Gary can’t Cross the line in defeat
The barriers which separate spectators from the walk on was as full as I’d seen it. I gave up my spot to an elderly Cross supporter, partly out of kindness, and partly for some Karma points in case I accidentally said a no no word. It was Scotland v Sussex in Somerset.
Gary had the throw to start proceedings, but only mustered a starting visit of 58. Cross’ opening three totalled 140. Gary only found 60 with Cross waiting on 225, leaving the door open. Cross found a 140, Gary responded with 125 to leave 61, and had to watch nervously as Cross hit the green rather than the red on the 85 checkout. It took two at D18, but it was a winning leg to start proceedings. 1-0.
Leg Two started with a moment of Gary magic, hitting a 174 with the help of the T19 segment. He was on 109 after nine after another two treble visit in the leg. Cross, meanwhile, sat on 72 after 12, watching nervously himself this time as Gary just missed Tops for the three figure outshot. Cross himself had one at D16 which came inside, and Gary finished on D10 for an early break in the tie. One dart needed. 2-0.
Gary started well in the third, a 140 with the third dart being deflected in by the first, acting as a marker. Cross hit the maiden 180 of the match in response to finally evoke a bit of emotion from the Hastings Arrowsmith. An attempt at bull that fortuitously landed in the 17 segment left Gary needing 167, and although he set up 72 off of it, he wasn’t to return for it and Cross took 52 on D8 to get the break back. 2-1.
Cross started slowly in the fourth, but it ended up going unpunished with Gary not finding that massive visit. Having escaped punishment, Cross hit another 180 and left Gary chasing in the leg. And whilst it was a valiant chase, a two dart kill from Cross 76 was always going to be difficult to contend with, and we were level for the first time since the opening leg. 2-2.
The fifth again saw Cross firing back on Gary’s quality – Voltage fighting fire with fire, as he responded to a Gary 140 with a 180. Cross wasn’t at his best in the leg, mind, and Gary was able to reach 88 relatively unchallenged. He hit the T20, but came inside on the D14 and D7. Cross had picked it up by this point and tamed 61 in two for the lead and another break. 2-3.
Gary started fast in the Sixth, responding to a Cross opening 59 with a 140. The less than stellar visits were coming from Cross, but Gary just wasn’t making his opponent pay. Gary was doing enough though, as he started finding a treble a visit to Cross’ none, and a measured Ton off of 124 left Gary on the finish he won Two World Titles on, and despite missing it, the lack of Cross pressure meant he could dispatch D6 with his first dart at that particular target. 3-3.
It was in the Seventh that something I’d noticed during the match earlier really came to the forefront – The lie of his darts. We know Gary’s darts have a wonderful way of sitting in the sisal, but it was acting as more of an obstacle here as many of his darts were deflecting out of trebles and into next door. There was a particular 99 visit that should have been 120 after two. Ramble aside, he played a good leg, missing Tops for a 110, and with both him and Cross pining for D10, Gary hit it to retake the lead. I apologise as I realise I’ve just written the most dreary account of a winning leg ever. 4-3.
In the Eighth Gary started with a 140, and both were finding a treble a visit with Cross just finding that much more. It was Cross’ turn to nearly wield the first three figure outshot, missing D6 for a 132. Gary offered a 134 response, but first in hand Cross nailed that Double to level. 4-4.
Gary crescendoed into form during the ninth. Starting with 91, following with 100, and a subsequent 140. Cross again put on pressure at the back end of the leg, but Gary was up to the challenge, adjusting for his second dart at D10 to go within a leg. 5-4.
Leg Ten saw a Match Dart come and go for The Flying Scotsman. Again Cross came into things later in the leg, and had to watch as Gary had a dart at Tops from 71 and it missed by a whisker. Cross had 85 up again, but went the T19 route this time, and nailed D7 after a nervy dart at D14. Onto a decider we went with baited breath. 5-5.
And it was not a decider of rock the foundations of our sport. Gary, at one point, registered a score of 23, after a T1, a second dart deflected by the mentioned, which ended up being a S1, and a S19. He found a 140, but Cross only sparked into life at the end of the Leg. Taking out 288 is no mean feat, but Cross stepped up and delivered a 180-108 combination culminating in D16 to decide the match. 5-6.
RESULT: Gary Anderson 5-6 Rob Cross
Average – 92.61
180s – 0
Highest Checkout – 61
Checkout Percentage – 35%
The Verdict: Either player could have lost that and had no room to complain. It was a case of spurts rather than runs, and a less than stellar last leg from Gary meant that Rob snuck the victory and faces Martin Schinlder tonight. All eyes on Ally Pally as the Prize Money Gary’s defending is from his run to the Final Two Years ago.
Ryan Segal @theryansegal