Ochepedia: Don’t Cross Rob Off Your Matchplay List.

ROB CROSS should not be ruled out of contention for the upcoming World Matchplay according to Darts World’s latest analysis.

After the Conclusion of the Summer Series, we asked our resident statistician, Christopher Kempf, to review the player’s performance compared to their pre lockdown selves. Defending champion Rob Cross emerges from the analysis better than some would imagine:

The four months separating Players Championships 8 and 9 represent the longest break in action between two ranking events on the PDC calendar in decades, but overall the lengthy interval of quarantine and home practice seem to have had little effect on the actual performances of the players. Of the 32 qualifiers for the World Matchplay, almost exactly half – 17 – increased their averages in the Summer Series relative to the first 8 Players Championships. (The overall average of the 32 increased infinitesimally.) But some players emerged from a socially distant spring looking statistically quite unlike the players they were just months ago.

2019 BETFRED WORLD MATCHPLAY ROB CROSS WINNER Pic: Christopher Dean

The World Matchplay’s defending champion, Rob Cross, has not won a Pro Tour event in two years but is on the upswing statistically. From 95.06 in February and March, his averages in July have climbed to 97.28, a level which will make him much more competitive with the likes of Peter Wright and Michael van Gerwen. His accuracy on doubles, treble 20, and treble 19 are all up, and in a run to the final of Players Championship 12, he defeated three players in deciding legs to reach a semifinal in which he averaged 110 and completed a perfect leg.

Voltage’s stats are well behind those of the World #1 and World Champion (among others), but the probability of his retaining his title, however unlikely, figures to be greater in light of this encouraging performance.

DW EditorialRob was not seen as in great shape or a likely winner before last years Matchplay and yet went all the way, as predicted by our columnist JR Lott. It has not been an easy few months for the champion but it would be unwise to dismiss him out of hand.