Cross loses to own England team-mate in Grand Slam of Darts
Rob Cross suffered an agonising deciding leg defeat in the last 16 of the BoyleSports Grand Slam of Darts.
The world number five from St Leonards was edged out 10-9 by fourth-ranked Michael Smith at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry on Saturday night.
Cross fought back from 9-7 down to level at 9-9, but couldn't hold his throw in the final leg and Smith took victory against his England team-mate from the recent World Cup of Darts.
After Smith claimed the opening two legs, Cross proceeded to reel off the next three. As the game remained nip and tuck, Cross produced a superb 119 checkout to lead 6-5.
Smith earned what seemed a crucial break of throw to go 8-7 ahead and held throw in the next leg, but then missed three darts at double eight for the match, allowing Cross to finish 70 and stay alive at 9-8.
Cross pinned double top to break throw in the next leg only for Smith to come up with a strong last leg to secure his place in the quarter-finals.
Former world champion Cross reached the knockout stages after finishing runner-up in group D with two wins out of three.
Cross kicked-off the Sky Sports-televised event with a comfortable 5-1 win against 53rd-ranked Justin Pipe last Monday afternoon.
The 30-year-old averaged 94.61, hit two 180s and 35 percent of his attempts at a double, only losing the second leg (after missing five darts to clinch it).
Cross then suffered a 5-2 defeat at the hands of world number 10 Dave Chisnall the following afternoon, losing the final five legs after winning the first two.
The 2018 world champion was looking good after a 114 outshot put him 2-0 up, but he couldn't sustain his early momentum as eventual group winner Chisnall turned things around.
That result meant Cross went into a winner-takes-all encounter against 37th-ranked Luke Humphries last Wednesday evening for a place in the last 16.
And he produced a brilliant display to triumph 5-2 in a high class contest which ended with Cross averaging 100.42 and Humphries 102.57.
Cross, who checked out 100 in the second leg, had the edge on the doubles, though, hitting five out of 12 to Humphries' two out of six.
Cross will be back in action at the Ladbrokes Players Championship Finals, again at the Ricoh Arena, this weekend.
The 2019 World Matchplay and European Championship winner will face Jason Lowe in round one of the 64-man tournament, which will be televised on ITV4, on Friday.