An electrician from Hastings went head-to-head with the world number one darts player in a televised tournament on Saturday.
Rob Cross enjoyed a splendid run at the Coral UK Open, which culminated in a dream fourth round showdown against the great Michael van Gerwen.
Cross performed very commendably in a 9-5 defeat against the bang in form Dutchman, who created another slice of history with a nine-darter sandwiched between 170 checkouts.
He said: “It was fantastic, a great experience. I thought going up on the main stage was going to be a bit more daunting than it was, but I was quite calm up there and I believed I could win from the start.”
Cross took out 120 and 101 to give the world number one some nervous moments at 5-3 only for three legs of incredible quality to see van Gerwen pull clear.
Firstly, he followed a 177 score with a 170 finish to move 6-3 up before then scoring 180, 180 and 141 to complete a perfect nine-dart leg, the eighth in UK Open history.
Van Gerwen opened the 11th leg with another 177 before taking out a second 170 finish and ending the match with a 107 average.
The Coral UK Open - widely dubbed the ‘FA Cup of Darts’ - saw 128 players battle it out at the Butlins Minehead Resort live on ITV4.
Cross, one of the 32 Rileys Amateur Qualifiers who won through nationwide knockouts to secure places alongside the 96 professional qualifiers, won three matches last Friday.
He came from 8-3 down to beat Dutchman Jeffrey de Graaf 9-8 in round three, sealing victory with a 12-dart leg. Cross previously saw off former UK Open finalist Wes Newton 6-4 in round two and Canada’s Ken MacNeil 6-3 in round one.
“I wanted to try and get myself known a bit more, which I think I did,” added Cross, who says his family has supported him ‘through thick and thin’.
Cross, who moved to Hastings from Oxted nine months ago, played for Sussex and Surrey at youth level, but the father of two gave up darts for 18 months after his first son was born.
The 25-year-old says he has adopted a different mentality since returning to the sport three years ago, during which time he has twice played in the Winmau World Masters.
Cross clearly has a strong belief in his ability and in time is aiming to make his mark on the Professional Darts Corporation pro tour.
He plans to compete on the second tier Challenge Tour this year and have a crack at the PDC Qualifying School next January.
Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.
Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.
1 Make this website your homepage
2 Like our Facebook page at facebook.com/pages/Sport-Sussex
3 Follow us on Twitter @SportSussex
4 Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.
And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!