Alexandra Palace, London

Thursday 13th December 2018 - Tuesday 1st January 2019

Pre-tournament Preview


A year on from his life changing experience at the Alexandra Palace, Hastings’ superstar Rob Cross was back to defend his William Hill World Darts Championship title.


Going into his debut appearance on the biggest stage of them all, the now 28-year-old former Electrician was playing some great darts, climbing the world rankings and defeating most of the top players along the way.


Things though got even better as he stunned the watching millions to lift the title by beating two of the worlds all-time great players in the semi-finals and final. A titanic battle with world number one Michael van Gerwen was followed by a trouncing of 16-times world champion Phil Taylor.


A year on and Cross has risen to world number two, collecting his fifth Players Championship title and winning the Brisbane Darts Masters with a convincing victory over Van Gerwen.


Despite those two titles the pressure has started to hit Cross after his unbelievable start to his professional career. Losses early in competition have started to become a little more frequent and the hundred plus averages have started to disappear off the radar.


From his last thirty-two matches on tour ‘Voltage’ has recorded just two averages above 100, those coming in wins against the highly talented Polish Eagle, Krzysztof Ratajski (100.93) and former stablemate Joe Cullen (115.62) in a Players Championship event in Dublin at the tail end of September.


Despite the less than ideal form I feel that Cross will find his feet once back on the biggest stage of them all and show everyone that last year was no flash in the pan.


Cross said "I've been working hard in practice to make sure I'm ready and I can't wait to get out there.


"It's the biggest tournament in the world so you've got to be ready.


"I might be a little bit edgy in the first game but I was last year too and it went well for me then, and coming back to Alexandra Palace might bring out the best in me.


"Last year was completely different because there was no pressure on me, but I'm really looking forward to it. I love the set play format."


This year sees the biggest tournament of them all get even bigger with 96 players from around the world competing.

Second Round (13th December)


Rob Cross came from a set down to beat Jeffrey de Zwaan by three sets to one in the second round.


His Dutch opponent got off to a great start by winning the opening set three-nil but Cross produced some great darts to turn the match around bringing back memories of his great title winning achievement of last year.


Cross had just one dart at a double in the opening set, it came in the first leg. With 80 left on the board, two single twenties set up a double top finish but the third dart fell low. De Zwaan took his opportunity by taking out 52 with three darts (12, x, D20) for an 18 darter. Cross had his throw broken in leg two having left himself 107 after 12 darts. De Zwaan hit scores of 100, 134, 180 and took out 87 in two darts (T17, D18). In the third leg De Zwaan hit a second 180, missed a dart at double twenty for an 85 finish but came back to the oche to hit double ten for a 13 darter with Cross left on 113 having thrown 12 darts. At the end of the set De Zwaan was averaging an impressive 107.36 and Cross 97.15


‘Voltage’ knew he needed to up his game and got straight at it with his first 180 of the match to kick-off the second set. De Zwaan left himself 28 after 12 darts as Cross took out 78 in two darts (T18, D12) for a 14 darter. De Zwaan drew level by hitting tops at the second attempt in a 16 dart leg. Cross then fired in a second maximum to start off leg three and followed it with scores of 134 and 171 (T20, T20, T17) to leave sixteen. De Zwaan was back on 205 after nine darts as Cross threw a wayward dart into the single eleven, hit a single one that nearly fell into the single eighteen bed and hit the double two, chuckling away to himself as he retrieved his darts from the board. Trailing two-one in the set De Zwaan started off with back-to-back 180s in the fourth leg, hit 57 to leave 84 and took it out in three darts (T20, x, D12) for a 12 darter with Cross back on 180. The crucial deciding leg of the set that would either leave the players level pegging or finding the world champion two sets adrift went the way of Cross as he hit back-to-back scores of 140 to leave 96 after 12 darts with his opponent on 65. The 96 was taken out in two darts (T20, D18) and it was one set all.


Cross broke throw in the opening leg of set three by hitting his third maximum and taking out 35 with two darts (3, D16) for a 14 darter with De Zwaan left on 25 after a missed dart at the bull for a 119 finish. Another 14 darter from Cross made the set score two-nil, this time a 72 finish (T20, D6) with De Zwaan left on 123 after 12 darts thrown. ‘The Black Cobra’ held his throw in the third leg, another 14 darter with a 40 finish (x, D20) with Cross left on 25 having missed a dart at bull for a 124 finish. The fourth leg of the set was the best of the match, Cross hit scores of 140, 140, 100 and checked out on 121 (T20, 11, bull), De Zwaan hit 140, 180 and 145 with his three throws to leave 36.


De Zwaan was not going away just yet. He broke throw in the opening leg of the fourth set with scores of 140, 140, 105 and a 116 finish (19, T19, D20) and at the time was averaging 109.65. Cross bounced straight back, opening the next leg with his fourth 180, as he took it in 15 darts with a 40 finish (20, 10, D5) with De Zwaan having hit 153 (T20, T20, T11) to leave 36. Cross then won the third leg of the set in 13 darts with scores of 100, 123, 93, 161 (T20, bull, T17) and finishing off with double twelve. De Zwaan then missed a dart at double six for a 72 finish in the fourth leg as Cross took out 52 (20, 16, D8) for an 18 darter to win the match.


Cross averaged 102.93, De Zwaan’ average of 106.09 is the second highest all-time losing average in a world championship match.     


De Zwaan came through his opening round tie by beating Indian qualifier Nitin Kumar by three sets to nil (3-0, 3-2, 3-1) with a 91.18 average. The Dutchman hit five 180s in the match with a best leg of 11 darts and a high finish of 86.


"I thought that my finishing got me through. I think I had been written off on social media but that goes with the territory and Jeffrey was fantastic so I'm really pleased" said Cross.


"He is one of the best players in the world in my opinion but you can't buy the grit I showed in that match.


"If someone is going to beat me here they are going to have to play really well because I can play better and I believe I can win it again."

Third Round (23rd December)


Rob Cross advanced to the last sixteen of the William Hill World Darts Championship with a 4-0 sets victory over Cristo Reyes at the Alexandra Palace in London.


The current world champion got off to a good start as he broke the Reyes throw in the opening leg of the first set with a 15 darter, taking out 61 (25, 18, D9) after his opponent had missed a dart at tops for a 101 finish. The second leg was the longest of the match as Cross only found two trebles but was let off the hook as Reyes missed five darts at a double with Cross finding double eighteen with his first attempt to take it in 22 darts. The Spaniard then got his first leg on the board as he finished off 288 in seven darts with scores of 134, 130 and a double twelve to trail 2-1. Cross then took the fourth leg to claim the first set. A 15 darter, ending with a 174 and three darts to take out 40 (x, 20, D10) with Reyes left on 110 having thrown 12 darts.


‘Voltage’ won the second set three zip, kicking off with a 16 darter, finishing on double sixteen. Cross began the second leg with the first 180 of the match and followed up with scores of 58, 137 and a glorious 126 finish (T19, 19, bull) for a 12 darter. The third leg was another 16 darter, this time with a double five finish.


The match then kicked into gear as both players stepped up their form. The first leg of the third set saw Cross hit his second maximum and Reyes winning it in 15 darts with a double ten finish after missing two efforts at tops. Cross levelled with a second 12 dart leg, scoring 137, 140, 180 and checking out on 44 (12, x, D16). ‘The Spartan’ then had an 11 darter to go 2-1 up, scoring 125, 180, 140 and finishing off with 56 (16, D20). Cross then levelled again with a 15 dart leg with a 74 finish (T18, x, D10). Cross then broke throw in 13 darts to go three sets up with scores of 100, 120, 134, 127 and a double ten finish.


There were three 180s in the opening leg of the fourth set. Reyes started with seven perfect darts and wrapped it up with a 52 finish (20, 16, D8) for a 12 darter and a break of throw. Cross responded with a 12 dart leg of his own, scoring 81, 93, 180 and a magnificent 147 finish (T18, T19, D18) with Reyes left waiting, having hit a 180 to leave 69. Cross then held throw in 13 darts with scores of 97, 140, 115, 137 and a double six finish. Back came Reyes with an excellent 10 darter, scoring 140, 180, 149 and a double sixteen finish to make it 2-2. Cross then closed out the match with a 15 dart leg finishing on 76 (20, 20, D18).


Both players ended up with five 180s apiece, Cross averaged 101.72, Reyes averaged 96.20


“I felt really good up there. I think the ten days between games helped me. I’ve felt relaxed and I was ready for the match and I think that showed in my performance.", said Cross


“It’s a good start and I know if I can keep this up I’ve got every chance of going all the way again.”

Fourth Round (Friday 28th December)


In the fourth round (the last 16) Cross was up against 23-year-old Luke Humphries who had already defeated one of Cross’ stablemate’s and former BDO world champion Stephen Bunting as well as Adam Hunt and Dimitri Van den Bergh in earlier rounds.


Cross won the opening set 3-0 thanks to some fine finishing. In the opening leg Humphries hit a 180 with his second throw of the match as Cross took it with scores of 77, 100, 118, 100 and a 106 finish (T20, 14, D16) for a 15 darter. Another 180 for Humphries in the second leg and three missed darts at double top let Cross in to finish off another 15 darter, this time with a 107 checkout (19, T16, D20) having already scored 60, 140, 137 and 57. The set was won with a 13 dart leg from Cross. This time hitting 134, 59, 174, 118 and a dart at double eight with Humphries left waiting on 160.


Cross notched his first maximum of the match in the opening leg of the second set and missed a dart at double sixteen for a 111 finish as Humphries won it in 17 darts culminating in a 56 finish (16, D20). Cross fired straight back to level the set, taking out a 116 finish (20, T20, D18) after scores of 96, 100, 96 and 93 for a 15 darter. A second 180 of the match from Cross was not enough to stop Humphries winning the third leg of the set. The Newbury man poked in scores of 140, 77, 140, 120 and a double twelve finish for a 13 darter. Humphries didn’t do a lot wrong in the fourth leg having hit a 180 and left 52 after 12 darts but it was Cross that took it to level again, this time in 14 darts scoring 140, 140, 81, 83 and checking out on 57 (17, D20). The final leg of the set was scrappy as both players missed chances. Firstly, Humphries missed darts at double ten and double five then Cross missed chances at double top and double ten. Humphries then missed another effort at double five and one at double two as Cross stepped up, missed a dart at double five, hit a single three and wrapped up the set with a double one to take a two sets to nil lead.


The match swung in Humphries favour in the third set as he took it 3-1. Cross won the opening leg in 15 darts with scores of 59, 140, 98, 140 and a 64 checkout (T16, 8, D4) then Humphries won the next two legs in 14 darts, with a 70 finish (T18, D8) and a 36 finish (18, D9). The Newbury man then fired in a 15 darter with a 115 finish (19, D20, D18) despite a maximum from Cross.


In the opening leg of the fourth set Humphries hit a 180 and won it in 15 darts even though he missed efforts at double sixteen, double eight and double four. Another 15 dart leg followed, this time ending with a 114 finish (20, T18, D20) with Cross left waiting on 36. A missed dart at double sixteen from Humphries let in Cross as he hit the same double at the second attempt for a 16 darter to trail 2-1. Humphries then closed out the set to level the match in the next leg with a 64 finish (16, 16, D16) after Cross missed darts at double ten and double five. We now had a level game, two sets all.


Cross won the opening leg of the fifth set with a 14 darter, hitting a score of 174 to leave 36, taking out double eight at the second attempt. Cross then hit a 180 and missed a dart at bull for an 88 finish in the next leg as Humphries took out double top for a 13 darter to level the set at one apiece. Another missed dart at a double from Cross, this time double sixteen allowed Humphries to return and take out double top at the second attempt for a 16 darter. Both players then missed efforts at doubles in the next leg as Humphries won it by hitting double ten to take the set 3-1.


Cross started well in the sixth set, taking the opening two legs in 17 and 15 darts. In the first of those legs Humphries opened with a 180 as Cross took it by hitting double one. In the second leg Cross hit a 180 and finished on 51 (3, 16, D16). Humphries then had his best leg of the match, an eleven darter with scores of 140, 180, 145 and a 36 finish (x, D18) with Cross back on 183. Humphries then levelled the set with scores of 60, 115, 140, 145 and a 41 finish (9, D16) with Cross left on 108. In the deciding leg of the set, Cross was left on 97 after 12 darts thrown as Humphries took it in 14 darts with scores of 137, 140, 140, 70 and finishing off 14 (x, D7) to take the match 4-2 in sets and advance to the quarter-finals.


Humphries hit seven 180s in total and averaged 99.71


Cross hit five 180s and averaged 97.38



Humphries went on to lose to eventual runner-up Michael Smith 5-1 in the quarter-finals.


Michael van Gerwen won his third PDC World Championship title by defeating Smith 7-3 in the final,


Last 16
Micahel van Gerwen 4-1 Adrian Lewis
Ryan Joyce 4-3 James Wade
Dave Chisnall 4-0 Jamie Lewis
Gary Anderson 4-3 Chris Dobey
Luke Humphries 4-2 Rob Cross
Michael Smith 4-1 Ryan Searle
Nathan Aspinall 4-3 Devon Petersen
Brendan Dolan 4-1 Benito van de Pas
Michael van Gerwen 5-1 Ryan Joyce
Gary Anderson 5-2 Dave Chisnall
Michael Smith 5-1 Luke Humphries
Nathan Aspinall 5-1 Brendan Dolan
Michael van Gerwen 6-1 Gary Anderson
Michael Smith 6-3 Nathan Aspinall
Michael van Gerwen 7-3 Michael Smith


Below are links to reviews of the tournament by the PDC.


Day 1 Review


Day 2 Review


Day 3 Review


Day 4 Review


Day 5 Review


Day 6 Review


Day 7 Review


Day 8 Review


Day 9 Review


Day 10 Review


Day 11 Review


Day 12 Review   


Day 13 Review


Day 14 Review


Day 15 Review  


Day 16 Review