Darts star Rob Cross was beaten in the semi-finals of the Unibet Premier League Play-Offs tonight (Thursday).
The St Leonards-based world champion lost 10-6 to world number one Michael van Gerwen at The O2 in London.
Van Gerwen, who was never behind, averaged a very solid 103.65 and hit nine 180s to Cross’s five, with both men landing a ton-plus checkout.
The Dutchman hit a 180 on his very first visit to the oche and produced another maximum on his way to a 12-dart opening leg. Cross began the second leg with a 180 of his own and a 14-darter brought him level at 1-1.
Van Gerwen reeled off the next four legs to take control of the match at 5-1. He followed back-to-back 15-darters with an 11-darter in leg five and a 13-darter in leg six.
Although Cross landed his third 180 and finished 80 in two darts to break throw in leg seven, van Gerwen broke straight back in the next leg and another 11-darter gave him a 7-2 cushion.
Cross battled on valiantly with a 15-darter in leg 10 before finishing 48 in two darts to make it 7-4. He then had a dart at double top for 7-5 only for van Gerwen to go 8-4 clear.
Both men hit 180s in leg 13, but van Gerwen produced a superb 128 checkout for a 12-darter to go within a leg of victory. Cross responded with a 12-darter of his own in leg 14 and then checked out 118 on the bull to make it 9-6.
Van Gerwen, who beat Cross twice in the league phase of the competition having lost to him in an epic World Championship semi-final at the end of 2017, sealed his victory by finishing 70 for a 15-darter in leg 16.
Two-time world champion van Gerwen went on to face Michael Smith in the final. Smith overcame Gary Anderson 10-6 in the second semi-final.
Despite the defeat, world number three Cross can still look back fondly on a decent performance to reach the Play-Offs in his inaugural Premier League campaign.
The Premier League is a 16-week roadshow competition in which 10 of the sport’s top players battle it out in vast arenas all over the UK, as well as Ireland, Holland and Germany.
Benefit from an ongoing discount on your Observer by joining our voucher membership scheme. Once you’ve subscribed, we’ll send you dated vouchers which can be exchanged for your paper at any news outlet. To save money on your Observer, simply click here (www.localsubsplus.co.uk)