Rob Cross clinched his third major televised title with an 11-6 victory over Gerwyn Price to scoop the European Championship title on Sunday night in Göttingen, Germany.
Cross, who ironically has never won a European Tour title, also defeated Ricky Evans and Daryl Gurney en route to glory, before defeating ‘The Iceman’ in Sunday’s showpiece to seal the £120,000 top prize and his second major title of the season.
‘Voltage’ had lost his last four meetings against Price, including their most recent clash at last weekend’s Champions League of Darts, although the world No 2 capitalised on a poor display from the Welshman to close out an 11-6 win with a 93.12 average and five maximums.
Price drew first blood with a 15-dart hold, but Cross reeled off the next three legs to establish early control, including a clinical 84 checkout in leg four. Price stopped the rot with a classy 100 kill, although the former world champion regained his two-leg buffer after winning a scrappy sixth leg.
Cross spurned two darts at double for a 5-2 lead in leg seven which saw the Grand Slam champion reduce the arrears to 4-3, but he was unable to produce his usual power scoring, which saw Cross extend his lead to 7-3 with legs of 15, 13 and 14 darts.
The next session saw all five legs go with throw but Price was unable to make any inroads on the Cross throw and the 2017 finalist fired in a stunning 12-dart hold to move to within a leg of victory at 10-6.
Price appeared to be lacking the intensity and focus he had displayed earlier in the day and that was reflected in his modest 84.51 average. He had darts at double 12 and double six to prolong the contest but was found wanting and Cross needed no invitation to take out 52 and clinch the title.
“I’m here to be number one in the world. I don’t play to make up the numbers and I believe I will be number one at some point,” said a bullish Cross after the final. “In fairness to Gerwyn he wasn’t his normal self in the final but I’m delighted to walk away with this title.
“It’s also another learning experience for me, they’re long gruelling days and I’m happy to prove that I can win matches with a C or B game now. I’m playing great, I’m having to dig deep at times and I’m more feeling like myself. It’s amazing and it’s everything I wanted it to be.”
Earlier in the day, Cross fended off a spirited fightback from Ricky Evans to book his spot in the last four. Evans was appearing in his first major quarter-final and trailed 5-0 before reducing the arrears to 7-5, although Cross held his nerve to prevail with a 99.75 average and 56% on the doubles.
This set up a semi-final showdown against Gurney, who saw off World Grand Prix finalist Dave Chisnall earlier in the day. Cross defeated the Northern Irishman from 15-9 down in an astonishing tussle at this year’s World Matchplay and he again came from behind to deny ‘Super Chin’.
Cross led 7-5 at one stage, only for Gurney to win three legs on the spin to edge ahead. However, the ninth seed won four of the remaining five legs to triumph with a 95.21 average, four maximums and a 37% checkout success rate.
Price’s progress through to his first major final since claiming Grand Slam glory was also far from serene. The Welshman took out a sensational 170 checkout en route to completing a 10-8 victory over Vincent van der Voort, where he averaged 96.56 compared to Van der Voort’s 98.05.
Price then faced Michael Smith in the last four, after ‘Bully Boy’ convincingly saw off Jeffrey de Zwaan in the last eight. Nevertheless, Smith’s bid for his elusive first major was put on hold by Price, who won six out of the final eight legs to reach just his second major televised final.
Photo Credit: Kais Bodensieck/PDC Europe.
Sunday October 27
Rob Cross 10-6 Ricky Evans
Daryl Gurney 10-5 Dave Chisnall
Michael Smith 10-5 Jeffrey de Zwaan
Gerwyn Price 10-8 Vincent van der Voort
Rob Cross 11-9 Daryl Gurney
Gerwyn Price 11-7 Michael Smith
Rob Cross 11-6 Gerwyn Price