John Henderson 1-4 Rob Cross

(1-3, 2-3, 3-1, 1-3, 0-3)

ROB CROSS continued his strong William Hill World Darts Championship debut as he booked a place in the quarter-finals with a 4-1 win over John Henderson.

The 27-year-old from Hastings may be in his first World Championship but he is playing like a tournament favourite and showed his resolve by coming through a sticky patch against the Scot.

Cross came flying out of the traps to lead 2-0 but then suffered a slump as Henderson’s persistent quality checkouts saw him drag himself back into the contest.

Four-time ranking event winner Cross, who finished with a 99 average and seven 180s, regained his momentum in the fourth set and from there raced away to victory.

It was fast start by Cross as he averaged 111 in the opening set courtesy of legs of 11 and 14 darts, forcing Henderson to take out 83 just to get a leg on the board.

Henderson took out 109 and 101 in the second set but Cross showed what he is made of with a crucial 180 forcing his rival into a mistake which he capitalised on to seal the set.

Henderson was playing well though, and added further huge finishes to finally win a set with a 136 and 125 doing the damage as he took the third with a 3-1 scoreline.

Again, Henderson pushed Cross in the fourth set, but the 20th seed pulled out a 102 finish to nose 2-1 in front when the Scot looked favourite, and from there Cross took the set to move 3-1 up.

That proved to be the end of Henderson’s challenge, as Cross stepped it up in the fifth set with three straight legs, finishing off in style with a ten-darter.

“John played very well and his hundred-plus finishing with every shot he got at a double was superb,” said Cross.

“I actually lost concentration in that game, I felt I was lazy in the middle parts and could have done more but I’m happy to get through.

“In the last set I was focused and better but going forward you need to push in every set if you’re going to win and I’m not quite doing that yet.”

Cross now faces World Youth Champion Dimitri Van den Bergh in the last eight as he gets his head around making such good progress on his first visit to Alexandra Palace.

“It’s weird, I’ve never played in front of fantastic people like this so it’s a little bit different, but I’ll deal with that and keep moving forward,” added Cross, the former electrician who turned professional in January.

“Dimitri is another fantastic player and I won’t be able to take anything for granted. But as long as I come out and do my bit and I’m myself with no switching off, it’s all good.”