Darts star Rob Cross suffered his first defeat of the 2019 Unibet Premier League at the hands of the world number one.
The St Leonards-based thrower lost 7-2 to Michael van Gerwen in a clash between the last two world champions at the 3Arena in Dublin tonight (Thursday).
Cross was in real danger of being whitewashed as he fell 6-0 behind, but managed to get a couple of legs on the board before van Gerwen finally sealed victory with his eighth match dart.
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In fact, Cross only had two darts at a double in the first six legs as he failed to reproduce the impressive form he showed in beating James Wade and drawing with Peter Wright in his first two Premier League encounters.
Those two darts were for a break of throw in the opening leg and once that chance went, van Gerwen checked out 100 in two darts for a 14-dart break in leg two, finished 74 in two darts for a 14-dart hold in leg three and pinned 88 for a 15-dart break in leg four.
Van Gerwen held throw in 14 darts, after missing the bullseye for a 124 checkout, to lead 5-0 and then produced an 11-dart break in a sixth leg where both players landed a 180.
The Dutch phenomenon missed two darts for a 7-0 win in the next leg and Cross finished 70 to open his account. Van Gerwen failed to convert three more match darts in leg eight, allowing Cross to win a second straight leg.
Cross missed a dart at double 16 to make it 6-3 and van Gerwen, who averaged 101.34, duly completed his third 7-2 Premier League win over Cross in just over a year.
Darts’ widest-reaching tournament, the Unibet Premier League sees nine of the world’s top players compete across 17 nights of action from February-May.
The top four players at the end of 16 nights will face off in the Play-Offs at The O2 on May 23, while the ninth-placed player following Judgement Night in Rotterdam will face an early elimination.