Exclusive: No Smoking For Red Hot Cross!

RED-HOT Rob Cross is fired-up for a return to the oche even though he won’t be allowed to SMOKE for 12 hours!

The 2018 World Champion can’t wait to get back to work for the PDC Summers Series Players Championships on July 8 in Milton Keynes.

But the players, including top Scots Peter Wright, Gary Anderson, John Henderson and Robert Thornton, have been issued with strict new guidelines to play at the Marshall Arena so they can compete within new coronavirus social distancing rules.

That includes staying in their hotel room for 12 hours after being tested for Covid-19 before given the results and all-clear to play.

Cross, who defends his BetFred World Matchplay title later in July, said:

“The only thing that bothers me in the slightest is having to go without a fag for 12 hours!

“Maybe it’s a good chance for me to think about giving up. We have the test then have to wait in isolation in our hotel room for up to 12 hours.

“That will be a bit weird. But then again, these are strange times and I’ve got nothing but huge respect to the PDC for working so hard to get this tournament on.

“A lot of the Summers Series will be new to all the players, but it’s the same for everyone. We have strict new rules about what we can do and where we can go.

“Usually at a Players Championship we sit together at big tables and most players have a bit of a routine and usual crowd of mates who all play.

“Now we need to stick to our separate practice bubble and do our own thing as much as possible.

I don’t mind that at all, I don’t mind being a loner. I just can’t wait to get back to work.”

It’s been confirmed that the winner of the 2020 PDC Summer Series Order of Merit will receive a place in this year’s Grand Slam of Darts and the five events in Milton Keynes will be ranked and count towards Matchplay qualification on July 18.

Cross’ fellow England World Cup partner Michael Smith has already been tested for Covid-19 a few weeks ago after delivering food and snacks for NHS staff in St.Helens during lockdown.

On being isolated in his hotel room, Smith added:

“We’re used to it now being stuck in the house for 15 weeks.

Another 12 hours in a room won’t seem too bad. I’ll just sleep!

“I think we’ve got smoking facilities because we can’t go outside. But I had a test about four weeks ago, another one won’t bother me.”

PIX: Taylor Lanning