PDC World Darts Championship ’18
It’s January 1st and I’ve just watched ‘Voltage’ Rob Cross beat 16-time World Darts Champion Phil ‘The Power’ Taylor 7-2. With Rob Cross hitting 73% of his doubles, finishing on 140 to win the Championship, the retiring 57-year-old Taylor didn’t have much hope of gaining top spot in his final appearance at Alexandra Palace.
Cross, 27, only turned professional at the start of 2017. Playing darts in his local pub, his Uncle recognised Cross’s skill in the sport. He was the one to drag Cross out of bed and try out for a qualifier, which he went on to win. A year later and Cross is £400,000 better off financially as well as the Darts Champion of the world.
Evidently, both the crowd and Taylor were stunned by the brilliant performance level the former electrician Cross brought to the board. Stoke-based Taylor wasn’t playing badly, Cross just managed to ramp up the pressure when Taylor missed finishing doubles or failed to hit the high scorers.
Taylor had an overall scoring average of 102, but Hastings-based Cross had a match average of 107 and secured the title hitting two treble 18s and a double 16.
Taylor still managed to keep the audience on their toes in his final match, missing a double 12 for a nine-darter, as well as scoring 12 180s, one more than Cross during the final.
Following his defeat, he playfully lifted the trophy one last time and spoke of the years he has spent playing the sport.
Taylor no longer has the drive to want to beat the other players and wants to retire, spend time with his family, and simply live life without having to throw darts for hours each day.
Cross said: “I feel great but it’s Phil’s last year and it’s about him departing. That’s why I let him lift the trophy. It was my dream to play him 15 years ago and now I have. I was actually born in 1990 when he won his first title.”
Taylor went on to say: “I tried my best but he was like me 25 years ago, he was relentless and didn’t stop putting me under pressure. He’s dedicated, he’s listened, learned and the players next year have got a big problem.
“You’ve got someone who wants to win, I don’t think the money with him is going to make a scrap of difference.”
Phil Taylor will always be a legend in the sport. From Stoke-on-Trent, he won the first of his 16 world titles in 1990.
Announcing his retirement in January last year that 2017 would be his final year on the PDC circuit, Taylor has reduced his playing commitments over the past year, and still made it to the very end.
Two-time World Darts Champion Michael van Gerwen, 28, was knocked from the top spot by Cross in the semi-finals. ‘Mighty Mike’ was the youngest player ever to win a major darts title, winning The World Masters in 2006, aged just 17. More youngsters than ever are coming up and putting pressure on a lot of the players we’ve grown to love in the sport. There are a few new faces to keep your eye on in the 2019 World Darts Championship.