Rob Cross beat Phil Taylor 7-2 to win the 2018 PDC World Darts Championship and £400,000 in prize money at London's Alexandra Palace on New Year's Day. Taylor took the £170,000 due the runner-up, but the 16-time champion could not retire on a high note after being overwhelmed by his younger opponent.
Cross raced into a three-set lead thanks to the way he dealt with pressure. Sky Sports Darts detailed how the Voltage held his nerve to hold throw at a key moment in the second set:
A 167 checkout of treble-20, treble-19 and bull made it 2-0, before Cross took the third. Taylor was reeling but pinned a brilliant 151 checkout to send him on the way to a whitewash in the fourth set.
The Power was starting to up his game, but a narrow miss on double-12 for a nine-darter proved decisive in the next set, one Cross took to restore his lead. Live Darts showed how steady scoring was keeping Cross in front:
Yet another break of throw put Cross two up in the sixth before Taylor wired a critical 123 to stay in touch. However, Cross wrapped an 84 checkout on double-18 to move four sets ahead.
Double-18 proved the ticket for Cross again when he held throw at the start of the seventh before Taylor hit tops to claim the next leg. The pressure intensified on Taylor after Cross wired double-16 to move within a leg of winning a sixth set.
It was 6-1 after Cross hit treble-19 and one more double-18.
Taylor wasn't about to go quietly in his final match, though, and twice hit double-16 to go two legs in front in the eighth. Winning the set was the closest Taylor would get, as Cross took out treble-18 twice before pinning double-16 to seal the title.
Afterwards, Cross saluted Taylor's mark on the sport:
His win means Taylor is denied the fairytale finish many would have felt his decorated career deserves. PDC Darts still took a moment to sum up Taylor's staggering list of achievements:
The Power leaves the stage knowing he helped make darts better and grow the sport's appeal, as well as becoming the player against whom all future champions will be judged.