Rob Cross and Phil Taylor lift the trophy on stage
Rob Cross 7 Phil Taylor 2 – ROB CROSS WINS PDC WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP
We’ll leave the last word to Phil Taylor, whose darts career is now over.
“It’s been marvellous. I’ve had a fantastic career.
“The crowds have been fantastic. The youngsters that are coming through now are fantastic, dedicated, fit and I can’t compete with them.
“Barry Hearm would love me to carry on, Sky would but I can’t do it anymore – I’d love to.”
More from Cross. He’s thanked his uncle, who persuaded him to play a UK qualifier in 2016 to kickstart his career, after the win.
He said: “I owe him a lot, I really do. If he didn’t drag me out of bed that day I wouldn’t be here.
“I have to admit the final was a dream to play Phil, I always wanted to play Phil,
“You won’t see another sportsman like him.
“I’d like to thank my family and friends, for their support, and my sponsors have been brilliant this year. Without my sponsors, I don’t think I’d have been so relaxed.
“I’d also like to thank Barry Hearn for giving me this opportunity.”
Phil Taylor has played his final professional darts match
“When I first started I thought I’d lose 7-0. As soon as I took a set I wanted to make it respectable to push him, make him think a little bit but it didn’t happen.
“I’m at the end of my career, he’s at the beginning and it was a mismatch really. He’s a brilliant player.
“I tried my best, I really did. I’m so pleased that’s it for me because i don’t have the energy to beat him, Van Gerwen or Adrian Lewis anymore.
“it’s weird to say that because it’s been my life for 30 years and my grandkids have come and seen their grandad get their backside smacked really.”
“I tried my best but I didn’t have that push against him.
“He was relentless, he didn’t stop putting me under pressure, that’s what I was like when I was younger.
“He’s a lot like myself, he’s dedicated, he’s listened and learnt and the players have got a big problem.
“Michael van Gerwen, Barney, Adrian Lewis, you’ve got someone now who is dedicated and wants to win.
“I don’t think the money makes a scrap of difference, he’s an animal. He’s got that grit in his teeth.”
ROB CROSS has spoken…
“I feel great but what I’ve got to say is this is Phil’s last year
“It’s about him departing, that’s why i let him lift the trophy with me
“It was my dream 15 years ago to play this guy and now i’ve played him, absolutely phenomenal.
“I was born in 1990 so the coincedence maybe there when he won his first world title when I took my first breath.
“What he’s done for the game, I hope he has a happy retirement. I wish him all the best, he’s brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
Great scenes on stage as both players receive their trophies and Cross even lets Taylor lift the title for one last time.
Taylor doesn’t loko to fussed at losing and is instead just lapping up the applause from the crowd.
“There’s only one Phil Taylor…”
Cross (7) 3-0 (2) Taylor – ROB CROSS WINS PDC WORLD DARTS CHAMPIONSHIP
Paddy Power are offering odds of Taylor to win at 13/1! He couldn’t, could he?
Cross has three darts at double tops but only needs one to win the opening leg.
He’s one leg away and will now throw for the title.
Cross has done it with a 140 checkout! WOW. WOW. WOW!
Cross (6) 0-3 (2) Taylor
Taylor fluffs his lines at a 141 checkout but gets another chance to finish on 47.
He’s not going down without a fight as he gets another leg under his belt in this eighth set.
Cross can’t checkout on 30 and the crowd love it. Taylor capitalises and gets another set on the board.
Cross (6) 3-1 (1) Taylor
Cross is not missing double 18, or any for that matter and he puts another leg on the board.
The Power levels by hitting double tops at the first attempt and raises his arms to the crowd. Hes enjoying himself regardless of the score.
Cross then checks out on 32 at the second attempt.
Taylor hits a 180 but can’t check out on 161. Cross hits double 18 AGAIN to go within one set of being crowned champion.
Cross (5) 3-1 (1) Taylor
More maximums from Cross and he’s owning that stage as he takes the first leg. He’s averaging 109.
A tenth maximum takes him to an average of 110. Incredible. Double tops at the first attempts takes him 2-0 up.
Taylor bites back though with a 123 checkout.
However, Cross holds his nerve and checks out on 84. He’s two sets away from making history.
Phil Taylor misses a nine-darter by millimetres
Cross (4) 3-0 (1) Taylor
Taylor hits eight perfect darts straight from the break but misses double 12 by the smallest of margins! SO CLOSE TO A NINE-DARTER. Remarkably, Cross wins the leg.
Cross follows it up with an 11-dart leg. He is feeling no pressure whatsoever up there.
The crowd are stunned as Taylor misses 153 to pull a leg back. Cross hits double 8 in response to go 4-1 up.
Cross (3) 0-3 (1) Taylor
Taylor finally gets a leg, checking out on 151 to a massive cheer from the crowd.
Cross misses the bull and Taylor responds to win consecutive legs for the first time in the match.
Taylor is on the board with his first set. How will Cross react to that then?
Cross (3) 3-0 (0) Taylor
Another 180 from Cross sends him on his way to hold throw with a 36 checkout.
Cross is on fire, hitting five perfect darts in the second leg. A 52 checkout makes it an 11-dart leg for the 27-year-old.
Sloppy from Taylor as he misses a 150 checkout and Cross once again punishes him with a 153 checkout.
Taylor has no answers at the moment.
Cross (2) 3-1 (0) Taylor
Taylor opens the second set with a 177 in a leg that Cross also hits 180.
There’s even a fist bump between the pair in a slightly bizarre exchange as they share a joke before Cross hits double 16.
Turns out Cross spilt his drink as Taylor took his throw. Remember cough gate? Let’s not go back there with drink gate.
Cross isn’t lacking any confidence, checking out on 88 this time to move 2-0 up in the second set. Taylor needs this one.
And he does just that, checking out on double tops.
Taylor hits a 180 but Cross silences him with a 167 checkout by hiting the bull. Stunning darts.
Rob Cross spills his drink as Phil Taylor takes his throw
Cross (1) 3-1 (0) Taylor
First leg goes to Cross as he checks out on 84, getting double 18 at his first attempt.
Some bad luck in the second leg sees Cross’ dart bounce off the board and Taylor records a 46 checkout to level the scores.
Cross hits two maximums in the third on his way to wrapping up a 12-dart leg.
Taylor goes close with a 147 checkout and then misses the chance to finish on 36. Cross punishes him and takes the first set.
Here we go
Remember, it’s the best of 13 sets and we could be in for a long evening.
Not that we mind. What else are you supposed to doing on New Year’s Day?
For the last time!
It’s only the walk on song but it’s Taylor’s last entrace to the oche.
No tears yet, from Taylor that is, not me, obviously.
The 57-year-old is relishing every moment of it and even stops to take a selfie and sign autographs for his fans.
Phil Taylor on his final walk-on signs merchandise for his fans
Taylor – legend
Rob Cross was asked to describe Phil Taylor in one word.
“One word – legend.
“Don’t get me wrong, It’s Phil Taylor’s last year and it’s going to be the first time I play him.
“He’s truly amazing for what he’s done for the sport but I’ve got to be right at the same time and I’ve got a match to win.
“It’s going to be hard to separate the two but it’s got to happen that way.”
You’ll be a legend too if you pull this off, Cross.
Just a reminder there is £400,000 at stake tonight for the winner, with the runner-up getting a cool £170,000.
And Cross only earned his first £250 as a professional in February.
As pay-rises go, that’s a good one.
Not long until both players make their way through the crowd to the oche.
Everyone knows Phil Taylor’s ‘The Power’ walk on song but what about Rob Cross?
His choice of walk-on music is ‘Hot Hot Hot’ by Arrow.
Get ready to sing along!
Darts in numbers
Wondering how many pints of beer have been been consumed so far? Or how about how many 180’s have been thrown in this remarkable tournament?
Well Sky Sports presenter Dave Clark has crunched the numbers for us.
Darts Thrown: 38555
170 checkouts: 6
Dart Boards: 80
Foam Hands: 68,000
180 signs: 80,000
Pints of beer: 500,000
Prize Money: 1.8 million
Winners Cheque: £400,000
Runner Up: £170,000
Cross to throw first
Ever the gentleman or years of experience? Maybe the mind games have started already.
Phil Taylor has won the pre-match Bull-up and has given the throw to Rob Cross.
Ladies and Gentleman, and all the millions watching around the world, welcome to Express Sport’s LIVE coverage of the William Hill PDC World Darts Championship final from Alexandra Palace, LONDONNNNNN!
Ok, I’m no MC like John McDonald but the final is here and there is plenty of excitement building!
Will Phil Taylor win an incredible 17th World Championship?
Or is Rob Cross going to rip up the script and send the veteran packing, just like he did with Michael van Gerwen.
We’ll be finding out soon enough with both players due to the oche at approximately 8pm.