World champion looking forward to playing close to home
Having competed all over the globe since being crowned world champion at the start of the year, darts superstar Rob Cross is looking forward to performing close to home later this month.
The St Leonards-based talent will be among the headline acts in the field for the star-studded 2018 Paddy Power Champions League of Darts at The Brighton Centre on September 22-23.
Cross told Observer Sport said: “It’s just nice to be back, being by the coast and stuff, being at home. It’s like being on holiday down by the coast, I can do things with the kids.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it. Normal competitions, apart from the worlds last year, you’re always looking at four or five hours to get there so it’s nice to have one on the doorstep.
“A lot of people I know are going to be coming and it should be fantastic. It will probably crank the pressure up a bit more, but I want to put a show on and I definitely want to win.”
See also: * St Leonards ace wins Brisbane title* St Leonards star back in the winner’s circle* Cross sinks Taylor to win world titleTelevised on the BBC, the Champions League of Darts will see the top eight players on the Professional Darts Corporation (PDC) order of merit battling it out over two days, initially in two groups of four before the leading two players in each will advance to the semi-finals.
Cross is in group B alongside former UK Open champion Peter Wright, reigning Champions League winner Mensur Suljovic and former European Championship winner Simon Whitlock.
World number three Cross, nicknamed Voltage, will get the tournament underway against Austrian star Suljovic on the Saturday afternoon.
The 27-year-old will be aiming for his second TV title since being crowned world champion on New Year’s Day having won the Brisbane Darts Masters in Australia last month. Cross won seven successive legs to defeat world number one Michael van Gerwen in the final.
“I won a ProTour (event) a couple of months ago, but to win Brisbane the way I played - I felt I dominated in the final - it’s another little stepping stone, a good thing to try and push on from now, and try and get that winning habit,” Cross continued.
“It’s a nice platform to kick on from and let’s win more. That’s just one, there’s still plenty of events of events to play for in the rest of the year.”
Cross has played in just about every event on a packed PDC ProTour calendar this year, although he has decided to skip this month’s two European Tour events to give himself a breather and spend some time with his young family.
“It has been very hectic,” added Cross, who says he has felt better every week having lost two-and-a-half stone in weight. “My first year on the PDC I played five weekends, last year I played 28, this year I could’ve played everything and played the whole year.
“I’m privileged for that, and you get opportunities to go and travel the world. I love what I do, and I think it’s massively important that I try and do my job off the dart board and on the dart board as well as I can.
“It does get a bit tiring here and there. I’m taking a couple of weekends off before the Champions League, spend some quality time with the family, get my practice right, get a bit of normality back and focus on the rest of the year.
“If I can get myself back to where I can be and playing really well, I don’t think it’s a million miles away - and I think taking the two weeks off will really help me.”
The Paddy Power Champions League of Darts will be held on September 22-23 at the Brighton Centre. For tickets, visit brightoncentre.co.uk