Darts: Legend Phil Taylor finally unplugged after world championship defeat

Rookie darts pro Rob Cross (left) shocked the retiring Phil Taylor 7-2 to win the world title.
Rookie darts pro Rob Cross (left) shocked the retiring Phil Taylor 7-2 to win the world title.

LONDON • The former electrician Rob Cross turned off "The Power" for the final time as he denied the retiring Phil Taylor a 17th world title with a stunning 7-2 victory at Alexandra Palace on Monday.

Cross, without a tour card this time last year, averaged 107.67, hit 11 maximums and had a checkout percentage of 60 to end his first year as a professional on the Professional Darts Corporation circuit in emphatic style.

The 27-year-old raced to a three-set lead in his maiden world championship final before Taylor was able to get on the board, and the 57-year-old did not win another set until he was 1-6 down.

Taylor's night was summed up by coming close to a nine-dart finish in the opening leg of the fifth set. Having narrowly missed the double 12, the 16-time world champion then blew three more darts and Cross took the set.

Cross continued his demolition job to become the first man to win the tournament on his debut since Dutchman Raymond van Barneveld in 2007 and scoop a cheque of £400,000 (S$720,600).

"I feel great but I've got to say it's Phil's last year, I've won my first world trophy but it's about him departing and that's why I let him lift the trophy with me," he said.

"It was my dream 15 years ago to play this guy and now I've played him, it's absolutely phenomenal. I was actually born in 1990 when he won his first title."

Taylor, who won his first final on his debut 28 years ago by beating Eric Bristow, averaged 102.26 yet had no answer to his fellow Englishman's heavy scoring and prolific finishing.

The defeat brought the curtain down on a glittering career by Taylor. He put darts on the sporting map with his domination, winning over £7 million in prize money and more than 200 career titles.

He said: "I've had a fantastic career, (with) the youngsters coming through I just can't do it any more. It's weird to say that but I got to the final and, if you'd have told me that last week, I would have taken it."

"I tried my best but he was like me 25 years ago, he was relentless and didn't stop putting me under pressure. It was like an old man against a young man. It was a mis-match."

THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 03, 2018, with the headline 'Legend Taylor finally unplugged after defeat'. Print Edition | Subscribe