Cross beaten by van Gerwen in Premier League

Rob Cross at the oche against Michael van Gerwen on the opening night of the 2018 Unibet Premier League. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rob Cross at the oche against Michael van Gerwen on the opening night of the 2018 Unibet Premier League. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

World darts champion Rob Cross was beaten by world number one Michael van Gerwen on his Unibet Premier League debut tonight (Thursday).

St Leonards-based Cross lost by seven legs to two against three-time defending Premier League champion van Gerwen on the opening night of the 2018 competition.

In an electric atmosphere at a packed 3Arena in Dublin, the ever-impressive van Gerwen averaged 100 and amazingly hit three 114 checkouts to win a match he was always in control of.

The Dutchman produced the first of those ton-plus outshots to hold throw in the opening leg and followed it up with an 11-darter to break throw in the second leg despite a Cross 180.

Van Gerwen hit double 10 to go 3-0 up before Cross landed double eight to hold throw in leg four. Van Gerwen delivered his second 114 finish to make it 4-1 and then checked out 88 in two darts to break for the second time.

He finished 114 again to go 6-1 up, but Cross pulled one back by hitting double 18 after narrowly missing the bull for a 164 outshot.

World number three Cross just missed double tops for a 134 checkout in the next leg and van Gerwen hit double eight to seal his 31st victory in his last 32 televised matches.

Cross, of course, beat van Gerwen in a classic World Championship semi-final on December 30 after a sudden death deciding leg.

The Premier League - a 16-week roadshow event involving 10 of the sport’s top players - will move on to the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff next Thursday (February 8) when Cross will face Simon Whitlock.