Cross survives miraculous comeback to claim World Matchplay title for the first time
Rob Cross has joined an elite club to win the World Matchplay making it the ninth name on the trophy dispatching Michael Smith in a 18-13 victory.
Cross went 9-0 up but Smith battled back when it looked like he was going to smash him and make it misery again for 'Bully Boy' in the final.
It ended up 15-13 but Cross had a late surge to claim the title and only a second major for 'Voltage' to go alongside his World Championship crown. This dispels all the doubters and shows the form he has been in this year.
Cross started the match off with a brilliant start to proceedings by taking out two successive 72 finishes including a break of throw. He continued that rampant start by holding throw with an 81 finish to go 3-0 up.
'Voltage' continued by punishing three darts at doubles from Smith and he went to the first interval 5-0 up without reply averaging 95 and punishing six darts overall from his opponent.
Cross continued where he left off and after missing the bull for a 170 checkout he returned for double 16 to extend his lead to 6-0. He went 9-0 up before Smith could get a leg on the board to make it 9-1 going into the next interval, can Smith mount an unlikely comeback akin to Cross's last night?
He grabbed a break of throw when they returned after pouncing on missed darts from Cross to make it 9-2 and start the comeback. Cross though went 10-3 up to reach double figures and finished off the mini-session 11-4 up after producing the first ton-plus checkout of the match in the form of 115.
Cross took another break with Smith's poor form on the outer ring showing again as he went 12-4 behind. He finally got his form together as he went 12-5 behind with a 147 checkout; it was back-to-back legs as he hit tops to go 12-6.
Another break was hit as he went 12-7 behind but as the interval hit, Cross went 13-7 up as he broke throw to move six clear.
Smith came back and added further pressure onto the tie winning three consecutive legs as he started to believe at 13-10 down.
Both got left on 110 in the following leg and it was Cross though who hit it to break himself and put himself only a few legs away. A poor set up from Cross though in the next leg handed the impetus back to Smith at the next interval as he made it 14-11.
Cross came back to restore a four leg cushion at 15-11 but once again he squandered darts to allow Smith an opportunity to break again which he took.
He missed six darts to break again and Smith went only two behind at 15-13 down but Cross got back on track with the title in sight at 16-13 up.
'Voltage' went one away from the crowning glory from there and despite missing first time around, Cross pinned 9 (1, D4) to claim the title.
Rob Cross (95.91) 13-18 (95.16) Michael Smith