Rob Cross pulled off a remarkable comeback to deny Chris Dobey in Round One of the 2022 World Matchplay in Blackpool…
Rob Cross pulled off a remarkable comeback to deny Chris Dobey in Round One of the 2022 World Matchplay in Blackpool on Monday, while Gerwyn Price dug deep to defeat Martin Schindler.
Cross, the 2019 Matchplay champion, battled back from 8-2 down to prevail 11-9 in a tense tie break under the intense heat of the Winter Gardens stage.
Cross, who produced one of the greatest comebacks in the tournament’s history to defeat Daryl Gurney en route to the 2019 title, was staring an early exit in the face as a fired-up Dobey hit two double 19s for a 92 checkout to lead 8-2.
Dobey, however, was unable to close out a first victory on the Blackpool stage as Cross reeled off six unanswered legs to level at eight-all.
Dobey stopped the rot with an 11-darter, and with the former World Grand Prix semi-finalist waiting on 48 for the match, Cross pinned a skin-saving bullseye with his last dart to take out 74 and level once again.
After Dobey missed a dart at tops, Cross once again found a last dart double, this time double nine, to move 10-9 up before keeping his composure with a 13-darter to seal an unlikely win.
“In the first ten legs my darts were slipping, everything was all over the place,” admitted Cross.
“When I was 8-2 down, I stayed on stage during the interval and I knew if I could just produce a steady level, and stop him getting to nine legs, I had a chance.
“Chris missed a lot – he should’ve beaten me – but I’ve produced these comebacks before so I had the belief I could turn it around.
“The Winter Gardens will always be special to me, I love it here so I’m really pleased to stay in the tournament.”
Meanwhile, world number two Price began his quest for a maiden Matchplay title with a hard-fought 10-8 victory over Martin Schindler.
After a slow start from both players, Schindler landed a majestic 141 checkout to break throw and level at five apiece.
Determined debutant Schindler twice held his throw to lead 6-5 and 7-6, before Price struck back-to-back 11-dart legs to take a crucial 9-7 advantage.
Schindler kept fighting, taking out 91 to stay alive, but Price shut the door on the German with a 91 checkout of his own to book his place in the Last 16.
“I think I put myself under a lot of pressure by letting him off early on,” admitted Price.
“Sometimes that’s what I need to get myself going and I was playing some good darts by the end of the match.
“I’ve not been playing very well the last couple of months, as everybody knows, but today I came out fighting.
“I want to win this tournament and get back to world number one, back to where I think I deserve to be, but I’ll have to come through a few tough games to do that.”
Five-time quarter-finalist Dave Chisnall showed his battling qualities to clinch a 10-7 victory over Kim Huybrechts.
Making his first Winter Gardens appearance since 2018, Huybrechts impressed and kept in touch with Chisnall in a game dominated by breaks of throw.
With the score level at 7-7, Chisnall held his nerve, winning the next three legs to deny his Belgian opponent what would have been a second World Matchplay win in eight appearances.
Jose de Sousa wrapped up a 10-6 victory over Gabriel Clemens with a show-stopping 136 checkout to reach the Last 16 for the second successive year.
The number seven seed was the front-runner throughout the contest, but was made to wait for the winning moment after a cruel bounce-out denied him a two double-tops finish on 100 for a 10-5 triumph.
Undeterred, De Sousa landed his sixth 180 of the contest in the following leg before sealing the deal with his only ton-plus checkout of the match.
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Betfred World Matchplay 2022 Day Three Results
Monday July 18
Rob Cross 11-9 Chris Dobey
Jose de Sousa 10-6 Gabriel Clemens
Gerwyn Price 10-8 Martin Schindler
Dave Chisnall 10-7 Kim Huybrechts