Following a disappointing second round exit at the Masters at the hands of Mervyn King, Rob Cross arrived in Bolton for the Super Series with a point to prove. This year is big year as he has to recover a vast amount of prize money to stay within the top 16 thanks to his World Matchplay and European Championship success two years ago.
Therefore, Cross was looking to start the first set of ranking tournaments of the year in style in the hope to prove a statement that he could be one to watch this year.
Players Championship 1 –
In the opening round of the first Super Series event Cross took on Steve Brown. Cross was victorious 6-3 and each of the six legs he won was in 18 darts or less, with his lowest being a 13 darter. In the following game against James Wilson, Cross overcame a 4-2 deficit to win four legs on the spin to seal a 6-4 victory. As Cross progressed through to the last 32, he took on Daryl Gurney. Cross raced into a five leg lead and hit three 12 darters, two of which were 121 checkouts before Gurney pulled one leg back.
However, there was no comeback charge as a ruthless Cross finished the game off with a 13 darter on his loyal D16. Cross averaged a stunning 109.7 and set himself up a round of sixteen clash with Gary Anderson. The first four legs between the pair were shared before Anderson bust 34, which led to Cross taking advantage and sealed a 3-2 lead for the first time in the match.
Cross then took the next three legs and took the win after checking out 100 on D20 to progress through. Cross was then up against Nathan Aspinall, Cross was 3-2 up before Aspinall went to win three legs in a row and lead 5-3 and be one away from the match. Cross took the next two legs and forced the tie in a last leg decider. Both Aspinall and Cross both missed to win before Aspinall came back to win the match and progress through.
Players Championship 2 –
The following day proved to be uneventful for Cross, as he took on Martin Schindler in the opening round. Cross averaged 97 but only won three legs in a 6-3 defeat for him.
Players Championship 3 –
On day three Cross got off to the best possible start as he whitewashed Steve West in the opening round. Despite this dominate scoreline, Cross averaged a below par 86 as he progressed through. His next round fixture was against Raymond van Barneveld. Barney established a 4-2 lead before Cross won three legs in a row to lead 5-4. Cross then went on to miss to win the match 6-4 and Barney sealed the next two legs and won in the last leg affair.
Players Championship 4 –
In a repeat of the third day Cross progressed through to the second round with ease as he only dropped a leg in his first round match against Berry van Peer. Cross faced Michael Rasztovits in the second round and in a repeat of the day prior, Cross missed for a 6-4 victory and ended uplosing 6-5 again.
Overall, it is fair to say that Cross has had an eventful start to the year, as he picked up £3,250 in prize money throughout the four days. Onto the UK Open which commences this forthcoming Friday.
Words: Henry Cheal
Images: Taylor Lanning