Rob Cross fulfils his darting destiny with maiden World Darts Championship triumph

Cross lifts the Sid Waddell trophy (credit:Lawrence Lustig/PDC)

Rob Cross denied Phil Taylor a fitting farewell to his professional career by securing a fairy-tale first World Championship title after an imperious 7-2 victory in the final at Alexandra Palace on New Year's Day.

Cross culminated an incredible debut season a PDC professional by producing a spellbinding display to deny Taylor a 17th world title in his last ever appearance in the sport's show-piece.

A former electrician, Cross watched last year's World Championship final at home as he prepared to join the PDC circuit full-time, but lifted the Sid Waddell Trophy and secured the £400,000 first prize - double his career earnings to date - with a majestic display.

Cross produced a performance reminiscent of Taylor himself when he had broken through to win the 1990 World Championship with a 6-1 rout of mentor Eric Bristow as the 27-year-old completed his remarkable rise by claiming the biggest title in darts.

"It's just phenomenal, I've not got words for it," said Cross. "I came into my first year with my eyes closed not knowing what to expect but the game has changed my life massively.

"I feel great, but I've got to say it's Phil's last year - I've won my first World Championship but it's about him departing and that's why I let him lift the trophy with me.

 "I was born in 1990 so the coincidence may be there as he won his first World title while I took my first breath of air.

"I can remember when I was a young boy and I used to watch Phil on the TV, I think he's phenomenal for what he's done for the sport, the way he's conducted himself and been so dominant."

Cross had come through three pulsating last-set deciders in reaching the final, but ensured his last battle would be a somewhat more one-sided one as he put 'The Power' to the sword.

Cross showed little sign of nerves as he coasted to the opening set by three legs to one before producing a devastating 167 checkout to close out the second and double his lead.

The Hastings thrower continued his clinical finishing as he took out 153 to wrap up the third set, though a shell-shocked Taylor eventually got off the mark by sealing set four in consecutive legs with the aid of a 151 checkout.

Taylor then came within millimeters of perfection at the palace as he wired double 12 for what would have been his first nine-dart finish in a World Championship.

Incredibly, though, Taylor went on to lose the leg and with it, the set, as 'Voltage' opened up a commanding 4-1 cushion.

Cross quickly established a 2-0 lead in the following set, and despite a 123 checkout in response from Taylor, the 20th seed clinched the set to go further clear.

A helpless Taylor was left with a mountain to climb as he watched Cross help himself to the seventh set, but with the pressure now off, the 57-year-old rallied back to claim the eighth in straight legs for a 6-2 deficit.

That would prove to be Taylor's final contribution in a World Championship as Cross stormed to glory in set nine, sealing the win with a roof-raising 140 checkout.

"At the start I thought I was going to lose 7-0 but when I got a set I thought to try and keep the score respectable and try and push him and make him think a bit, but it just didn't happen," said Taylor.

"I tried my best, I just didn't have that push against him - he was like me 25 years ago.

"He was relentless, he just doesn't stop putting you under pressure, and that's the way I used to be.

 "I'm at the end of my career and he's at the beginning of his career and it was a young man versus an old man. It was a mismatch really, he was a brilliant player."

Victory for Cross catapults him to number three in the PDC Order of Merit as he becomes only the eighth different PDC World Champion since 1994.

The 27-year-old will also feature in this year's Premier League, while Taylor officially resigns his Tour Card after 30 years of darting dominance in which he has claimed more than 200 titles.


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Rob Cross fulfils his darting destiny with maiden World Darts Championship triumph

Rob Cross denied Phil Taylor a fitting farewell to his professional career by securing a fairy-tale first World Championship title after an imperious 7-2 victory in the final at Alexandra Palace on New Year's Day.

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