I was useless, says Cross after Champions League exit

Rob Cross at the oche during his victory over Simon Whitlock at the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts. Picture courtesy Chris Dean/PDC
Rob Cross at the oche during his victory over Simon Whitlock at the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts. Picture courtesy Chris Dean/PDC

Rob Cross described his performance as ‘useless’ after exiting the Paddy Power Champions League of Darts at the group stage.

The world champion from St Leonards lost two of his three matches at The Brighton Centre to finish third in the four-man group B, with only the top two advancing to the semi-finals.

Cross began with a 10-8 defeat to reigning champion Mensur Suljovic yesterday (Saturday) afternoon and although he beat Simon Whitlock by the same score yesterday evening, a 10-3 loss to Peter Wright this afternoon meant he missed out on a place in the last four.

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Speaking to BBC Sport after his final match, Cross said: “In fairness I wasn’t good enough and I wasn’t good enough yesterday. On the balance of things, you’ve got to take that on the chin, and you’ve got to try and move on.

“I didn’t play anywhere near me. It’s all a learning curve anyway, you’re coming to different tournaments.

“I’m not even upset with myself and that’s the negative really because usually you should kick yourself and move on. The round-robin was different and I never got going this weekend - I was useless.

“I’ll be absolutely fine. I’ll have a little chill out now and then I’ve got a busy 10 or 12 days. We’re going to Ireland (next weekend) and I’ll have to sort it out for then.”

The match against eventual group winner Suljovic was a nip-and-tuck affair containing only three breaks of throw.

A 113 checkout helped Cross open up a 5-3 lead, but his Austrian opponent finished 81 on the bull to break back at 5-5 in the final leg before the break. The pair traded holds of throw before Suljovic claimed the decisive break to seal victory.

Cross averaged 91.79 to Suljovic’s 96.46, hit four 180s to Suljovic’s two and was successful with eight of his 12 attempts at a double to Suljovic’s 10 out of 22.

Cross boosted his hopes of qualifying for the semi-finals by defeating Australian thrower Whitlock, setting up a winner-takes-all encounter against Wright for the runner-up spot in group B.

Wright raced into a 5-0 lead aided by a pair of 12-darters, the second of them sealed by a 121 outshot. Cross opened his account with a 13-darter in leg six and back-to-back legs cut his deficit to 6-3, but Wright reeled off four in a row to finish things off, one of them in 11 darts and another in 10.

Cross averaged 89.70 to Wright’s 101.77, hit three 180s to Wright’s seven and landed 30% of his shots at a double to Wright’s 37%.

The Paddy Power Champions League of Darts brought together the top eight players on the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) order of merit.

The next televised tournament is the Unibet World Grand Prix in Dublin. Cross will play Steve Beaton in round one of the double-start competition on Monday October 1 having lost to the same player at the same stage of last year’s event.