Rob Cross’ fantastic form in 2017 continued as he sealed a European Championship semi-final spot with a 10-4 rout of Michael Smith in Hasselt.

Players’ Championship Order of Merit leader Cross opened by hitting tops first time for a 73 checkout, and his first 180 of the match helped seal the third leg after Smith claimed the second on throw. A second maximum soon followed as Cross breezed to his first break, before Smith landed tops to make it 3-2 after four missed attempts at the same double by Voltage.

BullyBoy completed the comeback but Cross refused to bow to the pressure, retaking the lead with an excellent 116 checkout before an 85 finish provided another break. Cross had the bit between his teeth, and extended his lead to 6-3 while maintaining a 100 average. Smith had no response to the Cross onslaught, and the man who has gone from strength to strength since a remarkable UK Open run in 2016 made it 8-3 in no time.

Smith, victorious on the European Tour this year in Gibraltar, stopped the Cross charge in the 12th leg, but the European Championship debutant stayed cool under pressure to establish a 9-4 advantage. Smith missed four darts to take the 14th and final leg, leaving Cross to finish Bully Boy off and set up a mouth-watering semi-final clash with Daryl Gurney.

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Author: Edward McCosh