Belfast Telegraph

Sports Awards

Turning the lights out on Taylor's career hasn't sunk in yet: Cross


By Callum Dent

New World champion Rob Cross says he is on "cloud nine" after his life-changing victory over 16-time winner Phil Taylor in the William Hill World Championship final at Alexandra Palace on Monday night.

Taylor was hoping to retire with a 17th World title, but 27-year-old Cross, who was not even born when Taylor won his first crown in 1990, had other ideas as he produced a stunning performance to claim a 7-2 victory.

He said: "I'm on cloud nine. It's surreal, it's not settled in yet. It was tough to take everything in last night."

When asked if taking the title had changed his life, the former electrician - without a tour card this time last year - added: "Definitely. Darts already, even before the World Championship, had changed my life.

"I couldn't have expected the way my year's gone, but it has absolutely changed my life."

He added: "Phil's walk on was emotional, I never really got dragged into that. I still stayed focused and knew what I had to do. With the crowd, I expected it to be a little bit more hostile towards me but when I managed to get in front in the game, I think I quietened them down."

Cross averaged a remarkable 107.67, hit 11 maximums and had a checkout rate of 60% en route to collecting a cheque of £400,000.

Taylor was criticised by some for his demeanour in the final, which included him allegedly flipping his middle finger after winning the fourth set, but Cross had nothing but admiration for the 57-year-old.

He said: "He's phenomenal and I'd like to wish him a very happy retirement.

"He's a great guy. I don't believe you'll ever see another sportsman dominate their sport as much as he has done.

"Without Phil, the money probably wouldn't be in it, the crowds that we play in front of. You've got to be grateful for that."

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