The Alexandra Palace was on fire when the retiring 16-times champion entered the room and walked up to the stage to play his last game in the tournament that he dominated for nearly three decades. But soon after the match started it became obvious that there could only be one winner today. Rob Cross, a former electrician from Kent, stepped up his game once more by hitting almost a dozen 180s and averaging 107.67 with three darts. However, it was his 60% finish rate on the doubles that shattered all hopes that Phil Taylor would stand a chance against him today.
I tried my best. He was like me 25 years ago. He was good, he was relentless. -- Phil Taylor
“You've got a little monster on your hands”
As the players stepped up to the oche, a focused Rob Cross left his opponent no room for error and claimed the first set after Taylor missed two doubles. Cross also claimed the second set, stunning 'The Power' with a 167 checkout, the second highest possible in professional darts. After also winning the third set and checking out another high 153 finish, talks of a whitewash started to bubble up among the crowd. However, Phil Taylor stepped up his game and claimed the fourth set for 3-1.
Many newcomers would have probably started to get nervous especially when Phil Taylor hit two 180s in the fifth, setting himself up to break his opponent with a 9-darter, but Rob Cross quickly set the record straight to make it 4-1. From here one, the Cross-Show continued when the electrician from Kent also won the sixth and seventh set.
“You’ve got a little monster on your hands,” Phil Taylor said of the new champion afterwards. “I believe Rob Cross and Mike van Gerwen can go on to dominate the sport for the next five years. It was a mismatch really. That’s it for me because I don’t have the energy to beat him.”
I feel great but it’s about him departing, and that’s why I let him lift the trophy with me. It was my dream to play this guy - it’s absolutely phenomenal. -- Rob Cross
Image Copyright: Sven Mandel / CC-BY-SA-4.0