World Matchplay Darts: Rob Cross and James Wade crash out in Blackpool

Darren Webster celebrates his shock victory over Rob Cross (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)
Darren Webster celebrates his shock victory over Rob Cross (Picture: Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Rob Cross suffered a shock exit at the World Matchplay in Blackpool as Darren Webster defeated him 11-8 in the second round.

The world champion was second favourite behind Gary Anderson to lift the second most prestigious trophy in the sport in the wake of Michael van Gerwen's exit on opening night but was made to pay for his woeful finishing at the Winter Gardens.

Cross averaged almost 99 - five points more than Webster - but missed 21 attempts on doubles as Webster claimed one of the biggest results of his career to reach the quarter-finals here for the second year running.

The Demolition man, who celebrated his 50th birthday last week, was never behind in the contest after taking an early lead and later turned the screw on Voltage by winning three legs on the trot to go 8-5 up.

A superb 76 checkout for a 14-darter put him two legs from victory at 9-6 and although Cross kept fighting, he kept his cool to complete a shock victory.

Webster, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2018 World Championship, told www.pdc.tv: "I really enjoyed that win, it's a great feeling to beat the World Champion. When you get involved in a scrap you have to dig in and win it. I know I'm good enough to beat the best players and now I'm showing it.

"I've got the chance of a lifetime to push into the top 10 and now I want to keep winning and keep pushing my way up. I'm playing the best darts of my life in terms of results but I've still got an extra 20% of my practice game to bring to the big stage.

"I didn't used to like playing against Mensur but I enjoy it now so I'm looking forward to getting stuck into that game."

He will next meet Mensur Suljovic, who earlier beat Ian White to reach his third World Matchplay quarter-final in four years.

The popular Austrian, who brushed aside Steve Beaton for the first time in his career at the ninth time of asking in round one, looked like he would breeze into the last eight with the minimum of fuss when leading 7-2 - but Diamond fought back bravely.

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Sky Bet's World Matchplay Odds

  • Anderson - 11/10
  • Wright - 3/1
  • Suljovic - 5/1
  • Chisnall - 12/1
  • Whitlock - 14/1
  • De Zwaan - 20/1
  • Cullen - 22/1
  • Webster - 25/1

Click here for all the latest odds


White won six of the next eight legs to threaten the kind of comeback that Dave Chisnall pulled off against Michael Smith 24 hours earlier only for Suljovic to find a second wind and get the job done.

The Gentle ended up with an average of 97 compared to White's 93 while he also managed five 180s and an impressive high finish of 121 on the bullseye.

Suljovic may have endured a disappointing - albeit unlucky - Premier League debut earlier this year but since then he's won two PDC titles, including a maiden World Series of Darts crown, and he'll no doubt fancy his chances of landing his second major TV title following last year's Champions League of Darts triumph.

The 46-year-old has never gone beyond the quarter-finals at the Winter Gardens and will next meet either Rob Cross or Darren Webster.

"My performance was not that good, but I am so happy that I won," Suljovic told www.pdc.tv.

"It was a very hard game, Ian is a good player. There are lots of good players in this tournament who are favourites ahead of me but I will keep trying my best to win."

Whoever lifts the newly-named Phil Taylor Trophy will be a first-time World Matchplay winner after the sole surviving past champion James Wade bowed out following a disastrous display of finishing.

The Machine was far from robotic on his doubles, missing 22 of his 29 attempts in an 11-7 defeat to Simon Whitlock, who spurned 28 of his own.

Wade arrived in Blackpool with high hopes of relaunching his career on the big TV stage due to a morale-boosting return to form on the PDC circuit but instead we saw the kind of performance which caused his drifting down the rankings.

Whitlock led all match after blasting out of the blocks to go 3-0 up and although Wade still managed to stay in touch at 6-4 and 9-7, numerous missed doubles at key times prevented him getting any closer and the Aussie finally finished the job.

Whitlock, a two-time Winter Gardens semi-finalist, averaged 93 and afterwards told www.pdc.tv: "I feel really relaxed on the Winter Gardens stage this year, I'm enjoying playing up there. I started well and then it became a scrap, I felt like I should've been further ahead at some points but I got the win and that's all that matters.

"The last time I got to the semis here was in 2014 and I actually feel like I'm playing better now than I was then."

His first quarter-final in Blackpool since 2014 will be against Peter Wright, who produced a superb display to defeat Kim Huybrechts 11-5 in the final match of the night.

Both players were averaging over 105 in a superb duel when Snakebite led 5-4 but the 2017 UK Open champion pulled away with five legs on the bounce - all won in 15 legs or fewer and included checkouts of 130, 116 and 90.

The Belgian took the next but it merely delayed the inevitable as Wright wrapped up victory with an average of 105.6 - the highest of the tournament so far - and a checkout percentage of 50%.

"I felt comfortable and I felt focused - I'm happy with how I played," said Wright.

"In my next game it will be tough because Simon is a good friend but when we get up on stage I will have to treat him as the enemy. He is fantastic though and he's playing really good darts at the moment."

Wednesday results & Thursday/Friday schedule

Wednesday July 25
Second Round (best of 21 legs)

  • Simon Whitlock 11-7 James Wade
  • Mensur Suljovic 11-8 Ian White
  • Rob Cross 8-11 Darren Webster
  • Peter Wright 11-5 Kim Huybrechts

Thursday July 26 (1900 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports

  • Jeffrey De Zwaan v Dave Chisnall
  • Joe Cullen v Gary Anderson

Friday July 27 (1900 BST)
Quarter-Finals (Best of 31 legs)
TV Channel: Sky Sports

  • Simon Whitlock v Peter Wright
  • Mensur Suljovic v Darren Webster

CLICK HERE FOR WORLD MATCHPLAY DRAW, SCHEDULE & RESULTS

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