ROB CROSS won his second Players Championship title of 2017 in Milton Keynes on Sunday, continuing his superb emergence with a 6-5 defeat of Ian White in the final.
Former electrician Cross has been a sensation this year since joining the professional circuit, following up his brilliant PDC Unicorn Challenge Tour triumph in 2016 by claiming his maiden ProTour win in March.
He has also reached three European Tour quarter-finals in as many events, and followed up Saturday's run to a Players Championship semi-final - where he lost out to Peter Wright - by going all the way 24 hours later.
A tight final against White saw Cross break in the opening leg before White hit back to level and then move 2-1 up, and the pair traded legs as the Stoke thrower took out 121 and 122 as he edged 5-4 up.
However, White missed the bull to claim victory in leg ten, before seeing a further four match darts go begging in the decider as Cross stepped in on double 18 to secure the £10,000 first prize.
Cross had defeated Max Hopp and Tony Newell in his opening two games before seeing off world number six James Wade 6-2 to reach the last 16.
He then overcame number two seed Mensur Suljovic 6-4 and then dropped just one leg in each of his quarter-final and semi-final wins, as he swept aside Darren Webster and Kim Huybrechts.
"It's going well, I'm enjoying it and I'm over the moon," said Cross, 27. "It was a nervy final and I got lucky. I felt a lot of fatigue after the semi-final, it was like I emptied the tank on that one game.
"I believe I can better - I've seen better things on the practice board too and you're trying to creep out a little bit more every week and keep progressing, and that's what I'm doing.
"I think I've exceeded the expectations I personally had. My goals were to try and make every TV major and keep going from there really, so now I'll have new goals.
"Before today it would have been finishing in the top 32 at the end of the year, trying to get up there. When you're putting yourself in these positions, you're learning all the time.
"It's hard to keep calm under the pressure, but the more I put myself here I believe I'm going to get better, so I want to keep experiencing it.
"It comes a little bit naturally but you've just got to bear with it really, it's not easy and the players are all fantastic."
White's run on the day saw him reach his first final of 2017, as he defeated Stephen Burton, Ross Twell, Ronny Huybrechts, Richard North, world number three Wright and James Wilson in claiming £5,000 in prize money.
Wilson's performance was also his best of the year, as he followed up last week's run to the Gibraltar Darts Trophy quarter-finals with a semi-final appearance in Milton Keynes.
The Huddersfield ace saw off Diogo Portela, Bryan de Hoog, Andy Boulton, Justin Pipe and Jonny Clayton on the day as he won through to the last four.
Huybrechts was a semi-finalist in his third Players Championship of the year, as he defeated Josh Payne, Wes Newton, Peter Jacques, Joe Cullen and Simon Whitlock in his run.
Australian star Whitlock and Welsh ace Clayton both reached their second quarter-finals of the weekend, with Darren Webster and Wright also losing out in the last eight.
The day also featured a memorable moment for Dave Chisnall, who achieved the seventh nine-dart finish of his career during his third round clash with Darren Webster, although the St Helens man went on to lose out 6-3.
The perfect leg was the 19th nine-darter landed so far during a prolific 2017 on the circuit as standards continue to soar.
The next Players Championship weekend will see two £75,000 tournaments held on June 17-18 in Wigan, with the action to be streamed live for PDCTV-HD Subscribers worldwide and through a series of bookmakers' websites.