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Rob Cross beats Phil Taylor 7-2 to win PDC World Darts Championship – as it happened | Sport | The Guardian

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PDC World Championships

Rob Cross beats Phil Taylor 7-2 to win PDC World Darts Championship – as it happened

The 27-year-old world championship debutant thrashed the retiring 16-time world champion on an extraordinary night at Alexandra Palace

Rob Cross and Phil Taylor during the PDC World Darts Championship Final at Alexandra Palace. Photograph: Sarge/ProSports/REX/Shutterstock

Niall McVeigh

Mon 1 Jan 2018 17.19 EST First published on Mon 1 Jan 2018 14.00 EST

5.17pm EST 17:17

Phil Taylor walks off the stage for the final time to the soundtrack of Coldplay’s Viva la Vida – a song, as the band put it, about “a king who has lost his kingdom”. Meanwhile Rob Cross, a Sussex pub player the last time Taylor won this title and a virtual unknown even a year ago, is the new leader of the darting world. That he took the crown in such ruthless, relentless fashion only adds to the seismic nature of the night. The Power is out, and Rob ‘Voltage’ Cross is king. That’s all from me; thanks for reading and emailing. Goodnight.

Updated at 5.19pm EST

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5.10pm EST 17:10

A final word from Rob Cross. “It was a dream to play Phil in the final. You won’t see another sportsman like him.” Or will we?

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5.08pm EST 17:08

Phil Taylor speaks, barely audible over the crowd: “Rob was relentless, like I was 25 years ago. He’s a lot like myself, he’s dedicated. The players have got a big problem now. It’s not about the money for him, it’s about the winning, he’s like me in that way.”

“The way he started, I thought I would lose 7-0. I tried to push him, make him think, but it didn’t happen. It was an old man and a young man, and it was a mismatch really.”

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5.05pm EST 17:05

Rob Cross speaks: “I’ve won my first world title, but tonight is all about Phil Taylor. Everything he’s done for the game, I hope he enjoys his retirement.” Taylor has written ‘Thank you. Thank you. Loved it’ on a piece of paper. What an odd moment this is.

worker bee (@snice1)

@niallmcveigh The King is dead, long live The King.

January 1, 2018

Updated at 5.21pm EST

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5.04pm EST 17:04

Phil Taylor receives his runner-up prize and is given a long, hearty send-off by the crowd. Now it’s Rob Cross’s moment, as he receives the trophy. He lets Taylor lift it up too, which is a very nice gesture. I don’t think Van Gerwen would have done that.

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5.01pm EST 17:01

A strange moment after Cross sealed this most incredible victory, as the debutant made sure to let the departing Taylor have his moment. We’ll hear from both players shortly.

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4.59pm EST 16:59

Rob Cross is the new PDC world darts champion!

Treble 18. Hit. A second treble 18. Hit. Double 16 for the title. He’s taken it. Phil Taylor has been thrashed. Absolutely incredible.

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4.58pm EST 16:58

Rob Cross is throwing for the title – but his first throw is poor, and Taylor rattles in a maximum! He’s not done yet, but Cross rallies brilliantly with three, count ‘em, treble 18s. He’s on a 140 finish, Taylor waiting on 50...

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4.56pm EST 16:56

Ninth set: Cross 2-0 Taylor (Cross leads 6-2 in sets) Taylor’s attempted mind games have only distracted himself – he quickly falls behind on his own throw, and Cross is closing in. He misses two darts at double 16, but Taylor is adrift on 204 – but a 180 puts the pressure on. Big moment now – and he takes it on his first dart. I think that’s game over.

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4.54pm EST 16:54

Ninth set: Cross 1-0 Taylor (Cross leads 6-2 in sets and throws first) Is it time for the former electrician to put The Power out? He starts strong with 134, but Taylor sticks with him. Cross has 135 to finish, and after hitting treble five, tidies up to leave tops. Taylor loses ground, and Cross takes it in one.

Updated at 4.54pm EST

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4.50pm EST 16:50

Neal (@34nd_)

Find someone who looks at you the way Rob Cross looks at D18.

January 1, 2018
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4.49pm EST 16:49

Taylor may have wound Rob Cross up with the latest bout of chat; he looked a little miffed as he headed off the stage. He’ll now have a chance on his own throw; if he doesn’t take it, things might get interesting.

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4.48pm EST 16:48

Phil Taylor wins the eighth set and trails 6-2!

Taylor is serenaded by the crowd after that break – can he close out the set? Cross is first to a finish and Taylor’s inconsistency is hurting him again. Cross is a long way off bullseye, and Taylor is chatting to him again. Cross has three darts at 30, splits and misses double six. Taylor takes out double 16, and wins the set.

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4.45pm EST 16:45

Eighth set: Cross 0-2 Taylor (Cross leads 6-1 in sets) Is Cross starting to see the finish line? A Taylor maximum puts him under pressure on his own throw, but Cross digs himself out with a 140. Taylor will have a shot at 63 – and takes double 16 with his last dart!

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4.43pm EST 16:43

Eighth set: Cross 0-1 Taylor (Cross leads 6-1 in sets, Taylor throws first) This is the Brazil 1-7 Germany of darts. If Germany had never qualified before. Taylor has 141 to hold throw but can’t take it – and Cross misses double four! Taylor holds, but it’s a long way back.

Updated at 4.44pm EST

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4.40pm EST 16:40

“Evening Niall, and Happy New Year to you, says Simon McMahon. “Great to see the Guardian giving the darts its rightful place with a LBL on New Years Day. Feels like a changing of the guard tonight. Cross is like a young Phil Taylor. As the legendary Sid Waddell once said of the equally legendary Jocky Wilson – what an athlete.”

Speaking of Wilson, I recently watched a Bullseye where he took on the Bronze Bully challenge with a lit snout on the go. They don’t make them like Jocky any more.

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4.39pm EST 16:39

John McEnerney (@MackerOnTheMed)

@niallmcveigh called it wrong for Bolt in his final race & it looks like I’ve given The Power The McKiss of Death. Chapeau to Cross he’s doin the business in a big dancehall style in a big dancehall! Savage darts! #LoveTheDarts

January 1, 2018

Savage darts is right.

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4.38pm EST 16:38

Phil Taylor’s reputation alone has taken care of many of his opponents, and an entire generation of darts talent was suffocated by the Power at his best. Rob Cross, who was watching the tournament at home last year, has come here for Taylor’s final match, and is wiping the floor with him.

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4.36pm EST 16:36

Rob Cross wins the 7th set and leads 6-1!

A chance for Cross to twist the knife, as he hits 140 on Taylor’s throw. The Power is starting to look defeated but takes out 180 to leave 161. He misses bull – it’s not exactly bad, is it? – but Cross is lurking on 93. He takes it. In two darts. Is he human?

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4.34pm EST 16:34

Seventh set: Cross 2-1 Taylor (Cross leads 5-1 in sets) A scrappy start to this leg, but Cross’ 66th maximum of the tournament (he’s five off the all-time record) edges him ahead. Taylor carelessly leaves 169, allowing Cross to set up double 16. This time he misses the first dart, but not the second. Nerveless.

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4.32pm EST 16:32

Seventh set: Cross 1-1 Taylor (Cross leads 5-1 in sets) Taylor races away on his own throw and has some breathing space to take out double top. He gets it, and gives the crowd an intentionally over-the-top celebration. Just a bit of fun? No chance.

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4.30pm EST 16:30

Seventh set: Cross 1-0 Taylor (Cross leads 5-1 in sets and throws first) Cross could go to the next break in play just one set away. He cleans up this opening leg with embarrassing ease. What is going on here?

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4.28pm EST 16:28

Rob Cross takes the sixth set to lead 5-1!

Big test for Cross here – it’ll either be 5-1, or Taylor will have a chance to make it 4-2. Taylor can’t put pressure on, loose darts costing him, and Cross has six darts from 179. He gets down to 84, and Taylor leaves 58. Pressure? What pressure? Cross takes it with two darts. He’s hit 70% of his doubles, and it feels like more.

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4.25pm EST 16:25

Sixth set: Cross 2-1 Taylor (Cross leads 4-1 in sets) A very tidy 123 checkout from Taylor, with Cross easing off the gas momentarily. The newcomer will throw for a 5-1 lead, though.

Updated at 4.25pm EST

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4.24pm EST 16:24

Sixth set: Cross 2-0 Taylor (Cross leads 4-1 in sets) If he can keep this up, this will be a performance for the record books from Cross – another maximum and Taylor, averaging 102, cannot get near him. Cross takes out tops, and Taylor’s 110 benchmark from 2009 is within reach.

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4.21pm EST 16:21

Sixth set: Cross 1-0 Taylor (Cross leads 4-1 in sets, Taylor to throw first) This is a big old set – if Cross can claim it, he’d be two from home, and on his own throw. Another 180 puts him ahead – he’s averaging 109+ now – and checks out in 11 darts. Easy!

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4.20pm EST 16:20

After that missed shot at a nine-darter, Cross offered Taylor some consoling words. Taylor appeared to use the moment to try and psyche his opponent out again. It’s all a little unseemly on his big night.

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4.15pm EST 16:15

Rob Cross wins the fifth set to lead 4-1!

Cross has a shot at bull for the set, but hits 25 – and Taylor has to take out 153. Treble 20, treble 19... but double 18 is missed, and Cross moves three sets clear.

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4.14pm EST 16:14

Fifth set: Cross 2-0 Taylor (Cross leads 3-1 in sets) That moment would have swung the momentum entirely in Taylor’s favour – a nine-darter in his last match! – but the way Cross bounced back was telling. He’s just as ruthless here, nailing a double 16 to break Taylor again!

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4.11pm EST 16:11

Taylor misses out on a nine-darter – and loses the leg!

Fifth set: Cross 1-0 Taylor (Cross leads 3-1 in sets and throws first) Destiny was calling there, as Taylor struck eight perfect darts in a row. He’s never hit a nine-darter at the Ally Pally... and misses double 12 by a hair’s breadth. He has three darts to check out, but is all over the place - and Cross punishes him! What a big moment that might be...

PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC)

1 millimetre from a truly historic moment in darts.....#WHdarts #LoveTheDarts

January 1, 2018

Updated at 4.18pm EST

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4.07pm EST 16:07

“These high checkouts are fabulous from Cross,” says Adam Hirst. “Big numbers hit so cleanly every time, never looks in doubt. Like watching Harry Kane go through one-on-one. 20s, 19s, 18s, lovely stuff.”

It was notable in the semi-finals how many times Cross rescued a poor start with a treble on his final dart. It kept him in the game at crucial moments.

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4.04pm EST 16:04

Rod Studd has been bringing up the parallels with Taylor’s first world title, when he thrashed his mentor, Eric Bristow in 1990. “Blond streaks and moustaches were in fashion back then,” Studd adds. He’s clearly not been to Dalston lately.

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4.04pm EST 16:04

Phil Taylor wins the fourth set and trails 3-1!

Fourth set: Cross 0-3 Taylor That break was another boost for Taylor, but this set started on his throw, so Cross need not worry unduly. Taylor takes out 80 in two darts to cut the gap.

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