A former electrician in his first year as a professional, Rob Cross beat the sport's most famous figure, Phil "The Power" Taylor, to win the World Darts Championship in London. But he still let Taylor lift the trophy.
Phil Taylor, bidding for a 17th title in his last game before retiring as a professional, lost 7-2 to the 27-year old Rob Cross, who picked up £400,000 (€455,000) prize money and the Sid Waddell Trophy at the Alexandra Palace in London.
"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," the Englishman Cross said.
"I was born in 1990. When he won his first world title I took my first breath. I hope he enjoys his retirement. You won't see another sportsman like Phil. He’s phenomenal," Cross said.
Taylor, nicknamed "The Power," — was competing in his 21st world final and won 10 legs. He had 12 180s in the match, one more than Cross.
A win would have taken the 57-year-old grandfather's career prize money over the £7.5million (€8.3 million) mark.
Taylor embraced Cross after the match and held up a sign saying "Thank you, thank you" to the crowd.
"I tried my best. He was like me 25 years ago. He was good, he was relentless. He's a lot like myself, trust me. He's dedicated. He's listened, he's learning," Taylor said.
Enter the new generation
He also hailed the new generation of up and coming darts players.
"It was a mismatch, really. But I tried my best. I just haven't got the energy to beat him, Van Gerwen or Lewis anymore. And I haven't got the interest anymore. It's weird to say that because it’s been my life for 30 years."
Taylor beat Welshman Jamie Lewis in the semi-finals 6-1, while Cross beat Michael van Gerwen in what some have called one of the greatest games ever played after a sudden-death leg to win 6-5.
jbh/se (AFP, Reuters)