VOLT­AGE: I’M BUZZING & READY FOR MIND GAMES

Sunday Mirror - - TRAVEL - BY MIKE WAL­TERS

show off to the crowd a lit­tle bit longer, I’ll just stay at the drinks ta­ble a bit longer so they aren’t do­ing it in my face.

“That way I’m not get­ting in­volved in all the mind games, but I’m still do­ing things at my pace.

“There is too much money in­volved in darts nowa­days to let peo­ple put you off.

“If peo­ple want a bit of eye con­tact or a bit ex­tra, you have got to change your plan.

“You can’t get your­self em­broiled in it or you will lose the game.”

Now he is a world cham­pion, with the prover­bial tar­get on his back, Cross ex­pects op­po­nents to try more games­man­ship – but he will be ready for it.

He added: “I am so set in my ways that, if I had any of that, I would still use the same pat­terns – go back to the drinks ta­ble, have an­other sip of wa­ter, take my time, let them get out of the way.

“If they want to do any­thing on cam­era – which most peo­ple don’t – let them get on with it.

“But it won’t af­fect the way I play.”

Wil­liam Hill PDC Darts World Cham­pi­onship, live on Sky Sports Darts from Thurs­day De­cem­ber 13 (7pm)

ROB CROSS knows more about slings and ar­rows than any Hast­ings war­rior since Wil­liam the Con­queror.And when Cross be­gins his de­fence of the Wil­liam Hill darts world cham­pi­onship at Alexan­dra Palace on Thurs­day night, he won’t just be ready for all the games­man­ship and ag­gres­sion ri­vals can throw at him – he’ll love it.The for­mer elec­tri­cian, nick­named “Volt­age”, ef­fec­tively rewired the whole Pro­fes­sional Darts Cor­po­ra­tion sys­tem when he sent 16-times cham­pion Phil Tay­lor into re­tire­ment with a 7-2 thrash­ing in the fi­nal 12 months ago.Cross had ear­lier pipped hot favourite Michael van Ger­wen in a sen­sa­tional semi-fi­nal that fin­ished past mid­night, match­ing MVG’s trade­mark chest-beat­ing with bullish body lan­guage of his own.Stan­dards of be­hav­iour on the oche have been in the spot­light lately.A row be­tween Gary An­der­son and Wes­ley Harms over break­ing wind turned one of the sport’s show­piece ma­jors into the Grand Slam of Farts. And An­der­son alsoTRO­PHY HOLD­ERS PDC men’s champ Cross and women’s holder Anas­ta­sia Do­bromyslova took ex­cep­tion to Gerywn Price’s an­tics last month.But Cross en­joys the nee­dle of big matches and says darts needs ri­val­ries to thrive.He said: “In the heat of the mo­ment, we all have the adrenaline pump­ing.“I re­mem­ber how it was in my semi-fi­nal against Michael last year – peo­ple may say I over-cel­e­brated and did this or did that.“But you need a re­lease valve when that adrenaline is re­ally flow­ing and I don’t have a prob­lem with it.“Michael is world No.1 and he’s a prime ex­am­ple – he cel­e­brates, but he gets on with it.“This is sup­posed to be en­ter­tain­ment.“Pun­ters don’t want to see zom­bies or ro­bots up there on stage, not giv­ing any­thing.“Some­times a bit of nitty-gritty is good for the game.“It gets the crowd go­ing if it’s lit­tle bit feisty, and I can’t see any­thing wrong with it.“You need ri­valry, you need a bit of spice, like Eric Bris­tow and Jocky Wil­son had be­tween them back in the day.“If you don’t like what some­one is do­ing in front of you, then change your tac­tics. If your op­po­nent wants to cel­e­brate, or

GI­ANT KILLER Rob Cross in last year’s fi­nal againstPhil Tay­lor

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