World darts champion Rob Cross was beaten by world number one Michael van Gerwen on his Unibet Premier League debut tonight (Thursday).
St Leonards-based Cross lost by seven legs to two against three-time defending Premier League champion van Gerwen on the opening night of the 2018 competition.
In an electric atmosphere at a packed 3Arena in Dublin, the ever-impressive van Gerwen averaged 100 and amazingly hit three 114 checkouts to win a match he was always in control of.
The Dutchman produced the first of those ton-plus outshots to hold throw in the opening leg and followed it up with an 11-darter to break throw in the second leg despite a Cross 180.
Van Gerwen hit double 10 to go 3-0 up before Cross landed double eight to hold throw in leg four. Van Gerwen delivered his second 114 finish to make it 4-1 and then checked out 88 in two darts to break for the second time.
He finished 114 again to go 6-1 up, but Cross pulled one back by hitting double 18 after narrowly missing the bull for a 164 outshot.
World number three Cross just missed double tops for a 134 checkout in the next leg and van Gerwen hit double eight to seal his 31st victory in his last 32 televised matches.
Cross, of course, beat van Gerwen in a classic World Championship semi-final on December 30 after a sudden death deciding leg.
The Premier League - a 16-week roadshow event involving 10 of the sport’s top players - will move on to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff next Thursday (February 8) when Cross will face Simon Whitlock.