cross, who lifted his second major title after his World Championship success back in 2018, will place the Phil Taylor trophy alongside the Sid Waddell trophy on his mantelpiece.
The former world champion rallied in the early stages of the final against ‘Bully Boy’ as he reeled off nine legs in succession to lead 9-0 and frustrate the St Helens man. Cross found finishes of 72, 72 and 81 on his way to opening up a nine-leg advantage.
Smith, a World Championship and Premier League finalist, won the next four legs as he started to get in the groove, only for Cross to win the next two, hitting a 115 checkout, and move further in front.
The Shanghai Darts Master then started to mount a serious comeback. A 147 checkout helped him move within five legs, before an 85 outshot reduced the deficit even further.
The next two legs went against throw with Cross pinning a 110 checkout and Smith hitting maximums in both, before the next two also went against the odds and with ‘Voltage’ now 15-11 adrift, the end seems nigh for ‘Bully Boy’.
Smith claimed got two more legs on the board, utilising double 10 and tops, but his luck stopped there as Cross reeled off the next three to seal the deal and win his maiden World Matchplay crown.
“It feels amazing,” Cross told pdc.tv following his triumph. “I’m lost for words, I’m so happy that I’ve won this title.
“Michael played great darts all week but he struggled on doubles tonight but it made me more edgy. He came back well but I had to stay calm.
“The crowd were amazing, they carried me through yesterday and carried Michael today.”
Cross somehow managed to edge out Daryl Gurney in the semi-finals, having been deserted at 13-6 in the tie, and also saw off Stephen Bunting, Poland’s Krzysztof Ratajski and Chris Dobey en route to pocketing the £150,000 title.
Elsewhere, it was another valiant effort from Michael Smith as he embarked on a run to the final with wins over Glen Durrant, Mervyn King, Max Hopp and Jamie Hughes.
Glen Durrant was without a doubt the story of the tournament as the reigning BDO world champion reached the semi-finals on debut as well as seeing off world number one, Michael van Gerwen, and sending the Winter Gardens into overdrive.
Durrant had also saw off two-time world champion Adrian Lewis and former World Matchplay champion James Wade on his way to the last four.
The defending champion, Gary Anderson, lost out in the second round at the hands of Mervyn King – who had defeated van Gerwen in March’s UK Open.