Rob Cross’s 2018 William Hill World Darts Championship victory was well received at a couple of local venues where he is well-known.
Regulars at Sidley Working Men’s Club and The Millers Arms were delighted to see the St Leonards-based thrower triumph on his debut appearance in the sport’s blue riband event.
As reported in last week’s Observer Sport, Cross produced an outstanding performance to defeat 16-time champion Phil Taylor by seven sets to two in the final on New Year’s Day.
Jake Wendel-Coombes, one of the bar staff at Sidley Working Men’s Club, said: “It’s been absolutely packed, we’ve been non-stop.
“We had the match (final) on a massive screen and there were 80-100 people here. There were some out the front as well and there was a lot of support for him.”
He added that Cross practises at the club two or three times per week and that his parents are regulars there too. Cross has also been there with at least one other professional player.
“He likes practising out the front and occasionally he will go out the back with maybe a few of his family,” he said. “He comes in with his family quite a lot. His mum and dad are in regularly, his misses comes in a fair bit. His uncle used to come in quite regularly.
“He’s so humble, gets along with everybody - a really nice guy. We were all delighted for him.”
Sidley Working Men’s Club held a presentation for Cross on Tuesday evening and awarded him life membership of the club.
Cross, who brought the World Championship trophy with him, signed autographs and posed for pictures with the many darting enthusiasts at a packed-out venue, as well as playing a few games of darts during a hugely enjoyable evening.
Before pursuing a career with the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC), Cross made around 10 Sussex Darts Super League East Division appearances for Hastings and helped the Millers Arms-based team win the summer league title in 2016.
George Noble, landlord of The Millers Arms, said: “They (the pub’s regulars) were all watching it and talking about it. Everyone was saying what a nice bloke he was and they’re absolutely made up for him.”
Cross once achieved a 35.79 one-dart average for Hastings against Hailsham, for which he received a set of darts and £20 from the Super League.
“In the Super League he was getting (one-dart) averages of 33, 34, 35 and that showed you what he could do,” added Noble.
“In those days he was still getting (a three-dart average) on certain occasions over 100. We all knew he was going to be good; we just didn’t expect him to rise quite so quickly.
“I sat next to him on the coach to the away games and he was such a nice guy.”
Cross, a father of three, has achieved international fame following his life-changing Alexandra Palace success, which was covered in depth by Sky Sports, BBC News and ITV News.
He also appeared on ITV show Good Morning Britain on Wednesday, last week, and competed in a televised pro-celebrity event in Germany last weekend.