Colin Lloyd hailed Rob Cross as “great champion” after the world No 2 claimed his maiden World Matchplay title at the Winter Gardens last Sunday.

Cross defeated his World Cup partner Michael Smith 18-13 in last weekend’s final, to become just the fourth player in PDC history to have lifted both the World Championship and World Matchplay titles.

‘Voltage’ had not won a major crown since his extraordinary World Championship triumph on New Year’s Day in 2018, but he continues his meteoric rise by securing another huge honour in just his third year as a professional.

Cross becomes the ninth different player to win the World Matchplay and speaking on the Darts Show podcast, 2005 champion Colin Lloyd was full of praise for the 28-year-old.

“Rob Cross – absolutely fantastic,” he said. “Everybody was saying will he win another major title after the World Championship? Was it a fluke? Of course it wasn’t a fluke. He is a class player and he proved his grit and his worth.

“The crowd got on his back a little bit but he stayed focused and got on with the job in hand and he’s now the ninth player to be crowned World Matchplay champion, so fair play to him.

“He’s level-headed, he knows what he wants and the great thing about Rob Cross is he puts in the effort. He puts in the practice, he puts in the hard work. When you do, you deserve every reward that you get.”

Cross is now a multiple major champion but the world No 2 admitted he struggled with the pressure and expectation that came with being crowned world champion in 2018.