Darts superstar Rob Cross saw his five-match winning run in the Unibet Premier League ended by an inspired Daryl Gurney tonight (Thursday).
The St Leonards-based world champion lost 7-5 to World Grand Prix winner Gurney, who thrilled a partisan home crowd at The SSE Arena in Belfast by hitting nine maximum 180s.
Cross led 4-2 at one stage in a high quality contest where both players were averaging over 100 for the most part, but Gurney won five of the final six legs to claim the victory.
Both players landed 180s with their very first throws of the match, but after Gurney missed three darts at a double, Cross checked out 84 in two darts to break throw with a 14-darter.
The game then went with throw for the next few legs. Cross landed a 15-darter, featuring his second 180 and an 82 finish, to lead 2-0 before Gurney opened his account with a 15-darter.
Cross, who was frequently booed by the crowd, hit a 14-darter to restore his two-leg cushion only for his Northern Irish opponent to reply in kind. Gurney hit two 180s to Cross’s one in leg six, but Cross held throw in 13 darts to lead 4-2.
Gurney again held throw in the next leg and then broke for 4-4 after Cross missed double 16 for a 110 checkout. Gurney produced a 119 outshot to go ahead for the first time only for Cross to level at 5-5 with a brilliant 11-darter featuring his second 177.
Gurney landed his seventh 180 on his way to holding throw in leg 11 and with Cross unable to find the treble in the decider, the home favourite hit his eighth and ninth maximums en route to a match-clinching 15-darter.
Despite the defeat, world number three Cross remains third in the table having now won five and lost three of his first eight matches.
The Premier League - a 16-week roadshow event featuring 10 of the sport’s top players - will move on to the Echo Arena in Liverpool next Thursday, when Cross will face UK Open champion Gary Anderson.
The bottom two players in the table after next week, which is known as Judgement Night, will be eliminated. Gerwyn Price will be one of them and the other will be Mensur Suljovic or Peter Wright.
Unibet Premier League standings (all played eight matches): 1st Michael van Gerwen 14pts (+29 leg difference), 2nd Michael Smith 12 (+18), 3rd Rob Cross 10 (+7), 4th Gary Anderson 9 (+3), 5th Simon Whitlock 8 (+1), 6th Raymond van Barneveld 8 (-2), 7th Daryl Gurney 8 (-2), 8th Peter Wright 5 (-19), 9th Mensur Suljovic 4 (-10), 10th Gerwyn Price 2 (-25).
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