St Leonards star reaches Las Vegas final

Rob Cross reached his first World Series of Darts final in Las Vegas last night. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rob Cross reached his first World Series of Darts final in Las Vegas last night. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Rob Cross performed impressively to reach the final of a PDC World Series of Darts event in Las Vegas.

Playing outside of Europe for the first time, the St Leonards-based world champion was the runner-up in the William Hill US Darts Masters at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.

Cross got off to a splendid start in the 16-man tournament with a very convincing 6-1 victory over Canada’s Ross Snook on Friday night.

Cross averaged 105.73 and hit 75% of his darts at a double during a performance highlighted by two ton-plus checkouts and two 180s.

He produced a superb 123 outshot for a 15-darter against the throw in the opening leg and then held throw in the next before Snook pulled one back.

It was all Cross thereafter, though. He held throw in 14 darts to lead 3-1, a 13-darter against the throw made it 4-1 and a 112 finish for a 15-darter in leg six took him within one of victory.

Cross saved the best for last as he sealed the win with a 11-dart leg featuring his second 180 and an 85 finish in two darts.

He went on to edge out Premier League runner-up Michael Smith 8-6 in a high quality quarter-final last night (Saturday).

Both men landed seven 180s, but Cross - who averaged 100.91 and hit 50% of his attempts at a double - came out on top after securing the only break of throw in the match in the penultimate leg.

World number eight Smith led on six occasions only for Cross to peg him back each time before clinching the final three legs to secure his eighth successive win against Smith.

Highlights for Cross were a 130 outshot to win the fourth leg in 12 darts, a 100 checkout to take the sixth leg in 12 darts, another 12-darter in leg 10, and back-to-back 14-darters in legs 12 and 13.

Cross returned to the stage a while later to overcome world number two and top seed Peter Wright 8-3 in the semi-finals.

It was another strong display from Cross, who won seven consecutive legs to lead 7-1 before a late wobble dropped his average to 95.13. He hit a terrific 57% of his shots at a double.

Although Cross hit just one 180 to Wright’s four, checkouts of 107 and 120 - both for 15-dart legs, plus a 12-darter and a 13-darter, helped Cross take charge. Wright pulled off a 116 finish in leg 10, but Cross got over the line in the next.

At the end of the evening, Cross was beaten 8-4 in the final by world number four and two-time world champion Gary Anderson, who reeled off seven consecutive legs from 4-1 down.

Cross hit seven 180s to Anderson’s six in a terrific contest (all of Cross’s maximums came in the first seven legs), but outshots of 108 and a title-clinching 164 helped the Scot prevail.

The 27-year-old Cross had a 12-darter, 13-darter and a 15-darter in the opening five legs, but was unable to sustain his early excellence and Anderson turned the game around.

“It was an amazing tournament,” said Cross. “I felt great coming out this week and I played some good stuff. I missed a few shots in the final and I was my own enemy.”

See also: Cross wins first title since being crowned world champion
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