St Leonards star rescues draw to stay second in Premier League

Rob Cross (left) shakes hands with Gerwyn Price after their 7-7 draw. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rob Cross (left) shakes hands with Gerwyn Price after their 7-7 draw. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Darts superstar Rob Cross salvaged a draw to consolidate second place in the Unibet Premier League tonight (Thursday).

The world number two from St Leonards recovered from 5-3, 6-4 and 7-5 down to rescue a 7-7 draw against Gerwyn Price, who missed four match darts at Arena Birmingham.

In his post-match interview with Sky Sports, Cross confessed: “Gezzy should’ve won easily. I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been let off like that and had a draw so it’s nice.

See also: * St Leonards ace knocked off top of Premier League
* St Leonards star climbs off sickbed to stay top of Premier League
* St Leonards ace back on top of Premier League
* Cross sinks Taylor to win world title

“I didn’t feel myself tonight, but at the same time it’s another valuable point. I’ll take it, I’m really happy.”

Having taken a long time to get going, Cross finished the match with a 97 average, three 180s and two ton-plus checkouts.

Cross produced a 120 outshot to hold throw in the opening leg and narrowly missed the bullseye for a 124 checkout in leg two before Price finished 101 to hold.

Rob Cross at the oche during his 7-7 draw against Gerwyn Price. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Rob Cross at the oche during his 7-7 draw against Gerwyn Price. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

After Price missed the bullseye for a 126 outshot in leg three, Cross finished 54 to lead 2-1 and then pulled off a brilliant 108 checkout for the first break of throw in the match.

Price then stepped up a gear, reeling off four successive legs to go from 3-1 down to 5-3 up. That sequence began with legs of 12 and 13 darts before Cross missed double 16 for another 108 checkout in leg seven.

Cross landed double 18 to stop the rot in leg nine only for Price to pin a crucial double 10 with last dart in hand, as Cross waited on double top, for a 6-4 advantage.

Both men hit their first 180s of the match in leg 11 before Cross finished 89 for a 12-dart hold. They also both landed 180s in the next leg, but this time Price pinned 58 in two darts with Cross waiting on 28 to restore his two-leg cushion.

After Cross missed double 18 for a 114 checkout in leg 13, Price squandered three darts for the match, allowing Cross to hit double 18 for 7-6.

Cross landed his third 180 of the night in the deciding leg and after Price failed to hit tops to win, the former world champion finished 52 in two darts to snatch a point.

Darts’ widest-reaching tournament, the Unibet Premier League sees nine of the world’s top players compete across 17 nights of action from February-May.

The top four players at the end of 16 nights will face off in the Play-Offs at The O2 in London on May 23.

Cross, nicknamed Voltage, has 18 points from 13 matches (eight wins, two draws and three defeats). He trails leader Michael van Gerwen by one point, and is three ahead of third-placed James Wade, fourth-placed Price and fifth-placed Mensur Suljovic.

Standings (all played 13 matches): 1 Michael van Gerwen 19pts (+33 leg difference), 2 Rob Cross 18 (+17), 3 James Wade 15 (+14), 4 Gerwyn Price 15 (+5), 5 Mensur Suljovic 15 (+4), 6 Daryl Gurney 14 (-1), 7 Peter Wright 9 (-18), 8 Michael Smith 9 (-14).