Unibet Premier League

Thursday 8th March 2018

First Direct Arena, Leeds

Rob Cross came from 5-3 down to beat Michael Smith 7-5 on night six of the 2018 Unibet Premier League at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, ending 'Bully Boy's' 100% winning league record.


Going into the match both players were looking forward to the game. "It should be a really good game," said Smith. "Rob's had an amazing year and he's come back into form so I know it's going to be tough.


"I still don't feel I've been at my best yet so I'm aiming to improve, but so far I've been taking my chances and I'll be trying to do the same this week."


Cross said "My game's been getting back to where I want it to be and I want to keep that going against Michael," 


"He's had a great start to the season and deserves to be where he is, and I know I'll have to be good on Thursday. It's the first time I've played in Leeds and it should be a great crowd, and it's exciting."


The first four legs of the match were shared with 14 dart breaks of throw in the opening two legs. Smith taking out 68 (T16, D10) in the first then Cross finishing off 60 (20, D20) in the second.


Cross took the third leg in 15 darts with a 68 finish (20, 16, D16). Smith won the fourth by finishing off 40 (20, D10) in 20 darts.


Smith broke again in the fifth leg taking out tops for a 16 darter and then followed up by hitting the same double at the third attempt for an 18 darter to go 4-2 up.


Back came Cross with an 18 darter of his own, taking out 112 (20, T20, D16) then Smith went 5-3 up in another 18 dart leg, this time finishing off 72 (16, 16, D20).


The Hastings shooter then reeled off two legs of 15 darts with finishes of 64 (16, D16, D8) and 8 (x, x, D4) to draw level at 5-5.


Cross was now playing with a lot of confidence as he took the next in 11 darts with scores of 140, 180, 134 and a 47 checkout (15, D16) and won the final leg in 12 darts, scoring 100, 180, 100 and taking out 121 (T20, 11, bull) for his third straight Unibet Premier League victory.


Cross hit five 180s and averaged 96.22, Smith hit four 180s and averaged 92.61


“That bull finish at the end was massive," admitted Cross. "It’s good to have that when you really need it.


“I’m starting to feel more comfortable and relaxed now but I need to start matches quicker and not give people a start.


“I play Mensur Suljovic next week and I know I need to be better and put the pressure on throughout, not just at the end of matches.”


The win takes Cross' head-to-head record against the St Helens' man to 6-1 in his favour..


Michael van Gerwen 7-4 Simon Whitlock
Raymond van Barneveld 7-5 Gerwyn Price
Mensur Suljovic 7-1 Peter Wright
Gary Anderson 6-6 Daryl Gurney
Rob Cross 7-5 Michael Smith


League Table


Pos Pld Won Drawn Lost Legs Points
1 Michael van Gerwen 5 4 0 1 +15 8
2 Michael Smith 5 4 0 1 +12 8
3 Simon Whitlock 5 3 0 2 +4 6
4 Rob Cross 5 3 0 2 -2 6
5 Raymond van Barneveld 5 2 1 2 -3 5
6 Mensur Suljovic 5 2 0 3 +1 4
7 Gary Anderson 5 1 2 2 -2 4
8 Peter Wright 5 1 2 2 -7 4
9 Daryl Gurney 5 0 3 2 -8 3
10 Gerwyn Price 5 0 2 3 -10 2