By Phil Lanning
ROB CROSS admits he was “crushed” by losing his grandad Colin to coronavirus and life has seemed surreal since.
The ex-World Champion has struggled to find success since his double successes of the Matchplay and European Championship in 2019.
Cross, 30, reached the World Cup final for England last year but other than that his individual form dipped after the tragic loss of his grandad last April.
He admitted: “Last year was the hardest of my life, no doubt. Losing my grandad hit me hard, I was crushed, it was so sudden. I couldn’t get going in tournaments without fans, it all felt a bit surreal.
“Our nan lives with us now and I felt so sad for her that she’d lost her husband. I wanted to dedicate time to her and my family, that was the most important thing in my life.
“My nan and grandad used to come to Blackpool in the summer and watch me in the Matchplay.
They used to look after the kids during the day, they were very much a part of everyday life.
“He was fantastic and always there for me when anything went wrong, I’d turn to him. If I had a bad week he’d say ‘don’t worry Bob, you’ll be back next time, you’re going to be fine’. I’d listen to him.
“They came up for dinner every Tuesday and Wednesday. It’s tough when that element is so suddenly taken from you.
“These things happen and it’s taken me a long time to let go.”
Cross has slipped to World No.5 after James Wade’s UK Open win and faces a big challenge ahead in the Premier League next month after being relegated in last year’s event.
He also admits that he’s still adjusting to life as a professional darts player and being away from his family so much.
He added: “I go to work to give the children a better future. You do get down when you’ve been away for four weeks and you haven’t seen the kids. Less than five years ago I was doing a normal 9-5 and being a normal dad, I miss that at times.
“It’s important to form a bond with the kids from a young age. I have to work hard on that. But I’ve got that with Bobby now who is still just a baby.
“Leyton is nine now and has been playing at the local academy in Hastings before lockdown and he absolutely loves it.
“We’ve got eight acres in Hastings with horses and donkeys and it’s a good bit of space for the kids to play.
“The kids muck out the animals, it’s been so good for them during this time to get out in the fresh air. I’m grateful to darts that my family has been lucky to have that.”
Images by Taylor Lanning.