St Leonards star relishing top-of-table Premier League clash

Rob Cross (right) shakes hands with Michael van Gerwen after their match on night three of the Unibet Premier League in Dublin. Picture courtesy Michael Cooper/PDC
Rob Cross (right) shakes hands with Michael van Gerwen after their match on night three of the Unibet Premier League in Dublin. Picture courtesy Michael Cooper/PDC

Darts superstar Rob Cross believes he’s a better player now than when he won the world title ahead of a mouthwatering clash against Michael van Gerwen tonight (Thursday).

The world number two from St Leonards, who was crowned world champion on New Year’s Day 2018, will face world number one and reigning world champion van Gerwen in the Unibet Premier League at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.

After the opening 11 nights of Premier League action, Cross sits a point clear of Van Gerwen at the top of the league and is threatening to end the Dutchman’s incredible record of topping the Premier League standings every year since his 2013 debut season.

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“I think I’m a better player than when I won the world and I’m really enjoying my darts at the moment,” said Cross, who famously beat Van Gerwen in an 11-set epic en route to winning the World Championship.

“Michael is going to play well and do what he does, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t beat him in a one-off match or come on top over the duration of a season.

“The plan is to go and enjoy it, like I have done every week in this year’s Premier League. He’ll play his game, I’ll play mine and I’ll come out on top.”

Van Gerwen came out on top against Cross in Dublin on night three, but Cross has won seven of his eight Premier League encounters since and comes into tonight’s clash as the league’s form player.

“I will knock him off top spot, but I think it will be a cracking game,” said Van Gerwen, who holds a 13-3 winning record over Cross.

“Rob is playing really good darts, he’s one of the guys in form but I’m confident in my ability and I know what I can do.

“I will put the pressure on him and we’ll see how he handles that.”

With five games to play for the eight remaining players in the Premier League, the battle is intensifying for the four places in the Play-Offs at The O2 on May 23.