Rob Cross and Michael Smith will meet in the final of the 2019 Betfred World Matchplay on Sunday after coming through their semi-final ties on a night of high-drama in Blackpool on Saturday.
Cross produced one of the most incredible comebacks ever seen on the Winter Gardens stage to edge out Daryl Gurney 17-15, while Smith ended Glen Durrant’s fairytale run with a convincing 17-10 victory.
World number two Cross is now one game away from a first televised ranking title since his world championship win; an outcome that seemed unlikely when he trailed Gurney 14-7, before winning three of the next four legs to spark a revival.
At 15-10 Gurney missed four darts at double top to go within one of the match and Cross took full advantage, restricting the Northern Irishman to just two darts at double in an incredible onslaught which saw him level at 15-15.
Despite Gurney landing his 14th and 15th 180s of the match in the last two legs, Cross took the lead for the first time since leg seven at 16-15.
Gurney’s woes on the outer ring continued as he missed three more darts at double, this time double 12 to allow Cross to complete a sensational comeback with a last dart in hand double 16 to spark jubilant scenes among his fans.
Following the Cross-Gurney encounter, Smith wasted no time in reacquainting himself with the Winter Gardens stage as he won nine of the first 11 legs, all in five visits or fewer to the board, to take a commanding 9-2 lead.
Durrant’s resilience saw him battle his way back to trail 8-12, but he was unable to find the form which saw him beat Michael van Gerwen, Adrian Lewis and James Wade in the previous rounds.
Smith poured water on any hopes of a Durrant comeback by winning the next three legs before continuing his relentless high-scoring and clinical finishing to close out the win and reach his second televised ranking final following his runner-up place at January’s World Championship.