Cross holds on to win World Matchplay
REIGNING Brisbane Masters champion Rob Cross warmed up for the defence of his title next month in Queensland with a hard-fought 18-13 victory over Michael Smith to win the World Matchplay darts title in Blackpool.
Cross, who reeled off eight consecutive legs to beat Daryl Gurney in the semi-final, began the decider with nine legs in a row as Smith struggled on his doubles.
But just as Cross did the night before, Smith mounted a remarkable comeback and closed the gap to just two legs at 15-13 to put the 2018 world champion under pressure.
But the 28-year-old Englishman held his nerve to take the Phil Taylor trophy.
It was Cross's first tournament win since taking the Brisbane Masters crown last August.
"It feels amazing," Cross said after the victory.
"I'm lost for words. I've loved this place since day one and it's been so special to me. Everything about this tournament has been amazing and to walk out with this (trophy) makes it all complete."
Cross will defend the Brisbane Masters title when the World Series of Darts rolls in to Queensland on August 9-10.
The World Series of Darts Oceania tour will then move to Melbourne on August 16-17 before finishing off in Hamilton, New Zealand, a week later.
Cross will be joined in Brisbane and Melbourne by world champion Michael van Gerwen, Gary Anderson, Daryl Gurney, Peter Wright, James Wade, Simon Whitlock, Raymond van Barneveld who will take on Australia's and New Zealand's best players.
Tickets for the Brisbane Darts Masters and Melbourne Darts Masters are available now through ticketek.com.au/DartsMasters.