Betfred World Matchplay: Former World Champion Rob Cross powers through to last 16

Rob Cross during his victory in Blackpool. Picture by Lawrence Lustig/PDC
Rob Cross during his victory in Blackpool. Picture by Lawrence Lustig/PDC

2018 World Champion Rob Cross powered into the last 16 on the opening night of the Betfred World Matchplay with a 10-3 defeat of Chris Dobey, who never recovered from a slow start on his Blackpool debut.

Cross moved 3-0 up and responded to a Dobey 14-darter with two of his own and a 12-dart leg as he moved into a 6-1 advantage.

Rob Cross celebrates. Picture by Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Rob Cross celebrates. Picture by Lawrence Lustig/PDC

Dobey finished 145 to hit back in leg eight, but Cross fired in six perfect darts as he restored his advantage before pulling away to seal victory with a 130 checkout.

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"It's nice to get over the winning line with no fuss," said Cross. "I wasn't great in the first five legs, and even though I was 4-1 up I was a bit edgy, but I settled down after that and took the initiative in the second session and started to play proper darts.

"If Chris had won the first leg, when he missed a couple of doubles, it could have been a different game. He's a class act and he's one for the future.

"I think it's the first time in three years here that I've found my feet and pushed on like that.

"I probably get better as the game goes on, and overall I'm happy with how I'm playing - but I don't feel like I've played my best darts yet. I love this event and I want to do well this week."

The first round continues on Sunday with a double session at the Winter Gardens, which includes two-time champion Michael van Gerwen up against Steve Beaton and 2007 winner James Wade taking on 2018 semi-finalist Jeffrey de Zwaan.

Two-time World Champion Adrian Lewis takes on three-time Lakeside Champion Glen Durrant in an eagerly-awaited tie, while 2018 finalist Suljovic plays Jermaine Wattimena.

The afternoon session opens as Darren Webster takes on Polish debutant Krzysztof Ratajski, before Dave Chisnall meets Max Hopp, Ian White takes on Joe Cullen and Michael Smith clashes with debutant Jamie Hughes.

2019 Betfred World Matchplay

Saturday July 20 First Round

Mervyn King 10-5 Nathan Aspinall

Stephen Bunting 13-12 Gerwyn Price

Gary Anderson 10-6 Danny Noppert

Rob Cross 10-3 Chris Dobey

Sunday July 21 (1300 BST) First Round

Darren Webster v Krzysztof Ratajski

Dave Chisnall v Max Hopp

Ian White v Joe Cullen

Michael Smith v Jamie Hughes

Evening Session (1930 BST) First Round

James Wade v Jeffrey de Zwaan

Mensur Suljovic v Jermaine Wattimena

Michael van Gerwen v Steve Beaton

Adrian Lewis v Glen Durrant

Format Best of 19 legs: Each game must be won by two clear legs, with up to a maximum of five additional legs being played before the sixth additional leg is sudden-death. For example, should a First Round game (best of 19 legs) reach 12-12, then the 25th leg would be the final and deciding leg.