Cross wins Players Championship 24
After a quite incredible year thus far and succumbing to Luke Humphries on the Euro Tour on multiple occasions, Voltage finally got over the line to win his first title of the year against the man from Newbury.
The third seed took on Karel Sedlacek in the opening round and got off to the best possible start in Barnsley.
Without losing his lead once during the match, he fought off the Czech to progress through with him hitting four maximums and averaging just shy of a ton.
With David Evans next on Cross’ hit list, his scoring was top draw, where he hit only one 180 but hit 17 scores of 134 or higher to seal a convincing 6-3 win. Despite averaging 93.7, his doubling proved to be the indicator in why his average was surprisingly lower.
However, his biggest test came in the last 32, where he took on fellow Target stablemate Keane Barry.
A slow start to the match put Cross on the back foot, with him being 4-2 and 5-3 down and looked like he was heading for an early bath. Yet, he clawed it back to win the remaining three legs to overcome the Irishman in a last leg decider. With a steady 96 average, Cross knew he would have to step up in his following game.
It was another Irish opponent that Cross faced for a place in the quarter-finals, with Cross playing against Mansell, who averaged 110 earlier in the day. Despite averaging exactly the same as he did against Barry, Mansell couldn’t challenge Cross at all by averaging only 82 in what was a dominant and measured performance for the former World Champion.
The quarter-final was a rematch from the World Matchplay, as Cross looked to gain revenge on Jose de Sousa. Yet again, Cross came out the blocks well to establish a 5-1 lead, but de Sousa clawed the affair back to 5-4 and putting Cross under pressure. Though, he composed himself to round off the match and take on Chris Dobey in the semis.
From averaging 91 in the quarter-final in what was his worst average of the day, he then went on to average his best of the day in the semis. In each of the 7 legs he won, he never won a leg in more then 14 darts as he averaged a quite remarkable 109.5 in a 7-4 victory. Cross’ doubles were on point as he had a checkout rate of 88 per cent.
Then yet again, in the final, he took on Berkshire’s Luke Humphries. With the first four legs shared at 2-2 apiece, Cross stepped it up a gear to win cruise to victory, allowing Humphries to win only one more leg.
A crucial break of throw put Cross two away from victory after checking out 123 to win in 12, before winning the next two legs in 15 darts or less.
Despite hitting only one 180, he showed his class by hitting scores of 177, 174, 140, 139, 137, 134 and 133.
By Henry Cheal.
Image by Taylor Lanning.