Butlins, Minehead

Friday 24th November 2017 - Sunday 26th November 2017

Following up an excellent run at the bwin Grand Slam of Darts in Wolverhampton last week Rob 'Voltage' Cross was back on the oche at the Mr Green Sport Players Championship Finals at Butlins, Minehead where he made it all the way to the semi-finals with 6-2 wins against Robert Owen and Steve Lennon and 10-6 wins against Adrian Lewis and James Wade.


Cross's run came to an end in the last four as Jonny Clayton came from 8-7 down to win 11-8.


Having finished top of the Players Championship Order of Merit with four titles to his name Cross was seeded number. Sixty-four players started out with play taking place on two stages in the opening three rounds.


All players were seeded based on their finishing positions in the Order of Merit from the twenty-two events played during the year.


Top seed Cross played number sixty-four seed Robert Owen in the opening round, coming through the best of 11 legs match 6-2. Cross started with opening legs of 14 and 15 darts, taking out 85 (T19, D14) and 70 (T18, x, D8). Owen won the next in 15 darts then the Hastings hot-shot fired in three legs of 18 darts to open up a 5-1 lead. Owen kicked off the next leg with his third and final maximum of the match, finishing off 64 (T16, D8) for a 14 darter. Cross advanced to the last thirty-two with a 15 dart leg, taking out 129 (T19, D18, D18). Cross hit one maximum and averaged 92.18. Owen averaged 90.52.


The former electrician came from 2-1 down in his second round match against Steve Lennon to win 6-2 in impressive fashion, hitting 180's in each of the last five legs and taking out finishes of 116 (T20, 20, D18), 121 (T20, 25, D18) and 130 (T20, T18, D8). Cross had already taken out 126 in the opening leg (19, T19, bull) for an 18 darter with his opponent left on 20. Lennon then fired in back-to-back legs of 13 darts to go in front. A 12 dart fourth leg was followed by a 17 darter then Cross wrapped up victory with legs of 11, 12 and 12 darts to advance to the third round with an average of 104.04. Lennon hit two maximums and averaged 98.44. 


In the third round, Cross beat two-time world champion Adrian Lewis 10-6, hitting eight maximums, three ton plus finishes, and a 10 dart winning leg. The Hastings man got off to a great start as he took the opening four legs in 18, 15, 11 and 17 darts. The 11 dart leg was won with scores of 140, 140, 121 and a 100 checkout (T20, D20). Lewis got on the board with a 15 darter then Cross won the next two with two 12 darters culminating in finishes of 156 (T20, T20, D18) and 104 (T18, 18, D16) to lead 6-1. Another 15 darter from Lewis followed then Cross won the next two in 24 and 13 darts to make it 8-2. Jackpot then came back into the match as he took four legs on the bounce in 14, 12, 15 and 21 darts. The 12 dart leg included a 170 finish and the 15 dart leg included a 113 finish. The PDC rookie then held his nerve where others would have faltered as he took the next in 16 darts before the 10 dart final leg hitting scores of 180, 180, 101 and taking out double top after Lewis had started the leg with the same three opening scores but missed his chance of prolonging the match. Cross averaged 101.19. Lewis averaged 97.16.  


'Voltage' had another 10-6 win in the quarter-finals against James Wade, hitting four maximums and a 148 finish. Once again, Cross made a good start as he took the opening three legs in 15, 12 and 14 darts with checkouts of 85 (19, 16, bull) and 74 (T18, D10) in the second and third legs. Wade then fired in a 121 finish (T20, 25, D18) for a 12 darter. The next five legs went with throw. Cross winning his legs in 18, 15 and 14 darts. The 15 darter with a 78 checkout (T18, 12, D6). Wade winning his in 17 and 14 darts. The Sussex man then took out 148 (T18, T18, D20) to go 7-3 up. 'The Machine' won the next in 14 darts then Cross reeled off the next two in 14 and 19 darts to lead 9-4. Wade then had back-to-back 18 dart legs with finishes of 64 (8, 16, D20) and 76 (T1, T19, D8). Cross sealed victory and a place in the last four with a 15 dart leg, taking out 74 (T18, 10, D5). Cross averaged 96.32, Wade hit just one maximum and averaged 93.47.


In the semi-finals, Cross won the opening leg with a 16 darter. Both players struggled with their finishing in the next leg with 'Voltage' eventually hitting double one for a 25 darter then extended his lead to 3-0 with a 15 darter. Clayton matched that to get his first leg on the board then Cross won in 14 darts to lead 4-1 at the first interval. The next session saw both players hold throw. Clayton taking his legs in 12, 14 and 15 darts, Cross took his in 15 and 14 darts to lead 6-4. The next two legs were shared with 14 darters then 'The Ferret' levelled at 7-7 with legs of 18 and 17 darts. Cross won the next with his highest finish of the match, 88 (T20, x, D14) for an 18 darter. Clayton then won the four legs on the bounce to advance to the final in 15, 14, 16 and 16 darts. In the first of those he took out a 120 finish (T20, 20, D20). Cross hit three 180's and averaged 93.94. Clayton hit four 180's and averaged 95.48.


The draw and schedule            Day one review            Day two review            Day three review