St Leonards ace beaten in high class Premier League final

Rob Cross (second-right) and Michael van Gerwen (second-left) at the presentation ceremony after the final. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rob Cross (second-right) and Michael van Gerwen (second-left) at the presentation ceremony after the final. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Darts star Rob Cross was beaten by Michael van Gerwen in a top class Unibet Premier League final last night (Thursday).

The 2018 world champion from St Leonards lost 11-5 to 2019 world champion van Gerwen at The O2 in London.

“The Premier League this year has been brilliant for me, I’ve loved performing in front of amazing crowds every week,” said Cross, who made it through to his first Premier League final with an authoritative 10-5 semi-final win over 2009 champion James Wade earlier in the evening.

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“I’m going to keep moving forward for the rest of the year and I believe I can win things.”

An on fire Van Gerwen got the better of Cross in the battle of the world’s top two to win a record-equalling fourth consecutive Premier League crown and the £250,000 top prize.

The final, between the top two players from the league phase of the 17-night roadshow competition, began with a break of throw in the opening leg from Van Gerwen, who went on to take out 90 for a double-break and a 4-1 lead.

The Dutchman, who ended the match with five 180s and a 103.36 average, then landed a 112 checkout for a 5-1 advantage before Cross rallied with the three legs to make it 5-4.

The 10th leg proved to be a pivotal point in the contest. Cross missed three darts at double to level, allowing Van Gerwen to take out 74 for a 6-4 lead at the interval.

After the break, Van Gerwen poured more water on the Cross fire with a 72 checkout to break throw and followed it up with an 11-dart hold to make it 8-4.

Cross found double six to reduce his arrears to 8-5 only for Van Gerwen to reel off the final three legs, sealing victory in style with a sublime 130 checkout to retain his title.

“I didn’t play too badly in the final, but I still believe I can play a lot better and there’s so much more to come from me,” added Cross.

“Michael is a phenomenal player and he deserves to win this title, but one day I will get him.

“I had so much adrenaline pumping through me and it probably cost me the game at 5-4 when I missed those crucial doubles.”

Cross began the Play-Offs with another impressive display in beating Wade, who he lost to on the final night of the league phase the previous Thursday.

Although Wade moved into a 3-1 lead with a 12-darter, Cross then reeled off four straight legs, the last of them with a 112 checkout.

Wade missed two darts to level at 5-5 at the break, enabling Cross to lead 6-4. Cross then checked out 103 in leg 11 and went on to win the next two legs for a 9-4 advantage.

A 98 finish in leg 14 kept Wade’s hopes alive only for Cross to seal victory with a stunning 128 outshot in the next leg.