On the back of a semi-final run to close out the European Tour for the year, it was back to England for a set of four ProTour’s before the European Championships in Dortmund.
With first round exits in the first two days, Cross then went on to win his second Players Championship of the year in Players Championship 27.
In his opening round game, he took on Jason Lowe and raced into a 4-0 lead, playing at a decent standard before Lowe reduced the deficit to just one leg.
Cross then hit a crucial hold with a 15-darter to establish a two-leg lead. Both players then held throw for the next two legs, which saw Cross close out the match 6-4 with a steady 91 average to start the day.
For the second-round match with Danny Baggish, it was a more convincing result and performance for the man from Kent. The opening four legs were split evenly, resulting in a 2-2 scoreline before Cross kicked it up a notch as he won four in a row with 14, 15, 13 and 12 dart legs. With 3 180s thrown in the last two legs, it helped get Cross over the line.
Brendan Dolan was next for Cross, where the end scoreline was the exact same as the first round earlier – a 6-4 victory. Cross, once again, sailed into a 5-1 lead producing some magnificent darts, hitting a maximum, a 174, 7x 140, and a 137 and looked to set to progress through with ease.
Though Dolan came back, hitting three on the spin to be back within one leg to put Cross under the cosh, but a 15 darter was enough to close out the win. This was Cross’ best performance of the day thus far, averaging 103.78 to Dolan’s 91.66.
In the last 16, Cross took on George Killington in what was the biggest challenge of the day thus far.
Both players shared throw for 8 legs running to make the tie 4-4. With the ninth leg starting with Cross, he continued the pattern to hold and go one away from progressing through. Yet, when he needed too most, he broke the throw in the final leg to progress through with a 14 darter.
Stephen Bunting was waiting in the quarter-final for Cross, and yet again, Cross cemented a great lead and was 5-1 up to go one away from the semis. This time round Cross kept his composure, with Bunting taking only one more leg in the match with a 13 darter before the 2018 World Champ responded with his own to win. Though hitting 3x 180’s, Cross showed his class all around the board with scores of a 162, 6x 140s, a 137, 136, 132, 126, 122 and 119.
Cross then took on Callan Rydz for a place in the final with Peter Wright and established a 5-1 lead.
Despite losing the first leg, he went on to win 5 in a row, playing absolutely phenomenal, hitting a 15 darter, 3x 13 darters and a 12 darter. Rydz attempted the fightback and won four out of the next five, before Cross stopped the rot to seal his place in the final with an 11 darter which was his best leg of the game. A monstrous 110 average for Voltage was his best performance of the day, as he hit 4 maximum’s, a 165, a 145, 10x 140s, 2x 139 and a 137.
Cross got off to the best possible start in the opening leg in the final, as he took out 164 to break the throw which released a statement to the reigning World Champ that he was up for the task. Though both players broke the throw in the opening four legs, Cross took out a mesmerising 160 after hitting 3x T18s to set himself up. Though Cross was 3-2 behind, he then went on to win five legs in a row to be one leg away from the title. Wright got his consolation leg to make it 7-4, before Cross then rounded off the game to win the £12,000 prize fund.
GIBRALTAR DARTS TROPHY
Going into the final European Tour of the year, it was important for Cross to get a final big run in before his defence in Dortmund for the European Championship’s.
With two final appearances in the Euro Tours for the year, it was enough to put Cross in the top 4 seeds for the tournament.
First up for Voltage was Rusty-Jake Rodriguez, who he comfortably defeated 6-3. Cross ran out of the gates well and cemented a 5-0 lead, before Rodriguez won the next three which then led to Cross wrapping up the match on throw with a 14 darter. With a steady average of 92, alongside hitting 2 maximums, Cross’ doubles were at 26.1%.
Going into the Sunday, Cross knew he had to step up and in round three, he did just that as he averaged 104.85 and edged past Ryan Joyce 6-4. Despite hitting 2 180’s to Joyce’s 4, his 140+ scoring was more frequent which helped him get through. With no player able to cement lead for the first 8 legs, Cross then stepped up his game where he needed to as he sealed the final two legs to win. In the opening leg he took out the highest checkout of the match, a 111 on D20.
In the quarter-final, he took on Josh Rock. In a game that went the distance, with 10 consecutive holds of throw, Cross broke throw in the deciding leg to progress through with his last dart in hand.
With Rock averaging 101.61 to Cross’ 98.52, Cross’ doubling was once again on point as he had a 60% checkout rate.
The impressive run from Cross ended in his semi-final clash with Peter Wright, where he lost 7-1.
Though he didn’t play bad, averaging 96, Wright was truly the better player by averaging 108.6 as he progressed through. This means for the European Championship, Cross will face James Wade in the opening round.
Words by Henry Cheal.