Cross ready for 2021 PDC bow

Rob Cross is all set for his first Professional Darts Corporation tournament outing of 2021.

Ready for a new battle - Rob Cross / Picture: Lawrence Lustig, PDC
Ready for a new battle - Rob Cross / Picture: Lawrence Lustig, PDC

The world number four from St Leonards will line up in the Ladbrokes Masters at the Marshall Arena in Milton Keynes this weekend.

As the number four seed, Cross will enter the behind-closed-doors competition at the second-round stage and will face Glen Durrant or Mervyn King tomorrow afternoon.

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Durrant, ranked 13th, is a three-time BDO world champion and last year’s Premier League winner, although his form dipped at the back end of 2020 as he recovered from coronavirus.

King, ranked 20th, finished last year strongly. He was runner-up in the Players Championship Finals before impressing en route to the fourth round of the World Championship, ultimately losing to eventual champion Gerwyn Price.

The Masters, which this year has been expanded to 24 players and will be televised on ITV4, will conclude on Sunday with the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final.

Cross will be competing for the first time since his deciding-leg loss against Dirk van Duijvenbode in round two of the World Championship just before Christmas.

Although beaten, Cross - world champion three years ago - showed some encouraging signs in a good-quality contest against an opponent who went on to defeat Durrant en route to the quarter-finals.

This year will be an important one for Cross, who has plenty of prize money to defend on the PDC Order of Merit having won the World Matchplay and European Championship, as well as reaching the UK Open final, in 2019.

The 30-year-old Cross, nicknamed Voltage, was a 40/1 shot for the Masters title with the tournament sponsors at the time of writing.