Rob Cross will look to defend his PDC World Championship title next month at the Alexandra Palace, London.
Rob was a surprise package in 2018, rising through the ranking in dramatic style. In 2018 he beat the defending 2017 PDC World Champion, Michael van Gerwen in the semi-final 6-5 in the 2018 World Championships, lining up an encounter with Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor.
Phil Taylor, the most successful dart player of all time had won the World Championship title a staggering 16 times prior to the 2018 finals. It was also to be his last professional darts tournament. The previous year, Phil, announced his retirement from the professional sport and the 2018 World Championships would be the last time we would see Phil in a competitive title darts match. However, the odds for the ‘Power’ were not all in favour of him lifting the 2018 title.
Rob’s run of luck and skill narrowly put in favourite for the title. How Rob managed to keep his nerve during the run-up to the Championship final is a mystery, however, many darts fans may now be regretting not using their Evobet bonus to back the Voltage.
It was not to be a fairytale ending for Phil Taylor. He had won everything of any importance in the World of darts, in some cases, multiple times. It could have been the reality that his last match he knew he would play just got the better of him. Phil was fall of emotion when he played in the 2018 World final. The fans that came to watch were willing the ‘Power’ on one last time but to no avail. It would be Rob’s title.
Rob had done the hard work getting to the final and arguably Phil had an easy run. But what of 2019?
Rob hasn’t followed through on expectations during 2018. Fans had thought Rob would win several more titles this year, but besides a non-ranking leg of the World Series of Darts in Brisbane, Australia, he hasn’t hit the same heights as he did in 2017.
In the Players Champions, held at Butlins Minehead, Rob was defeated in the first round 6-1 by Cristo Reyes. This may have been a big shock for some viewers, however, Reyes played well and Rob just didn’t seem a World Champion player. Missing doubles and a lack of high scoring just added to Rob’s frustration.
Between now and the World Championships there is little time for the players to prepare and some, like Rob, looks like they need a break away from the dartboard.
The 2019 PDC World Darts Championships starts on Thursday 13th December 2018 and concludes on New Year’s Day 2019. This year’s event, for the first time will also include two lady’s qualifiers. The qualifiers will be playing for a £500,000 first prize. The total prize fund is a staggering £2.5M. The event will be broadcast live via Sky Sports, however, at the time of writing there are only a few tickets left, should you wish to attend.