St Leonards star climbs off sickbed to stay top of Premier League

Rob Cross makes his way to the stage before his match against Peter Wright. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rob Cross makes his way to the stage before his match against Peter Wright. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Darts superstar Rob Cross climbed off his sickbed to stay top of the Unibet Premier League following another superb victory tonight (Thursday).

The world number two from St Leonards won 8-5 in a high class contest against Peter Wright at The M&S Bank Arena in Liverpool despite being laid low by a bad bout of tonsillitis this week.

Cross averaged 102.03, hit four 180s and eight of his 15 attempts at a double, while Wright averaged 100.28, landed four maximums and five of seven shots at a double. Both men also had two ton-plus checkouts.

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The 28-year-old Cross began the match with a 180 en route to a 13-dart hold of throw before clinching leg two in stunning fashion with a 162 followed by a 140 outshot, hitting five consecutive treble 18s and then double 16.

A 14-dart hold in which Cross missed double 14 for a 121 checkout made it 3-0 before Wright opened his account with an 11-dart hold featuring his third and fourth 180s.

The next three legs also went with throw, with Cross producing another 13-darter in leg five, before the former world champion followed a 177 with a 105 outshot for a brilliant 12-dart break and a 6-2 lead.

Rob Cross celebrates during his victory over Peter Wright. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Rob Cross celebrates during his victory over Peter Wright. Picture courtesy Lawrence Lustig/PDC

After Cross missed double 16 for a 146 checkout in leg nine, Wright clinched back-to-back legs, aided by a 106 finish for a 12-dart hold in leg nine, to cut his deficit to 6-4.

A 180 at the start of leg 11 set Cross on his way to a 7-4 advantage and although Wright won leg 12 with a 104 checkout, Cross then produced an 11-darter featuring a 177 to seal victory.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, he said: “I thought I was steady, my finishing was superb tonight.

“To be honest I still don’t feel 100 percent so to come out and play like that was good. The 162 and 140 was nice.

“I’ve been feverish. I’m not sleeping, I need to sleep. I’m looking forward to my weekend. I’ve done my job for this week, and I’ll go home and get myself better really, and spend it with my family.”

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 in London on May 23.

Cross now has 17 points from 11 matches (eight wins, one draw and two defeats) and will face world number one Michael van Gerwen in Cardiff next Thursday night.

“We’ll look at every game now and just go out to win everything,” he added. “I’m playing well, I’m enjoying it again. I didn’t enjoy it so much tonight obviously with the way I feel.

“It was hard work at times, but it was nice to just get a result, and next week I’ll be fresh again and off we go. We’re going to have the old Rob back and we’re going to put in a better performance.”