Rob Cross says he has the game to beat anyone after seeing off Ian White 10-7 in his World Matchplay debut last night.
The 2016 Challenge Tour Order of Merit winner has burst onto the professional circuit this year, winning two Pro Tour events to move into the world’s top 50, and he overcame some early nerves on the Winter Gardens stage to knock out the 13th seed on his Blackpool debut.
Cross will take on world number four Adrian Lewis in the second round tomorrow, but insists he has the belief to beat any player in the tournament this week.
“It was a fantastic experience,” the St Leonard’s-on-Sea thrower said. “I feel brilliant, it’s bigger than anything I’ve ever played in before.
“I struggled to settle early on and missed a few doubles which could have made it easier for me but I’m happy to get the win. I still believed and it came together in the end.
“It’s amazing for me, I’ve never experienced anything like it before. I’m learning all the time and it’s special to play the best players in the world, but I believe I’ve got the game in me to beat anyone.”
Cross, who with this win has provisionally moved up to 40 on the PDC Order of Merit, began his World Matchplay debut by sharing the opening six legs with White, before claiming three legs in a row, including the first break with the aid of a 180 and finishes of 60 and 68, as he moved 6-3 up.
The 26-year-old also took out 125 as he moved into a 7-4 lead, before White responded by winning three of the next four legs to cut the debutant’s advantage to 8-7.
Cross, though, regained his range on the doubles to move to the brink of victory, before punishing two misses from White by taking out 70 to complete a memorable debut on the Winter Gardens stage.